The East Side of Addiction

A story of hope, recovery and redemption.

The East Side of Addiction is a bibliographic tale that takes you through the drug addiction that swept through our beloved hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts. Lake Ave Recovery’s Dr. James DiReda and Jack Maroney, along with close friend Henry Grosse, paint a gritty and real picture of what growing up in the predominately immigrant working class area, known as the East Side, was like. What started off as using to cope with personal issues of abandonment or wanting to fit in, later turned into a life of crime and danger, all while falling deeper and deeper into addiction.

This story of a group of close-knit friends from “The Street” takes the readers on a wild ride fit for a Martin Scorsese film. The East Side of Addiction shares a real story of how drugs brought a community to its knees, and only through the power of friendship, recovery and redemption were they able to overcome their struggles.

Truly an example of reclamation and recovery, Dr. James DiReda and Jack Maroney have gone from the depths of addiction to a life dedicated to helping those touched by the disease.

The East Side of Addiction speaks to its readers on multiple levels. With the current opioid crisis crippling the country, addiction is not just a part of history.

One reader went on to say this about the book: “I believe that if this was required reading in 7th grade the incredible numbers of overdoses might be averted. The writing comes from the hearts of these men who have turned their lives around. The same men have gone on to be powers of example on those very streets. These stories are real and playing themselves out in all our communities…perhaps these pages shed insight into where addiction begins.”

From the East Side to Albania

When given an invitation to bring their knowledge and experience to Albania, a country burdened with drug use, especially among the country’s youth, Jack and James jumped at the opportunity to take their passion for recovery overseas. Equipped with an arsenal of personal stories and NE LOJE ME DJALLIN, the Albanian version of The East Side of Addiction, they set off on an unknown journey and ending up making an impact larger than they ever expected. What started out as a trip to learn about the Albanian culture and gain a deeper understanding on the depth of addiction the country was facing, suddenly turned into an in-depth interview on a nationally televised talk show and headline stories of the two Americans travels in several of the country’s most popular news outlets.

Upon arriving in Albania, Jack and James felt the best way to get an appropriate understanding of the toll that drugs and alcohol was taking on the country was to fully immerse themselves in the culture and time honored traditions of the indigenous population. They spent several days making face-to-face contact with several groups and engaging in multiple conversations with members of the community in their natural environment.

The Albanian treatment community had adopted the mantra of “support, don’t punish”. A mantra that Jack and James admired as a way of lifting the individual up rather than persecuting them. They shared the universal philosophy that success could be better achieved through education and an open dialogue, not avoidance and denial.

Their work in Albania landed them many accolades from the communities they visited and on the front page of a number of Albanian national newspapers and news channels. However, the impact the Albanian people made on Jack and James felt far greater. The level of compassion and empathy healthcare workers and drug treatment providers had in their own communities is something they strive to emulate in their work today.

The East Side of Addiction in the Media: