“Once an addict, always an addict.” This gem from the 12-step drug addiction recovery cult is one of the most harmful sentences to ever be wedged into our society, along with every other sentiment that mischaracterizes anyone who’s ever used drugs as a degenerate, selfish, walking disease. Families are being torn apart by the idea that someone who has struggled with addiction will always struggle with addiction. Families are being ruined by the misinformation that anyone who uses drugs ever is incompetent. My family is being ruined by drug use stigma. My life, my heart, and my soul are being torn apart by your blind miseducation.
I mean that, of course, as a general “you.” I don’t know who you actually are, you who are reading this. You could be the most enlightened person on this planet. You could be Shilo Jama, who runs the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance and has the most accurate views on drug use and addiction I’ve ever encountered. Or you could be someone who shares similar views. But “you” as a whole–society as a whole–are blind to the realities of drug addiction and drug use. Worse, society doesn’t care to fix it’s blindness.
It’s easy to know what I’m feeling at nearly any given moment, because most of the time what I’m feeling is anger. The intensity of that anger varies, sure, but it’s always there–with few exceptions. Post traumatic stress disorder is often associated with anger; talk to anyone with PTSD who’s willing to be honest about her experiences, and she’ll tell you about her anger. But looking back, the anger inside of me dates back farther than the domestic violence. I wonder if continuing in that relationship was a subconscious way to justify all that rage within.
It took me years to finally realize how much sibling abuse and parental neglect affected me. It took me years to realize I’d experienced those things. Yes, I grew up hearing my brother tell me I was a mistake who should never have been born, and I watched my father spend more time at his typewriter failing to publish than with me. Yes, my teenage years were marred by a mother who refused to hear me, but when I was younger, I thought all of that was normal. You hear that line a lot too, when you talk to people who came from abusive or neglectful households. We all thought that was just the way life was.
Today I am beyond thrilled to provide you a review of the novel My Fair Junkie, written by Amy Dresner–who writes for many of the same sites I do (and more) but has been doing so for a lot longer–followed by an exclusive interview and then (yep, there’s more!) a chance to win a free copy of this honest and revealing book about addiction, mental illness, and recovery. I know I missed a week of posting. I hope this incredibly cool interview and contest makes up for it.
Amy Dresner is a former professional comic and everything-fiend. She’s been a writer for theFix.com since 2012. She’s also written for The Frisky, Refinery 29, Salon, Addiction.com and Daily Tonic/Vice. “My Fair Junkie: A memoir of getting dirty and staying clean” published by Hachette in September 2017 is her first book. Find her on Twitter: @amydresner, Instagram: @amydresner, and Facebook: @amydresnerofficial