Sunday, June 6, 2010

Addict at 10, by Derek Steele

Addict at Ten: How I Overcame Addiction, Poverty, and Homelessness to Become a Millionaire by 35
Note: The full title of this book is Addict at 10: How I Overcame Addiction, Poverty, and Homelessness to Become a Millionaire by 35.

Derek Steele details a childhood where he was virtually invisible to his parents.  The first time he got drunk was at age 8, and his parents thought it funny.  Seeing that this got their attention, he continued drinking, then moving on to drugs, and by the time he was 10, he was addicted to marijuana, and moving on to harder substances.  By age 16, he was a full blown addict, and was dealing drugs.  He eventually dropped out of school, and ended up homeless, living in his truck.  At the age of 20, after 10 years of using drugs and alcohol daily, Derek had a moment of truth, and realized this was not the life he wanted.  He checked into rehab, and devoted all his energy to turning his life around.  His journey took him through the hard work of sober living, marriage, business ventures, financial success, fatherhood, and eventually he became a millionaire.  And it was all because of his faith in God to help him stay sober.

Derek's story is nothing short of amazing, and immeasurably inspirational.  He stresses throughout the book that he got where he got, both the highs and the lows, because of his choices, his actions, and God's will.  Derek is the type of person who pours all of his essence into whatever he is pursuing, and is determined to succeed.  When he was pursuing a life of drugs, his entire life was just that.  But when he began pursuing a life of sobriety and success, he handed his life over to God, and dedicated himself to hard work for positive purposes.  I love that Derek does not engage in pop psychology self help psycho babble.  He does not have a magic bullet, or a secret to his success.  He had faith, he worked hard, and he became successful.  And it was not a completely smooth path.  There were problems along the way, with his relationships, with failed businesses.  He just never gave up.  I think so many people want an easy fix, and may pick this book up trying to find one, and I am happy to say they will not find it.

While it broke my heart to read the details of Derek's sad childhood, I loved reading about his decision to enter rehab and begin sober living.  I would love to see more writing from Derek in more detail about his 90 days in rehab and one year in the halfway house, because I know there are stories to be told and lessons to be learned from that time.  But I do realize in the overall scheme of this book, only a certain about of time could be devoted to that.  I do hope he considers writing another book just about that experience.

This book is a fantastic tool for anyone struggling with any problem really.  It is a great example of someone having faith, even when they are unsure.  Derek was not sure he fully believed in God, and yet he trusted, and doors began to open.  Throughout the course of the book, Derek goes through a lot of spiritual development, as well as the 12 steps of sobriety.  I think this book is a valuable resource for anyone struggling with addiction, or who has a loved one struggling with addiction.  I also think it is fantastic for parents to read, to be aware of what dangers are out there.  However, pretty much everyone could benefit from reading this book, as there is so much positivity in it, and good lessons that can be applied to any type of struggle one is enduring.