I will be posting excerpts from my interview with Eric Bergstrom, the DJ at Bay Cities radio in Marinette/Menominee, Wisconsin. It pretty much explains it all.
Eric: Your new book Shaking the Family Tree is about your life. How does it feel to lay your life out on paper for all to see?
Ans: Because it is written anonymously, it was not a big concern. Even though the intent was to protect the anonymity of those who are part of my story, I’ve come to understand through recovery, that my story is not so different from that of many other alcoholics. The element of shame and guilt that I experienced early on has dissipated over the years, thanks to the fellowship and support of a couple twelve-step programs.
Eric: What does writing mean, and do for you? Is it a therapeutic exercise?
Ans: Writing, putting it out there in black and white where it can’t be denied, or you can’t take it back, can be both painful and therapeutic at the same time. It filters and helps put in some kind of order, a lot of the confusion about events, and the feelings that accompanied those events.
Eric: What led you to the writing of this book?
Ans; In the beginning, I was simply going to write a chapbook of poetry that focused on alcoholism because I felt I knew a little bit about it. When I approached my author, Brittiany Koren, she posed a simple question. She said, “Why don’t you give us some examples from your own life that will help us understand?” And it ballooned from there. The memoir was not the original intent.
Eric: What were you hoping to accomplish with the book?
Ans: There are two very specific things: First of all, I wanted to be able to leave my children and grandchildren something useful. Something tangible and from my heart. Once I was in touch with the direction that this endeavor was headed, I wanted to impress upon them the knowledge that this predisposition for alcoholism is part of their legacy, and just where it could take them, once unleashed. And I wanted to do it in a way that wouldn’t come across as preachy or threatening. I guess you might say I had a hidden agenda. Secondly, and equally important. my hope is that by sharing my story, which really isn’t so unique, that those afflicted, their families and loved ones, will come to understand that no one has to go through this alone; that there help out there, in a variety of forms. And above all, that there is hope.
PART TWO TO FOLLOW SOON.