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The Lost Years: Surviving a Mother and Daughter's Worst Nightmare

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A child caught in the horror of alcohol and drug addition. A mother helplessly standing by unable to save her. The Lost Years is the real life story of just such a mother and child, each giving their first-hand accounts of the years lost to addiction and despair. Kristina, the second of four children, tells how she turns to alcohol for comfort when she is thirteen. She giv A child caught in the horror of alcohol and drug addition. A mother helplessly standing by unable to save her. The Lost Years is the real life story of just such a mother and child, each giving their first-hand accounts of the years lost to addiction and despair. Kristina, the second of four children, tells how she turns to alcohol for comfort when she is thirteen. She gives a brutally honest description of her descent into addiction, prostitution, burglary and violent rape until her near death on the floor of a homeless shelter completely alone at the age of twenty-one. Adding a heart-wrenching counterpart to the story, Kristina's mother, Connie, tells of her powerlessness to help her addicted daughter, the break-up of her unhappy marriage and how she comes to terms with her own co-dependency. She is also faced with the worst choice a mother has to make, to close the door on Kristina, sending her onto the streets in order to save herself and protect her other children. Then follows the remarkable story of Kristina's recovery as she lives through rehab, her mother's tough love and the years of acclimating herself to living a normal life.


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A child caught in the horror of alcohol and drug addition. A mother helplessly standing by unable to save her. The Lost Years is the real life story of just such a mother and child, each giving their first-hand accounts of the years lost to addiction and despair. Kristina, the second of four children, tells how she turns to alcohol for comfort when she is thirteen. She giv A child caught in the horror of alcohol and drug addition. A mother helplessly standing by unable to save her. The Lost Years is the real life story of just such a mother and child, each giving their first-hand accounts of the years lost to addiction and despair. Kristina, the second of four children, tells how she turns to alcohol for comfort when she is thirteen. She gives a brutally honest description of her descent into addiction, prostitution, burglary and violent rape until her near death on the floor of a homeless shelter completely alone at the age of twenty-one. Adding a heart-wrenching counterpart to the story, Kristina's mother, Connie, tells of her powerlessness to help her addicted daughter, the break-up of her unhappy marriage and how she comes to terms with her own co-dependency. She is also faced with the worst choice a mother has to make, to close the door on Kristina, sending her onto the streets in order to save herself and protect her other children. Then follows the remarkable story of Kristina's recovery as she lives through rehab, her mother's tough love and the years of acclimating herself to living a normal life.

30 review for The Lost Years: Surviving a Mother and Daughter's Worst Nightmare

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    I COULDN'T STOP CRYING I couldn't even see the last page, my eyes were flooded with tears. It's absolutely shocking, powerful, and uplifting. And made me want to call my mother and tell her how much I love her. I COULDN'T STOP CRYING I couldn't even see the last page, my eyes were flooded with tears. It's absolutely shocking, powerful, and uplifting. And made me want to call my mother and tell her how much I love her.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Eva Marie

    Wow - I don't know what to say. My life paralelled Kristina's in so many ways. I admire her and her Mothers bravery. It had to be so hard to come out with all of these truths. I don't think Kristina expanded on everything - I truly believe there were some parts left out and normally this would bother me. It didn't here, maybe because she was so truthful. The writing here is so simple yet so beautiful - the emotion comes shining through which makes the simple wording so much more meaningful. My y Wow - I don't know what to say. My life paralelled Kristina's in so many ways. I admire her and her Mothers bravery. It had to be so hard to come out with all of these truths. I don't think Kristina expanded on everything - I truly believe there were some parts left out and normally this would bother me. It didn't here, maybe because she was so truthful. The writing here is so simple yet so beautiful - the emotion comes shining through which makes the simple wording so much more meaningful. My younger sister read this before me and I really hope I can get my Mom to read it. Recovery, for the addict and the family, is a life-long process and I really think my Mom may be able to come away with something from The Lost Years. I was inspired reading this and that happens.... well, never. I woke up and started making a list of places in my area that cater to addicts and I want to start volunteering. And I want to go back to school. I made myself believe that I couldn't do it and this book brought it back that I can do it. I love the cover with Kristina looking out at the reader and Constance looking at Kristina. Both of their eyes are filled with so much. They're both beautiful, strong women. Here is a sampling of Kristina's thoughts from page 132: I wondered what my friends in school would say if they could see me now. I used to be lean and strong. I was beautiful once, and sweet, funny, and shy. What would they think now if they could see me lying here on this bed, high on crack, starving, shivering, and waiting to be fucked by a crack-addicted blind man? There are many memoirs out there by reovered/recovering addicts. Some are false and everyone knows it - A Million Little Pieces and some are truly awesome and real - In My Skin: A Memoir. Not many really can get through to someone. I believe that was Kristina and Constance's goal here. Not to get the name of the company Kristina started out, not to make money or get known. I honestly think they wanted to tell their story to heal and to hopefully help others heal. That also comes through in the writing and it makes it meaningful - that's something a lot of memoirs "like this" lack. I'll be recommending this book for a long time to come. Don't miss it - whether you're an addict, recovering, have a family member addicted/recovering or just like memoirs, this is one not to miss.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    One of the most amazing books of this type that I've read because of its brutal honesty. A mother and daughter tell the story, in alternating chapters, of the daughter's descent into alcoholism and drug addiction as a teenager and her subsequent estrangement from her family. She escaped from rehab numerous times, she traded sex for drugs and she ultimately became homeless before overcoming her addictions when she was well into her twenties. The daughter, Kristin, holds nothing back in sharing th One of the most amazing books of this type that I've read because of its brutal honesty. A mother and daughter tell the story, in alternating chapters, of the daughter's descent into alcoholism and drug addiction as a teenager and her subsequent estrangement from her family. She escaped from rehab numerous times, she traded sex for drugs and she ultimately became homeless before overcoming her addictions when she was well into her twenties. The daughter, Kristin, holds nothing back in sharing the worst details of her experiences; in a similarly honest fashion, her mother makes no attempts to gloss over the mistakes she may have made along the way or the weaknesses in their family that could have contributed to Kristin's problems. I would highly recommend this book to anyone dealing with an addict in his or her family. It is a painful and emotional read, but hearing this story from the viewpoints of the two people who lived through it gave me a deeper understanding of how the addict thinks when s/he is using while validating some of the decisions my husband and I have made in dealing with family members with addiction problems.

