Monday, May 7, 2018

Library Review - My Fair Junkie by Amy Dresner



My Fair Junkie:
A Memoir of Getting Dirty and Staying Clean

Amy Dresner
September 2017
Hatchette Book Group

Source: Public Library

Golden Lines

I am put in the back of a cop car.  The seat is hard plastic. They make them like that for easy cleanup in case arrestees puke, bleed, or shit themselves.  I have never been in the back of a cop car.  My bony ass is chafing on the rigid seat.  My hands are cuffed so tightly that I can't lean back so I am pitched forward.  I stare into the glass divider.  And then I start crying hysterically. (3)

Well, Brendan's "moderate" drinking on naltrexone included putting away fifteen beers in a few hours while gambling on the latest game and having sext with me, so I was none too impressed.  And now he was dead. (78)

Granted, I probably wasn't the epitome of ladylike recovery.  But what does this say about the medical community and their grossly prejudicial view of alcoholics?  It's not like I went in there shit-faced and demanded a bunch of Class 2 drugs. (154)

Next thing I knew, I was in the ER, being forced to choke down liquid charcoal.  I was blasted.  The ER, however, is not the place to enjoy a buzz.  As medical personnel worked to save me from a lethal overdose, I cracked Jew jokes and did bad impersonations of old Southern black men.  (194)

Amazon Summary

Growing up in Beverly Hills, Amy Dresner had it all: a top-notch private school education, the most expensive summer camps, and even a weekly clothing allowance. But at 24, she started dabbling in meth in San Francisco and unleashed a fiendish addiction monster. Soon, if you could snort it, smoke it, or have sex with, she did.

Smart and charming, with Daddy's money to fall back on, she sort of managed to keep it all together. But on Christmas Eve 2011 all of that changed when, high on Oxycontin, she stupidly "brandished" a bread knife on her husband and was promptly arrested for "felony domestic violence with a deadly weapon."

Within months, she found herself in the psych ward--and then penniless, divorced, and looking at 240 hours of court-ordered community service. For two years, assigned to a Hollywood Boulevard "chain gang," she swept up syringes (and worse) as she bounced from rehabs to halfway houses, all while struggling with sobriety, sex addiction, and starting over in her forties.

My Thoughts

Amy's story shocked me. 
But Amy's story didn't shock me in a "Oh my gosh, how could anybody ever be so lost" way. 
As a fellow recovering addict, I got it. 

Even though my experiences are different, and my rock bottom much different, I could still get it. 
I could see it, smell it, understand it.
 Even as non-understandable as her experiences are...I got it.

Amy's story illustrates the non-selectiveness of addiction. 
She had every opportunity in life, resources to succeed, and chances to make up for mistakes.
Until she met addiction.

Despite psych wards, failed relationships, manic episodes, community service, legal trouble, permanent physical problems, and multiple stints in rehab, Amy does make it to "the other side."
It's beyond amazing that Amy survived her demons...but she did.
And she is.
Her life isn't perfect, but I think that's key to the addiction and recovery memoirs that we are starting to see more of.
Addicts need to see others.
Their struggles and their conquests.
Most importantly, I think, is that addicts need to see that there is life after addiction...that even though the addiction doesn't go away, you can have a normal life. 
It takes work and paying attention, and getting to know yourself more than the addict probably ever wanted to...but it can be done.

Amy's story is essentially a story of hope and although difficult to read in some places because of Amy's self-destructiveness, it's a story that must be read with open eyes and introspection.

Adjectives 

raw
breathtaking
shocking
stunning
moving
heartwrenching
excrutiating


The Author
Amy Dresner




Twitter

Facebook 

@amydresner

What Now?

Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
Unwasted by Sacha Scoblic

Keeper?

At first I wasn't sure My Fair Junkie was a book I wanted to keep...I thought about the language and some of Amy's hardcore experiences and wondered if I would want my daughters to pick up the book and get lost in it. 


Whoa.


And then I decided that very attitude is probably why we don't seem to have made very much progress keeping our kids away from drugs and alcohol.  

We want to do the easy things such as think about addiction as some other person's problem.
Aw, isn't that sad.
That poor soul.
Bless her heart.
I'll keep her in my prayers. 

No more.


Addiction is.

is.

The only way we're going to combat this monster is to look it in the face, call it what it is, and battle it strategically, ferociously, no holds barred, and with HONESTY.


My Fair Junkie will most definitely be on my Keeper shelves.


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