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Sobriety: A Graphic Novel

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Through rich illustration and narrative, Sobriety: A Graphic Novel offers an inside look to recovery from the perspectives of five Twelve Step group members, each with a unique set of addictions, philosophies, struggles, and successes while working the Steps. Gold Winner of the Midwest Book Award in the self-help category from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association! Through rich illustration and narrative, Sobriety: A Graphic Novel offers an inside look to recovery from the perspectives of five Twelve Step group members, each with a unique set of addictions, philosophies, struggles, and successes while working the Steps. Gold Winner of the Midwest Book Award in the self-help category from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association!Through rich illustration and narrative, Sobriety: A Graphic Novel offers an inside look to recovery from the perspectives of five Twelve Step group members, each with a unique set of addictions, philosophies, struggles, and successes while working the Steps.Larry, an “old-timer” in recovery circles, believes in the powerful, rich traditions of the Big Book in helping people reinvent themselves. Alex is a Londoner of African descent, gay and an atheist who decided to go to treatment in the States when his Ecstasy and heroin addictions landed him in the hospital. Debby, a single mother in her twenties, is on her third round of treatment. A dreamer, she’s finally owned up to being an addict and wants to live a sober life, but hasn’t quite grasped how much work that’s going to take. At nineteen, Matt is what some might call a “tough case” with meth his drug of choice. He’s deeply lonely but has developed a tough outer shell for protection. Hannah was adopted as a baby and grew to be a smart, high-achiever. Now a college freshman, her rebellious side has taken over, her grades are suffering, and she also struggles with bulimia.The fact that they are all seeking help for addiction is the one thing that ties them together. But their approaches to recovery are as diverse as their backgrounds. As their stories unfold through their interactions as a Twelve Step group, we gain an intimate look at the challenges faced by those in recovery--and at the boundless power of working the Steps in helping people find strength in one another as they reach for a clean-and-sober life.


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Through rich illustration and narrative, Sobriety: A Graphic Novel offers an inside look to recovery from the perspectives of five Twelve Step group members, each with a unique set of addictions, philosophies, struggles, and successes while working the Steps. Gold Winner of the Midwest Book Award in the self-help category from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association! Through rich illustration and narrative, Sobriety: A Graphic Novel offers an inside look to recovery from the perspectives of five Twelve Step group members, each with a unique set of addictions, philosophies, struggles, and successes while working the Steps. Gold Winner of the Midwest Book Award in the self-help category from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association!Through rich illustration and narrative, Sobriety: A Graphic Novel offers an inside look to recovery from the perspectives of five Twelve Step group members, each with a unique set of addictions, philosophies, struggles, and successes while working the Steps.Larry, an “old-timer” in recovery circles, believes in the powerful, rich traditions of the Big Book in helping people reinvent themselves. Alex is a Londoner of African descent, gay and an atheist who decided to go to treatment in the States when his Ecstasy and heroin addictions landed him in the hospital. Debby, a single mother in her twenties, is on her third round of treatment. A dreamer, she’s finally owned up to being an addict and wants to live a sober life, but hasn’t quite grasped how much work that’s going to take. At nineteen, Matt is what some might call a “tough case” with meth his drug of choice. He’s deeply lonely but has developed a tough outer shell for protection. Hannah was adopted as a baby and grew to be a smart, high-achiever. Now a college freshman, her rebellious side has taken over, her grades are suffering, and she also struggles with bulimia.The fact that they are all seeking help for addiction is the one thing that ties them together. But their approaches to recovery are as diverse as their backgrounds. As their stories unfold through their interactions as a Twelve Step group, we gain an intimate look at the challenges faced by those in recovery--and at the boundless power of working the Steps in helping people find strength in one another as they reach for a clean-and-sober life.

30 review for Sobriety: A Graphic Novel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    I wrote this book; of course I like it! But seriously . . . one of the enjoyable gifts of the format of a graphic novel is that a writer can illustrate and convey difficult concepts without being overly-simplistic. Simple without being simplistic. In any transformational story, what drives home the image of *change* is the narrative itself. When I wrote this book, the first thing I always had in mind when I sat down to write was to tell a good story. Engage people. Be real. That's what makes any I wrote this book; of course I like it! But seriously . . . one of the enjoyable gifts of the format of a graphic novel is that a writer can illustrate and convey difficult concepts without being overly-simplistic. Simple without being simplistic. In any transformational story, what drives home the image of *change* is the narrative itself. When I wrote this book, the first thing I always had in mind when I sat down to write was to tell a good story. Engage people. Be real. That's what makes any book FUN to read. If books (even ones that teach people things) aren't FUN to read, then why bother? Edu-tainment is real and it works! (Just FYI . . . May 8 was the day I finished writing this book.)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jen Show

