Everything I Never Wanted to Be

Everything I Never Wanted to Be

by Dina Kucera

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"Everything I Never Wanted to Be" by Dina Kucera is the true story of a family's battle with alcoholism and drug addiction. Dina's grandparents were alcoholics, her father was an alcoholic, she is an alcoholic and pill addict, and all three of her daughters struggle with alcohol and drug addiction--including her youngest daughter, who started using heroin at age fourteen. Dina's household also includes her husband and his unemployed identical twin; a mother who has Parkinson's Disease; a grandson who has cerebral palsy; and other people who drift in and out of the household depending on their employment situation or rehab status.

On top of all that, Dina is trying to make it as a stand-up comic and author so she can quit her crummy job as a grocery store clerk. Through it all, Dina does her best to hold her family together, keep her faith, and maintain her sense of humor.

As you might imagine, a story filled with alcoholics and drug addicts includes a number of horrific events. But in the end, this is an uplifting story that contains valuable lessons for parents and teens alike, and a strong message about the need to address the epidemic of teen drug addiction in our nation. It's a book that can change behavior and save lives--and make you laugh along the way.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940012380173
Publisher: Dream of Things
Publication date: 08/08/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 216
Sales rank: 331,144
File size: 588 KB

About the Author

Dina Kucera was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After completing a project to collect and identify fifty insects, she graduated from the ninth grade and left school for good. Her first job was a paper route, and she has worked as a maid, bartender, waitress, and grocery store checker. When it comes to awards, she was once nominated for a Girl Scout sugar cookie award, but she never actually received the award because her father decided to stop at a bar instead of going to the award ceremony. Dina waited on the curb outside, repeatedly saying to panhandlers, "Sorry. I don't have any money. I'm seven." Dina is married with three daughters, a stepson, and a grandson. She currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Everything I Never Wanted to Be: A memoir of alcoholism and addiction, faith and family, hope and Humor 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
TrishaLombardi More than 1 year ago
Your book (your story) and your attitude are amazing. I could not put the book down. Riveting, heart breaking and funny all in one. Thank you, Dina! You are an extraordinary writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"An intense and exhausting journey, but well worth the effort." -- Gary Klinga, ForeWord Reviews Like a maelstrom, Everything I Never Wanted to Be pulls the reader into the powerful whirlpool which threatens to suck the lives of a family down the vortex of drug addiction and alcoholism. This is not a story of a caring family member or friend rescuing a loved one from drug abuse. Rather, this is a unique tale of an addict trying to save addicts: Kucera fights desperately to save her three teenage daughters from meth and heroin addiction while battling her own overpowering dependence on alcohol and painkillers. Naturally, the events that unfold are chaotic. This is the author's true story of a tumultuous but inspiring, against-all-odds journey to keep herself and her family afloat. Stuck in a low-paying, thankless job as a grocery store clerk, Kucera is bent on making it as a stand- up comic. Any chance of assuming a normal life, however, seems out of reach. Her daughter, Carly, has gone in and out of drug treatment facilities-landing in intensive care more than once-since she was thirteen. The other daughters lapse in and out of recovery from alcoholism and heroin addiction. But the author never whines about her lot in life. She admits her life is what she made it. It becomes clear that Kucera's amazing ability to laugh at life while in the throes of adversity is what, in fact, keeps her from sinking into utter despair. Her retort for childless people who try to advise her: "Having a dog or a cat or a yak is nothing like having a child. You will never have to pay for drug rehab for your yak." Her humor is matched by her determination. At one point she has a major breakdown and checks herself into a psychiatric ward. But days later she is back home with a renewed sense of purpose: to save her children. Whatever her personal failures-lack of money, clothes, career-Kucera is determined not to fail her children. She has learned a bitter lesson: the drug addict that other people see in her child is not the same person she knows. A persistent and poignant longing for the people her children once were threads throughout the book. Kucera has harsh words about the general lack of access to treatment centers, and she offers stern advice to those seeking help: "Fight, scream, cry, do whatever you ha ve to do to get help for your children." She never gives up hope that her children will change. This read could be overwhelming were it not for the humor and hope running throughout the story. It is an intense and exhausting journey, but well worth the effort.
Brenda_Fulbright More than 1 year ago
