How do alcoholics and drug addicts change? Change, is not an easy thing to do when we are automatically tuned into our daily habits, especially bad ones. One factor that keeps people away from change is fear, fear that we won’t be able to do it. Just the thought of doing something new with unknown results or putting ourselves in an unfamiliar direction with a new way of life may keep us on the same path.
I have also feared things, especially talking in public. Who would think? In my high school senior year, we had to write an article on a certain history topic. Not knowing what to write, I turned to my sister who received nothing under an A in class to write it for me. Wow! I came away with an A+.
God has a sense of humor, because the teacher picked four people with the highest score to talk at our graduation…..without any paper to look at in our hands. Guess who was one of them. Right, me. Just before it was my turn, we sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and my mind went blank on the very first sentence. I had to memorize four pages. I was so sick to my stomach, I was ready to run off the stage.
Somehow, by the grace of God, the manuscript came to me, but I talked non-stop without breathing and there was no easy flow for people to enjoy my speech. My father would be shocked if he was alive to know I give speaking engagements to halfway homes, rehabs, court-ordered programs, to the family of addicts and to the public. After hearing me talk, he told me that I was the worse speaker he had ever heard. That was enough to put me deeper into my fear of speaking.
How do I handle facing people? I tell myself to worry about the talk when I start, because I put my fear into God’s hands to help me through it. The biggest problem with change is thinking about making them.
Fear can bring on physical reactions that make us think we are having a heart attack; sweats, anxiety, nervousness, chills, weak knees, the throat closing, nausea, butterflies, the shakes, cold feet, nightmares, panic attacks, or cause our heart to pound out of our chest. The list can go on and on. Who wants to experience this?
But taking one baby step at a time each day toward that direction of getting healthy will be worth the healing. Once you get to where you want to be, you will realize those physical feelings paralyzed you from moving forward.
There is nothing wrong with saying, “I need help.” It takes more strength to say it and realize you are not strong enough to do it on your own and reach out to professionals to help you. Pray each day getting up and going to bed to get through the fear. You will never be alone with God next to you.
Change for an alcoholic or drug attack is uncovering deeply rooted feelings and pain, especially with counselors and doctors. Many, like my daughter, Lori, can’t do that and instead bury it deep within them.
You heal by getting the garbage out of you. Talk about “what” caused you to turn to using drugs and alcohol. Something triggered you to get into that world. A world that turned everything upside down. You changed into a stranger to yourself, family and friends. You lost your marriage, children, job, cars being repossessed, and respect from others, especially those who have no idea what Alcoholism is all about.
Write down what you want to change about yourself. Underneath all this, is the good person you once were until you mixed with the wrong crowd or did things that you thought were fun. Write a journal on each day’s activities and what made you use that day. Where did you go, who were you with, what was your mood, did someone do something to you, were you depressed and why?
Be honest with yourself and get out of denial. Don’t blame others for your drinking or using drugs. No one can make you do those actions but you. You control your mind with your wants. Needs are different because you will see the difference writing your journal. You don’t “need” what you are doing, you want it.
Allowing yourself to go deeper into your actions and habit will turn you to not wanting the drugs but needing them. That is where the danger starts. Get honest with yourself and develop the desire to want change. Don’t try it on your own, don’t try to drop the drugs and alcohol cold turkey, because doing so may put you in a coma or death. Get professional help.
What is and isn't Working for the Alcoholic and Addict paperback is finally available through www.amazon.com. I'm having a Launch Day for Monday, October 7, 2013. If enough people purchase the book on that date, it may make the Best Sellers list.
I am hoping you can spread the date Monday, October 7, 2013 to your family, friends and social media groups, The notice below can be copied and pasted into your emails.
Do you ever wonder why some alcoholics and drug addicts recover and put their lives together while others die from this horrible worldwide problem? What gives them the physical and mental strength to fight this battle and come out winning?
These questions, and the author’s tragedy to losing her husband and daughter from their alcohol abuse, encouraged this writing. Here is a book, not only for the substance abusers, but for family members, society, doctors, and counselors to learn, not only what the addict is looking for with support to help them through with their recovery, but new ways to help the addicted. You will learn that childhood emotional wounds mold us into what we become in adulthood.
