Alberta Sequeira says her latest book is the conclusion of her previous memoirs on alcoholism in her family.
ROCHESTER — As a young bride, author and speaker Alberta Sequeira was blindsided by her husband Richie Lopes’ addiction to alcohol early in their marriage.
“I couldn’t understand what was happening. I didn’t want anyone to know,” said Sequeira.
By keeping his alcoholism and abuse a secret, she said she helped him go deeper and deeper into the disease that eventually claimed his life in 1985.
More heartache followed for Sequeira and her family when her daughter, Lori Cahill, also succumbed to alcoholism in 2006 at age 37.
“I didn’t even think of it as being hereditary,” said Sequeira, who is remarried and lives in Rochester. “I thought Lori would straighten out.”
With her memoirs “Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round” and “Please, God, Not Two,” Sequeira wrote about her family as their loved ones were ravaged by addiction.
Now, with “What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholic and Addict,” Sequeira has returned to the topic of substance abuse, this time giving addicts the opportunity to speak for themselves.
Counselors, family members, friends, and substance abusers wrote about what did and didn’t help them or their loved ones overcome addiction.
Sequeira reached out to recovering alcohol and drug addicts across the country and Canada and asked them to write their stories and what gave them the strength to overcome dependence.
“We really want to reach, not just the substance abusers, but the whole family,” said Sequeira of herself and her co-authors. “I thought if I had a lot of writers…someone will connect with one writer.”
Twenty-four people contributed to the book, some of whom began abusing alcohol at an early age.
An entrepreneur from Alberta, Canada, who used the initials K.B., struggled with substance abuse from age 12.
“The bottom line is that if you think that, even remotely, your consumption or use is a problem, then it is very much a problem,” wrote K.B. “You need to understand the person before you can really help them with their addiction.”
Sequeira hopes the book will help struggling addicts get help and that it will be a resource for counselors and doctors.
In many ways, the book is a tribute to Sequeira’s daughter, Lori Cahill. Like Sequeira, who also has a daughter named Debbie, Cahill was a mother two.
Her addiction went unknown for many years. When it did surface, Cahill didn’t want to talk to anyone about it, even during her stays in rehabilitation centers.
Years of abuse eventually shut down Cahill’s liver. She eventually went into a coma.
Sequeira said the most difficult part of the experience for her was seeing Cahill’s 17-year-old daughter sit by her mother’s bedside just as Cahill had sat by her dying father’s hospital bed when she was 17.
“I will always say, ‘Why couldn’t I have saved her?’” said Sequeira. “Nothing is going to take the empty hole out of my heart.
But she said, “This book is going to help others not become another Lori or Richie.”
To learn more about Sequeira’s books and her work with substance abusers. Visit her website…