I was asked by Aneko Press to read Overcoming Addiction A Biblical Path Towards Freedom by Elizabeth A. Shartle and to give my honest review. I do not want to turn you off from this review when I start out saying I was asked to give a review and then saying that you all need to read this book.
You all need to read this book.
Now before you think “Oh, she’s just saying that because she was asked to read and write about this book” I was not compensated to write my thoughts about this book. So back to my point:
You all need to read this book.
Overcoming Addiction A biblical Path Towards Freedom is not just a book that I believe should be read by those going through addiction, though that is the purpose of the book. This book is smart, easy to read, touching, and will change your perspective about those around you. And not just change your perspective about those going through a type of addiction around you, it will change your perspective all around.
Elizabeth A. Shartle writes in a first-person format. She says she wrote this book like a letter, so it is clear to understand but personal and organized. Elizabeth A, Shartle is a licensed attorney who deals with the opiate epidemic in Ohio and she is a licensed professional clinical counselor who counseled clients going through addictions before she decided to become a lawyer and help people get their lives together in a legal way. She has dedicated her life to helping those going through addiction and recovering from addiction and we need to listen to what she has to say.
The book is only 147 pages so you can make time to read it, I think you need to take the time to read Shartle’s words. The second I opened the book my first thought was “Another book where I have to learn more about this drug issue, great.” In Maine, like in Shartle’s home in Ohio, we are also going through an opiate epidemic, and it does get sad but irritating at the same time. I’m not saying that to be mean or harsh, just watching your home state turn into something you don’t remember is incredibly hard. Wondering if this week you’ll be that one parent who sees a needle in the park (which has even happened in my tiny town), this opiate crisis is not something to be taken lightly and is affecting those who do not even have a clue.
Shartle opens up in her book about her childhood. She writes a real story about the negative experience she had going to church and youth groups. How hurtful, mean, and harsh some of the children and adults were. The youth group kids were just horrible. Some of the adults that were around her at the church we not much better. Treating her differently, wouldn’t let her have a safe place to talk to anyone, pushing her aside, accusing her of lying. Her tales of how she was treated in this particular church environment are some of the same reasons and stories you hear of my people leave the Christian religion, because of these negative experiences. My heart just hurt the whole time reading about her childhood. How even her parents cast her away. Then her father got sick and she still had no support, no outlet, no one to turn to. Reading the first chapter of her childhood just aches.
Shartle goes through the periods of hearing that “Jesus loves you” more than once and that doesn’t mean anything to her. She is correct when she says “Why would it?” her whole life, and more so in the church, she grew up in, people were mean, hurtful, and didn’t want her around. She the few nice people she did encounter early on she didn’t fully believe. I’m sure that there is a point that we have all been there. We hear that Jesus loves us and forgives us but do we listen? Do we always believe it?
Shartle goes on to write about her young adult life and very abusive relationship. You get a whole look into her past to understand that she does get it, that she did have hard and bad times, she did have to overcome her own addictions and left the faith. By the end of the beginning of the book you fully trust Shartle and you understand. She knows, she gets what you are going through, her education gives her steps to overcoming addiction a reason to listen but it is her past and truthfulness that gives her the experience and reasons for you to keep reading and listening to her words.
Overcoming Addiction teaches you that God is in control and nothing else. No negative people, not yourself hurting yourself and others, not these situations you think are out of your control. She teaches you how to cope with stress and communicate better with yourself and those around you. She writes a whole chapter on forgiving one another and not holding on to those grudges that are hurting you worse than others. Chapter 13 she writes a very important chapter, Loving Someone with an Addiction. After spending time reading about the reason for addiction, why it happens and how, what it is doing, how it works, you hit a chapter that can benefit both sides of the issue. “The person in recovery is learning a whole new way of life” pg. 120 ch.13. The one going through the addiction recovery can see what you may be going through and you, the one who loves someone going through this addiction will learn how to understand and catch yourself. You may not like the changes that are happening; Shartle writes that you may be grateful and supportive of the decision for your loved one finally receiving help and going into recovery but there may be new habits or personality changes that you may not like or be used to. You may be walking on eggshells constantly trying to keep the peace and it isn’t working. You may still be holding the grudges. Shartle works with you to understand your own feelings. You do not have to constantly try to ‘keep the peace’ but you can catch yourself before you let out your own grudges.
“Whatever someone has done in the past, if you’re still sticking around, then you’ve made the choice to do so. It’s up to you to work on forgiving” pg. 131 ch. 13.
Now those are some real words to live by. Now can you see why I said everyone needs to read this book?
Overcoming Addiction by Elizabeth A. Shartle is a must read for everyone. You have the time. It is a quick meaningful read that will open your eyes and change so much for you. Take the time and read this book. You will be so grateful that you did.