Never saw it coming.
What genuinely separates “ijwd” from all other addiction memoirs is the amount of research conducted to accurately portray the events contained therein. Partying as a fraternity member, various sexual escapades were, at the time, thought to be admirable in today’s society full of machismo and the illusion that notches on the bedpost are to be sought. Not wanting to forget, during the hungover days that followed these events were written about in as much detail as was remembered (or was told).
This journaling filled four volumes and hundreds of pages.
There is no exaggeration, no events created out of necessity to fill pages. Many stories were left out in order to make the story of an addict flow without overwhelming readers with unnecessary redundancy.
To some, these stories are interpreted as glorification.
The point is not to brag, gloat, minimize or justify. Redemption is for the reader to decide.
Arrest paperwork was kept, court documents, citations, psychiatric hospital papers, anything and everything that happened in life as an addict was stored away, some of the only things that were saved while bouncing around from house to house, state to state, treatment facility to treatment facility.
For those who have never been addicted, what happened throughout the years during “ijwd” has nothing to do with willpower and everything to do with filling a void, curing inadequacy, and trying to figure out a place in this world where identity matters.
To be used for sex, to flip the gender-stereotypes suggested in other popular memoirs that blackout men do things while blackout women have things happen to them, is a major part of this story.
At the age of 20, following a suicide attempt, a diagnosis of bipolar (which as of today appears to be accurate!) was made and the ups and downs were exacerbated by drugs and alcohol.
Was it the addiction or the disorder?
Did mental illness use sex, drugs and alcohol to cope?
Were the ups and downs the result of addictive behavior?
The chicken or the egg?
Either way, bridges were burned. Moving from Washington to California to Minnesota to North Dakota changed nothing except address... until things got worse.
As long as could be remember during active addiction, the motto of living a life worth telling about was distorted into a sick and twisted product of popular culture, expectations and the damaging amount of self-expectations never met.
Pre-med was replaced by probation. Dreams were exchanged for drugs. A soul was traded for sex.
Until even that was not enough.
This is where it all ends.