    In all fairness to this book, I grabbed it from the library not realizing it was a 12-step self help book in graphic novel form and not something using a recovery program as a storytelling device. I was expecting something with a bit less of an agenda, and it's pretty heavy handed. However, I think it is well done and could probably be a really big help for the right person. The characters' stories are impactful, and the challenges some people have with some of the steps are approached in realis In all fairness to this book, I grabbed it from the library not realizing it was a 12-step self help book in graphic novel form and not something using a recovery program as a storytelling device. I was expecting something with a bit less of an agenda, and it's pretty heavy handed. However, I think it is well done and could probably be a really big help for the right person. The characters' stories are impactful, and the challenges some people have with some of the steps are approached in realistic way. There is also a fair amount of conversation dedicated to ways people might approach the religious nature of the 12 steps as they are written. I think for a person wanting to explore a 12 step recovery path, this might be a nice way to ease into it and assuage doubts/concerns.

  3. 4 out of 5

    James

    Ever since I was a kid scouring the house for enough change to buy X-Men from my local convenience store I have loved graphic novels. I love books in general and believe wholeheartedly in the power of words. But when words and images combine in a storyboard, narrative comes alive. Action in still life. Images also have the power to communicate important truths. As an adult, some of my favorite graphic novels include Spieglman's Maus and Gene Luen Yang's Boxers & Saints. These novels are both 'hi Ever since I was a kid scouring the house for enough change to buy X-Men from my local convenience store I have loved graphic novels. I love books in general and believe wholeheartedly in the power of words. But when words and images combine in a storyboard, narrative comes alive. Action in still life. Images also have the power to communicate important truths. As an adult, some of my favorite graphic novels include Spieglman's Maus and Gene Luen Yang's Boxers & Saints. These novels are both 'historical,' exploring holocaust and national tragedy (respectively). Other Graphic-non-fiction explores politics and social activism (see for example, Joe Sacco's Palestine). I have reviewed on my blog a few different graphic novels exploring religious themes: saints in Christian history, scripture, etc. Sobriety: A Graphic Novel is different from the above. It too is graphic-non-fiction but its aim is therapeutic. Author Daniel Mauer is a former Lutheran minister and is an active participant in the recovery movement. In Sobriety he combines his skill as a story teller with the art of Spencer Amundson to explore the power of the Twelve Steps. Sobriety's plot follows what I suspect the conversation in an Alcoholic Anonymous Meeting is like. Mauer's characters come from diverse backgrounds. They each have their own understandings of God and spirituality and the stamp of addiction is different for each of them. Still each finds help through the twelve steps. The conversation begins after Larry the 'old timer' shares in a meeting how he found sobriety. From there a conversation ensues between he and Alex (a gay, Londoner atheist with a Heroin and Ecstasy addiction). Larry is also sought out by Hannah a college freshman who went from honor roll to serious addiction in her first year of college. Their circle widens to include Debby a single mom (a pill-popping-alcoholic) and Matt (a gang-banger and Meth addict). The conversation explores the significance of each of the Twelve Steps as each tries to work through their own issues and experience. Mauer and Amundson periodically also insert themselves in the comic to visually display rock-bottom, to explore A.A's founding or Victor Frankl's Logotherapy. The multiple narrative makes for an interesting and engaging read and showcases the way A.A. (N.A. or other similar twelve-step-based groups) can help people work through their addiction and find the way to freedom. I think this book has a good message. At times I wondered if addicts would find this novel a little bit too preachy. I mean, I agree with the message and know people who have been helped through twelve-step programs, but it kind of felt in places like an overgrown Chick-tract (except it didn't go off on an Antisemitic rant or say the pope was the Anti-Christ). But this is a general problem for all fictionalized-narratives put to didactic purposes. I think this is a good graphic novel to fet in the hands of someone getting into recovery because it covers many of the issues and questions addicts face, but it doesn't quite reach as far as 'great literature.' I give it three-and-a-half stars. Notice of material connection: I received this book free from the author or publisher via Speakeasy, in exchange for my honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    This is a wonderful thoroughly modern introduction to the 12 Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Before I review it I want to say a very few words about my recovery. In 1972 I was 13 when my Dad got sober through treatment at Hazelden and then continued his recovery through AA meetings that he attended for the rest of his life. He died in 1989 and his AA buddies brought the meetings to him while he was dying. I, on the other hand, was stinking drunk on the night he died after a battle with alc This is a wonderful thoroughly modern introduction to the 12 Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Before I review it I want to say a very few words about my recovery. In 1972 I was 13 when my Dad got sober through treatment at Hazelden and then continued his recovery through AA meetings that he attended for the rest of his life. He died in 1989 and his AA buddies brought the meetings to him while he was dying. I, on the other hand, was stinking drunk on the night he died after a battle with alcoholism that began when I was about 18. In 1990, with the help of my Dad's AA buddies, I followed his path of sobriety. It was not until I started to attend meetings that I could stay sober full time. So for a pretty good part of my life, I have been in and around the 12 steps, read most of the literature and even though I no longer attend meetings, I credit AA with my long term sobriety. The power of those meetings continues to carry me, as does my accountability to my family. That infinite power is depicted lovingly and educationally by Daniel D. Maurer in Sobriety: A Graphic Novel. The graphic novel genre is a fabulous format for this subject for a lot of reasons. First of all it presents the information in a nonthreatening and accessible way. Secondly, it is conversational rather than didactic. But the most powerful reason the graphic novel format works well is that most of it is presented in exactly the way AA happens: showing a group of people talking about sobriety and supporting each other in their quest for sanity. After a meeting, the characters chat about how they have journeyed forward from the last drink or drug by using the AA steps and traditions. Many questions that come up regularly in AA are addressed; including a very brief history of AA, what it means to surrender to a higher power, how the 12 steps are ordered and why they are ordered the way they are. The characters are diverse and have very different stories but find common ground as they talk. The stories of recovery are the substance of the program and they are well told by these characters. One of the characters even embellishes his story, which in my experience of AA definitely happens. And when he comes clean he finds acceptance and forgiveness.The acceptance and forgiveness in AA was the most powerful turning point for me in my recovery. All humans are flawed but there is a special kind of shame and guilt that is felt by the recovering drug addict or alcoholic that only another addict can fully understand. Whether you have been in the program for years or are just starting out, this book can be a valuable addition to your recovery process. I also think it is a good tool for those who want to be supportive of a loved one's recovery. I would love to see an Al Anon companion book!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Power

