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Publisher's Summary

Kristina, the second of four children, begins by telling how a little sip of vodka sipped secretly at a party her parents were giving started her on a pathway to addiction. In that instant, alcohol became her pathway to comfort. Over the next eight years, she sank further into addiction, moving on to cocaine and methamphetamines. In telling her story, she gives a brutally honest description of her addiction and crimes.

Adding a heart-wrenching counterpart to each chapter of the book, Kristina's mother, Connie, gives a parent's account of what was happening throughout her child's experience. She describes her powerlessness to help her addicted daughter, the breakup of her unhappy marriage, and how she came to terms with her own codependency. She also describes the worst decision a mother ever has to make: to turn her oldest daughter out of her house, sending her onto the streets, in order to protect herself and her other children. Then follows the remarkable story of Kristina's recovery, her mother's tough love, and the years of acclimating herself to living a normal life. Ultimately she reclaimed herself, her place in her family, and a new and loving relationship with her mother.

©2006 Kristina Wandzilak and Constance Curry (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"This book is invaluable to families, and I am proud to recommend The Lost Years." (John Bradshaw, best-selling author of Healing the Shame That Binds You)

What listeners say about The Lost Years

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needed depth

I feel like this book skimmed where it should have dived deep. I didn't get a connection to any of the characters, and it felt more like a long summary than a story. I wish it had elaborated more on what drug use is like, as well as relapsing and the struggle within.

4 people found this helpful

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Life Shifting Read

This is a wonderful, must read book for any mother with a teenage daughter or who will some day have a teenaged daughter (get ahead of the curve, and just read it now). I listened to this book as a "homework" assignment from my daughters therapist. My daughter does not struggle with drug addiction so initially I wasn't sure why the therapist thought this book would be insightful or relevant. Oh how wrong I was! Although the main character does struggle with drug addiction, it is the deeper underlying situations and circumstances for which addiction becomes an outlet (or symptom) that are relatable to probably most mothers and daughters, at least on some level.

I learned so much about myself and my daughter as I recognized us and some of our own patterns in the different characters. This book has become the springboard for many deep, healing and life changing conversations with all of my children, my husband and most of all my emotionally struggling daughter. It has become a connecting point for us in what had become a distant and even toxic relationship.

Be warned; this true story is dark, disturbing and uncomfortable to participate in, but well worth the journey!!! It is brilliantly written and brilliantly voiced. I highly recommend the audio version because the characters are so well voiced, listening really adds to the experience!

3 people found this helpful

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well-written, accessible, with odd Narrator Choice

I read this book quickly. Reading the alternating chapters between mother and daughter - the pain, the recovery, the clawing back and letting go. it was written in an engaging and accessible style and what it taught me about addiction and recovery will not soon leave me.
I will say that the choice of Hillary Huber as a narrator for the daughter was a rather strange one. Her voice does not sound particularly young, and while she did an admirable job, it just struck me that she sounded older than the person she was meant to portray.

Well worth your time and credit, whether or not anyone in your life struggles with addiction.

4 people found this helpful

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UGH AfterSchool Special. Judith Licht perfect role

Like a Lifetime after school special. This barely addressed the depth of addiction, leaving out the hell of withdrawal. And the stupid Intervention/tough love approach NEVER works. The mom said repeatedly that she'd only speak with Kristina once she agreed to go to treatment.

Then, after Kristina acquiesced, the mom gave ANOTHER ultimatum which was never discussed with Kristina until she'd had her bags packed, ready to leave, completely in the dark about the second month. That's disingenuous and borderline illegal to not prepare Kristina on the rehab's part. Just reinforces to Kristina that telling lies not only work, but can be necessary.

Also, so much for her mom keeping her word. She should've been sent to a legit sober living facility, perhaps sponsored by the rehab she attended, where it waded required to attend either meetings (which are often BuIIsh*t anyway) or internal house meetings in order to build a support group and get a sponsor.

