James S. Cusack’s latest book, Trouble Is a Gift (S & J Publishing), tells the powerful story of his personal journey as a recovered alcoholic who humbly asked for help in finding a purpose and meaning in his life, and when his prayer was answered turned his dream into a reality devoted to the care and treatment of countless sick and suffering addicts and alcoholics.
The message in Cusack’s book brings hope and possibility for those struggling with addiction, and comfort to those who have already done battle with their demons.
James Cusack – alcoholic, caregiver and astute businessman – recounts his inner struggles and self-doubt, the stages of his recovery from alcohol addiction, and the moment of clarity when his mission came to light and he saw that with the help of God and a Twelve-Step Program, he could fulfill his purpose.
Cusack’s total candor and complete sincerity throughout the story grabs the reader’s attention from the first page. No sugarcoating here; he tells of his early upbringing in Manhattan and his boyhood as a tough street kid after his family moved to Queens. He shares his difficult times in the U.S. Air Force where he discovered the therapeutic value of discipline – right on through the years of hard-drinking that followed his Honorable Discharge and led to his sobriety.
Focusing on getting sober was all Cusack could do in his early years of recovery. As he grew stronger over time he helped others trying to sober up in makeshift meetings in a back room of a candy store in Queens. A pivotal moment in his life occurred when his prayer to God asking for direction was answered and he was hired to manage Glen Acre Lodge in Upstate, NY, one of the very earliest retreats for alcoholics. He later became part-owner of the lodge and landed his first big account with the New York City Police Department’s Employee Assistance Program; later joined by firemen, sanitation workers and other city employees who needed help.
Jim has also shed light on an issue that was long in the shadows; how the actions of an alcoholic affect their family, and his description of the struggles, fears, pain and emotional rawness that family members experience is heart-wrenching. He was responsible for changes in how addictions were viewed; insisting an addiction is an addiction regardless of whether it’s alcohol, crack, heroin or cocaine.
Jim’s story continues through many twists, turns and fateful encounters, including his first meeting with Sue, now his wife and partner in his life work, and several changes of location before coming upon the resort in the Catskills that became Villa Veritas. In 2011, Jim and Sue established the Villa Veritas Foundation, Inc., to safeguard their mission and carry on a 40-year legacy of helping and caring for the chemically dependent.
A pioneer in the field of chemical dependency treatment, James Cusack offers his heartfelt story as an example to all those brave individuals determined to overcome obstacles and turn liabilities into assets. A recovered alcoholic of 60 years, Jim learned through helping others find sobriety that ‘the gift is in the giving’ and made his service his career. He has received countless honors acknowledging his groundbreaking accomplishments. For more information, please visit: http://www.villaveritas.org.
At age 83, Jim continues to do what every recovered alcoholic with a mission should be doing: Living one day at a time, and planning his next endeavor.