    I am the Recovery Program Coordinator and Media Outreach Administrator at the "Power House Recovery Center" in Houston, Texas. We provide recovery services and sober-living accommodations for up to 24 men. The guys all happen to be at different stages of their recovery. Some are fresh from the street, still reeling from their addiction and other that have establish a solid foundation under their feet. Since receiving this fantastic book from my friend Dan, it has been looked at and read by 65-70 o I am the Recovery Program Coordinator and Media Outreach Administrator at the "Power House Recovery Center" in Houston, Texas. We provide recovery services and sober-living accommodations for up to 24 men. The guys all happen to be at different stages of their recovery. Some are fresh from the street, still reeling from their addiction and other that have establish a solid foundation under their feet. Since receiving this fantastic book from my friend Dan, it has been looked at and read by 65-70 of our residents as they spend casual time in the living room at our recovery residence. If I were to conduct a study of the significance Dan's book has become to the identification process of recovery, I would give this read an outstanding A+++. Dan's book works as intended and we are all grateful to have such an important tool when it comes to the battle with addiction/alcoholism!!! Thank you Dan for your generous donation to our facility and Recovery Program. Chris PHRC

  6. 5 out of 5

    Eric Guthrie

    I loved this and plan to obtain multiple copies to be made available in the small community of hope called Joe's Addiction Coffee Shop in Valley Brook, OK, where I get the privilege of working with some amazing people in various stages of recovery. I believe this well done book will be a catalyst to new life for many people. Notice of material connection: I received this book free from the author or publisher via Speakeasy, in exchange for my honest review. I loved this and plan to obtain multiple copies to be made available in the small community of hope called Joe's Addiction Coffee Shop in Valley Brook, OK, where I get the privilege of working with some amazing people in various stages of recovery. I believe this well done book will be a catalyst to new life for many people. Notice of material connection: I received this book free from the author or publisher via Speakeasy, in exchange for my honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    For what it is, an educational comic to teach the value of the 12 Steps, it's not bad. There are some clumsy metaphors and the characters seem to flip from novice to expert or angry to amused from one panel to the next, but as a whole it provides an easy to follow description of the Steps and how they relate to each other. One thing I do wish it had done better is demystify the Higher Power stuff. The characters raise suspicions that AA is cultlike, but the refutation of that point is pretty wea For what it is, an educational comic to teach the value of the 12 Steps, it's not bad. There are some clumsy metaphors and the characters seem to flip from novice to expert or angry to amused from one panel to the next, but as a whole it provides an easy to follow description of the Steps and how they relate to each other. One thing I do wish it had done better is demystify the Higher Power stuff. The characters raise suspicions that AA is cultlike, but the refutation of that point is pretty weak. The nonbeliever chimes in to let us know that he's a nonbeliever, but doesn't offer much insight into how he navigates the program without involving the supernatural. Even with these weaknesses, I still think this is a valuable book. The addicts' stories provide something that the reader, whether an addict, friend, or family, can relate to, and in that way let them know that they're not alone and don't have to give up or hide in shame.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marley

    A good introduction to the 12 steps told through a refreshing new medium. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone in early recovery. The format of this book could be quite helpful to those in early recovery who may be having trouble concentrating and/or struggling with their memory. I appreciated how this story showcased that addiction can touch individuals from all socioeconomic statuses. Addiction does not discriminate, this book did a great job at showing that.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    General overview of the 12 steps. Some of the content was informative and useful, other parts came off as preachy. The characters didn't seem personalized, they read like caricatures. The illustration style didn't do it for me either. I'm sure this book has helped a lot of people, it's just not my cup of tea. General overview of the 12 steps. Some of the content was informative and useful, other parts came off as preachy. The characters didn't seem personalized, they read like caricatures. The illustration style didn't do it for me either. I'm sure this book has helped a lot of people, it's just not my cup of tea.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Secret Stacks

    This comic was discussed on Episode 53 of The Secret Stacks. This comic was discussed on Episode 53 of The Secret Stacks.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Christina Autumn

    Book starts out as a decent education on 12 step AA programs but gets quite preachy as it's written by a Lutheran minister in recovery. A bit too Midwestern white mansplaining for me. Book starts out as a decent education on 12 step AA programs but gets quite preachy as it's written by a Lutheran minister in recovery. A bit too Midwestern white mansplaining for me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Samuel Adelana

