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  • Published: 5 October 2021
  • ISBN: 9781586422691
  • Imprint: Steerforth Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $26.99

Unstitched

My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal



What if society looked at addiction without judgement?

Unstitched shares the powerful story of one librarian’s quest to understand the impact of addiction fed by stigma and inevitable secrecy.

The opioid epidemic has hit people in communities large and small and across all socio-economic classes. What should each of us know about it, and do about it?

Unstitched moves readers from feelings of helplessness and blame into empathy, ultimately helping friends, family, and community members separate the disease of addiction from the person underneath.

A stranger, rumored to be a heroin addict, repeatedly breaks into the small-town library Brett Ann Stanciu runs. After she tries to get law enforcement to take meaningful action against him—elementary school children and young parents with babies frequent the place after all—he dies by suicide. When she realizes how little she knows about opioid misuse, she sets out on a mission, seeking insight from others, such as people in recovery, treatment providers, the town police chief, and Vermont's US attorney.

Stanciu’s journey leads to compassionate generosity, renewed faith, and ultimately a measure of personal redemption as she realizes she has a role to play in helping the people of her community stitch themselves back together.

  • Published: 5 October 2021
  • ISBN: 9781586422691
  • Imprint: Steerforth Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $26.99

Praise for Unstitched

"The opioid crisis darts jagged all around us, if we but open our eyes to it.  Unstitched deftly lays out the groundwork for the crisis but also probes deeply into the personal, bringing the reader face to face with stories of tragedy and loss, courage and great strength as well as just plain luck, good and bad. Brett Ann Stanciu is brutally honest about the jaws of addiction, candid and clear-eyed on a subject often avoided by so many. In our small state the notion of community holds us together at all levels, as, in fact, community flourishes most places. Within lies perhaps the greatest hope to meet this dire need. For many of us, Unstitched serves not only as a much-needed introduction but a vital resource to be returned to, over and again." — Jeffrey Lent, author of In the Fall and Before We Sleep "Powerful! An exploration through education of substance misuse disorder and its impact on small town idyllic Vermont. The personal redemption and recovery story of the writer is beautifully interwoven with insights into stigma, opioid misuse and finally recovery through purpose, community and connection. Beautifully crafted and a must read for anyone affected by substance misuse disorder." —  Fawn D. Montanye, Executive Director Vermont Recovery Network   "Unstitched is riveting, compassionate, topical, and one of the best books I've read this year. Stanciu, in beautiful prose, takes on the impact of the opioid epidemic on a small Vermont town with the gusto and suspense of a fine mystery novel, and the empathy that only a truly fine observer of the human condition could muster. Highly recommended." —   Thomas Christopher Greene, author of The Perfect Liar   “The shift in scale throughout Unstitched — from a tiny Vermont library, from one person’s annoyance with one addict’s break-ins, to the global scope of the opioid epidemic — is gut-wrenching. In a memoir that is generous and capacious at the same time that it is intimate, difficult, and finely wrought, readers will be carried by this deftly woven investigation into addiction in a small town. I didn’t want to read this book, given my own family’s loss, and then I couldn’t put it down. Unstitched is the book about addiction that everyone needs to read — if we are ever to understand what needs to be done.” — Kerrin McCadden, author of Keep This To Yourself   "Unstitched should be mandatory reading. It is a heartbreaking, raw, tender and revelatory look at addiction and its pervasive grip on ourselves, our families, our communities, and our rural towns. This book undid me as I read — taking me into the heart of suffering, revealing my own habits, biases and fears — and then it gathered those pieces together and braided them into something new: a vision of hope, connection, possibility and healing for us all." —   Robin MacArthur, author of Heart Spring Mountain and Half Wild   “While Unstitched begins as a true crime memoir set in an idyllic small Vermont town, soon it explodes into an exploration about ‘the ugliness of poverty, the ravages of drug addiction’ as Stanciu studies our nation’s and her own addiction crises. Stanciu shines a light on the things we don’t want to see: drug and alcohol abuse spread throughout our hometowns, including her own. Stanciu’s beautiful light, and stunning writing, transforms those who are considered ‘once a junkie, always a junkie,’ into our friends and neighbors — where ‘recovery is possible’ and ‘we are alike.’&rdquo

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