"Burwell has opened a fragile window into her life, allowing us to have a look in."
— Jonathan Barlow, MSW
— Jonathan Barlow, MSW
In 2010, D’Anne Burwell never would have suspected she’d become an award-winning author, and would have done anything to avoid the turmoil leading to such recognition.
Raised in Northern California, D’Anne’s first career was as a teacher. She holds a Master’s in Education and worked for a decade in Portland, Oregon to develop and implement English in the Workplace programs at international high-tech companies.
Since marrying and moving back to the Bay Area, D’Anne’s primary career has been motherhood. Her life changed forever when her firstborn swerved onto the path of addiction, and for eight tumultuous years she has submerged herself in advocating for her son and researching his disease—a wrenching doctorate by fire.
D'Anne's memoir is the winner of the 2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award in Memoir, the 2016 Eric Hoffer First Horizon Award (best debut author), and the 2015 USA Best Book Award in Addiction & Recovery.
D’Anne organized the first screening in Northern California of The Anonymous People. Her radio commentaries have appeared on the Perspectives series on KQED, the San Francisco NPR station. She mentors parents struggling with addicted children, speaks nationally, and works to organize community events aimed at raising awareness of the drug crisis.
The mother of two young adults, D’Anne Burwell lives with her husband in Silicon Valley. She welcomes your messages at DDBurwell78@gmail.com.
A Message from D'Anne
When I first learned my college-aged son was addicted to OxyContin, then heroin, I felt sick with fear. I wanted to crawl under my covers, pull the sheets over my head, and not get out of bed. I suffered firsthand the dread, agony, anxiety and heartache that families endure. Researching addiction and attending support groups helped me make sense of the chaos. Months turned into years. Slowly, I loosened my grip on my son’s crisis, shifting my focus to myself, which allowed him the space to take responsibility for his own life.
I’ve written Saving Jake to share hard-won knowledge. I’ve learned I can’t save my son. I’ve learned that powerful love can overcome broken trust. I want readers to know how an entire family can be consumed, that addiction can make us prisoners, that it will grow stronger if we don’t continually attend to it. Prescription-drug abuse screams from the headlines and continues to grow into a full-blown heroin crisis. Families everywhere are trying to figure this out on their own. Families need to know they are not alone; there is hope. I've written my story, honestly and truthfully, to help illuminate the challenges posed to a person with this lifelong disease and to offer hope.
Treatment works, though it may take multiple attempts. The current fragmented health-care system is leaving too many out in the cold. There are not enough beds. There is too much judgment. Every community needs a good local rehab. I hope the public, in particular policymakers, come to understand that the current skyrocketing epidemic of addiction is a health-care crisis. Insurance companies should pay for addiction treatment covered on a policy like any disease, without a fight. In the months and years ahead, I will continue to advocate by speaking, writing, and organizing community events to help families better understand addiction because my greatest hope is for families of addicts and alcoholics to receive lasting support.