On the surface, Nick deSpoelberch had it all: a job as dean of students at a prestigious Jesuit high school in Colorado with commensurate salary, a lovely wife, and two young sons. It looked like he was living the American Dream. At a graduation ceremony in 2013, though, he fled as his body quaked, only finding relief when he could purchase his next heroin fix.
In A Second Act in Life, deSpoelberch shares—with honest humility—how he hit rock bottom, which involved an arrest for heroin possession, a destroyed career, the embarrassment of facing his family and friends with what he’d done, and detoxing in a psych unit.
Although it was challenging, deSpoelberch built a new life for himself and the family who ultimately stuck with him. He became a counselor who assists others who feel like they’ve hit rock bottom. He helps them rise, transcend the suffering, and create a second act in life.
Here, deSpoelberch offers insights and advice on how to rebound, including: determine what you want your new life to look like; recognize personal limits; face your fears; ignore the inner voice that says you’re a fraud; seek mental health help; change your perceptions; and embrace spirituality in meaningful ways.
The author writes in a clear, straightforward fashion, offering suggestions that go beyond dealing with addiction so that people seeking to leave a dysfunctional career, abusive relationship, or other harmful lifestyle can also benefit. He asks questions to make readers more self-aware and includes space for writing down answers.
This book can be a useful guide for an individual or group looking to reinvent their lives without judgement and, because it invites readers to consider what kind of spirituality resonates with them, it isn’t limited to religious readers. It could also be used to define values to avoid hitting the lows that deSpoelberg came to know all too well.
Also available as an ebook.