  4. 5 out of 5

    T. Rose

    A very important book! This book was written from the perspectives of a mother and daughter about their experiences with addiction. I appreciate both points of view because I am the mother of an addicted daughter. I am better educated and informed because this mother and daughter shared their life stories. I can relate well to the mother's story, but, Kristina's story enlightened me to what my daughter may have been experiencing and why she has behaved in ways I have not understood before reading A very important book! This book was written from the perspectives of a mother and daughter about their experiences with addiction. I appreciate both points of view because I am the mother of an addicted daughter. I am better educated and informed because this mother and daughter shared their life stories. I can relate well to the mother's story, but, Kristina's story enlightened me to what my daughter may have been experiencing and why she has behaved in ways I have not understood before reading this book. I, too, use Al-Anon and therapy to live my life and found how to have better days in healthier ways for over 20 years now of estrangement from my daughter. I never give up hope, but I am firmly planted in reality. This was a powerful read for me!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christi

    Couldn't put this book down! Very scary how instantly her addiction started controlling her life. Kristina's story starts out like most curious and rebellious teens. Unfortunately, she inherited an extremely aggressive alcoholic trait that manifested her mistakes and nearly killed her. She's come along way and has an amazing story to tell! Couldn't put this book down! Very scary how instantly her addiction started controlling her life. Kristina's story starts out like most curious and rebellious teens. Unfortunately, she inherited an extremely aggressive alcoholic trait that manifested her mistakes and nearly killed her. She's come along way and has an amazing story to tell!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    An excellent and compelling book about addiction from the perspective of a mother and a daughter. An AMAZING read!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Burklin

    A must read for those parents whom have children suffering from addiction. Hats off to the mother for being so strong and her daughter for being so candid.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kerrie Rodgerson

    Actually, 4 1/2 stars. Very raw, meaningful and moving.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Biggs

    Honest and brutal story of how addiction doesn’t only affect the person using, but everyone in their life. The authors share how their family life was a breeding ground for addiction, and the changes they had to make in order to confront those issues and heal from them. The strength of Kristina’s mother in not getting pulled into codependency was remarkable. I really liked how the book was as much about Kristina’s dark past as it was her recovery and how much time it took, and the steps she had Honest and brutal story of how addiction doesn’t only affect the person using, but everyone in their life. The authors share how their family life was a breeding ground for addiction, and the changes they had to make in order to confront those issues and heal from them. The strength of Kristina’s mother in not getting pulled into codependency was remarkable. I really liked how the book was as much about Kristina’s dark past as it was her recovery and how much time it took, and the steps she had to take in order to fully heal. Addiction recovery isn’t just the cessation of the drug of choice, it’s changing ones entire life and confronting the reasons that lead to the addiction in the first place. I can see how this book would be very helpful to those seeking treatment, in recovery, or those who love them.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Pretsch

    I picked this up at one of my favorite bookstores and it took me until after brining it home that this was Kristina Wandzilak from the shows Intervention, Addicted and Co-dependent. I've watched many of her shows and have been reading more about drug abuse since teaching high school and having multiple friends succumb to drug related overdoses and illnesses. Kristina's story is very powerful and I loved that the book alternated between her and her mother's perspective throughout the book, so rea I picked this up at one of my favorite bookstores and it took me until after brining it home that this was Kristina Wandzilak from the shows Intervention, Addicted and Co-dependent. I've watched many of her shows and have been reading more about drug abuse since teaching high school and having multiple friends succumb to drug related overdoses and illnesses. Kristina's story is very powerful and I loved that the book alternated between her and her mother's perspective throughout the book, so readers were able to see what both Kristina and her mother were thinking/doing during the same periods of time. Fascinating and hopeful, this memoir shows how a family can repair itself and how sometimes the 10th or 15th chance is the hand someone may take to get back on their feet.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Realistic of life with a daughter with SUD (Substance Use Disorder). I have two. It’s never ending and would we love to have a happy ending. In the depths of a relapse right now and we are heartbroken. I think this book gave me a much needed pep talk as we start another round of heartache and frustration. My daughter that is in prison (sober and there bc of her addiction ) told me that I absolutely must read this book immediately as soon as she started reading it. I recommend this to anyone will Realistic of life with a daughter with SUD (Substance Use Disorder). I have two. It’s never ending and would we love to have a happy ending. In the depths of a relapse right now and we are heartbroken. I think this book gave me a much needed pep talk as we start another round of heartache and frustration. My daughter that is in prison (sober and there bc of her addiction ) told me that I absolutely must read this book immediately as soon as she started reading it. I recommend this to anyone willing to read it. You will learn a lot and particularly about how families live with this disease.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Teresa Clarke

