SELF-HELP BOOK READS LIKE A NOVEL
Stark Raving Sober, a memoir, focuses on the
experiences during the 25 years she was married to two alcoholics. One
was mentally and physically abusive; the other was emotionally diabolical.
"This is a true story," author Donna Bailey-Thompson states. "I fabricated
The first person narrative recounts how Bailey-Thompson's exposure to
others' alcoholic behavior confused her thinking, drained her of her
self-esteem, and drove her to the brink of murder. She also carries the
reader through her determination to regain her sense of self, her balance.
"I hope Stark Raving Sober will help readers who need empowerment to
break out of the debilitating smog of helplessness," Bailey-Thompson said.
"And to those who are dumbfounded as to why anyone remains in an
abusive relationship, I hope these pages will provide perspective and
appreciation of why a seemingly simple, logical decision is paralyzed by
In January 1983, Northeast Magazine [The Hartford Courant, Sunday
edition] published her 6000-word article Stark Raving Sober as its cover
story. Many new people arrived at Al-Anon meetings in Connecticut and
nearby Massachusetts carrying the magazine piece. "Agents urged me to
write a book and I did; but although a number of major publishers said
they liked the book, they doubted it would sell because neither I nor the
alcoholic men I married were celebrities," Bailey-Thompson said.
"I put the manuscript away, began a rewrite in the ‘90s but again set it
aside because she had begun publishing Challenges, a monthly magazine
that concentrated on codependency." When ‘codependency' became a
pejorative term, Challenges broadened its scope to encompass "anyone in
recovery from anything." including domestic violence. Its subscribers
ranged from Alaska to the Virgin Islands.
Immediately following the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson, Bailey-Thompson designed
a large white button with bright red lettering:"Remember Nicole 1959-1994." A year later she sold the rights to the
Brown family for $1. By 1998, many recovery facilities had closed
because insurance no longer covered treatment, and advertising tapered
off. "When the red ink drowned out the black, Challenges retired to its
website," Bailey-Thompson said.
Since 2001, Bailey-Thompson's freelance writing has included reviewing
classical music and theater, both professional and community productions,
and coaching memory writing and creative writing groups.
A year ago, a voiceless insistence needled Bailey-Thompson to rewrite,
update, and finish Stark Raving Sober. The book is available at Broadside Bookshop in Northampton
MA, Edwards Books in Springfield MA, Pam's Paperbacks in Wilbraham MA, and online at Amazon and
Barnes and Noble.