Book Review: The Trauma Heart


All of addiction first starts with a trigger.  For most people it is a trauma that shatters them to their core, according to world renowned addiction treatment professional and now author Judy Crane.  These traumas are almost impossible to imagine, let alone deal with, and this subject as lived by both the author and her patients makes for a particularly compelling read.

Judy Crane’s raw honesty and willingness to share some of the most personal aspects of her life, serve as an inspiration to anyone who has had the misfortune of experiencing extreme, tragic circumstances.

I have been shot and stabbed and had many black eyes and broken bones.  I have been arrested multiple times and I have been held physically and emotionally hostage.  I have spent three weeks in a psychiatric hospital with methamphetamine psychosis and a shattered elbow in a cast —

In my wildest dreams…I never would have expected to find recovery at forty-two, complete my master’s degree at age fifty, become licensed as a therapist at age fifty-two and start a treatment center at age fifty-seven, sell the treatment center at sixty-seven and found another treatment center at seventy-one.

Her book also adeptly explores the traumas of some of her patients, adding depth and perspective to this weighty topic.  These tales express sadness and despair as we learn more about each unique character’s own journey of hurt and trauma induced self-destruction, searching for a way to escape the pain.  Addiction.  The topics range from childhood sexual abuse to PTSD and the addictions run the gamut.  She also focuses on all aspects of addiction from secret-keeping to relapse, and from overdose to recovery.  Ms. Crane brings a powerful message to her story and those of others, as someone who struggled and not only found a way out, but discovered how to thrive.  She’s a living testament to the expression “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Some of the events or situations leading to trauma might include:

  • Abandonment and neglect
  • Emotional, physical, spiritual and sexual abuse
  • Accidents, fires, natural disasters, random acts of violence, financial concerns, events that can involve too much, too little or sudden loss
  • Terrorism, constant and repetitive viewing of terror events on TV or social media
  • Divorce, adoption, bullying, domestic violence, multiple moves, death or loss of pets
  • Medical or mental health issues
  • Death or suicide of family members
  • Grief issues
  • Veterans, war, or having a loved one experience war or combat
  • Intergenerational trauma
  • In utero trauma

The best part of The Trauma Heart is that it is more than just a story about reinforcing the hope for a brighter tomorrow.  Ms. Crane uses all of the lessons learned by herself and others as teaching tools, by including helpful thoughts and questions at the end of each chapter.  She encourages growth not only through her words, but by her method as well.

The Trauma Heart is available at and provides a special kind of therapeutic entertainment we could all use more of in recovery.


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