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Cracked: Putting Broken Lives Together Again [Hardcover]

Drew Pinsky
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 7 2003

We define ourselves by the way we relate to other people. We get deep, lasting, and meaningful satisfaction from giving selflessly to, and being present with, others ...

My patients can't do that. They're struggling with the effects of trauma suffered early in life when they were still developing the brain mechanisms that allow them to relate to other people and the world in general. Unable to trust, they grow up without a sense of self. They're overwhelmed by feelings, unable to cope, always out of control. Their brains tell them to manage the pain by getting loaded. Then, when they find their way to us, we ask them to go back and experience that powerlessness, the very thing that sent them off the rails in the first place.No wonder they resist.

-- from Cracked

Dr. Drew Pinsky is best known as cohost of the long-running advice program Loveline. But he is also the medical director of an addiction rehab clinic in Southern California, treating the severest cases of drug dependency and psychiatric breakdown. Now, in this emotionally arresting narrative, Pinsky takes readers into the hospital with him, sharing the stories behind his struggle to help the patients he calls "the disconnected" regain control of their lives.

It is a struggle that feels triumphant one moment, catastrophic the next. The patients Pinsky treats come from every walk and stage of life -- from a young graphic artist to an elderly onetime socialite, from a music-industry talent scout to a BMW-driving soccer mom. Their nemeses include alcohol and marijuana; ecstasy, GHB, and heroin; speed, cocaine, Klonopin, and Vicodin. Yet their trials are eerily similar: Pinsky's patients are all fighting a disease that seizes control of mind and body alike, shattering their lives and depriving them of the very thing they need to survive -- the ability to maintain lasting connections with other people. Each of these patients is rendered with a doctor's compassion and an eye for telling detail. Some we encounter on the promising road to recovery, others are aggressive, subversive, and actively damaging to those around them. Yet the most indelible portraits are those of victims teetering uneasily between recovery and oblivion -- patients like Earle, whose capacity for human connection has been eroded by a lifetime of crack cocaine, and the dynamic, heartbreaking Amber, whose harrowing struggle with opiate addiction tests Pinsky's patience, self-control, and faith.

And at the quiet heart of the book is Pinsky himself, his voice urgent, intimate, vulnerable, and utterly compelling. As he struggles to manage his own compulsions, we witness the extraordinary human toll addiction and other behavioral and psychological dysfunctions can take on patient and doctor alike -- and also the life-affirming magic that each can find on the road to recovery.