What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholic and Addict is a book of personal stories by thirty-four alcoholics and drug users from all walks of life. The first few years of recovery in substance abuse contain numerous pitfalls which addicts in recovery must have the right kind of help with. The best-intention of friends, family, lovers, and co-workers can be healthy supports or obstacles to long-term sobriety. Addicts sharing their experience, strength and hope with others is something that only a recovering addict or alcoholic can do. It is a unique gift.
This book contains the testimonies of individuals who were or are actively in a recovery program and wanted to share their habit and actions with their struggles trying to overcome their own addiction. Their main goal is to help others who are fighting with their recovery and sobriety. These are their own stories on how their addiction led to the devastation of losing control of their life, family, friends and the death of other family members from this disease we call Alcoholism. Their desire is to lift other substances abusers, especially young people, in learning the reality that it’s not that drinking and taking drugs may, could or would kill. It will.
Hopefully, the heartfelt honesty from the participants will help doctors and counselors to use their stories for their own study on what may be missing in the treatment methods. The personal testaments within What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholic and Addict is an added tool as to how people are affected, and how they suffer long-term drinking habits from living in an active alcoholic family.
As one contributor wrote, “I was tired of getting sick, my hands shaking, my vision deteriorating, my nose bleeding, my bowels moving sporadically, the violence and running from many situations being paranoid to the point of staying home all day (I had a job, a husband, family), not sleeping and not feeling safe.” What alcoholic or addict is not going to relate to these emotions?
Here are some questions for the non-drinker in the family to ask themselves with honesty to see if you are becoming an enabler because of the drinker, which will only bring them deeper into their addiction.
1. Are you counting how often the person is drinking?
2. Is there becoming a money problem meeting bills because of the drinking?
3. Are you constantly telling lies to cover up the person’s actions?
4. Do you honestly believe if the drinker loved you that they would stop?
5. Are you blaming the drinking of your loved one on their friends?
6. Are your plans for events being canceled numerous times?
7. Do you make threats to the person drinking and find you don’t follow through?
8. Do you find yourself smelling the air or their breath to see if they have drank?
9. Are you afraid to bring the topic up to only cause a fight?
10. Does the drinker embarrass you when you go to gatherings?
11. Do you dread the holidays because of their actions from drinking?
12. Have you had to call the police because of their behavior?
13. Have you backed out of invitations because of the fear of them over-drinking.
14. Do you hate yourself from the lengths you go through to lie for them?
15. Do you believe their drinking is the only problem in the family?
16. Is your daily life consumed with fear, anger, confusion, depression, hopelessness or abuse, physically or emotionally?
17. Are you afraid to open up to a professional or family member to reach out for help?
These are questions Al-Anon may ask you. Be honest with yourself and reach out for the help. The sooner you do, the faster the problem might be solved.
As a parent, family member or sibling, we all want the alcoholic or drug addict in our lives to give up their habit and survive. Is our enabling bringing them deeper into their addiction?
Our pain is in the fear of death of the substance abuser which causes us in many ways and times to do the wrong things out of love to save them. Family members go through difficult emotions. Our enabling gets stronger as the disease progresses. Emotionally, we get drained.
As a great enabler twice and losing a husband and daughter, I still ask, “What more could I have done.” Professionals would say, “Nothing.”
I have always hated that saying that they have to reach rock bottom, they have to do it on their own, they have to want to recover. Knowing what I know today, after losing them both, I still would say to someone, “Don’t let them get that deep into addiction if you can help it.”
Richie and I had divorced, and I had not seen him every day. As for my daughter, Lori, I would turn the clocks back by keeping in touch with her every moment I could have to reach out. I would have let her know with every conversation that I loved her and wanted to be involved with her recovery instead of yelling at her with her actions and her responsibilities of a mother of two. I would have stopped putting more pressure on a person over-come with addiction and let her feel the open door to come home. I would have shown her compassion and listened to her pain and difficulties with trying to fight this horrible demon.
