In his debut memoir, Cole recounts his struggles with eating disorders, substance abuse, and mental illness.
Even in childhood, Cole had problems: overweight, asthmatic, and a chronic bed-wetter, he was picked on at school and performed poorly in gym class. Though his parents were attentive and loving, Cole grew up feeling cursed “that God had made a mistake, that [his] body was an accident.” Beginning with an addictive relationship to junk food, he made his way through periods of infatuation with dieting, God, penis enlargement, and recreational drugs before landing in rehab for alcoholism while still in high school. Yet none of that was as bad as his first psychotic episode: at 18, while a freshman at the University of Georgia, Cole became convinced that he was Jesus Christ and attempted to perform miracles, believing that his arresting officers were leading him to his own crucifixion. Cole’s yearslong path to a stable life was a maze of denial, confusion, relapse, and recovery, though it was one that ultimately led to a place of health, love, and faith. Now a life coach, the author hopes his story may offer guidance for those who have suffered similarly. Addiction, disordered eating, and manic depression are each, by themselves, tremendous hurdles, and the mere fact that Cole has weathered all three makes his account remarkable. His tone is open and accessible, though he often allows his prose to drift toward melodrama. Describing a friend’s funeral, at which the Beatles’ “Let It Be” played, Cole writes, “instead of ‘words of wisdom,’ all I heard were words of confusion.” The complexity of Cole’s flaws and the roller coaster of his life (along with his religiosity, which manifests in ways that are both harmful and benign) create a unique, compelling narrative. Readers may not reach the same conclusions about life that Cole does, but chances are good that they will walk away from this book with at least a pinch of awe.
A colorful, faith-based memoir of recovery.