It's a personal story about loss and new beginnings.

Michele Gerber, chair of the Benton Franklin Recovery Coalition, has written a book about her son's struggles with a drug addiction that turned deadly.

Now she hopes her story helps people learn the things she had to learn the hard way.

"So many things that can be done to fight back this epidemic that's engulfing our communities. And there are many things that we expect the police to do everything. They can't do everything. But there are many things the average citizen can do, either in school, in the workplace, in their homes and just in everyday life." Gerber said.

Gerber says families can help with one's recovery by laying down rules and boundaries everyone can abide by. She calls it the hawk and the dove continuum.

"So, some family members are going to be the hawks, and they're going to say, they want to be very tough, and others are going to be the dove and say, well, it's just a passing phase, just ignore it, it'll be fine and everything in between. So, a family is going to have conflict, and they have to agree on what they're going to do together." Gerber said.

Gerber's book "Witness to Addiction" also details the science behind addiction. She says it's a physical disease, disrupting circuits in the brain.

"And once they're disrupted, the person is not going to be amenable to logic to consequences. They're just not going to respond in the same way that you and I might. We get a consequence; we change our behavior. Well, that's not going to happen because this is a brain disease. And so, it has to be approached in different ways than just saying, just stop or just undo that. Or look at the mess you made. That's not going to work because the brain isn't functioning." Gerber said.

Gerber and the recovery coalition has been instrumental in efforts to build a Behavioral Health Recovery Center on Bruneau Avenue. The project, still under development, will provide behavioral health services that are immediately available to individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis, a substance use disorder crisis or both.

Gerber will host three book signings over the next couple months. The first one is coming up December 3rd at Richland Public Library at 3pm. The second event is scheduled for December 9th at Wisdom Bookstore in Kennewick at 1pm. The third event is planned for January 6th at Barnes and Noble Columbia Center Mall at noon.

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