SALEM, N.H. — Eric Spofford met Piers Kaniuka in 2004, when Spofford was in the depths of his heroin addiction. Kaniuka eventually helped Spofford get sober through a 12-step program.
Today, both are in a very different positions. Spofford, who grew up in Salem, is the founder and CEO of Granite Recovery Centers, and Kaniuka is the director of spiritual life. Granite Recovery Centers have several locations in New Hampshire, including Salem and Derry.
Spofford said he wreaked a lot of havoc in town while he was addicted to opioids. He opened a Granite Recovery facility in Salem, in part, to make amends to the town.
Now the Salem center is hosting an official launch party for the book Spofford co-authored with Kaniuka called “Real People, Real Recovery: Overcoming Addiction in Modern America,” from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 13 at 6 Manor Parkway.
The book is currently being pre-sold on Amazon for $16.34, and it will be on sale in bookstores on June 11.
Though the book begins with the stories of both Spofford's and Kaniuka's recoveries, “the book isn’t meant to be about us," Spofford said.
"It’s qualifying why you should listen to guys like us," he said.
It’s not an academic book, according to Spofford. He hopes that the conversational book opens up the dialogue about people in recovery.
“It was interesting to have a venue to put everything I believe in, and am passionate about, into one place," Spofford said. "I tried a lot of other medical-assisted treatment, but it was the 12 steps that worked for me.”
Spofford and Kaniuka write about their experiences trying to get clean, failing, trying again, failing more, and then trying again — eventually finding and keeping to a 12-step program.
“When I got clean, I was in a world of hurt,” wrote Kaniuka in his recovery chapter. “I had no tools to deal with the aftermath of active addiction — the frustration, anger and heartbreak. Now I understood that recovery was about learning to deal with the demons that had driven me to drink and do drugs in the first place.”
The book tells the story of Spofford and Kaniuka’s relationship, as Kaniuka helped Spofford find recovery, and their falling out while Spofford started Granite Recovery Centers. It also details the theory behind their recovery, delving into the 12-step program.
"Real People, Real Recovery" discusses the differences between sobriety and recovery. It also talks about the problems at the center of addiction.
One of the last chapters of the book tells the stories of seven other people who found recovery in the 12-steps program.
The book “is for anyone concerned with addiction,” Spofford said.
It could be those seeking recovery, people in recovery, family members, friends that could benefit from reading, he added.
He hopes that "Real People, Real Recovery" provides hope, especially when the “good” or even mundane stories are often eclipsed by the negative stories.
“We (recovered addicts) do exist, we are representatives of the thousands (or) millions of people who have gotten better from addiction,” Spofford said.
For people in recovery the book has a call to action — build a tribe to help fight addiction and its root causes.
“We are asking people to take up the issues (around addiction) on their own,” he said. “Stop waiting for the troops to come, we got to take it upon ourselves.”