When Eric was in high school, he used to tell me that he wanted to write a book about his “struggle.” At the end of his senior year of high school, I began to write down everything that had happened between the two of us, and how his struggle became my struggle. During the last eleven months of his life when he was in recovery, we talked about writing this book together. After his death, I was told by one of his friends that he read what I had written and that he began to write his part. I never found what he had written but decided to complete the book that we talked about writing together.
Besides giving Eric a voice, I also want those who read the book to come away with a better understanding of mental illness and addiction and how difficult it is for the individual affected and for all of those who love them. I also want this book to start a conversation about how there needs to be a change in the treatment protocol for addiction. Most of the treatment given to those struggling with addiction (in other words, what your insurance company will pay for) isn’t enough. Outpatient rehab and 30-day inpatient rehab isn’t enough for most people to move forward in life. Addiction affects the brain and the brain needs more than eight weeks of meetings or 30-days of inpatient rehab to heal.
Things need to change in regard to addiction treatment and things don’t change when people are too ashamed or too stigmatized to talk about it. Those who struggle with addiction and those who love them need to stop being ashamed and begin to speak up. I hope this book gives those people a voice.
Upon reading the book Saving Eric, I have come to see Mary Burns as two things; a great writer who draws you into her family and their story, as though you are living it with them, and as heroic. The lengths that this Mother went in order to understand and help her adopted son are profoundly loving and relatable. As the story ends, the moving dreams and writing are a part of this book that will remain with me. Wonderfully written and moving, I can't recommend this book enough to any family who shares the experience of adoption, a struggle with a child's unpredictable, often violent mental health, along with the journey alongside an addiction. Annie Highwater, Author, Unhooked
A meaningful exploration of mental illness and addiction - two present-day tragedies.
Charles Rubin, Author, Don't Let Your Kids Kill You