A moving memoir of a love affair with an addict, weaving personal reckoning with psychology and history to grapple with addiction, codependency and our appetite for obsessive love.
'The disease he has is addiction,' Nina Renata Aron writes of her boyfriend. 'The disease I have is loving him.'
Their affair is dramatic, urgent - an intoxicating antidote to the lonely days of early motherhood. But soon, K starts using again. Even as his addiction deepens, she stays, thinking she can save him. It's a familiar pattern, developed in an adolescence marred by family trauma - how can she break it? If she leaves, has she failed?
In this unflinching memoir, Aron shows the devastating effect of addiction on loved ones. She also untangles the messy ties between her own history of enabling, society's expectations of womanhood and our ideas of love. She cracks open the feminised phenomenon of co-dependency, tracing its development from the formation of Al-Anon to recent research in the psychology of addiction, and asks uncomfortable questions about when help becomes harm, and when we choose to leave.
Nina Renata Aron is a writer and editor living in Oakland, California. Growing up, she experienced her sister's heroin addiction, and later the crack addiction of her mother's boyfriend, before she found herself in a long-term relationship with an addict herself. As well as having read all the books on addiction and co-dependency, Nina has multiple degrees in Russian History. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, the New Republic, the Los Angeles Review of Books and elsewhere.
Paperback - B format
Illness & addiction: social aspects