Reader’s Comments

Is Anybody There?

Memoir of a “Functional Alcoholic”

EricHofferFinalistA Finalist for the prestigious 2016 Eric Hoffer Award for Independent Publishers!!

I knew George back in Olney…at Overbrook. We lost touch for many years. My sister connected us again in recent months.  I was not at all surprised that George was a success…after all, he was charming, witty, sincere, faith-filled and affable. What I did not see coming was the alcoholic part! IS ANYBODY THERE? was a stunning read.
I have and will recommend this book to friends, colleagues and students…alcoholic and sober alike. I recently used it in class as a modern day parallel to Dante’s INFERNO… his descent into hell, his fear of the journey, the monster that blocked his path and the need for his guide. Dante’s guide was Virgil; George has several names for his guides. But those “guides” made both journeys made possible.
George, I am looking forward to you next book and thanks for this read.                                   James Doherty (High School Teacher in Maryland)     

Having worked with addicts for many years, I was always intrigued by the process by which alcoholics get and stay sober, especially “functional” alcoholics, who I considered the most difficult clients to work with. This book shed a lot of light on that process and it was also a GREAT read. Mr. DeFrehn thank you for confirming the answer I always knew but could not define, namely, Grace.                                                                                                 Jane Walker (Social Worker-Counselor)

This easy reading, humorous yet eye-opening story of a successful Christian who fell hostage to a terrible disease was very compelling! As a very infrequent social drinker, I didn’t read DeFrehn’s book as many did to relate to the alcoholism. I was just curious of how someone so successful could lead a life that was also so destructive. It certainly opened my eyes to the difficulties that many wonderful people struggle with in their lives! I couldn’t put the book down! I was so intrigued to read the next chapter!                     Kim Slonaker (Boyertown Y)

A compelling read. I loved making the journey with the author as he explored a serious issue with humor and humanity.                                                                           Patricia P. Silverio (Healthcare)

George,I enjoy reading your newsletter every month!I have not read your book,but certainly intend to buy it because alcoholism is very much present in some of my closest family members.Hopefully after I read it,I can convince them to do so!Please say a prayer for that to happen!Praise GOD for helping you attain and remain a recovered alcoholic!       T. B. Smith (Entrepreneur)

This book is excellent. The author has written it in a way that makes you feel you are sitting over a cup of coffee with him as he tells you the story – very conversational, interesting, fun, funny, poignant…and peppered with salty expressions that make you laugh out loud. Here’s what I really want to say about it: it doesn’t matter if you are a recovering alcoholic…suspect you are an alcoholic…or think you know someone who is. This book is so much more. It has insights that everyone needs to read. So often we think it’s obvious why a person abuses alcohol or drugs – or even food – but very often we think, “Why does that person drink? He/She has everything!” Everyone has a story…a past…a beginning. This book helps the reader to see the larger picture. Maybe it will help you or someone you know struggling with alcohol abuse.                                                                           Marie Murphy Duess, Author of Holding Silk, Ashley Hall, Tears of the Willow, Colonial Inns and Taverns of Bucks County, and The Delaware Canal.


“I’m HOOKED!!  The letters you wrote to your father and mother were THE MOST POWERFUL feelings I have ever encountered in any book.” In the chapter describing your Philly friends at the neighborhood reunion, I felt like I was at the gathering, I was saying, “I’ve been in this scene”. The Liver Enzymes made me laugh then cry… way too close to home. That’s what I call success on your part!  My ‘aha’ moment came during FEELINGS of FEAR & REJECTION… when you wrote, “I simply checked out…alcohol helped me to not feel… not feeling was the answer to the problems I had to face”…. this really gave me reason to ponder and gave me desire to self-assess.                                                            Eileen McLaughlin (MSW-Bereavement Coordinator)

“Your message will clearly and thoroughly reach the active alcoholic, both functional and otherwise.  Both the tragedy of alcoholism and your humor definitely resonate.  I found myself holding my breath as I could feel the downward slide from the very beginning.  Not ever having been an alcoholic, I can only conjecture that a so-called functional alcoholic will have his/her wall of rationalizations knocked apart brick-by-brick as she/he reads your no bullshit account.”

“Family and friends of alcoholics as well as the general public will identify with the scope and breadth of addiction’s imprisonment and its damage.  In fact, those of us who tend to have less lethal addictions will recognize the characteristics of addiction in ourselves.  Yours will be a book that, hopefully, finds that one alcoholic, that one addict, who will experience an epiphany.”

