3 out of 4 stars
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“Regret will never solve your problems; it will only inhibit your ability for success.”
Pain, Failure, and Misery Are the Stepping Stones to Success by Eric McCoy is a powerful self-help book that shows how the worst moments in one’s life can lead to the greatest successes. The first part of the book focuses on the pain, failure, and misery. McCoy recounts his experiences as a meth addict who is on the run from the police, hopping from motel to motel, and living in squalor amid drugs and stolen goods. Arrested four times in six months, he faces years of prison time. He is suicidal, he lost his faith, and he feels “broken and alone.” He details his court experiences and the consequences of his actions, which include jail, rehab, and sober living. It is there where he finally takes responsibility for his actions and feels free. He looks at the way he was dishonest with himself in the past and admits that he didn’t believe in himself. He blamed outside forces, and it wasn’t until he looked inside of himself that he could begin to recover.
The second and third sections of the book focus on the steps to success. McCoy discusses recovery, relapse, and influences on recovery. He examines his compulsiveness, lack of coping strategies, self-loathing, and “debilitating level of emotional pain,” which all contribute to his addiction. He asserts his dedication to sobriety and explains how he became a counselor and expert in his field. Throughout these sections, he examines outside forces that contribute to the national drug epidemic, including politics, religion, and greed. McCoy also offers words of encouragement and hope.
I like how each chapter starts with a poem. McCoy states that writing poems is a way for him to express himself creatively while offering hope to others. The poems also give the reader a preview of the subjects of the chapter. Additionally, thought-provoking questions end each chapter, which encourages the reader to reflect on the main points presented. The questions don’t apply solely to drug recovery, however. Some of the questions focus on personal beliefs, feelings of worth, fears, and goals.
“I am not going to tell you what to think but instead explore the process of how you think.” This is one of my favorite quotes from the book. McCoy talks about mindset and how one’s way of thinking often affects choices. He stresses the importance of positive thinking and how optimism and hope lead to personal growth, self-respect, and freedom.
Finally, I like how in-depth the book is. The author skillfully weaves his personal stories with poignant and inspirational quotes by Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, and Gandhi. He also includes broader insight about addiction and recovery with references to psychological studies, books, manuals, and articles to support his assertions. The sections where McCoy exposes the broken and greedy health care system and the manipulations used to profit rather than heal stunned me. He explains how political and social tones influence drug use and abuse and how the constraints of Alcoholics Anonymous aren’t necessarily for everyone. I appreciate McCoy’s frank honesty. He gives the reader a lot to consider in addition to providing logical tools to become self-reliant and empowered. Furthermore, the reader can connect with the author through his struggles and triumphs while understanding the bigger picture.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It is well-written, insightful, and inspirational. There are some grammatical errors and issues with formatting consistency, especially with the quotes. For these reasons, I deducted one point. However, Pain, Failure, and Misery Are the Stepping Stones to Success is a relevant and important self-help book. It includes sensitive topics such as drug abuse, politics, religion, violence, criminal activity, and suicide but is suitable for anyone who is dealing with or knows someone dealing with addiction.
Pain, Failure and Misery are the Stepping Stones to Success
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