NAKED IN PUBLIC by Staci Sprout


A Memoir of Recovery from Sex Addiction and Other Temporary Insanities
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One woman’s long journey out of sex addiction, among other struggles.

Debut author Sprout begins her story with her childhood, and in the first chapter, she abruptly states that her maternal grandfather was a pedophile. Although the author writes that she herself never fell victim to her grandfather’s abuse, she says that her formative years contained many other troubling influences, including alcoholism, religious fervor, and abusive comments from her own father. Later, while she was in college and ostensibly free from her parents, Sprout’s personal life was a whirlwind that included infidelity, binge-eating and -drinking, and a growing fascination with pornography. At the same time, she began to develop an interest in mental health issues, and she eventually received a master’s degree in social work. Following graduation, she was able to find work in her chosen field, but her adulthood eventually became just as complicated and troubling as her early college years. Sprout writes that she came to find herself at the mercy of a pushy therapist (who, she says, would form a bizarre attachment to the author’s sister); she also abused the spending power of credit cards and ended up in a long-term relationship with a jazz musician and self-proclaimed sex addict named Jason. His open identification as someone who was addicted to sex initially shocked her: “the second I heard the words ‘sex addict,’ I started getting overriding input from normally dark corridors inside my mind.” As time went by, though, she wound up applying the same label to herself.

Some details of the author’s past aren’t graphically described in this memoir; for instance, readers are told of Sprout’s obsession with pornography, but it doesn’t reveal very much about the specifics of that obsession. Instead, the focus of this book is on the author’s recovery. The crux of the story involves Sprout’s attempts to obtain some level of normalcy in her life as she worked through 12-step programs, her financial difficulties, and the process of making peace with members of her family. It’s depicted as having been a long and difficult battle overall, although it wasn’t without its surprises, as well. The author finds moments of comic relief in New Age practices and incompatible mental health professionals; take, for instance, a member of a drum circle who says of a clothing-optional solstice celebration, “There’s drumming there, right? What could go wrong?” That said, the tone of the book is an earnest one, and the author’s point of view is honest and relatable. A curious reader who fears that he or she might be suffering from similar problems, or who knows someone else who is, couldn’t expect to find a more welcoming place to begin their investigation than this memoir. Throughout, the author is courageously frank about her own past as well as her family’s. In her story, readers will see that, even with the aid of sponsors and well-established protocols, recovery is not a simple or glamorous process.

An informative look at what it means to overcome addiction.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-9962668-1-9
Page count: 348pp
Publisher: Recontext Media
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2017


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