Would that have saved her and given her the strength to go into the three rehabs with the desire to over-come the illness on top of being bulimic? Maybe not, but I would have been able to live with less pain knowing that I did everything in my power and showed her all the love in my heart without the separation that had developed.
I talk as a parent with mixed emotions of the reality of substance abuse and the mother’s side of wanting to climb into her body and do the work for her so she would have survived. It doesn’t work that way.
Don’t make excuses for them. Talk openly about the path of destruction that they are on with killing themselves. An arm around them, a warm hug, and kisses will work so much better with showing your love, even though you are angry. Remember, you are mad at the disease, not your child, and let them know that. When they wake from a night of drinking or taking drugs, maybe the affection and soft words you spoke will bring them back to you for help.
Don’t ever give up or think that they want to live this way and throw them out to straighten out. Many professionals may not agree with me. As an individual, this is what I would have changed.
It's a shame that our kids get so caught up with fitting into the crowd that they don't care how they abuse their bodies and minds. Even seeing a close friend suffer from substance abuse and watching them die, still doesn't bring the fear or reality into their souls that they are on the same path.
My heart is breaking hearing that I have a nephew and my cousin's son fighting cocaine and heroin. How dangerous is this? Their addiction didn't just start. They have been battling this disease for over five years.
My daughter, Lori, and her sister, Debbie, stayed by their father's side at the VA Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island while he suffered slowly for a week at forty-five years of age from his young years of alcohol abuse. It was a family disease that just trickled down through his family.
Lori went into rehab three times, and she still didn't grab onto the help and her life. It's so sad to watch history repeat itself. I watched Lori's daughter at seventeen, the same age as her mother had been sitting by her dad's side, now sitting my her mother's bedside while she was in a coma on life-support. We all watched as they pulled the plug after all her organs shut down; no hope. A scene no one wants to ever witness with a loved one. I brought her life and heard her take her first breath. In 2006 at the Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, I had to watch her take her last.
Where and when does it end? Pain and hopelessness goes through the whole family. It seems like such a useless death when substance abusers don't realize they are not going to make it with this demon. No one thinks it will happen to them. They tell us that they have a hold on it. They can stop anytime. Everyone does it. It makes them feel good. They develop confidence with others.
We need to teach our kids at an early age to love themselves for who they are, no matter what they do or don't accomplish in their lives. We need them to not worry about their race, difference in faith, if they are over-weight or not as pretty as the next one. Teach them that they don't have to try to measure up to someone else. Be happy to work with what God gave them. He knew what they needed. He gave them the tools and the path, but too many of our children are turning down the wrong road. Too many are losing their future. Society is losing someone to help our country in our world of medicine. Someone to find answers to serious problems. Someone who was loved by family members no matter what wrong road they took.
How do we show our college kids that the other kids that they are following aren't really cool? They are not seeing a foolish person, who is not only sick, but someone seriously addicted. How do we teach them that a night of binge drinking, sex, or violent acts may seem like fun at the moment, but are things that will lead them to their death? Things that are brought on by over-drinking and taking drugs.
After I wrote Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round; An Alcoholic Family in Crisis, I never would have believed after the pain and suffering from the loss of my husband, Richard Lopes of North Dighton, Massachusetts, that I would write the sequel, Please, God, Not Two: This Killer Called Alcoholism. Richard had ignored his addiction up until his death from cirrhosis of the liver in 1985.
The alcoholic demon wasn’t happy with just my husband, it returned to claim my youngest daughter, Lori (Lopes) Cahill also of North Dighton. My story will bring a parent, who has lost a child to this horrible disease, to feel the emotions and sense of helplessness that accompanies a child’s death from substance addictions, even though the afflicted has the control over their outcome. But that doesn't mitigate the feelings of regret and self-doubt that a parent will assuredly feel. Loved ones will be left with the question, "What could I have done differently to save the life that was needlessly wasted?"
The story details the tortured life of a mother coming to terms with the fact her daughter is following in her father's deadly footsteps. The book opens with the lives of her two daughters months after their father's death.