    Heart breaking, insightful and hopeful. A beautiful story about recovery This story outlines the journey many parents and their addicted child go through while surviving addition. I would recommend this book to everybody who experienced lived with or loved someone with an addiction.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Holly Yuhnke

    I came across Addicted recently and rewatched a few episodes. When I heard Kristina had a book out I ordered it that day and so glad I did. Her story is one of the most beautiful I have heard. Her strength gave me new strength. She was definitely put on this earth to help others heal from they’re struggles and it’s the most beautiful calling ❤️

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ann Cromie

    Required reading for anyone living with an addict or alcoholic Not the best written book but brutally honest about where addiction can take family. Kristina's portion was poignant, Mom's was a bit stifled. Required reading for anyone living with an addict or alcoholic Not the best written book but brutally honest about where addiction can take family. Kristina's portion was poignant, Mom's was a bit stifled.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Angela Nicol

    Just beautiful. And so satisfying in the last few chapters...even better that Kristina is now all over the internet as a very successful interventionist, drug and alcohol councillor. Loved this book, finished it ina few hours too

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    The Lost Years I read this in one sitting. I have never been filled with more hope. Addiction is a horrible disease. This recollection of raw events shines a new light on recovery.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Agustina

    I enjoyed this book. It's pretty remarkable that she was able to turn her life around after hitting so low. I have to admit that she is a better person that me because I don't think I could have forgiven the man who raped me or even helped the guy that got her to prostitute herself for drugs. I enjoyed this book. It's pretty remarkable that she was able to turn her life around after hitting so low. I have to admit that she is a better person that me because I don't think I could have forgiven the man who raped me or even helped the guy that got her to prostitute herself for drugs.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Caryn

    A very honest, unflinching, and frightening look into addiction itself and how it affects families, told between the addict’s and her mother’s POV. Had a similar vibe to Beautiful Boy and was easy to flip through the pages. Heartbreaking, yet hopeful.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emily Noyes

    This was such an amazing book about addiction and recovery. It had me on a roller coaster of emotions and I really connected with the characters. I'm so happy that my friend recommended this book to me, it's definitely one of my favorites! This was such an amazing book about addiction and recovery. It had me on a roller coaster of emotions and I really connected with the characters. I'm so happy that my friend recommended this book to me, it's definitely one of my favorites!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    Kristina being my favorite TV interventionist, I wanted to know her story. While watching one of her shows, one of the recovering addicts mentioned that she was reading her book. I had to get it! Glad I did. So raw and honest.

  21. 5 out of 5

    J-Lo Aimee A

    Very compelling story but she needs a better editor. Her editor did not know how to appropriately use apostrophes for possessives only and was using apostrophes to indicate plural. This is one of my pet peeves.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Grace G

    I loved this book so much! Got into her show recently and wanted to learn more about her. A heart wrenching and fascinating read. Becoming increasingly interested in addiction as I realize so many of my future clients will likely in some way or another have a connection to addiction.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ferrill Gibbs

    The Lost Years is a compelling, sad, and sometimes even brutal addiction novel, with a satisfying, resolving final act.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Aryn Bailey

    The emotional rollercoaster this book takes you on is unlike any other. Kristina's story is so honest and shows such bravery allowing readers to learn to gain an insight view of Kristina's struggles with addiction and also how it effects each member of the family through the viewpoint of Kristina's Mom. The emotional rollercoaster this book takes you on is unlike any other. Kristina's story is so honest and shows such bravery allowing readers to learn to gain an insight view of Kristina's struggles with addiction and also how it effects each member of the family through the viewpoint of Kristina's Mom.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Veronica Winternheimer

    Great Story I would recommend this book to any family dealing with addictions. Setting boundaries. Very touching story of love and honesty. Becoming a hu!Mann.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Timm

    A story that is so truthful, it hurts. At first the story was slow going, but I kept on reading. It became more raw and honest, the more I read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    This book was incredible and I couldn't put it down. Such a powerful story. This book was incredible and I couldn't put it down. Such a powerful story.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Laura Copley

    Wonderful inspiring story. Read it in 2 days.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marcella Maddox

    Great Read! I love to read inspiring about people who came from tough pasts. I read this book so quickly and enjoyed it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Angela Diaz-Ergish

    Great book. Couldn't put it down. Great book. Couldn't put it down.

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