Karen Crowell (Assistant Dean, Rider University)

“I thoroughly loved it —I really cried HARD reading your letter to your dad. I owe my mother one of those — we haven’t spoken for 19 months now.   So, if you reach 1 or 100 people you’ve reached them!  And possibly brought them to sobriety!! You also show your break-through in relationships and how much more enriched your life is without drinking– that’s very hard to believe for MANY people. Not just for some!”
Rosalia Milone  (Yoga Instructor)

“I just finished reading your book this morning…amazing!  I’ve never read anything so detailed, revealing and personal.  You really give the reader a realistic walk in your shoes as you traveled on your journey to sobriety.

When it arrives on bookstore shelves, it will be an approachable lifeline for all those in need…all in all, I walk away knowing now that I knew very little of this disease, although I have friends and family afflicted.  Your honest account of your experience is both educational and thought provoking to the reader.”                                                           George Regan (Elementary School Teacher)

“Your writing style is reader friendly and your personal anecdotes are amusing and emotionally engaging.   Poignant, funny, instructive and it connects. It is genuine and reflects the personal work that you have done.   You writing style is insightful and entertaining and your strong sense of faith is evident and genuine. If you are thinking of writing other books, and I hope that you do, you might read Nelson DeMille; NY Times best-selling author that likes to write historically based novels. He has a sarcastic, NY wit similar to yours.”                                                                                                                    Anthony Pisa, PhD (Psychologist) 

“This is truly a Master Piece.  I feel like I am right there with you experiencing every detail, the highs, the lows, the good times, the bad times, and all the in-between times.  You describe everything in such an interesting, witty fashion and are somber at the right moments  Your colorful, heart-warming, down to earth writing style hits home as you expose your every feeling.  You are also providing very informative data concerning alcohol that most, and I mean most, people don’t know or just plain ignore, especially, all the consequences of that “good old feeling.”  Everywhere you look alcohol is big business. The dollars spent on advertising alone are enormous.  It’s all about money! But the true cost is the devastation and havoc it can cause to the alcoholic and their loved ones.”                                                                                                                                                Judy Walmsley (Friend & Colleague)

“I think this book is more than just about alcoholism but about how we all struggle to stay on the correct path and we stray and fall at times. We all can relate to this book not just alcoholics.  Everyone lives with bad choices and so this is for all audiences. This subject matter captures the attention of all that have fallen and struggled within their lives.”             Robert Zingaro (AT&T Technical Manager)

“Your book manuscript is moving, eye-opening, forthright, troubling, raw and honestly personal, powerful, interesting, informative, engaging, caring, and full of hope. I was very touched to learn about your life and of course had no idea of the ups and downs, trials and tribulations you had experienced.  My heart was truly moved.  I’m sure your story will resonate with many folks.  I learned quite a bit about the disease of alcoholism of which I had no idea.  You paint a vivid picture that will capture many readers and steer certain people in the right direction towards the path of recovery.”                                                           Catherine Ard (Actress, Musician and Vocalist)




4 Responses to Reader’s Comments

  1. Georgia says:

    George,I enjoy reading your newsletter every month!I have not read your book,but certainly intend to buy it because alcoholism is very much present in some of my closest family members.Hopefully after I read it,I can convince them to do so!Please say a prayer for that to happen!Praise GOD for helping you attain and remain a recovered alcoholic!

    • George D says:

      Thanks for you kind words. You and your family will be in my prayers. These disease touches all people and their families…of this I am convinced. Glad you’re reading my Newsletter…keep living “one day at a time”…it’s all we really have. Peace in all you do. Love and prayers. George

  2. Jay says:

    Knapp’s book was one of the first addiction memoirs I read. I loved it and thus became addicted to the genre. I just finished your book and identified with just about everything you wrote. You did an excellent job. Unlike you, however, I struggle to stay sober. You’re book inspires me. Thanks!

    • George D says:

      Hang in their buddy…truly a day at a time and sometimes “5 minutes” at a time.
      The guys in the AA meeting where I got sober, kept asking me…”Do you think you can do without a drink/drug until tomorrow’s meetings? I kept saying yes…There is no magic in sobriety. It’s a daily grind. Just don’t drink today under any and all circumstances.
      Keep in touch. You’ll be in my prayers.

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