What an exceptional book! This is a bravely told story about multigenerational addictions. Somehow the author manages to find humor in life as well to keep the story moving. A well done book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everything I Never Wanted To Be is brave and powerful, educational without being preachy. Dina Kucera's insight and wit are sharp, her story raw and real. Her honesty and humor reminds me of Anne Lamott's writing, but Kucera definitely has her own voice-a voice that cries out to have her pain and challenges heard, yet one that also demonstrates her huge capacity for faith, gratitude, and love of life. Hers is a fresh new voice I feel fortunate to have "heard" and one which will enlighten many to the reality of a family struggling with addiction. The shocking thing is that her book had so many rejections before it landed on Mike O'Mary's desk. I'm glad Mike had the good judgment to take on Dina Kucera's book. What a gem!
Visual_Vamp_Valorie_Hart More than 1 year ago
In this day of whiny chick lit, this book is a breath of fresh air. You would think a story laced with so much heartache, and on a serious subject matter would be a total downer, but Everything I Never Wanted To Be is the exact opposite. It is uplifting, funny, a tear jerker, and suspense filled. It reads like a novel and would make a wonderful movie. It also shows a true lesson is accepting and appreciating what life throws at you. I am also impressed that the author is such an excellent writer with only a ninth grade education under her belt. Her intelligence and craft as a wordsmith is admirable. Don't miss out on this book because Oprah or Ellen haven't discovered it yet. You be the one to discover it, read it, pass it along, and tell all the people you care about to read it too.
bridget3420 More than 1 year ago
Everything I Never Wanted to Be is an emotionally charged, heartfelt work of art that will change your life forever. Dina deserves a round of applause for her courage and willingness to share her story and help others. I would highly, highly recommend this book to any reader.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! It is an easy read and I seriously couldn't put it down it had me so sucked in. I would be crying one minute and then be laughing the next. What a great Author to use such fantastic humor and intertwine it with such a serious subject.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book, this author, nails it. An easy read and a sense of humor very much needed to make it down the road of her life, and is much like others with the same struggles. I will be looking for more books written by Dina, I hope the success of this book brings her to her Devine Order.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author didn't even finished high school but you'd never know it. This book is a true gem and I read it almost straight through without stopping! I'll be reading it again, and soon, it's that good. The subjects, addictions and family, are tough ones and there was a lot of honest and difficult sharing on these but there were also times that I found myself laughing out loud ;) Dina Kucera has a very good sense of humor and you "get it" when she's writing, she writes things most of us think but would never admit. I hope with all my heart that she writes more! To all those publishers who rejected her manuscript initially--you missed out and BIG. This is a book of hope and real life. I highly recommend it!
Madeline-Sharples More than 1 year ago
Dina Kucera’s memoir Everything I Never Wanted To Be grabbed me from page one and never let go until the last word. Dina’s voice is so powerful, clear, and natural that I felt she was talking directly to me in my living room – the same feeling I had while reading Keith Richards’ Life and Patty Smith’s Just Kids. Her story of her own alcoholism, her daughters’ alcoholism and addiction made me cry, wince, laugh, shake my head in disbelief – the emotions just kept coming as I read. And although we come from very different backgrounds – she grew up in a trailer park, left school after ninth grade, worked for years as a grocery store checker – we both ended up writing memoirs about how the bad things in our lives inspired us to live better lives day by day. Dina now works as a stand-up comic, proving the truth of Norman Cousins’ theory of the healing power of laughter. I also relate to her description of her daughter Carly’s heroin addiction, about how it changed her, how it made her a different person piece by piece. I found that bipolar disorder did the same thing to my son, Paul, until I didn’t know him anymore, that he was a different person from the one I raised, and that I wasn’t sure I even loved him anymore. But, as we both discovered, that love never goes away. It’s what keeps us going. Dina shows how all the pain in her heart made her heart stronger and more open to anything coming her way. Everything I Never Wanted To Be is a must-read for parents and teenagers. It is a life-changing experience, and it will inspire you never to give up. (Madeline Sharples, author of Leaving the Hall Light On)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quick and easy to read. Truly enjoyable!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dina is a very string woman and i wish her family the best. I loved this book!
sworm76 More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be very enjoyable to read. It is amazing what this family has been through. I thought Dina Kucera did a really great job of writing it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Review by Jenny Mounfield When this book came up for review my first thought was: Oh yes, another family dealing with addiction. Been there, done that. But as I had nothing better to do, I went along...and read an excerpt. I was hooked. So what makes this memoir so special? As with fiction, it's all about voice: the fairy dust that brings words to life, gives them a heartbeat. Dina has a voice many authors would cheerfully give a limb for, and what's truly amazing is I don't think she has any idea she possesses such a gift. Recovering alcoholic and pill popper, Dina lives in Phoenix with husband John (also a recovering addict--who has a life-threatening heart