Title: Vienna’s Will
Author: Mark McCullough
author, Mark McCullough, shares his inspirational journey through chronic
depression and addiction in VIENNA’S WILL
struggling for years to control the negative thoughts that he attempted to
quiet with drugs and alcohol, Mark’s life changes when he finds the
unconditional love of a little girl and her mother.
April of 1992, Mark McCullough’s distraught parents delivered their
twenty-five-year-old son to Butner Federal Prison after he committed a bank
robbery. The court had arranged for the prison to complete a psychiatric
evaluation of the troubled young man. Mark had intended for the crime to result
in his death.
author explores a lifetime battle with depression that was a result of sexual
abuse by men he trusted and cared for as a child. At ten years old, Mark was
obsessed with playing baseball and greatly admired his coach, who treated him
like a son. The young boy’s first experience with betrayal came one afternoon
when the coach molested him. Mark held the secret of the abuse inside, and it
fed his depression for years to come. Later, when Mark was attending a Catholic
high school, a priest befriended him and soon revealed his true intentions for
forming the relationship.
anguish of abuse and depression that Mark suffered drove him deeper into a life
of drug and alcohol dependency. When Mark moved to Boston to attend college, he
dropped out of school after attending one class. Thereafter, Mark spent his
time seeking his next high and a place to sleep at night. He sold drugs to
support his habit, until one day a friend persuaded him to return home before
his addiction killed him.
returning home, the drug use continued and Mark became suicidal. The plan he
conceived that was supposed to lead to his death landed him in prison instead.
During the time that Mark spent in prison, he faced anxiety and violence, but
he also found companionship, as well as support from the psychiatrist
responsible for his evaluation.
continued to struggle with his addiction and depression for several years after
his release from prison. Then he met the woman who would become his wife and
her then four-year-old daughter, Vienna. Mark credits them with
changing his life. The love of his daughter, Vienna, pulled Mark from the
darkness and renewed his gratitude for his life and his family.
decision to share his story of addiction, abuse, and mental illness came after
many years of keeping secrets from his family and loved ones. “Some of the experiences I speak of in the book, some of
the things I thought would stay hidden within me forever, needed to be spoken
about and explained to people in my life who care about me and love me.”
The author hopes that VIENNA’S
WILL will shed light on sexual abuse, addiction, and depression and help
other people to face these issues in their lives and in the lives of others.
Mark says, “So much of what happens in the book has, in some way, affected a
great deal of people in our society, but they feel resistant to express it or
discuss it. Whether it’s them personally, a friend, a family member, or even a
coworker, if the book inspires them to help themselves or others, it will have
served its true purpose.”
In VIENNA’S WILL,
Mark reveals that the love and support of his family, especially from his
daughter, Vienna, has
been a powerful catalyst in his recovery and his decision to embrace life after
so many years of enduring emotional hardship. The author states that he often “smiles
at the thought of a child and her unconditional love being strong enough to
overcome all the events of the past.”