As an innocent child, Dawn Kirby struggles to survive sexual abuse by a mentally ill, drug-addicted father. She develops problems with anxiety, depression, and concentration due to the abuse, and her parents take her to a psychiatrist who prescribes some unhelpful psychiatric medications. Memories of sexual abuse haunt Dawn throughout her teenage years, and she begins abusing herself to achieve a sense of control over her body.
After her father engages in an elaborate suicide to avoid going to jail for drug possession, Dawn falls deeper into insanity. With great desperation, she continues seeing a psychiatrist and trying dozens of unhelpful medications, which cause some dangerous and rather bizarre side effects. Growing frustrated with the unhelpful medications, she begins regularly using alcohol and street drugs, believing them to be a better treatment for her emotional problems. However, when she turns violent in an alcoholic blackout, Dawna realizes she must make the change of a lifetime and get sober.
By communicating in a support group and forming spiritual beliefs, Dawn gains the courage to endure a long, agonizing, medical detox from all her psychiatric medications, despite her doctor’s advice. After detoxing, she tackles her problems at their source with the help of a trauma specialist. Through her recovery, Dawn discovers the power to recreate her life, but her newfound strength is put to the test when she develops an unexplained illness that takes her back to the pain of being molested and prompts her to start drinking liquor again. Dawn must find the courage to question much of what medical professionals have told her and trust her natural ability to heal.
Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes uplifting, Break Free: Overcoming Trauma, Addiction, and Pharmaceutical Dependency empowers readers to confront deep childhood wounds, trust their instincts, and consider unconventional paths of recovery. This captivating yet down-to-earth memoir is a must read for every open-minded trauma survivor.