    it is a good book

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lynne Levandowski

    SOBRIETY: A GRAPHIC NOVEL by Daniel D. Maurer (Author) and Spencer Amundson (Illustrator) Publisher: Hazelden Date published: November 4, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-61649-557-2 Graphic Novel Paperback Reviewed by Lynne http://www.amazon.com/Sobriety-Graphi... Obtained via Speakeasy Rating: 5 SOBRIETY: A GRAPHIC NOVEL by Daniel D. Maurer (author) and Spencer Amundson (illustrator) is an excellent book that can be a great asset to those considering or actually going into recovery from alcoholism or chemical addiction SOBRIETY: A GRAPHIC NOVEL by Daniel D. Maurer (Author) and Spencer Amundson (Illustrator) Publisher: Hazelden Date published: November 4, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-61649-557-2 Graphic Novel Paperback Reviewed by Lynne http://www.amazon.com/Sobriety-Graphi... Obtained via Speakeasy Rating: 5 SOBRIETY: A GRAPHIC NOVEL by Daniel D. Maurer (author) and Spencer Amundson (illustrator) is an excellent book that can be a great asset to those considering or actually going into recovery from alcoholism or chemical addiction. The author, Daniel D. Maurer, is a former Lutheran ministry who is openly in recovery, so SOBRIETY: A GRAPHIC NOVEL is clearly based on first-hand experience. The talented illustrator of SOBRIETY: A GRAPHIC NOVEL, Spencer Amundson, is a freelance graphic artist with several graphic novels under his belt. His illustrations are clear, detailed, and expressive. SOBRIETY: A GRAPHIC NOVEL by Daniel D. Maurer (author) and Spencer Amundson (illustrator) is an intimate look at the challenges faced by those in recovery from alcoholism or chemical addiction. The perspectives are from a group of five Twelve Step members, Larry, an “old timer” in recovery circles, Alex, a Londoner of African descent, gay and an atheist, Debby, a single mother who is on her third round of treatment, nineteen-year-old Matt, what some call a “tough case”, and Hannah, who was adopted as a baby and grew to be a smart high achiever. Their approaches to recovery are as diverse as their backgrounds. These five people each have a unique set of addictions, philosophies, struggles, and successes as they work through the Twelve Steps of the recovery program. All of them are seeking help for their addiction, which is what binds these members together as a small community. As they progress through the Steps, they discover the power of helping one another find strength together as they strive to reach for a clean-and-sober lifestyle. SOBRIETY: A GRAPHIC NOVEL by Daniel D. Maurer (author) and Spencer Amundson (illustrator) is well-written and beautifully illustrated and may serve as a catalyst to recovery for many trapped in this chronic, problematic lifestyle. It tastefully includes the necessity of God - a Higher Power, if you will - in the Twelve Step program, regardless of opposition to or disbelief in His existence. SOBRIETY: A GRAPHIC NOVEL by Daniel D. Maurer (author) and Spencer Amundson (illustrator) maintains the importance of community and sponsorship within the Twelve Step program and helps the afflicted understand his or her need for support in their addictions. SOBRIETY: A GRAPHIC NOVEL by Daniel D. Maurer (author) and Spencer Amundson (illustrator) is an easy, fast read for anyone interested and is a good stepping-stone in aiding someone into recovery. It may also help others recognize their own need for help with their addiction problems and bring them to that place where they finally admit they have a problem and need help to overcome it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading SOBRIETY: A GRAPHIC NOVEL by Daniel D. Maurer (author) and Spencer Amundson (illustrator) and liked that the illustrations were relevant to the overall book. This is the first graphic novel I have read and greatly enjoyed it. Perhaps, in future, the publisher might want to enhance the graphic experience by colorizing the illustrations. Just a thought. I enjoyed