John Bradshaw Remembered

Best-selling author John Bradshaw remembered for changing the conversation about addiction

John Bradshaw remembered for changing the conversation about addiction

John Bradshaw
Services for John Bradshaw are set for Saturday. Courtesy photo

New York Times bestselling author and self-help icon John Bradshaw passed away on Sunday, May 8. The cause of death was heart failure. Bradshaw was 82.

The Houston-born counselor and Emmy-nominated television personality developed a national following for his frank discussion about substance abuse and his difficult childhood in which he was abandoned by an alcoholic father. His powerful motivational skills were first noticed while he was speaking at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. He rose to prominence in the 1970s and '80s as the host of the PBS series, Bradshaw On: The Family. He was later nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host for his series Bradshaw On: Homecoming

He authored seven books, including three New York Times best sellers, including Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child, Healing the Shame That Binds You and Creating Love. His books have sold over 12.5 million copies and are published in 42 different languages. 

Bradshaw, who is widely credited with popularizing the terms "inner child" and "dysfunctional family," often said “recovery begins with embracing our pain and taking the risk to share it with others.” 

Bradshaw studied for the Roman Catholic priesthood, earning a B.A. degree in Sacred Theology and an M.A. degree in philosophy from the University of Toronto in 1963. Six years later he returned to Houston, doing graduate work in psychology and religion at Rice University, which led to his career as a counselor and public speaker in the area of addiction.

Bradshaw is survived by his wife, Karen Mabray Bradshaw, his children, John Bradshaw Jr. and Ariel Harper Bradshaw, and two step-children Brad Isaacs and Brenda Isaacs Booth.

His family will receive guests Friday, May 13, from 5 - 8 pm, at Bradshaw-Carter Funeral Home, 1734 West Alabama St. The funeral service will be held at 10 am Saturday, May 14,  at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, 2450 River Oaks Blvd. A reception will follow in Sumners Hall. The burial will follow at Earthman's Resthaven, 13102 North Freeway in Houston.