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 Amazon.com.
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!