A Review of My Fair Junkie
“As he drives me back to the sober living, I vomit relentlessly. Yet, instead of thinking, I should not have drank, I think, I should have just done coke. Welcome to the mind of an alcoholic addict.” Amy Dresner, My Fair Junkie.
The cover picture on my Facebook page, which I have also shared previously in this blog, is a quote from one of my favourite authors, Umberto Eco: “To survive we tell stories.” I started writing my blog in March 2016 and it soon became an intrinsic part of my recovery journey. I started to connect with people all over the planet, who were similarly sharing their experiences of addiction and recovery. These people became my recovery heroes and mentors. Some of the writing was expert and crafted; there were also simple messages straight from people’s souls. Both held equal significance for me.
I recently received my copy of My Fair Junkie by the incomparable Amy Dresner. I connected with Amy in my earlier days on Twitter, when I was following anybody and everybody from the world of recovery. I soon began to weed out the organisations advertising their businesses and other less interesting pages. Amy’s tweets and posts on Facebook invariably brought a smile to my face, so when I learned that her book was being published I couldn’t wait to read it.
My Fair Junkie is a brutally honest memoir; a killer fairy tale for the 21st century. As an addict, her absolute candour and razor wit had me shuddering in empathy one minute and laughing out loud the next. I recognised many character types from both my addiction and my recovery. I shared her disappointments, her pain and her joy.
A quote for her publisher states, “Dresner had managed to dodge any real repercussions of her 20-year battle with addiction despite six rehabs, four psych wards, three suicide attempts, and twenty grand mal seizures. But on Christmas Eve of 2011, that all changed. She was high on Oxycontin, in a shitty marriage, and she pulled a knife on her husband. She was promptly arrested for felony – domestic violence with a deadly weapon.”
Amy goes on to describe her experiences of sex addiction, rehabs, halfway houses, AA, community service and the people that inhabit them. We meet the users and the used; the abusers and the abused. Unsurprisingly in this life, many people are a mix of the two. The succession of professionals is a mix of dedicated saints and the more human, less devoted experts who hold in their hands the fate of vulnerable people in recovery. These are the heroes and villains that populate all of our daily lives – recovery or not.
In my blog I have always tried to be truthful and transparent about my experience, but Amy Dresner has taught me more than one lesson about honesty. Her comedian’s humour and the casual frankness of her prose style belie the gut wrenching truth of her book. Every addict’s road to recovery is individual but the experience is universal. To survive, we must share our stories. In the cold despair and isolation of addiction, reading of other experience of recovery can truly make a difference. Words touch people. Not only do I urge you to buy and read this book, I believe it is essential reading and should be part of the drugs education syllabus in our high schools.
Amy Dresner is a former professional stand up comic, having appeared at The Comedy Store, The Laugh Factory, and The Improv. Since 2012, she has been a contributing editor for the online addiction and recovery magazine The Fix.com. She’s also freelanced for The Good Men Project, The Frisky, Refinery 29, and has been a regular contributor to Addiction.com and PsychologyToday.com, where she has her addiction blog entitled Coming Clean.