Many devastating things that happen in a child’s life lead up to their drinking, taking drugs, and becoming bulimic. I open up with the honest look back to these events: my juggling three jobs to make ends meet, and my oldest daughter Debbie’s marriage to her high school sweetheart. Lori's life turns to stages of struggling with skipping school and drinking, and after graduation, she moved in with her boyfriend. My decision for her to terminate a pregnancy added to Lori's pain and to the distance between her and myself.
Lori's life would see a series of joyful highs and desperate lows over the next several years with marriage, the birth of her two children and a successful career at the Lopes Construction Company in Taunton, MA, a family owned business. Her financial problems and a strained marriage ended in divorce. Her frustration from a husband not maintaining child support, left Lori barely able to provide basic food and clothing for her children.
Her fight to control her drinking would become more apparent during her second marriage. Lori and her new husband enjoyed frequent parties with friends and family, and I couldn't help noticing how drinking to excess was routine at these events. While another marriage crumbled, Lori stressed with health issues, and it contributed to three stays at alcohol rehab clinics, once at Butler Hospital in Providence, RI and twice at Gosnold in Falmouth, MA.
On November 22,2006, two days before Thanksgiving, Lori died at the age of thirty-nine from her years of drinking at the Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, MA. It wasn’t until she was thirty-seven that Lori informed her family she had been secretly over-drinking her whole teenage years and fighting being bulimic. We thought her weight-loss had been from the stress of drinking, losing her house, her job, and having a car repossessed. She hid her pain and habit from all of us.
As a parent, there are no words to show the distress of witnessing Lori’s battle with her addiction. I knew with no doubt what was waiting for my daughter if her rehab stays were unsuccessful. I opened up about the guilt I felt for not noticing the signs of alcoholism sooner, and I fully admit to my mistakes and regrets.
Writing this honest memoir had not been easy so soon after Lori's death. Please God, Not Two works as a stand alone, however I recommend you read both books to obtain the full effect of this poignant story. This is a candid look into alcoholism. I made no excuses for myself or my daughter. I wrote with the best of intentions to help others struggling to save a family member caught in the relentless grip of this disease. I present the facts with my own experiences which were described with a desperate honesty to show the pain and suffering that goes on within an alcoholic family.
I added my private speaking engagements to the substance abusers in the privacy of addiction rehabs, court-ordered programs, and half way homes to the book. The sequel is also an inside look to what doesn’t work for families trying to get the alcoholic to stop drinking.
I could have easier titled my book “What Not to Do” with trying to help someone get out of denial. It includes my advice to family members on how I would have done it differently today if I could have turned back the clock.
Review by Tom Cirignano, author of "The Constant Outsider, Memoirs of a South Boston Mechanic" and "67 Cents: Creation of a Killer"
People who drink and feel the slow progression of this disease, must be given this book. Maybe if they see how their drinking will destroy not only their own life, but the lives of those who love them, they may just find the strength to alter the destructive path they are on. My heart goes out to the author, Alberta Sequeira, her husband Al, and her entire family. Alberta somehow found the will to not only go on, but to try and prevent others from having to experience the same nightmare. As painful as it must have been, I salute her for sharing her story.
Hunter House Publishing in California is now reviewing my upcoming book titled “What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholic and Addict: In Their Own Words. This will be a book, not only for the substance abusers, but for family members, society, doctors, and counselors to learn, not only what the addict is looking for with support to help them through with their recovery, but new ways to help the addicted. You will learn that childhood emotional wounds mold us into what we become in adulthood.
My books are available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle. For me to speak at any of your events, and to businesses trying to stop the absentee list that climbs from alcohol abuse, contact me at [email protected] for a quote. Visit my blog that is update constantly on substance abuse at www.albertasequeira.wordpress.com.
Many of us have had a spouse or family member arrive home after a few too many drinks and needed to make up excuses for them occasionally with over-drinking. Imagine if this was a daily occurrence.
I wrote Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round: An Alcoholic Family in Crisis because this has become a way of life for too many families all over the world. Waiting, worrying, and watching the clock, wondering when, and in what state, a spouse or a family member, would finally come home, and then we try to hide it all from neighbors, family and the children.
For seventeen years, I existed every day as I dealt with my husband, Richard Lopes' alcohol abuse living in North Dighton, Massachusetts. I had witnessed how alcohol abuse changed him from a loving family man with a successful business to a careless, angry, abusive drunk.
My memoir had been written like dramatic fiction and is a fast paced, tension-filled account of a woman's tireless effort to keep her family together, her two children safe and to protect her own mental and physical well being. She gave an honest telling of life married to an alcoholic-a life filled with sadness, fear, confusion, pain and despair.
I didn't believe in divorce and was too proud to seek help from my parents, deciding to go it alone. Several times it seemed liked Richard was ready to quit his devastating lifestyle and commit fully to being a good partner and devoted father, only to have him fall back to his alcoholic ways. This rollercoaster life took its toll on me, plaguing me with frequent panic attacks and eventually bringing me to the brink of a small breakdown. I had pushed my mind and body beyond what it could take with no changes in our life.
Through arguments, unpaid bills, violent rage, emotional abuse and neglect, I kept hope that my husband would eventually realize he had a problem, and seek treatment. He always believed he was just having a few drinks with his buddies after a hard day's work.
I took my share of the blame for all the times I kicked him out and took him back, becoming a great enabler, which only brought him deeper into his addiction. For two months we had counseling together as a couple at the AA center in Taunton until Richard continued to believe he had no problem. I had private counseling on my own for four years while he kept drinking.
I fought with all my faith in God to save our marriage, because I didn’t believe in divorce. I divorced a man I still loved in 1979, to only see Richard continued to drink, and he died in 1985 at forty-five years of age at the VA Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island from the damage done to his body from a lifetime of drinking since he had been a teenager. His family had a history of alcohol abusers back through the years.
I swallowed my pride and wrote the book to open up about our lives that had been kept behind closed doors, while my two daughters and I suffered in silence. Readers will see how my enabling, and not protecting our two daughters by getting them out of that sick environment, had damage our children for life. I believe this book could be of great help to alcoholics, their families and even counselors.
Does this life sound familiar? Visit my blog for alcohol abuse topics at www.albertasequeira.wordpress.com.
My Master’s Degree in Counseling covered a huge portion on substance abuse counseling. I found that I learned a great deal more by reading this story, than I did in reading textbooks. Someone Stop this Merry-Go-Round is a must read for counselors, alcoholics and family members of alcoholics. by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views
The book can be purchased at Amazon. It's availabe in paperback and Kindle. I am available to speak on “The Effect of Alcoholism on the Whole Family” at your event. Contact me at [email protected] for a quote.
Is there ever going to be an answer on how to help addicts? I don’t want to give up on hope after losing my daughter, Lori.
In April, I found out that my nephew has been struggling for five years to over-come his addiction to heroin. Because I had just lost Lori to her addiction, my family wanted to spare me the pain of hearing about this repeated addiction. My cousin’s son has been in the same situation for years.
Why are our children turning to drugs and alcohol abuse? Why do they need this substance to make them feel happy, become more out-going, or use it as a way of getting confidence to fit into society and with their friends?
It seems our children, including the adults, don’t want to face their problems head-on and live their lives to the fullest. Prescription drugs are passed out by doctors like candy. If you are depressed or have a pain mentally or physically, the medicine only numbs you. It doesn‘t solve the problem that is eating away at you. No one wants to know how to deal with the suffering or talk it out with a professional to reach recovery without pills or alcohol.
Last summer, I went to talk to my cousin’s son and hoped my words of experience with the lost of Lori and my husband, Richie, would have given him the strength to fight for his life. I can’t count how many times since then that he had fallen.
While my nephew was in Gosnold Rehabilitation in Falmouth, I called to see if I could give a talk, and I was denied. The reason was because he was a family member, and they didn’t think it would be a good idea. Were they serious? What does it matter? What better time to reach out to a loved one than when they are in recovery?
We desperately need to change things and do what is best for the addict instead of being run by rules that are not working. This disease is so out-of-control that our society and families are losing people who could offer so much to this world. Instead, we have sick alcoholics and drug addicts who can’t even function to get through a day without being in a fog.
Is all this because recovery is too hard to work for to get to the goal?
Why do parents or loved ones spend so many years thinking of the ifs or whys after a person’s death, until the loss over-whelms us? I received a call this week from a recovered addict who had contributed her story in my new book What is and isn‘t Working for the Alcoholic and Addict: In Their Own Words (waiting for an agent or publisher to believe in the book and publish it).
After a two hour conversation, this total stranger became a friend. She had been a counselor years before and brought up how much I talked about the loss of my daughter, Lori. Of course, tears were ready to burst. The pain was burning in my throat, and it hurt. Crying heals. Instead of releasing the agony of loss, I seem to hold back.
November 22, 2013 will be seven unbelievable years that we lost our daughter from her alcohol abuse. You’d think time would heal. You’d think with my private and public speaking engagements, my book signings, and publishing two books on our private lives behind closed doors, that I’d be healed by now.
Many people ask me, “Did your writing help with your loss?” See, we never heal after losing a child. I have been struggling all these years trying to learn how to go on with the empty gap in my heart knowing Lori will never be present with her laughter or smiles in my life ever again.
Talking about Lori has been very difficult for me. I fill up and wonder if I can continue the conversation. This stranger, became very concern with me.
She said, “I can hear in your voice that you still can’t forgive yourself with Lori’s death. She had choices, and you did the best you could at the time with what you knew. Not forgiving yourself is like an infection inside that has heal or it becomes poison. Going on this long with guilt can bring on a heart attack, cancer or other diseases. Promise me you’ll get help with this.”
I hung up and had that good cry. I started to think of the stranger’s honesty with how I’m still blaming myself with Lori’s death when she had three chances in alcoholic rehabilitation centers and family struggled to help her. Nothing we did helped her recover.
I sat alone in prayer and asked Lori to forgive me for the missed opportunities I might have had to help her and that I loved her. I finally had to let go and believe in God’s promises of having a place for all of us when we go home to Him.
In 1939, my parents lost my brother, Walter, when he was seven years old from Polio (story in A Spiritual Renewal; A Journey to Medjugorje). Mom had a breakdown from the pain. In the early 1980’s I watched my father, who was a retired Brigadier General, who had always been in control, breakdown in front of me crying and remarked, “I told Walter that I would never take him to the park again because he was misbehaving, and I never did.” Dad looked at me with tears rolling down his face, “It’s been forty-five years, and I still can’t forgive myself.” My mother said the same to him, “I’ll never take you shopping again." How many of us say that to our child? Until I had lost Lori, I couldn’t imagine that kind of pain.
Why do we have to let go? My parents told me what happened unexpectedly to them to let go of Walter’s death some twenty years later (story in A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey to Medjugorje).
My parents were watching television in bed, and Dad looked over at my mother. He told me that her face lit-up under her skin like someone put a flashlight under it. Her lips were moving, but he couldn’t hear what she was saying. She was looking up at the corner of the ceiling.
When the light faded, he asked her what happened. She replied, “I just spoke to Jesus. He was in a cloud in the corner of the ceiling, but I couldn‘t see Him. He said we had to stop crying, because our tears were holding Walter back from going to Him. Walter wanted to comfort my parents, yet he was unable to go to God. Imagine, twenty years!
Days later, they went with my sister to Walter’s grave site in Worcester, Massachusetts. They dug a small whole and placed something inside it and said, “Now he won’t be alone!”
So now, I have to say goodbye to Lori with love and know I will see and be with her again. Like my friend said, “I have to know in my heart that I couldn’t save her.” Until I feel that with no doubt, I will go on punishing myself for something that was completely out of my hands with her refusing help. I don’t want her to be in limbo with the struggle of going home to God. I’m sure there will be moments of tears again; when her daughter and son get married or something special happens. I have to look at the good gifts that came out of a bad event; a death of a child.
