My rating: 4/5 stars
Having read Susan Juby’s Alice books, I already had a sense of her writing style and I knew that she was funny. An addiction/recovery memoir doesn’t necessarily allow for humour though, or the sort that has you snorting and chuckling aloud. This one does.
Juby breaks down the book into 3 parts. It’s a quick, captivating read, and while you may have heard this story before, it really is the humour that sets this one apart.
As much as I enjoy the personal story the most, I do also enjoy the inclusion of facts or opinions from professionals and specialists in the field. The following passage from near the end of the book, really stuck with me:
“I asked Neal Berger, an addictions specialist, what changes he’d seen in the demographic of people coming into treatment centres. He told me that at Hazeldean, perhaps the most famous recovery centre in the world, the typical patient in the mid-1980s was male, was fifty-three years old, and had started drinking when he was eighteen. this typical patient was seventy to eighty percent along in the disease process. It had taken him thirty years to reach bottom, or the point at which he reached out for help.
In the 1990s, the typical patient was still male, average age thirty-six. This patient had started drinking and/or using substances at fifteen. He was taking a mixture of drugs and alcohol and was every bit as sick as the fifty-three-year-old man had been in the 1980s. In addition, this patient was often diagnosed with “co-morbidity” or mental illness, either caused by or combined with addiction problem.
>By the mid-2000s, the average patient coming into treatment was male or female, was under twenty-five, had started using at twelve or thirteen, was addicted to a panoply of substances, and also had symptoms of mental illness. This was a different patient from the one seen in the mid-eighties: this was a much, much sicker patient.
The trend is clear and ominous. Alcoholics and addicts today are much younger and have a gone down harder and farther. Many, if not most, need professional help to have a fighting chance of survival.”