reading SOBRIETY: A GRAPHIC NOVEL by Daniel D. Maurer (author) and Spencer Amundson (illustrator) from the perspectives of the five different people. It helps the reader understand more easily how people fall into their problematic addictions or lifestyles. It gives insight into what they have experienced in their lives, what they were thinking and feeling, and even how they were justifying their drinking or drug use. This graphic novel gives a clear picture of how far the addiction will take a person before he or she hits rock bottom. SOBRIETY: A GRAPHIC NOVEL by Daniel D. Maurer (author) and Spencer Amundson (illustrator) is unique and powerful in its scope of reality. The street language, lifestyle situations, and human frailties that lead a person into alcoholism and addiction is right on. It is a valuable resource that many can easily relate to on a personal level. As a degreed alcoholism and chemical addiction counselor, I highly endorse this book for counselors operating in this realm, especially for AA groups, ASAT prison programs, and all Twelve Step programs. (Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.)

  14. 4 out of 5

    M.

    Sobriety is pretty well written for what it is. Following along with 5 diverse addicts who each tell their stories from different stages of recovery, it is broken up by sequences where the author and illustrator step in to break up the plot. I did not prefer the illustration style used in Sobriety. I like a pretty wide variety of styles, but this one left me feeling mostly uninspired. If there was an episode of The Magic School Bus that dealt with the spiritual components of addiction and the det Sobriety is pretty well written for what it is. Following along with 5 diverse addicts who each tell their stories from different stages of recovery, it is broken up by sequences where the author and illustrator step in to break up the plot. I did not prefer the illustration style used in Sobriety. I like a pretty wide variety of styles, but this one left me feeling mostly uninspired. If there was an episode of The Magic School Bus that dealt with the spiritual components of addiction and the details of the 12 steps, this would be it (which is not a bad thing, in my opinion).The information relayed was really well done, and passages near the beginning really had me fully engaged, but as someone who has not personally dealt with addiction, the format felt too long to keep my attention. I feel like this may be a common delineation, were those in recovery can appreciate and connect with the entire book while those for whom these experiences are foreign may lose interest. Full Blog Review: http://mlanders.com/2015/01/14/book-r...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Giddy

    It was fine. Quick read and a good overview of the steps.

  16. 4 out of 5

    PottWab Regional Library

    A

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Got this book at a counseling conference. Decided to read it because I thought it might be helpful to use with patients at work. Although it is good, might be too long to use with clients.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    i greatly appreciated this book because with it I got to read a good story. Even more importantly, though, I got to learn about the 12-step program used by AA and NA.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jane Lecter

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Mc

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carol

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Zande

  23. 4 out of 5

    Larianne Swanner

  24. 4 out of 5

    Peter Cannon

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bill O'heaney

  26. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  27. 5 out of 5

    C

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

  29. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Cameron

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tara

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