Laura McKowen (We Are the Luckiest) has amassed a following through her honest reflections on sobriety and in her work with The Luckiest Club (TLC), an online sobriety support program. In Push Off from Here, McKowen focuses on nine interconnected principles that can help anyone on their sobriety journey, regardless of where they are in the process. McKowen's accessible and interactive book allows readers--from those questioning if sobriety is right for them to those with years of sober living--to learn from the experiences of others and, guided by questions throughout, to reflect.
Though she draws upon the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), McKowen also notes its limitations. Whereas AA can be rigid, McKowen argues, she offers an alternative that allows room for individual beliefs. The nine essential truths work together even as they seem to conflict (e.g., "1. It Is Not Your Fault" and "2. It Is Your Responsibility") and McKowen's compassionate voice insists on her readers' dignity and worth. Another powerful truth is "6. You Can't Do It Alone," where McKowen acknowledges the importance of community: "I've come to see the fact of my dependence on others as ultimately beautiful, edifying, and even strangely confirming of my inimitable power. Another paradox: It is only through reaching for another that we can discover the fullness of who we are." McKowen's book focuses on freedom from alcohol, but its salient truths, easily resonant in the "everything else" of life, can be applied much more broadly. --Sara Beth West, freelance reviewer and librarian