In this debut memoir, Laverty recounts the story of her son Matt’s heroin addiction.
Laverty says her purpose in writing is to show others how to prevent and cope with addiction. Her book, prefaced with the Serenity Prayer, offers detailed accounts of Matt’s repetitive cycles of addiction: his numerous attempts to stay drug-free; his temporary successes; his thefts, deceptions and lies; his six in-patient rehabilitation treatments; as well as the cumulative effect on the family. Laverty is a mother of three; two of her children are disabled, and Matt is, as she puts it in a letter to him, “the child of my hopes and dreams.” From a portrayal of Matt as a child, Laverty moves on to narrate his early use of alcohol and marijuana. She goes on to document his clever lies as a college student to extract money from his parents, his shiftlessness and preoccupation with drugs, and his parents’ gradual comprehension: “Finally we realized he had a drug addiction.” Matt vowed over and over again to attend counseling, attend 12-step meetings, keep his menial jobs and stay off heroin. His parents were sometimes hopeful, paying for his numerous rehab stints and giving him money for what they believed were his living expenses. Then, inevitably, Matt swiped their checks or stole their collectibles, or he was fired from work for not showing up, which led to his mother’s deepening despair. She even consulted a psychic and a medium. She was told she was “enabling him yet again,” though eventually, she realized, “I had to let go.” But maybe there’s hope for Matt after all. In a candid, unaffected style, Laverty realistically portrays her anguish, and her feelings for her son are apparent and moving. Her sensible trepidation can be heart-wrenching: “[F]or the moment, there is a happy ending.” That said, the book could have benefited from an additional round of editing to eliminate many of the sometimes-repetitive particulars in the patterns of addiction, enabling and relapse, which, though truthful, can slow down the narrative.
A poignant tale from the heart, though it could use some pruning.