An addict reflects on her long, bumpy road to eventual recovery.
“Welcome to the mind of an alcoholic addict,” writes Dresner in her effortlessly candid and wryly written chronicle of a life hijacked by drugs, booze, and bad behavior. As a noted West Hollywood stand-up comedian and addiction journalist, she handles this complex tale with wit; while a lot of her pain is deflected through her droll tone, there remains an undertone of suffering and debilitating illness. The narrative is refreshingly devoid of overanalysis on her childhood as the daughter of divorced parents who were “well matched in that they both loved to drink and fight.” Instead, the author delves directly into the heart of her own personal darkness, a fight with her husband that escalated into a pulled knife, a restraining order, and nights spent “smoking, squatting, and crying on the dark, quiet, ritzy sidewalks of the Hollywood Hills.” A vividly described (and short-lived) fifth visit to a rehab facility provided only a temporary fix. Hospital psychiatric holds, wrist cutting, divorce, emotionless sex, community service, and an admitted lack of impulse control collectively contributed to the author’s lowest points, which are depressingly abysmal yet illustrate a brutally honest insider’s viewpoint into cyclical, interdependent worlds of rehab, relapse, and recovery. In a conversational, self-deprecating tone, Dresner dictates a nonstop barrage of events in which AA meetings and everyday life blur into one another amid the tragic, rhythmic seesawing between inebriation and rickety detoxification. Some shared memories are crisply drawn, others clouded by the haze of chemically induced euphoria. Other chapters are gilded in some rather self-effacing hindsight wisdom: “I guess I am just one of those stubborn assholes who has to burn their house to the ground to realize you shouldn’t play with matches.” When Dresner finally decided to take getting clean seriously after performing a monthlong court-ordered service sweeping the condoms and syringes off Santa Monica Boulevard, her resolve is palpable.
A hard-knocks addiction memoir buoyed with humor and insight.