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Inspiring Success on the Road to Recovery

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Book REVIEW

Sick as My Secrets

Patricia L. Brooks 




Sick as My Secrets is a powerful, compassionate, moving memoir told by a strong and honest woman who overcame a desperate need for alcohol to handle stress in her young life. Patricia L. Brooks, immensely proud of her 35 years of sobriety, openly and lovingly reveals her compelling story of powerlessness, her journey to recovery, and a spiritual transformation from the lowest point in her life to the apex of her trust in God. Her saga is a testament to resilience and hope for all of us. This is a must-read for anyone recovering from addiction, with questions about the recovery process, or curious about how a situation like this can happen to an ambitious young woman with a bright future.

Patricia’s newest memoir chronicles her topsy-turvy infidelities, her incarceration for a second drunk driving ticket, her rehab for alcoholism, and her years of therapy. She also tells her story of a struggle with love addiction and domestic violence on her road to gratitude, acceptance, forgiveness and purpose.

Both of her husbands from the 1970’s tolerated some of her behavior in their marriages. Neither marriage lasted very long, the first one beginning as a teenager. Her later drinking years were spent in Arizona, often alone, working in a demanding real estate career and going to night school at Arizona State while spiraling down the rabbit hole. She saw sadness and chaos in her marriages as she moved through four states, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois and Arizona, before she left her second husband in Arizona to try to make it on her own. 

She’s a brave survivor of alcohol, coming to the war of alcoholism as a married teenager who had no place being at the University of Dubuque’s Seminary in Iowa in 1969. It was there she found martinis and became a warrior, fighting for her life in many difficult situations that would have taken others down, such as grief, loss and deceit. 

This 300 plus page memoir reveals an insecure young woman, dependent on her second husband for everything while desperately trying to be independent. She drinks heavily to cope with her loneliness and anxiety yet has no idea what is wrong with her as she perseveres.

As the first woman to break into the sales team of a major homebuilder in Arizona in the early 1980’s, she earns many sales awards, and makes a name for herself. But despite her achievements, her perspective was that of an outsider pushing her way in where she wasn’t welcomed. This weighed heavily on her and contributed to her drinking alone after work, despite the number of homes she may have sold that weekend.

Best Friend? Alcohol

Widely talented, but extremely insecure, in a male-dominated career that was a pillar of sexism in those early years, Patricia found peace with her friend alcohol. While often finding herself in a haze of pot-headed boyfriends and late-night parties where cocaine was served for dessert, she chose to just drink. It was legal, she did not want to lose her real estate license. She drank a lot, kept to herself and left parties early to work weekends and avoid confrontation.

Patricia somehow survived the sex, drugs and rock and roll of the 1970’s and early 1980’s only to find herself in dead end love affairs, accompanied by drunk driving tickets. The new DUI laws of Arizona had just gone into place in 1983, and although she began to find her sisterhood with other women in the real estate business, she could not put down the drink. Patricia was eventually threatened with her job despite being Salesperson of the Year, before her last DUI. She conquered her desire to drink only after surrendering to God and recovery, going to jail in Phoenix for DUI and attending out-patient treatment to save her job. 

This author of Sick as My Secrets skillfully shows how alcohol slowly but surely invaded her life. The sad but very predictable progression of alcoholism is on full and well-explored display in her memoir. There’s a lot of typical Twelve Step Recovery in her words, yet her story is told in an intriguing manner. This memoir serves as a strong refresher course for anyone who’s been sober for a while and worried they may become complacent. Addiction to love and domestic violence issues are also covered as she moves through her early sobriety.

This memoir is also for those willing to buy into the spiritual aspects of Twelve Step Recovery. But if that’s not your bag, try this book anyway, you might find that what worked so well for Patricia could also be for you, a loved one or a family member of an alcoholic. Remember, one in four people in this country are impacted by alcoholism daily.


Author’s Comments

My life experiences are fodder for my books, and memoir and biography are always my first choice in reading. I have always loved to read, write and speak up. Sick as My Secrets is a very personal story of my adult life and what it was like as a drinker who drove drunk, what happened to change my drinking to sobriety, and what thirty-five years sober means to me. True stories intrigue me and speak to me. It is my hope Sick as My Secrets does that for you.

One of my passions is advocating for addiction awareness so I am out there today and no longer anonymous. This decision happened five years ago when I began to write my book and publicly talk about my recovery to a variety of audiences. My book Three Husbands and a Thousand Boyfriends focuses on domestic violence and love addiction. And I participate in the Addiction Awareness Day and the Domestic Violence Awareness Day at the Arizona Capital each Spring, speaking to my legislators in LD23.

There are many myths related to who is a woman alcoholic. One defining question is “How did I change?” I clearly show that in the last half of the book with stories of sponsorship and service. By redoing the Twelve Steps more than once, and staying close to recovery, thirty-five years sober became my reality.

The next important question is “What was the catalyst to my change?” That answer is renewing my faith in God while in jail. I write in detail how that experience impacted me, and how powerful and humbling it was to be there. Jail made me grateful for my life; the alternative was to drive drunk and eventually kill myself or someone else.

The purpose of the book is to share my experience strength and hope with those who may never find a meeting or talk to another person in recovery. It is for those who enjoy reading memoir or living vicariously through another’s experiences. My goal was to write a riveting book so that the reader shares my words of hope and inspiration. Since I worked through the shame of alcoholism and told my truth with a passion for healing myself and others, it is now in God’s hands. 
“It is like reading a friend’s diary.” I was told recently, “you are so brave.” That is how I wanted it to be, open and inviting, but attention-getting too. If you read memoir regularly, this book is for you. If you are new to memoir, check it out. It’s a window into my reflections of what I learned and am learning on the road of recovery, how I live after so much change, and how I work to be the person I was meant to be all along. 

Just like most of our reading in recovery, my words are meant to be suggestive only. I was brave and bold in my writing on the difficult topics of love addiction, alcoholism, domestic violence, post-traumatic stress and spirituality. They are everyday life to me. Real issues to me, for people like me. I faced this writing with integrity and hard work, and a lot of faith.

Not knowing how a reader will react to my work, I put it out there to the best of my ability with the noblest of intentions. I wrote for myself first and did not censor my audience. After conversations with myself and God, I wrote more and revised again. By acknowledging those who helped and supported me along the way, such as my author husband, Earl L. Goldmann, my critique group and my editor, the miracle happened. 

This book is dedicated to my dear friend Charmeon who was killed by a drunk driver over 40 years ago. She is a constant reminder to me of how grateful I am today for my incredible life as a sober woman.


Patricia L. Brooks, MAOM, is an award-winning author of three memoirs, a publishing consultant at her company Brooks Goldmann Publishing, LLC and president and Founder of the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers. She can be reached at patricia@plbrooks.com 480-250-5556 or www.brooksgoldmannpublishing.com