MOTHER LOAD by Wendy  Adamson


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After decades of drug use, an addict finds a path to sobriety in order to save her relationship with her sons in this debut memoir.

In 1960, when Adamson was 7 years old, her father took her out for lunch and told her that her mentally ill mother had had a heart attack and died. It was a secret, he said, but the author writes that she had “another secret”: She thought she’d caused her mother’s demise by wishing her dead. She was 13 when she finally learned that her mother had actually committed suicide. Eventually, Adamson turned to drugs in an effort to dull her pain, and a meth-fueled incident that she describes as a “psychotic break” was a turning point. It happened in 1991, she says, when she realized that her husband of 20 years, Max, was having an affair with Cat, another drug abuser. When the couple pulled up in Cat’s car, she ran into the street and fired a pistol at them, hitting Cat in the arm. Adamson was sentenced to a year in Los Angeles county jail, which would prove to be the catalyst that she needed to change her life; it was followed by three difficult years of supervised probation. She and her younger son Rikki moved into a shared apartment in a women and children’s center in Santa Monica, which proved to be a new beginning. There are a few distracting errors in the text, such as “I saw rage flash across Max face who was directly behind him.” However, Adamson’s prose is gritty and poignant, as when she describes her “bone-crushing depression” in jail, where she knew she had to maintain a tough exterior: “I had to keep chanting to myself not to cry. I felt like road kill that only kept moving because my heart didn’t know enough to stop pumping blood.” She doesn’t sugarcoat anything in this powerful narrative, nor does she wallow in self-pity. Along the way, she tells of the people who helped her on the path to sobriety; fittingly, she later became a counselor in a detox center herself.

An inspirational addiction-recovery tale that pulls no punches. 

ISBN: 978-1-945436-24-6
Page count: 241pp
Program: Kirkus Indie
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