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The Story and Inspiration Behind My Latest Release ‘Say No to Drugs’ (and How to Get a Free Copy)

say no to drugs cover

Just a heads up to those who follow HNR for the dosage of standard review and editorial pieces we provide: Today I’m in full blog mode, speaking on personal issues and revealing a few things that I wouldn’t traditionally bring to the HNR community. Today HNR is truly a personal blog for me.

On June 30th I released my new double-shot, Say No to Drugs via

I’ve received far more emails inquiring about the motivation and inspiration behind the content and title as well as the cover of the book than I ever could have foreseen in the early preparatory stages of release. It seems a lot of people want to know why I’d opt to release a debut that puts the taboo directly in the spotlight.

I don’t intend to play it safe, I’ll tell you that right now. But to be honest, I don’t consider the release or the subject matter to be all too taboo either. Animal cruelty is taboo. Child abuse is taboo. Drug induced terrors are something countless Americans deal with on a daily basis. That’s a problem that needs to be confronted (I’m not implying that any other problems are fit to be neglected, for the record) and I think these issues are a far more common reality in general. I can’t draw from any solidified statistical information, but I’d bet there’re a few thousand drug users for every single guy running a dog fighting ring out there.

And that’s where it gets real for me.

I spent a number of years trapped in a black pit, my only company being embarrassing and potentially fatal doses of alcohol and drugs. And believe me when I say, I am indeed embarrassed by my consumption and subsequent actions. And I am indeed fortunate to have made it out of that haze with a head still on my shoulders, literally.

I drank obscenely, and often made the horrifying and unbelievably wrong decision to get behind the wheel. I indulged myself with a staggering amount of pharmaceuticals, hallucinogens and marijuana. I attempted to numb myself to the world, completely. And while I couldn’t recognize the reasoning through the fog, I’ve now learned that I made those despicable mistakes because I suffered from profound bouts of depression.

I was suicidal and the toxins had me fooled that I could either forget that fact, or I could die and be rid of my troubles without ever facing the real demon, without manning up and confronting personal weaknesses.

It took a number of serious accidents, major injuries and close calls to help open my eyes to reality. But ultimately, it was my daughter that saved my life. When your six year old daughter is terrified of you, it hurts. When she’s embarrassed by your presence by seven, it hurts. When she’d prefer you not be a part of her life by eight, it damn near kills you.

Or it saves you from yourself.

For me, those years were the darkest. I’d rather not see anyone travel the path I traveled. I’d prefer people understand that drug addiction is a true nightmare. It’s a real boogey man. It’s every masked madman we’ve seen on the big screen. It’s every lunatic to ever arrive at a school with enough firepower to exterminate a village. It’s the stranger climbing through your bedroom window in the dead of night. It’s the sadist with a basement fashioned into a torture chamber. It’s the vampire thirsty for invigorating plasma, the zombie with a taste for flesh.

Drug addiction is horror embodied.

I don’t know that Say No to Drugs will help deter anyone from abusing hazardous materials of any sort. But I hope it will. I hope stories like “The Pot” will – forgive me – plant a seed in the mind of the impressionable: Marijuana may not be known as a fatal drug, but if you get yourself involved with the wrong people, it can be fatal. It can cost you your life. I hope stories like “Blue” will function as a warning to the careless who may not even realize how careless they are: Mixing substances can lead to deathly consequences. How many celebrities have died as a result of accidental overdoses or lethal combinations of drugs that could be considered lower risk “remedies”? Heath Ledger fell to an ill-advised cocktail of prescription drugs. Judy Garland allowed barbiturates to devour her. Codeine, valium, morphine, and Demerol (A mix that bears terrifying similarities to my own previous preferences) brought a premature end to the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. And the list goes on.

The world has lost some amazing talent to drugs.


They’re the often unassuming assassin that creeps right into our lives and manipulates and manipulates and manipulates until someone discovers us in a state of full rigor mortis on our coach, three days deceased. And while it will never end, maybe, just maybe we can find a way to spread a message and slow the epidemic that chips away at humanity.

This stuff is the Reaper in disguise. It ruins lives, and it ends lives. And the ripples on the water’s surface caused by this misery never completely fade away.

Say No to Drugs was a way for me to exercise personal demons. It was a way to kick a few skeletons out of the closet, not for open gawking, but for long overdue burial. It was a way to issue a warning. And hopefully someone, somewhere will see something in these stories that elicits some level of positively or even awareness. Maybe someone tangling with their own beasts can find something encouraging, or informative in this book.

I’m no life saver. I’m not trying to tell you Say No to Drugs is a book that is a guaranteed savior. But if I can make some minor positive difference, even for one single person, then I did something that actually matters. I gave something back to someone in need. Ultimately, that’s the goal.

I’ve labeled Say No to Drugs a cautionary piece, and I stand by that. We’re people and people are not perfect. We’re going to make mistakes in life (full disclosure: I still battle alcoholism, and I still smoke marijuana from time to time, although I know these vices won’t lead me down a route of success and I fight to control myself to the best of my abilities – I’m a struggling human being, plain and simple). But what we’ve got to do for our own sake and the sake of those surrounding us is try. Watch the decisions we make in life. Think about the ramifications. Think about the echo effect. Think about the horrors that Ray Waltz is forced to confront in “The Pot”, or the terribly confusing and mortal scenario that the lead character in “Blue” finds himself in. Above and beyond all else, think about the future and how amazing it can be, without heaping mounds of powder, Glad bags of pills or enough booze to fill a kiddie pool.

Life can be a serious bitch, but it doesn’t have to be a constantly threatening rollercoaster ride of inevitable doom. I hope Say No to Drugs works to remind a few people of that fact. And if there is no constructive message that you can personally take away from the experience… well, hell, I hope you at least find some degree of entertainment in the read.

If you’re interested in reading Say No to Drugs, but you’re a little leery about dropping a few bucks on it, then respond to this thread expressing interest. The first 10 responders will be gifted a free pdf and epub file of the book (I’ll fill you in on the details of how to get the file(s)). Whether you choose to leave a review (favorable or otherwise, I only seek honesty) on Amazon or not is up to you, although I admit I wouldn’t mind!

About The Overseer (1669 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

11 Comments on The Story and Inspiration Behind My Latest Release ‘Say No to Drugs’ (and How to Get a Free Copy)

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your addictions. I, myself, had dealt with all of that “partying,” although it didn’t get to be nearly as bad as I’m guessing yours did. It was pretty bad, though. Like you I’m lucky to have survived. I do see those things in a different light, though, but only because I know they’re addictive if you make them. By themselves they’re nothing. They’re only powerful when you give them power. Addiction and overuse is that power, and I do hope you continue to fight the good fight and you can overpower it. I’m pulling for you.

    Aside from that, I had planned on getting myself a copy, and definitely wouldn’t pass up a free copy, although I know how hard it is to make a buck in the self publishing world and would feel a little bad about accepting the free copy. But unlike all of those people who always swore to me they’d leave a review and never have, I would most definitely write one for it, as I try to write one for my own site anyway on everything I read. I have a few followers that might be persuaded to buy a copy 😉


  2. Can’t wait to check it out!


  3. David Watkins // July 12, 2014 at 2:55 pm // Reply

    Hi Matt,

    That’s a very honest and brave piece from you. I am fortunate to have not gone down that road myself, but have been far too close far too many times. Writing is therapy and some of our best media have arisen out of circumstances like yours. I have read the first story in the copy you sent, and aim to read the rest this week. A review will follow soon after that. If it helps keep you straight, keep writing and to hell with anyone’s opinion.


  4. poppy33usa // July 12, 2014 at 3:32 pm // Reply

    Very gusty and honest. I wish you the very best!


  5. Vitina Molgaard // July 12, 2014 at 9:40 pm // Reply

    You know who I am and where I stand on all of your life…I am proud of you for the courage it takes to face personal demons let alone share them…about to read this and will of course place my opinion / review over on Amazon…just me…Vitina


  6. Matthew J. Barbour // July 13, 2014 at 2:38 am // Reply

    Never really got into the drug thing. I experimented but never fell into it. I never even problematic alcohol consumption. For most of my family, that isn’t the case. Most of them struggle. It happens to a lot of people. Most won’t admit to it. I’m planning to read it. Right now, reading Tim Curran’s Cannibal Corpse M/C thanks to the favorable reviews of his writing I found on this site.


  7. So many families are ravaged by this, it’s profoundly one of our modern horrors. I applaud you as a writer speaking out from your soul with a truth that’s obscenely important…


  8. If I haven’t already sent you a copy of the book, please email me @ and I’ll get a copy of it in your inbox today!


  9. I’ll check it out


  10. ComI Use To Be Addicted To Marijuana And LSD. Not A Day Went BY That I Wasn’t Out Of My Mind On Drugs. If I Couldn’t Dog Up Five Bucks For A Hit Of White Blotter, I’d Cut Little Squares Out Of Construction Paper And Sell Them To High School Kids For Ten. Then I Could Get SomE Felix. It All Came To A Halt The Day I Smoked Some Weed I Got From A Shady Strip Club BouncEr, Only To Find It Had Been Laced With Crack. I Was ViolentY Ill. I Swore Off Drugs Forever. I Probably Wouldn’t Have Stuck With It, But A Week After Quitting, I Was Institutionalized . I Had An Intense Two Week Long Flashback And Was Convinced I Was Dead. I Was.diagnosed With Acute Paranoid Schizophrenia, Possibly As A Result Of Long Term Hallucinogenic Use. I Have Been Drug Free For Nineteen Years, But I Battle It Every Day. My Schizophrenia Is Under Control Due To A Strong Combination Of Nonaddictive Meds. It Isn’t Over For Me, Though. Just Five Months Ago, I Had The Worst Flashback Of My Life. I Was So Convinced That I Had Bugs Under My Skin That I Tore My Legs Open With My Nails In An Attempt To Get Them Out. I Needed To Go On Prednisone Yo Help The Scratches Heal, And I Will Always Have The Scars. I, Too, Hope Your Book Helps People Make The Right Decision. Maybe I’ll Recommend It To Some People I Know, Along With Go Ask Alice (True Or Not, It Should Be Required High School Reading). Thanks For Doing Your Part, And I’ll Be Sure To Leave A Review On Amazon.


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