If co-founding and running a successful business focused on navigating substance use disorders and other mental health issues for families wasn’t enough to keep Blake E. Cohen busy, he’s also found time to write and publish a bestselling book. Titled, “I Love You More: Short Stories of Addiction, Recovery, and Loss from the Family’s Perspective”, the book is a compilation of three, short and easy-to-read fictional stories that are meant to offer perspective to those families affected by substance use disorders. By providing insight on what it means to be a family member of someone struggling with addiction, Blake is able to shed light on stories that often go untold.
Each of the stories involves different levels of severity and circumstances. The first story follows a family whose loved one is just returning home from treatment, the second one’s loved one cannot resist the urge to use despite dire consequences, and the final story follows a mother who has recently lost her daughter to a fatal overdose.
By tackling this subject through fictional narrative, Blake is able to make the subject more approachable. He felt in his field that there was a lot of information available, but many books were lengthy and data driven, which intimidated many “non-readers” or people not familiar with the field of substance use disorders.
“I made the book short, a little over 100 pages, and created it so that it focuses more on the emotions involved in addiction than the science. I felt compelled to write this book for a number of reasons but the one I will discuss here is that I saw a need for a short and simple book that can help families understand each other better when they are battling this disease. Substance use disorders are extremely divisive to the family system, fueled by guilt, shame, and blame, addiction pits each member of the family against each other,” Blake says.
Blake created each story to be read in less than half an hour, and worked alongside a clinical psychologist to create discussion questions pertaining to each of the three stories. Since its release, he has received countless messages, emails, and letters from different treatment programs, drug courts, and even universities that have used his book in their own curriculums.
“This, to me, is honestly so cool. I never knew if the book would be successful, so to have University students write me emails saying that they were touched by one of the stories in the book and how it helped them process through their own issues at home, I can’t tell you how happy that makes me,” Blake says.
Blake knows his book touches on some really tough subjects. When researching and working on his book, he did many interviews in preparation for the last story, in which a mother loses her daughter to a fatal overdose. In this process, he learned how devastatingly powerful grief can be when you lose a loved one in this way.
“I can only describe these parent’s experiences as teetering on the edge of insanity and reality. This part of doing research for the book was extremely emotional for me,” Blake says.
Despite the struggle that came with the process, Blake knows it was a worthwhile experience and endeavour. In the end, he knows readers will come to understand their addictions and how they affect those around them – all in the hopes that his book will motivate them to change.
“I want family members to learn what the fragility of early recovery is like and how easy it is to succumb to a craving when one feels totally defeated and alone. Most of all, though, I hope this book ignites conversations about addiction; a subject that is too often considered taboo to discuss in the open,” Blake says.