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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Throughout Pinsky's time hosting MTV's popular Loveline show-in which he and cohost Adam Carolla (The Dr. Drew and Adam Book) frankly answered teen questions about sex and drugs-Pinsky also ran the drug addiction rehab clinic at Las Encinas Hospital in Pasadena, Calif. In this engaging and well-written memoir, he incorporates a frank description of his work with the "manipulative, secretive, frightened, paranoid and unstable" patients at Las Encinas, a single-story bungalow on 30 acres once used as a Hollywood backdrop (this is where W.C. Fields died and Ozzy Osborne's son recently spent time). Pinsky plays down the Tinseltown connection, preferring to look at his entire range of patients, who represent "every possible facet of society, from the rich to the destitute to the socially prominent to the disconnected." What they share are the typical hot buttons of trauma-"pain, abuse, neglect, abandonment"-and the attempt to ease the pain through drug addiction. Pinsky provides a hard-nosed look at the realities of a detox clinic, from the patients' physical illness and flashbacks to doctors' letdown when a patient quits the program and returns to addiction. Pinsky freely admits that he doesn't know why some people "get it" and stay sober while others can't; at the same time, he openly discusses his own problems ("I turned to rescuing other people the same way my patients turn to drugs and alcohol").
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Dr. Drew Pinsky, famous as the compassionate and sensible advice doctor on the hugely popular radio show Loveline, shines here in his debut solo publishing effort. Pinsky's day job is not quite as glamorous as the Loveline gig: he tends to junkies, prescription drug addicts, and out-of-control alcoholics at a Southern California rehab clinic. Here he details, in an honest, intelligent, and touching way, the superhuman and often futile effort it takes to save these lost souls. Patients at the clinic include strung-out models and celebrities, messed-up Beverly Hills teens, as well as those from the other side of the tracks, all of whose cases encompass addictions to every known type of narcotic or alcohol. Pinsky doesn't spare the reader's feelings and details with a clinical eye the horror of these ravaged lives as well as their frightening process of physical withdrawal. The doctor also share his struggles with his own demons, including various emotional attachments to patients, his antipathy toward some, his compulsive need to save all of them, and the despair at the herculean tasks he sets himself to. He also marvels and finds comfort in the resiliency of the human spirit when even one patient finds the way to recovery. This excellent, highly topical, and well-written book is a must-have for public libraries. Kathleen Hughes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars very moving July 17 2004
By Katie
Format:Hardcover
Drew, because you asked on air for people to review your book on amazon and I sadly have no life--here I am! I checked Cracked out of the library and read it in a day or two, and I felt so many different things throughout reading it.
On a side note.. Loveline is an amazing show that's helped so many people. I like to consider myself well-adjusted (no abuse, parents still madly in love, like one or two family members in drugs/alcohol but I've been sheltered), so I listen to your show to learn things. I've learned so much, from the morning after pill to the fact that most women don't orgasm during intercourse. Keep up the great work and don't be afraid to tell Adam to shut up if he's interrupting important advice!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Drew is right. July 16 2004
Format:Hardcover
Preface: Drew, you were feeling depressed about the poor book reviews on the show-hopefully, by writing this review, I can begin to repay you for all the greatness you've bestowed upon my life!
Review: Completely awesome. Though I have never known personally anyone who suffered from addiction, I found the book to be entertaining and informative.
Thank you Dr. Drew!!!
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Format:Hardcover
I read this book back in late april and loved it i was sitting in the middle of all my classes glued to it like a fly to a fly trap. im only 15 but i know when something is good and this was beyond good,this is the ONLY book i've read cover to back that shows how boerd i get of most things.
I love drews radioshow [loveline], him and adam make me laugh a lot but also i have learned so much from the show more than i have ever thought i'd understand,but now if i spat something in school about how you can tell if a person is smokeing pot or has been abused in their past just by their vioce i get that look from people like im crazy and i get laughed at which makes no sense to me, i guess the show made me too smart for my own good, oh well.....
well any way i say anybody who can get thier hands on a copy of this book do it because if you don't then your missing out big time, and last thing any body who gives drews book a bad review really DOESN'T understand what the concept of the book is and should either get thier brain repaired or burn in hell.
dr.drew rules! peace!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thank God for Dr. Drew July 14 2004
Format:Hardcover
Drew Pinsky is a brilliant man and cracked is fantastic book. You don't need to be or even know an addict to appreciate this book. Dr. Pinksy tells us the stories of several patients dealing with addiction for a twofold purpose. On the surface we see the trials of both the caregiver's and patients struggling with the disease. However, beyond this we see people who are simply struggling with the human condition. The behaviors manifested by the addicts are extreme versions of behaviors we all experience or deal with in others around us. So read this book and learn about addiction, but if you are not careful you may just learn something about yourself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic July 14 2004
By Goat
Format:Hardcover
This was a fantastic book, I loved every chapter. Dr. Drew, you are a God. If you are reading this, then can you say my name on the air. Thank you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing July 14 2004
By Chuck
Format:Hardcover
I read this book in 6 hours at work and I believe it to be one of the best books I've ever read, because it not only taught me about a new subject, but it taught me a lot about myself and how to recognize warning signs of trauma's in myself and the ones I love.
I tip my hat to Dr. Pinsky for having the courage to open himself up to the readers and let us see what its like to be him. Simply amazing.
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Format:Hardcover
First, Dr. Drew routeinely states that he reads these reviews when speaking on "Loveline," so you'll notice that this has become, in a way, a messageboard rather than a collection of reviews. Reading the reviews feels more like a day at "Burning Man" than the review section of Amazon.
I read Cracked soon after hearing about it and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Those familiar with Drew from the radio (and many of us listen enough to almost feel that Adam and Drew are our corny uncles) can learn more about what he does when he's not on the air. Most listeners who give "Cracked" a read will find themselves listening to Loveline with more informed ears.
Many reviews see the book as self-absorbed, and you could certainly make this case. Personally, I enjoyed Drew's ability to let us, "see the great OZ," (so often we think of Drs. as people who are godlike, and Drew's inclusion of himself helps 'crack' that myth).
Overall, I found the book a fun quick read, with some interesting ideas about recovery as it often plays out--complicated and often filled with set-backs, but offering the possibility of redemption and a renewed sense of the wonderful mysteries of life. I think most Loveline listeners will enjoy "Cracked," and many who are simply interested in addiction and recovery will find themselves in for a good ride.
That said, there certainly are sections that are quite poorly edited. I don't have perfect grammar myself, but there are parts where it takes three passes over a sentence before you can figure out what was meant.
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