condition thrown in for good measure), an infirm mother who sees things that aren't there, and at various times one or more of her three grown daughters, all of whom have addictions and various other issues. Add to this her less than glorious job at the local supermarket and what you get is a family dynamic that falls somewhere between, Malcolm in the Middle and Cops. `My customer counts out ninety-six cents in change. "Can I get rid of this?" Of course you can. The express lane is the perfect place to unload your enormous pile of change.' Without a doubt, the Kucera family is a family in crisis. Sadly, the crisis--or rather, crises--aren't anything unusual by today's standards; after all, the world is filled with dysfunctional families. What is unusual is how this family's matriarch has not only come to live with crisis, but bulldoze through it when so many others would have dropped the can and bolted years ago. The reason I single Dina out is that I believe this family would cease to exist without her at its head keeping it together on a daily basis. One of six children--five of whom became addicted to something that wasn't good for them--Dina had a bohemian childhood living in a commune of sorts in Albuquerque New Mexico. As a child she was plagued with anxiety and a host of irrational fears even though there was plenty of genuine danger dogging her life. Her schooling ended with ninth grade and from there it was pretty much all downhill. `When I was about nine, my siblings and I fell out of a moving van at an intersection. My dad didn't notice for about five blocks.' But don't think for one minute this is a tale to inspire pity. Far from it. Neither does Dina come across as a victim. She tells her story with matter of factness and humour, imparting wisdom and insights along the way. This wisdom has come at a huge price and she doesn't underestimate its value. Her story, this getting of wisdom, is about what it means to be human, and what it means to survive despite the odds. By far the most difficult passages to read in Dina's story are those concerning her youngest daughter, Carly's battle with drugs. The title of this book comes from a poem written by Carly at age sixteen: `I have decided that when I get caught doing something by the police I will kill myself right away./I have destroyed my family./I have become everything I never wanted to be.' Everything I Never Wanted to Be will tie your heart in knots, it will have you howling in frustration and it will make you laugh out loud. This story is for everyone, not just for those plagued by addiction. I strongly urge everyone to read Dina's story. For parents in particular, this should be compulsory reading. This book has the power to change lives.
Liaeve on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mildly entertaining, at best. This is not a book that grabs you, nor is it a book that makes you truly become involved with its characters. Sad, because the characters are real people. I think. That's one of the major problems with this book. Not the fact that it was written by a comedienne, with an author that warns you this book is the truth bent and twisted, but the fact that the truth is bent and twisted so far that one really can't tell where to draw the line. It would help if the exaggerations were funny, they aren't. The author also states that readers are intelligent enough to make the distinction between the truth, and what has been stretched. When you stretch the truth that far, it becomes difficult to believe any of the story. Yes bad things happen to good people, and those people have to find a way to triumph. That is not what this book is about. This is a book of bad decisions that continue to get worse, without a resolution. I would feel bad for the author, if I knew what to believe. Definitely not a book I would recommend for a first read, much less a second.
SweetReaderMA on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great book for anyone that has ever had to deal with or have bee alcoholics or addicts. Dina writes about the ugly reality that people face as they grow up with or are alcoholics/addicts themselves. I am the daughter of an alcoholic and I have fought my whole life to make sure I don't go down that same path. I like how Dina doesn't sugar coat the raw feelings she went through in many different situations in her life including how she never stopped loving her children even as they went through some horrible situations in their life.
autumnblues on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The struggle of one woman to keep her family from falling apart while she herself was also falling apart.If today for some reason you believe your life is falling apart, is not fair or you have been dealt a bad hand. Why is this happening to me you may say? If you may think your life is so bad, you feel you just don't know how you will get through the next day. I promise if you read "Everything I Never Wanted To Be," your outlook on life will change in an instant. Suddenly your life won't feel so bad and it might even seem like a slice of heaven. Dina Kucera has lived through hell most of her life and no hell is more real than watching your children and family struggle through addiction or mental illness, while feeling overwhelmed and helpless as you try to care for those members and try to be everything to everyone, until you yourself are run down into the ground. There is so much in this book I couldn't even begin to explain what Kucera has gone through. What I liked most about Dina's book is that it is raw and real, she did not sugar coat anything and honestly told her story completely from her heart and did not hold anything back. Was she probably embarrassed for herself, her family, her children when thinking about how the whole world would react once they read her story? Did she