I'm not a fan of 12-step programs AT ALL - been there, since that. Statistically, only 6% of 12-Steppers succeed for at least 1 year (according to Hazeldon, one of the most respected facilities, and not afraid to post their relatively accurate data; conversely, AA/NA/CA/HA/CMA, etc. only speculates that it's impossible to keep track of all addicts who choose to leave the program, or to return as newcomers, or are court-mandated to attend meetings, or those who overdosed or died, to avoid looking bad, but then people tend to drop like flies - relapse, court mandates run out, overdose, death and finding alternative ways to stay sober and clean (and yes, peer-reviewed, large sample, multiple replicated, meta data studies had been collected over many years and published in an Addiction journal, as well as the esteemed New England Journal of Medicine). Also, its a self-fulfilling prophecy to call yourself an addict or alcoholic every day forever, for great of relapse. There is a cure, and it doesn't need to be God or a higher power - there point of spirituality is to replace the void if drugs with alternative, positive thinking - and a higher power sense a great way to stop. But seriously... find a DRI - in Applied Behavior Analysis, this is s Differential Reinforcement of an Incompatible behavior.

For example, Kristina could've spent more time surfing whenever she had a craving - there's hella more serenity out on that peaceful horizon than listening to addicts label themselves as such, and complain all meeting. No thoughts of drug use when you're in that zone - that moment when a grea swell rolls in and paddling to get that free rush, that is better than any high. Can't figure out why the board shop leant jet s board and she never asked for a job. After numerous arrests (possession of pot, paraphernalia andre one ecstasyI was the manager of 3 skate/surf shops, and a well-known brand representative for the South east, and while I loved to smoke a joint on my way to the ocean, it also didn't really matter if I had one at all - when Surfline cameras showed great swells locally, I put away my cocaine (to which I was HIGHLY addicted to - like an 8-ball every one or two days). Also, I liked to hire ex-addicts, who desired a new chance at life, and their gratitude was immense. The vast majority stayed clean because they not only cared about their responsibility, talking to groms and older skaters/surfers about the pluses and minuses of each boards/deck/trucks

No respectable rehab wouldn't discuss and prepare the patient for an additional clinical month prior to her mom arriving to "get her." And then, she did the same with a third month. You'll NEVER find a patient so complacent and likely to surrender without a fight after meeting not one, but THREE ultimatums, 2 about which she was completely blindsided. Her mother praying for her is totally fruitless - thoughts and prayers don't work, and neither does step work if the desire to use is still there.

Finally - TOTALLY unrealistic that she had the DTs, and the rehab just let jet sleep for 4 days. Um....no. That's almost certain seizures and possible death. She needed to be drinking a ton of electrolytes in that time and have been constantly monitored through her detox.

I feel like this author only knew about addiction and alcoholism through watching Intervention, or attending Al-Anon with no personal life experience.

It'd be only a short period of time before Kristina would realize her mother's judgment of her, lacking any attachment, and thus I would have no doubt that Kristina would relapse again.

1 person found this helpful

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great book!

kept me interested the whole time! truthful and raw! sad that its over.audible is the best!

1 person found this helpful

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Must read for mother's who's daughter is an addict

Raw, real and left me feeling not alone in addiction which changes the course of not only the addict but the entire family.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent story of addiction

This is a great account of what families go through and the fact that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

1 person found this helpful

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. Kristina wandzilak from a&e's addicted ❤

loved it. so true grit and relatable. #soberlife would love to hear client progress. skelley

1 person found this helpful

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Gritty honesty

Not to be trite, but I was addicted. I found many reasons to take long runs and drives to be sucked into this amazing story. This is one strong duo...amazing. I hope Kristina writes another, and develops a new show as well.

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Loved It!

I literally couldn't put this down! I felt as if I was there the entire time. Very powerful, heartfelt story.. you go through so many emotions throughoutthis book. It shows you strength and makes you realize you CAN conquer anything you put your mind to!

1 person found this helpful