Everything I Never Wanted to Be by Dina Kucera is the true story of a family's battle with alcoholism and drug addiction. Dina's grandparents were alcoholics, her father was an alcoholic, she is an alcoholic and pill addict, and all three of her daughters struggle with alcohol and drug... read more
Everything I Never Wanted to Be will remind many readers of Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club and James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces. The story opens with the author onstage, competing on the “Funniest Mom in America” TV show. She’s performed hundreds of times, but this time she freezes she’s... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Everything I Never Wanted to Be will remind many readers of Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club and James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces. The story opens with the author onstage, competing on the “Funniest Mom in America” TV show. She’s performed hundreds of times, but this time she freezes she’s flashing back to her teenage daughter’s harrowing hospital stay following a suicide attempt. From there, it’s a rollercoaster ride that includes stories of parental neglect, drug overdoses, a sex offender priest, a tragic childbirth, a teen who finds out via videotape that she was raped while she was high on crystal meth, a stay in a mental ward, a surprisingly redemptive trip to Disneyland, and more relapses and rehabs than you can keep track of. It’s a story that is brutally honest–shocking at times–yet still funny and full of hope.
Everything I Never Wanted to Be by Dina Kucera is the true story of a family's battle with alcoholism and drug addiction. Dina's grandparents were alcoholics, her father was an alcoholic, she is an alcoholic and pill addict, and all three of her daughters struggle with alcohol and drug addiction--including her youngest daughter, who started using heroin at age fourteen. Dina's household also includes her husband and his unemployed identical twin; a mother who has Parkinson's Disease; a grandson who has cerebral palsy; and other people who drift in and out of the household depending on their employment situation or rehab status. On top of all that, Dina is trying to make it as a stand-up comic and author so she can quit her crumby job as a grocery store clerk. Through it all, Dina does her best to hold her family together, keep her faith, and maintain her sense of humor. As you might imagine, a story filled with alcoholics and drug addicts includes a number of horrific events. But in the end, Everything I Never Wanted to Be is an uplifting story that contains valuable lessons for parents and teens alike, and a strong message about the need to address the epidemic of teen drug addiction in our nation. It's a book that can change behavior and save lives--and make you laugh along the way.
“My daughter, Carly, has been in and out of drug treatment facilities since she was thirteen. Every time she goes away, I have a routine: I go through her room and search for drugs she may have left behind. We have a laugh these days because Carly says, 'So you were lookingfor drugs I might have left behind? I’m a drug addict, Mother. We don’t leave drugs behind, especially if we’re going into treatment. We do all the drugs. We don’t save drugs back for later. If I have drugs, I do them. All of them. If I had my way, we would stop for more drugs on the way to rehab, and I would do them in the parking lot of the treatment center.'”Dina Kucera from Ch 2 "The Funniest Mom in America"
“When I was about nine, my siblings and I fell out of our moving van at an intersection. My dad didn’t notice for about five blocks. It was back before seat belts. It was also back before parents used any sort of common sense whatsoever. It was a time when you didn’t raise your children. You just fed them and they got bigger.”Dina Kucera from Ch 3 "Divine Order"
“The priest invites us into the rectory, and I can see a glimpse of fear in his face. Until he finds out that I am there to apologize to him for my disrespect while he was jacking off in front of me. He sits there, smiling, waiting for his apology. I’m crying. I apologize because I want out of there. He sweetly smiles and says, “I forgive you.” He looks like the devil. Afterwards, my parents are talking with him in the entryway. I look on the coffee table and see his watch. I put it in my pocket. Fuck him. When I get home I crush it with a hammer and throw it in the ditch.”Dina Kucera from Ch 3 "Divine Order"
“If a sign says, “Take One,” alcoholics and addicts always take four. They always park in handicapped parking spaces and fire lanes. They always have sixty-five items in the express lane. They don’t let people merge on the highway. If their eyes are brown, they say they’re blue. They have a sweet collection of shot glasses, but their children don’t have diapers. They stack empty beer cans in the built-in bookcase to look like the Egyptian pyramids, but they don’t have a single book. They challenge walls to a fist fight and lose. If any of this sounds like you at all, cut people off all the way to detox. And make a mental note: the wall always wins.”Dina Kucera from Ch 6 "Suck My Dick Van Dyke"
“I felt empty and sad for years, and for a long, long time, alcohol worked. I’d drink, and all the sadness would go away. Not only did the sadness go away, but I was fantastic. I was beautiful, funny, I had a great figure, and I could do math. But at some point, the booze stopped working. That’s when drinking started sucking. Every time I drank, I could feel pieces of me leaving. I continued to drink until there was nothing left. Just emptiness.”Dina Kucera from Ch 6 "Suck My Dick Van Dyke"
“Carly is sitting in a room at the meth house, shooting up. While the drugs are kicking in, something strange happens: she hears her own voice coming from the next room. She is high and confused, so she thinks maybe she is hearing wrong. She goes to the door to investigate. She finds that it really is her voice. It’s coming from a video. The video is a recording of the skinhead drug-dealer ex-con raping Carly after he’s drugged her. The skinhead rapist is showing the video to one of the other fuck bags. In the video, Carly’s voice says, “I don’t want to.” The skinhead says, “Are we going to do this the hard way?” Carly says, “I’m only seventeen.” Then the man rapes her.”Dina Kucera from Ch 6 "Suck My Dick Van Dyke"
“I thought over and over about what I was going to do when Carly overdosed and died. How would we go on? And then I knew: I wouldn’t go on. And then I realized that it was just going to be too painful to actually have to watch her die. Right in front of me. My daughter was dying. That’s when I snapped.”Dina Kucera from Ch 7 "High on Life"
“The decision-making part of the brain of an individual who has been using crystal meth is very interesting. When Carly and Andy were in their apartment, they ran out of drugs. They sold every single thing they had except two things: a couch and a blow torch. They had to make a decision because something had to be sold to buy more drugs. A normal person would automatically think, Sell the blow torch. But Andy and Carly sat on the couch, looking at the couch and looking at the blow torch, and the choice brought intense confusion. The couch? The blow torch? I mean, we may not need the blow torch today, but what about tomorrow? If we sell the couch, we can still sit wherever we want. But the blow torch? A blow torch is a very specific item. If you’re doing a project and you need a blow torch, you can’t substitute something else for it. You would have to have a blow torch, right? In the end, they sold the couch.”Dina Kucera from Ch 7 "High on Life"
“Most people don’t have a clean, clear happy ending to the traumatic events in their lives. I’ve had to learn to live within the trauma. Live a life while the events are happening. Get up in the morning instead of climbing in a hole and waiting for the storm to pass. Because the storm isn’t going to pass while you’re in the hole. I have to admit, some days, the hole is screaming, “Hey Dina! Come back!” But climbing out of it is more difficult than not going in there in the first place.”Dina Kucera from Ch 9 "Every Story Has a Happy Ending If You Tell It Long Enough"
“There are millions of people out there who live this way, and their hearts are breaking just like mine. It’s okay to say, “My kid is a drug addict or alcoholic, and I still love them and I’m still proud of them.” Hold your head up and have a cappuccino. Take a trip. Hang your Christmas lights and hide colored eggs. Cry, laugh, then take a nap. And when we all get to the end of the road, I’m going to write a story that’s so happy it’s going to make your liver explode. It’s going to be a great day.”Dina Kucera from Ch 5 "Assault, Mary Jane, and a Prior Conviction"
When you watch an addict, they change. Every time you see them, they are different. Not in a good way. A piece of their goodness is gone. Piece by piece, they become someone else. Every time they use, they are robbed of something precious that makes them who they are. It is stolen and floats away while they are high until they are empty of any trace of the person God brought to the earth.Highlighted by 24 Kindle customers
Move toward the things in life that are good and kind and loving. And that may be the best we can do.Highlighted by 18 Kindle customers
So what do you do? You have to learn to live above the water without the drugs and booze—to feel the sun, and stretch your arms out and embrace and love life. You don’t have to go back under the water, but you must find that tiny flame that burns in each of us and help it grow until that fire is so big, the stalking “get more” voice in your head shuts the fuck up. Until then, you must protect that tiny flame because at the end of the day, it will be the only thing to build a new life on.Highlighted by 16 Kindle customers
She may recover—you pray she recovers—but she will come out on the other end a different person. You never really get back the person you lost.Highlighted by 16 Kindle customers
What’s on the other side? The exact same bullshit. But now I can at least deal with it—and what I can’t deal with, I can laugh about. You have nothing to cushion the blow of life. All you can do is laugh. You’ve been robbing Peter to pay Paul and then there’s a knock on your door. Guess who it is? Peter. He wants his fucking money. All you can do is laugh.Highlighted by 15 Kindle customers
If you use drugs or alcohol, your kids will also use. Your kids do what you do, and in my life that’s very scary. If you’re following in my footsteps, wear a helmet.Highlighted by 11 Kindle customers
Genuine moments happen when you aren’t expecting them. Those are the things you remember all your life. Little snapshots that you can see as if they just happened.Highlighted by 10 Kindle customers
My heartbreaks are no different from the heartbreaks of other people. The things that break our hearts might be different, but the heartbreaks are the same. Be especially wary when somebody says, “It couldn’t get worse than this.” Hold on. It could. But it’s like the waves in the ocean. They roll in and they roll out. It’s good, it’s bad. When it’s bad, remember that a new wave is coming. It will get good again. You can’t stop the wave. It’s life.Highlighted by 9 Kindle customers
Life happens even when we’re not in the mood for it. Fake a smile. Fake a courteous mood. Make some hot chocolate. Wrap yourself in a blanket and sit on the couch and watch a Will Ferrell or Chris Farley movie. If one of those two don’t make you laugh, check yourself into the hospital, immediately.Highlighted by 9 Kindle customers
My point is you cannot function in the world without knowing how to respond to losing. It’s the same as hearing the word “no.” It’s every day of our lives. It’s a part of our lives. It is life.Highlighted by 7 Kindle customers
1. The Funniest Mom in America
2. Welcome to My Life
3. Divine Order
5. Chasing the Dragon
5. Assault, Mary Jane, and a Prior Conviction
6. Suck My Dick Van Dyke
7. High on Life
8. A Letter From Dad
9. Every Story Has a Happy Ending If You Tell It Long Enough
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