have doubts about writing this memoir, probably so? But I am more than sure that the weight Dina has been caring on her shoulders has gotten a heck of a lot lighter after writing this book and it will bring her much healing. I read this book without judgement and I still place no blame on anyone after finishing it. None of us are given a book at birth that tells us how life will be, how it should be or how we should behave. If you were blessed with good parents that raised you well, then you have been truly blessed. If you have not been born or have no family or friends that struggle with addiction or mental illness whether it be alcoholism, ADHD, autism, anxiety or any genetic or inherited abnormalities or metabolic disorders, then you are truly special. But the truth is the majority of people on this planet are not and the choices most of us make are mostly made due to how we feel at the moment, while we blindly walk our way through life, again unless we have good role models to teach us otherwise. Dina is a very strong person, stronger than she will ever know and I am sure if she continues to ask God for help for her family things will continue to improve. For God is all around us but we need to reach out and ask for help, for he wants us to reach out. Sometimes in my own personal life I have noticed God will not interfere unless I have reached out to him, sometimes in desperation, but I have asked for help. As we all have free will, and are free to pray and ask for that help. Dina and I share one thing in common and that is the stress of caring for an elderly mother in her home. Maybe Dina has never given this a thought, but Dina deserves a huge reward just for stepping up to the plate to care for her elderly mom who is also suffering Parkinson's disease. While working in the medical field I have seen so many cases of abused and neglected elderly. Most of these elderly had children who just abandoned them and never even acknowledged their existence. My life has not been roses either and I can surely write my own book as I myself have struggled through life while raising my own children, my first marriage was to an addict. We are all on this planet to grow spiritually, it just comes easier to some more than others, but no growth comes without God. After reading this memoir I will be sending my prayers to Dina and that Dina receives the healing her and her family so desperately needs.
LiterateHousewife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Everything I Never Wanted to Be is a look inside the cycle of substance abuse. Everywhere Ms. Kucera turned, there were adults using alcohol or pills to cope with life. It's no wonder that she ended up dropping out of high school after the 9th grade. There wasn't a parent responsible enough to counsel against it. From there, she ended up divorced with two daughters by the age of 19. She herself started using alcohol to get through each day. In fact, she wasn't sober until her youngest daughter was hitting adolescence. As her second husband abused marijuana until about the same time. Is there any surprise that all three of Ms. Kucera's daughters became substance abusers as well? In fact, what she found was that her children got involved with even more destructive drugs at an earlier age.She discusses how addicts can delude themselves into thinking they don't have a problem because they don't fall into X or Y category. She discusses the difficulty in raising children with dependencies. She had to work through a lot of blame because she found that blaming herself got no one anywhere. Most importantly, her humor was everywhere. Without that, she would probably be locked up and the book, which probably would never have seen the light of day, would have been much too morose.Ms. Kucera could have used a good editor. My main issue with the book was that she tended to wander in her storytelling. For example, from out of nowhere she mentions how she and her family spoiled her youngest brother as much as they could because they were poor. Just as quickly she's on to something else. I found myself in Sr. Irene Mary's shoes, mumbling about the benefits of using index cards to organize your thoughts. For example, I am sure that this fact about her youngest brother is important to her, but was it important to her story?As much as her tales of parenting drug addicts scared the death out of me, I am glad that I read it. While not perfect, Dina Kucera's story of her life surrounded by drug and alcohol abuse was quite compelling. I read it in just a day. She shows that it's never too late to make a change in your life for the better. I hope that she is proud of how she's turning her life and her family around. Her humor and her offbeat look at faith and God worked well for me. I wish her and her family health and happiness in the future. Here's hoping she never has to spend another hour working behind a checkout counter again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She is truely honest about herself and life and even though she has had it hard she never forgets what matters most, family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So poorly written & dull, please don't waste your $!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book if you have ever had an addiction or have a friend or family member that has an addiction. I appreciated that fact that Dina Kucera had to use some comedy in her writing, to be able to tell the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hope the author's family can continue to find peace and humor. This is a bravely honest foray into life with addiction, helping those who also face these issues to not feel so alone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anyone whose life has been affected by addiction will touched. Excellent. Thank you for being brave enough to write it.