A Whole Lot of Medicine – A memoir of addiction & recovery

  Demystifying the Disease of Addiction 

A searing memoir of an alcoholic’s arduous transformation from a hard-core addict to a sober one, spurred by the neuroscience of addiction, how it validates 12-Step recovery, and the love of his kids.


Praise for A Whole Lot of Medicine

A Whole Lot of Medicine is a breakthrough in addiction literature. Steve Castleman’s story is more than one individual’s brave journey through the hell of addiction. Castleman’s quest to understand himself and the disease that plagues tens of millions of Americans lead him to a new understanding of the science of addiction and how it validates 12-Step recovery. A Whole Lot of Medicine can help others who are afflicted by this disease—and those who love them.”

David Sheff, best-selling author of Beautiful Boy and Clean


“No one has ever made more sense of the actual science of this maddening disease. Castleman has a brilliant mind and is one hell of a writer. All addicts or those whose lives have been affected by addiction must read this book.” 

Kristen Johnston, actress and author of Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster




Download all sample chapters for free as a PDF


In the end, drug addicts either get sober or die. Why do some addicts get sober while others die? One reason may be a bottom, an emotional episode so traumatic it pierces the dense fog of denial for a moment of clarity that crystallizes the life-or-death choice late-stage addicts face and impels them to quit, something unimaginable until then. I had that moment. It saved my life… read more

The Price You Pay: Hangover vs. Withdrawal; the Definition of Addiction

Nearly everyone who’s tried alcohol has contracted what doctors call veisalgia. It can include headache, dehydration, nausea, diarrhea, muscle aches, loss of appetite, anxiety, fatigue and a poor sense of well-being. Most people call it a hangover… read more

Blinded By Science: The Addictive Process; Tolerance

Why are drugs so alluring that people spend billions of dollars on them every year, risking addiction, imprisonment and death? Why do addicts act so irrationally? Why did my drinking keep escalating, though I knew in the rational part of my mind it was killing me? The answer lies in the way drugs affect crucial neural systems at the molecular and cellular level. A mini-primer on how drugs impact the brain and alter its function helps explain… read more

Amnesia: Relapse

Rehab stressed we should learn from relapses so we didn’t repeat them. I did learn. I learned there were no vacations from sobriety. That unaddressed anger was toxic. That I couldn’t stop drinking once I started up again and I’d return to the depths of alcoholism and incomprehensible demoralization with shocking speed after the first drink, several days at most. What I didn’t learn was why returning to addict insanity was so instinctive. Why was it so easy for the rational mind to be overpowered by the addict brain?… read more


A Whole Lot of Medicine

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