Author’s recovery journal inspires novel grappling with alcoholism
NORTH HAMPTON, NH – What began as catharsis through writing about his own recovery journey inspired Michael Eon’s powerful examination of a life-long relationship with addiction and recovery in his debut novel, “These Things Happen” (September, 2023, Girl Friday Books). With a vivid, atmospheric backdrop of 1970’s Brooklyn, Eon takes the reader on a poignant pursuit to untangle childhood trauma that manifests into a fraught battle with alcoholism.
In “These Things Happen,” Daniel Zimmer will do almost anything to end his pain, except for the one thing that might work: sobriety.
Growing up under the shadow of his tyrannical father in Brooklyn, Daniel struggles to find a sense of safety and belonging. Daniel and his brother Max find moments of solace in the rebellious rhythms of early punk and metal bands. But when faced with an unexpected family tragedy—for which Daniel feels responsible—Daniel finds escape in the numbing grip of alcohol, offering temporary relief from his pain and guilt. Carrying childhood trauma into adulthood, Daniel spirals deeper into the clutches of addiction. Just as he finds the strength to embrace sobriety, the ghosts of his past resurface, forcing him to confront his demons head-on.
Flashing through Daniel’s life, past and present, this nostalgic ode to Brooklyn is an unflinchingly honest account of the inevitable triumphs and downfalls of recovery. “These Things Happen” fearlessly examines generational abuse, the transformative power of confronting addiction, and the profound potential for redemption.
“These Things Happen”
Michael Eon | September, 19th 2023 | Girl Friday Books
Fiction, Addiction & Recovery, Coming of Age
Print | 978-1-959411-16-1 | $17.95
Ebook | 978-1-959411-17-8 | $9.99
MICHAEL EON: Originally from the New York area, he currently lives in New Hampshire with his family. Michael earned his BA in psychology from the University of Michigan and an MA in international affairs from Columbia University. A former board member of the Audio Publishers Association and a former producer of major motion pictures and television productions, Michael worked in the publishing and entertainment industries for more than twenty years. Michael discovered the core of this story through the cathartic processing of autobiographical memories, following its evolution into this novel of redemption and recovery. “These Things Happen” is his first novel. Learn more about Michael at his website.
In an interview, Michael Eon can discuss:
- How his personal experiences with trauma, addiction, and recovery inspired his novel
- How his processing of traumatic memories through therapeutic journaling turned into the basis for “These Things Happen”
- How the tenants and practices of alcoholics anonymous supported the creation of the book
- What he hopes readers will take away from “These Things Happen”
An Interview with
Why did you begin journaling about your memories and experiences with addiction?
In college, I wrote a great deal of freeform poetry about active addiction and its hold on me, as well as what I believed at the time to be the causes for my desire, since childhood, to escape and numb my emotions through drug and alcohol use. Twenty years later, consumed by active addiction, rage, hatred, and hopelessness, I sought help through Alcoholics Anonymous. After a few years in a state of what I would call “stark raving sober,” I finally got the courage to ask someone to take me through the Twelve Steps as outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. As part of that process, I began to explore in greater detail and depth the moments of my life—the memories and experiences—that seemed to govern my existence . . . my emotions, character, and personality.
How did your journal entries evolve into the creation of “These Things Happen?”
Part of the Twelve Step process includes examining the things in one’s life that have served to hold a person back from spiritual growth. Resentment and fear are the two main offenders and consequently need to be dealt with before any semblance of peace can be had. The Twelve Step process enabled me to understand that these issues were the root cause of my dis-ease, not the drinking and the drugs. My journal took the writing I’d completed in Step Four and fleshed it out into memory stories—expanded autobiographical scenes as I had remembered them. As you can imagine, there was a lot of anger, resentment, denial, guilt, etc. in those entries, but the end result was extremely cathartic. These scenes served as the starting point for the novel.
Tell us a little bit about the culture of alcoholics anonymous, how did the culture of AA support the creation of this novel?
For me, AA is a lot of things: a fellowship, a support group, a process by which to become both physically and emotionally sober, and much more. It is a spiritual program that allows for identification with others suffering from the same affliction through sharing with one another and reading/understanding the literature, including the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. For those willing to be honest with themselves (and others), and open-minded to the spiritual principles set forth in the Twelve Steps, AA can be a life-changer. It can not only free one from the bondage of active addiction, but can also teach one how to deal with life on life’s terms. Without AA, this novel would not have been possible because I would never have been able to escape active addiction and work through the trauma that served as the basis for my addiction.
You have a background as a TV and movie producer. What are your thoughts on entertainment culture and alcoholism?
I believe that the media and entertainment industries influence social norms and exposure to drug and alcohol use; both industries can play a better part in removing the stigma of addiction by educating audiences about the reality of drug and alcohol abuse. Active addiction is neither a moral failing nor a matter of willpower for the sufferer. It is a disease driven by mental obsession and physical craving; one that centers in the mind of the user, which must be combatted on the physical, mental, and spiritual planes. Media and entertainment can play a better role by choosing programming that downplays the fun in and excessive use of drugs and alcohol and highlights the simple facts that (a) the sufferer is not alone and (b) there is a solution. More programming should convey hopefulness rather than hopelessness.
The book deals with heavy topics of addiction, trauma, and mental health. Why did you decide to write about these topics and what do you hope readers take away from the book?
I decided to write about these topics for two main reasons: one, I have a great deal of experience with them; and two, I have a sincere desire to help others who struggle with addiction and, more generally, with life itself. The novel has sought to do this by focusing not just on the problems one faces with addiction and life, but on the solution to those problems, which I do by giving specific instructions on how to use spiritual principles to better one’s life. And you don’t have to be an addict to benefit from this novel. Dealing with life on life’s terms is not just an addict’s problem—it is a human problem.
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