Weaving together his own and others’ deeply felt experiences, Rev. Nathan Detering addresses the common questions we ask when we love someone with addiction and offers support to anyone struggling.

Product Code: 6614
ISBN: 9781558968981
Format: Paperback / softback
Publisher: Skinner House Books
Pages: 120
Published Date: 12/01/2022
Availability:In stock
Price: $14.00

The October 2023 Justice and Spirit: Unitarian Universalist Book Club selection.

When Rev. Nathan Detering shared the story of his brother’s death from a drug overdose with the members of his congregation, many of them shared their own addiction stories with him. Realizing the healing power of sharing stories and questions in community, Rev. Detering conducted interviews to identify and address the common questions that haunt us when we love someone with addiction. In conversations both within and outside his community, he heard the palpable need for those struggling with loved one’s addictions to know they are not alone.

Weaving together his own and others’ deeply felt experiences of addiction, Why Can’t I Fix It? responds to sometimes desperate questions such as: Why is this happening? What can you do? What can’t you do? How do you care for yourself and the rest of your family? Can you trust your community to support you and your family? While the answers to these questions aren’t easily found, Why Can’t I Fix It? encourages those of us who are struggling with our loved one’s addictions to practice self-care and self-compassion, understand the cultural context for emotional responses and expectations of ourselves and others, and reach out for support.

Bookmark and Share


1. Why Is This Happening?

2. The Differences Racial Identity Makes

3. What Can You Do?

4. What Can’t You Do?

5. What about You?

6. What about the Rest of Your Family?

7. Come out of Hiding, Come into Community: A Family Testimony


Recovery and Support Programs


“Not long after Nick died, a friend shared with me a line from Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms: ‘The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places.’ Addiction has broken so many families within our congregations and communities. It certainly broke mine. This book is about reckoning with that breakage, and then leaning into the work of helping the families in our communities get stronger at our broken places. I am glad that my Unitarian Universalist theology and spiritual practices can help us. In our congregation we light our chalice, we share our prayers of sorrow and joy, we come together in community to help us hold hope, we practice being the people the world and families need, we seek to establish the kingdom of Heaven here in this life instead of pinning our hopes on some other life, and we affirm that no one is beyond the reach of God’s love. Whether you are a member of my faith, of another, or of none, I hope that you too will find healing and hope in these pages.”

Be the first to submit a review on this product!
Review and Rate this Item

You might also be interested in: