America Anonymous by Benoit Denizet-Lewis
Eight Addicts in Search of a Life

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Synopsis

America Anonymous is the unforgettable story of eight men and women from around the country -- including a grandmother, a college student, a bodybuilder, and a housewife -- struggling with addictions. For nearly three years, acclaimed journalist Benoit Denizet-Lewis immersed himself in their lives as they battled drug and alcohol abuse, overeating, and compulsive gambling and sexuality. Alternating with their stories is Denizet-Lewis's candid account of his own recovery from sexual addiction and his compelling examination of our culture of addiction, where we obsessively search for new and innovative ways to escape the reality of the present moment and make ourselves feel "better."

Addiction is arguably this country's biggest public-health crisis, triggering and exacerbating many of our most pressing social problems (crime, poverty, skyrocketing health-care costs, and childhood abuse and neglect). But while cancer and AIDS survivors have taken to the streets -- and to the halls of Congress -- demanding to be counted, millions of addicts with successful long-term recovery talk only to each other in the confines of anonymous Twelve Step meetings. (A notable exception is the addicted celebrity, who often enters and exits rehab with great fanfare.) Through the riveting stories of Americans in various stages of recovery and relapse, Denizet-Lewis shines a spotlight on our most misunderstood health problem (is addiction a brain disease? A spiritual malady? A moral failing?) and breaks through the shame and denial that still shape our cultural understanding of it -- and hamper our ability to treat it.

Are Americans more addicted than people in other countries, or does it just seem that way? Can food or sex be as addictive as alcohol and drugs? And will we ever be able to treat addiction with a pill? These are just a few of the questions Denizet-Lewis explores during his remarkable journey inside the lives of men and women struggling to become, or stay, sober. As the addicts in this book stumble, fall, and try again to make a different and better life, Denizet-Lewis records their struggles -- and his own -- with honesty and empathy.
 

About Benoit Denizet-Lewis

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Benoit Denizet-Lewis is an award-winning contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine. Formerly a senior writer at Boston Magazine and staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle, his work has also appeared in Sports Illustrated, Details, Slate, Spin, Out, and others. A former Alicia Patterson Fellow, Denizet-Lewis lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.
 
Published January 6, 2009 by Simon & Schuster. 352 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Science & Math, Professional & Technical, Self Help. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In his candid, approachable introduction, the author unexpectedly levels the literary playing field by divulging on his own sex addiction.

Oct 15 2008 | Read Full Review of America Anonymous: Eight Addi...

The New York Times

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At the start of his first book, a close look at eight addicts struggling toward recovery, Benoit Denizet-Lewis notes that while three-fourths of adults with an addict in the family consider addiction a disease, most of these people “erroneously believe that willpower is their loved one’s main pro...

Feb 19 2009 | Read Full Review of America Anonymous: Eight Addi...

Publishers Weekly

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According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 23 million Americans are hooked on drugs or alcohol, representing an annual economic loss of $524 billion.

Nov 24 2008 | Read Full Review of America Anonymous: Eight Addi...

Tampa Bay Times

We also meet a bisexual body builder and escort addicted to crystal meth and steroids, a college student hooked on sex and pornography, a compulsive eater, an 80-year-old alcoholic, a shoplifter and an addiction counselor whose own series of addictions includes gambling, prescription drugs, crack...

Feb 28 2009 | Read Full Review of America Anonymous: Eight Addi...

Bookmarks Magazine

(A notable exception is the addicted celebrity, who often enters and exits rehab with great fanfare.) Through the riveting stories of Americans in various stages of recovery and relapse, Denizet-Lewis shines a spotlight on our most misunderstood health problem (is addiction a brain disease?

Jan 19 2009 | Read Full Review of America Anonymous: Eight Addi...

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