Craig is one of our readers who is all the way from Mexico. Aside from being pleased to have a reader all the way from Mexico, we were also immediately in love with the book cover image he sent us!

You may notice that in our little team here, it is very rare for me to do the reviews, but we have a deal that we only review things that are in our line of interest. This is a book about mental health, and mental health is very dear to me. I am not going into details, but I have seen the impact on lives close to me when mental health has failed, and over the years I have had my battles to keep picking myself up. I live by the simple adage that I concentrate only on today whenever possible (and I am a historian!), as only today is able to make tomorrow better. We are always pleased to work with musicians who support mental health charities and raise awareness of aspects of how to work through these pressures, Olivia Lynn would be one example of a musician who speaks out about trauma and mental health in young people; there are many more.

Surviving the Impossible, published by Better Days Recovery Press, is the story of a Boston punk who has lived through his addictions and tribulations to become a successful speaker, councillor, and writer. He has a number of books, such as “Better Days,” but this review only refers to “Surviving the Impossible.” This is a DIY guide to surviving the bad times and self-assessment, presented with poetry, worksheets, and some punk attitude. I know the value of poetry. We have the poetry page in the magazine because, for two of us in the magazine (myself and Lorraine), we find that writing poetry connects us to feelings that we couldn’t otherwise express. I wrote one for my dad, who passed away, and it helped me sort out my grief and feel like I was leaving something for him, even if he never read it. And people do ask us why we have a poetry page when we are a music magazine, but music, lyrics, and poetry all surely go hand-in-hand. As John Lennon once sang, “Whatever Gets You Through the Night,” sometimes it is all about getting through to the next morning.

Ultimately, the test for this book is whether it helps. First of all, he is a writer who directly uses his own experiences in the poetry and the questions he asks of you as the reader. Of course, it encourages introspection, but in a safe way that is between you and the writer. There is no councillor nodding sagely, “I understand” (they often don’t), and walking away with your money. But Craig has been there where the listener often hasn’t, and for any of us who hold our hands out and ask God for the next life as we have had enough of this one, the words matter.

“I love you, and I love me. I wrote this poem instead of drinking a glass of bleach.” (from “You’re Not That Important”)

In “So What?” comes the message that no one is going to save you; you have to save yourself. Ultimately, that is true. But beyond this statement come the questions for us, the reader, and they are framed within positivity. For example, I may have been through certain things, but look at me now. Craig tells me that makes me a warrior and says,

“Are you willing to accept that you have power and that you can use it to make yourself better?”

It tells me that I have to face the demons, and a simple message that probably connects to a punk philosophy (my wording now, not Craig’s) is that I don’t need the approval of people I don’t know and don’t care about. If you don’t approve, who asked you to? I have not given you permission to judge me. That is a strength I found inside myself, and I think that is a punk philosophy that stems from long ago. Craig takes on the role of your guide.


“I know you were hurt. I knew it was terrible. I know it is unfair. You do have a choice, as do I; thus, my answer is, yes, I absolutely have had enough of being miserable…

(from “This is Your Captain Speaking”)

Am I the captain of my own ship? Not entirely? Whose fault is that? Largely mine! 

The book is there to ask those questions and make the reader think. It will challenge you, and it’s not a novel with a story. However, it does have an upbeat feel to it; it’s about resetting your mental space and moving on.

“I prefer people whose lives burned to the ground. I prefer the crazies; because we’re the best people on Earth. Did they call you crazy? I hope so. I call you beautiful…”

(from “ A Self-Love Poem”)

I like the poems because they move with the passion of the thought. It is such a subjective thing poetry, but when people say something about the poetry in the magazine, I always listen. Writing a poem called “You,” for example was extremely difficult as it belonged in another personal space few see.

So this book is immensely personal, and it is immensely healing.

It reaches out to the reader in distress and holds them for a moment.

It asks questions that take us into ourselves in a positive way.

Whatever gets you through the night! Be it punk, poetry, or meditation, just pick yourself up again! For each of us, it’s different. Me? Music helped, and being Christian, I love that story of Jesus and the woman who was to be stoned for adultery. He wouldn’t judge her, I’ve always seen him as a bit of a punk in his day too! Another thing that helped me was a long time ago, when a certain girl looked at me and told me she loved me so so much. You can live with that till you die, in the darkest of times. Of course, in my case I am also so lucky to have a wonderful son, so I am not allowed to fall, he needs me to pick myself up again.

I recommend this book for those who need it, for those who struggle and search.

The most important question in this book is,

“For what reason do you think that you survived everything that’s ever happened to you?”

Absolutely. Answer that question and use it to get you through the night (and days ahead).

You can get the book directly using the following link.

By Mark C. Chambers

We are very pleased you are here, and we hope you enjoyed the review. Stick around and check out what else we do, we have features, reviews, poetry, and quizzes. Our magazine has free content without annoying pop-ups as you read. Help us keep it that way, look at our Amazon shops and the exclusive merchandise (all designs are ours), as it really helps us!

We have two reviewers at the moment: Lorraine and Stevie. We could do with one more (anywhere in the world!). It’s voluntary but good fun if you love music! Drop a line on the contact page here and you could join the team – if you would like to work on some features and do some interviews, that is possible too!

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