An empowering account of a lost daughter’s fight for her identity and sobriety—and her mission to help others. The only child of a doting Ethiopian father and a strong-willed African American mother, Fawna Asfaw felt her life shatter when she lost both her parents to illness. As grief pulled her into a downward spiral of addiction and shame, Fawna had to learn to harness her power and rebuild her life with a new perspective that changed everything.
Recovery coach Asfaw debuts with a heartbreaking account of her struggle with alcohol addiction after the deaths of her parents. Asfaw, the only child of loving if domineering parents, learned at a young age, “I was supposed to put ‘family and humility first.’ ” Her “insulated and codependent” home unraveled after her father became sick with leukemia and her mother with diabetes. As her friends prepared for college, Asfaw became her parents’ caretaker and bottled up her pain: “Avoidance and denial had served me quite well.” The deaths of her parents plunged her into a depression driven by feelings of guilt that she had failed them, causing her to turn to alcohol and withdraw from the world. After a doctor told Asfaw she had two weeks to live if she didn’t stop drinking, her friends enrolled her in a recovery program and then took her to an extended-care facility where she made the first arduous steps toward sobriety and rebuilding her life. The author’s analysis of how the “family trait of denial” wreaked havoc on her powerfully captures the way familial scars get passed down from generation to generation. Not for the faint of heart, this warts-and-all portrait of addiction is worth checking out. (Self-published)