The good? God gave me thirty-nine years with a beautiful daughter inside and out, who had loved with all her heart, enjoyed her family and friends, and gave us Meagan and Joe. She laughed easily and was a good mother, sister, aunt, cousin, friend and daughter. We are all a gift to someone from God. We belong to only Him, and He will call each of us home. We have to trust that Jesus had a reason to take them. Heaven is the only place that our departed ones find peace and happiness?
With Lori’s death, I became an Awareness Coach to speak privately and publicly to other with the effect of alcoholism on the whole family. God is leading me on a path that I have to follow. My gift is when a substance abuser comes up to me with a hug and says, “I’m glad you came to talk.” Maybe, just maybe, I’ll save someone living in denial, and they will have the true desire and strength to get help.
If you are an author, you know the hard decision to either self-publish your work or wait months, or longer, to hook a traditional publisher. I am ready to make that decision with my fifth book What is and isn't Working for the Alcoholic or Addict: In Their Own Words. Being my fifth book coming up and after having had all four self-published, you might wonder, why is she in limbo making a decision?
Well, money is one great factor. When an author has multiple books out you have to not only "pay" to print your book with self-publishing, you have to purchase hundreds of your own books to book sign, do talks, go to festival and so forth. The well does run dry, unless you have "a book" or multiple ones that are on the number one hit list.
I am more concern with a decision because with this new book, which is a Narrative Non-Fiction, it is written by 34 recovery addicts who had opened up their hearts to tell their private life with their recovery programs. I want to do good by them. At the moment, I have Hunter House reading my book proposal and an agent reading my manuscript, which is a first with getting any attention with a publisher and agent. I guess you could call it "Frosting on the Cake" for an author.
Then I started to wonder; is it the frosting? Going to a workshop last week run by an agent, I had to re-think my thoughts when she explained the percentage that the agent, publishing house and distributor takes before the author gets "maybe" 3% royalties. If you get upfront money to promote (sometimes $5,000), you may not see a royalty for over two years until the loan is paid back to the publisher. If the book is not moving by six months, the publisher can pull the book and stop print. No matter which way you go, the author does 90% promoting and marketing.
At the moment, I'm giving myself two or three months to see what comes out of the people reviewing my work, on top of the 20-30 publishers and other agents I wrote to introducing my new book. We all may feel our book is great and has a message or we wouldn't write it. The hook is to get the publisher or agent believe in it.
What is and isn't Working for the Alcoholic or Addict may become an educational book to doctors, counselor, other addicts, and family members to read to learn what the addicts are trying to say did or didn't help them with their programs. They are also telling what family members need to do to support them during this time.
I had another author, Alice J. Wisler, write me because she had a traditional publisher and is going to self-publish now. Of course, it only confused me a little more with a decision. Below is her answer to me.
"My first novel, Rain Song, sold over 40,000 print copies in the first year. I did virtually nothing to promote sales online because I was not part of Goodreads, not on Facebook or Twitter, or any other social media group at the time of its publication (2008). Bethany House promoted me as a brand new author of theirs and must have put a lot of money into getting me out there. I received a nice advance (well above the average for a first time novelist) which I made back within the year due to book sales being strong.
"I will be self-publishing my third cookbook of memories this summer. I like the self-pub process. I like having control, and once the printing costs are paid off (I plan to use a printer as I have before) and all the other costs that go along with having a print book published, I look forward to earning from it and not having to wait for royalty checks to come quarterly or bi-annually from a traditional publisher.
"Yes, I do like the control, but of course, I won't have the following that go along with signing a contract with a reputable publisher:
* a nice advance check
* the advantage of a publishing house's publicist promoting me and lining up book events and radio shows
* somebody editing my work for me for free
* copies of my book sent out via the publisher for reviews, contests, etc.
* my publisher buying ad space in magazines to promote my work
* marketing perks like bookmarks, postcards, posters and other items
* my publisher doing the leg work to get my work into stores like LifeWay, Sam's Club, Walmart, Family Christian, etc.
* my publisher promoting my books at events like the annual International Christian Retail Show
"The thrill of signing a contract with a reputable publisher is unlike any other and I would do it again . . . and again . . . ."
Alice J. Wisler