Patty Smith and Grayson Smith
CreateSpace Independent Publishing (2017)
ISBN 9781542712613
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (02/18)

“Beyond Rock Bottom: Escaping the Dark Hole of Addiction,” tells the harrowing and emotional story of a family dealing with addiction. Written by mother and son team Patty Smith and Grayson Smith, readers experience their journey first-hand from each person’s perspective.

Grayson takes us back to his childhood in order to gain an understanding of how it all began. As he walks us through his life, he is brutally honest and takes responsibility for his addictive behaviors. It isn’t until he goes into treatment that Grayson begins to address the core of his emotional issues. This is when he can finally start to heal and overcome his addiction.

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His mother Patty addresses herself as a co-addict who also has an addiction, though to a non-drug related substance. Patty shares her story from a mother’s perspective. Many of her views are faith-based, and it is evident the strength of her beliefs helped carry her through some trying, arduous times. Grayson was not the only addict in the family, in fact, the only family member who does not have an addiction became a substance abuse counselor.

Having both personal and professional experience with addiction, I found “Beyond Rock Bottom” to be powerfully written and invaluable in trying to understand the experience of addiction in families. There is a concern that some addicts might have difficulty reading about Grayson’s experiences of euphoria while he is high because it could trigger their own addiction. I don’t believe this will affect the majority of people in recovery though I would suggest alerting potential readers that the material could be a trigger. I have students who are in recovery who know they can’t become substance abuse counselors because they realize talking about drugs puts them at risk of relapse.

“Beyond Rock Bottom” will give hope to addicts and their families. Grayson’s addiction ran very deep and it is amazing that he was able to survive the amount of substances he was putting into his body. Amazing and fortunate, because by being able to share his story, others will be inspired to heal. As well, Patty’s words will help parents realize that they are not alone in their experience or suffering. Both Grayson and Patty show that recovery can happen, and with proper interventions, a family can become whole.

“Beyond Rock Bottom” by Patty Smith and Grayson Smith is highly recommended reading for people who deal with addiction, either personally or professionally.