SYKESVILLE - Bob and Deborah Wright dared to confront the substance addiction in their lives and hope to encourage others with the publication of their book, "Dare to Confront!"
The book, just released by MasterMedia Ltd. of New York, is a how-to guide for ordinary people who want to confront loved ones addicted to drugs or alcohol.
"These tools have not only come from our own experience but also from interviews with hundreds of people from coast to coast," said Deborah, who is coordinator of a drug education and prevention training program at Carroll Community College.
The effort, the couple's first published book, is not some fly-by-night moneymaker. The Wrights are well versed in the field of drug prevention and intervention. They are the founders of a treatment center in Sun Valley, Idaho, as well as Recovery Communications, a consulting firm specializing in training programs for prevention, intervention and recovery.
What the couple learned from their experience and from countless interviews was that many people have confronted loved ones on their own, without the help of professionals.
"Most people in this country don't have access to professionals," said Deborah, 41, who grew up in Columbia, Howard County.
Bookshelves are crowded with how-to books by professionals and therapists with lots of obscure facts. The couple, both professional writers, drew upon their own communication skills to present their blueprint in an easy-to-read manner.
"This is the first book done for ordinary people," Deborah said.
"Dare to Confront!" attempts to demystify the nation's drug problem and contains chapters on how to confront different types of personalities, what help is available, how intervention works, comebacks to common arguments, the recovery process and notes to employers.
The Wrights have found that a lot of people fail to confront drug problems or seek help because of fear.
"The fear of the unknown is always a drawback," said Bob, 60, who has served as a drug and alcohol counselor and who describes himself as a recovered alcoholic. "This book leaves no unknown. Everyone who reads this wants to know if there is hope. There is."
The Sykesville couple's method of confrontation involves lots of love and care. Confrontation is a combination of presenting overwhelming evidence of the addiction, knowing how to push the right buttons to motivate the person and issuing an enforceable ultimatum that will get the dependent to seek help, Bob said.
Equally important to achieving success, the couple said, is to recognize an addiction problem early. Waiting until the person hits rock bottom is often too late to provide help, said Bob, who at 35 suffered a stroke, but was not confronted by his doctors about his alcoholism.
"Waiting is probably the reason for killing more people than all the wars we've fought," he said. "Most people die before hitting rock bottom."
The Wrights, who are negotiating with publishers about other books dealing with drug intervention, just completed a two-week, national publicity tour for "Dare to Confront!" -- which is already in its third printing. The response, Deborah said, has been powerful.
"Everybody knows somebody who has a problem," she said. "A lot of people want to talk to others or act to help but don't know how."
Some criticism, however, has come from counselors and therapists who argue that their help is an absolute in overcoming addiction. The couple don't eschew professional help but note not everyone can afford it.
The book was a labor of love for the couple, who have two daughters, Samarah, 6, and Sharolyn, 2.
The Wrights said they have had their share of personal and financial adversity and have received help in unexpected ways.
Said Deborah, "This is one small way of giving back."