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American Drug Addict

a memoir
Narrated by: Ryan Turner
Length: 9 hrs and 34 mins
5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

My name is Brett. I'm a college-educated man who was once a husband of 26 years with two children, three businesses, and a large home with an actual white picket fence. I'm also a drug addict. And I have a tale to tell.

My story has everything: sex, death, pain, atheism, God, jail, marriage, divorce, heresy, homosexuality, physics, traffic fatalities, computer science, video games, cinnamon toothpicks, Barry Manilow, Nine Inch Nails, pornography, breasts, used tampons, strippers, venereal disease, abortion, prostitutes, AIDS, racism, suicide, infidelity, public nudity, anti-Semitism, marijuana, alcohol, pawn shops, drug dealers, needles, acid, ecstasy, crack, heroin, pain pills, withdrawal, interventions, rehabs, product tampering, road rage, vandalism, elderly abuse, grave desecration, arson, identity theft, burglary, armed robbery, and murder.

But more importantly, it's about the despair of addiction and the absolute certainty that it can be overcome. Recovery is not simply abstinence, but a process of growing up. I spent my entire life searching for the key to long-term sobriety. I would like to share with you what I have learned.

©2017 Brett Douglas, TCA Books, LLC (P)2018 Tantor

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Profile Image for Kari Hicks
  • Kari Hicks
  • 17-05-2018

honest as you can get

This book is as honest and self admitting as you can get and a true look at a life long struggle with substance love and abuse. Funny and heart wrenching. Douglas is a great story teller

11 people found this helpful

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  • Dennis Hinkamp
  • 15-11-2018

Engaging Train Wreck at First

The author comes off as kind of a jerk even without the drugs. He does despicable things in unfathomable quantities and pops in and out of recovery so you sort of wonder if there will be sad postscript to this book. The pacing and narrator's cadence makes it come off as bragging. I've listed to a lot of books to try to understand the opioid crisis and I don't think this one added much to my understanding.

8 people found this helpful

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  • EvenSteven
  • 02-05-2019

“I Am the Lie that You Believe”

Seared into the pages of "American Drug Addict" is an ugly, in-your-face confessional for our times – from a broken man at the end of his rope. While in jail, Brett Douglas procured some prison paper, picked up a golf pencil, and began to write. With a brutal, unflinching candor befitting his circumstance, he lay bare the tattered soul he thought he’d sold long ago.

And so begins a 385-page, fearless moral self-inventory, which you may recognize as the fourth of AA’s twelve steps. Well-written, raw and visceral, Douglas’ memoir serves as a gripping reminder of addiction’s insidious allure and how precious – and precarious – is our humanity, warts and all.

As life begins for the author, we feel the love from and for his grandparents, “Meemaw” and “Pawpaw.” It’s right there, in full view of his family’s dysfunction that defiles the soil where addiction’s dirty seeds take root. He’s a nice kid. Rowdy, disorderly, but not a punk. He’ll outgrow that term by the time the shoe fits.

Weighing options at the cusp of his independence, a teenage Brett sees the world through a lens blurred by innocence and marred during childhood. He’s successful enough to indulge his vices but too cocksure to indulge his ignorance. Lacking the maturity to perceive the potential he squanders daily, his long, downward spiral begins as youthful adventure. Experimentation gives way to escape, and we see the snare silently sprung long before a naïve Brett is aware of the trap he set for himself. Exhilarated by the rush and the risk, drug use infects his identity:

I love the sneakiness required to pull off an awesome high without my exploits being discovered. I love fooling people, making them believe I’m something I’m not. The more audacious the deception, the more I get a thrill from it. I love the tension which comes from being intoxicated in situations that require sober thoughts and actions. I love toying with the risk of bringing the wrath of my loved ones down on me. I love having something that’s mine, something I don’t have to share, something about myself only I know. Drugs are like an illegal exotic pet. I must nurture it but, at the same time, keep it hidden.

As this passage portends, the memoir’s mid-section reads like “A Day in the Life” of an addict pretending to live a normal existence – whatever that means, because Brett obviously doesn’t know. Successful to a fault, he makes enough money for his family’s pawn shop for them not to notice how much he skims to feed the monkey on his back.

Through his distorted lens on life, now fogged by drugs, Brett no longer recognizes right from wrong; only high from sober. In his need-driven cravings, we bear witness to the evil of addiction. It feasts on the fabric of free will. Resistance is futile. Drugs undermine his relationships by preying on his personality. Empathy is subverted into sociopathy, and we watch as Brett deftly betrays those who trust him most. From his corrupted moral core emerges a charismatic villain disguised as a dad, a husband, a son, and a grandson. Through it all, he is blind to whom he has become. His occasional glimpses of reality are easily masked with a lie, an excuse, or the next fix.

The last section, complete with crimes and near-death experiences, is also a pilgrimage from perdition. But no Promised Land awaits. As Brett staggers toward, stumbles upon, and trips over discarded wisdom again and again, he eventually discovers the only path to a normal life is to face the beast. He gets clean and starts to make an honest living.

Alas, when hubris feels like confidence, sobriety feels like self-control. Try as he might, Brett can’t cheat the cheater; can’t play the fool while being one. So, it’s no spoiler to declare this victory a pyrrhic one. The road to sobriety is paved with good intentions. Lulled into complacency and dabbling in drugs once again, he begins to slide, then freefall into the darkest depths of his disease. Slamming rock-bottom with full force, he clings to what’s left of his life from a crumbling ledge overhanging the Abyss. He can hold on no longer.

To overcome addiction, it must not be opposed but outflanked and outgrown – a process the author has yet to comprehend. Honesty and humility continue to elude him. Before his ego-crushing odyssey is over, Brett learns he cannot bootstrap his own salvation. For that, he will require chest compressions.

“The best thing about life is knowing you put it together.” This is a lyric from the author’s beloved Nine Inch Nails (as is the title of this review). For an addict like Brett, the prize is to gain control over his life, perhaps for the first time. Achieving this requires acknowledging the demon within is larger than you. But not larger than Life, and therein lies hope.

For the addict seeking a way out, this book is a refrain of redemption. For a loved one of a wayward soul, or anyone concerned their own life has veered off-course, Brett Douglas’ account illuminates the rayless recesses of the addict’s netherworld. For all who dare to read it, his story serves as a cautionary tale that “we are only human” is not just a banal cliché. It’s a warning.

If this memoir has a moral, it is that the only true high in life is derived from the purpose with which we choose to live it, and the love we share along the way. To discover our purpose is to find the meaning addiction has stolen. It begins “one step at a time” by surrendering to our flawed humanity. Then, with integrity and humility as footlights guiding us toward grace, we can finally embrace the compassion and courage to love ourselves.

________
P.S. I spoke with Brett Douglass in April 2019. He lives with his family, remains clean and sober, and is nearing completion of his second book, a novel he plans to publish later this year.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Julie Aurand
  • 26-04-2019

Extremely cringe worthy.

This is by far one of the worst books I ever listened to. I only got halfway through. It's just that bad. The author is completely full of himself, and a horrible person even separate from the addict part. He tends to blame everyone else and reflects on his wrongdoings as a pleasant memory. He claims almost everything about him to be extraordinary, from the women that he cheated on his wife with, to the money he made, to the way he manipulated and tricked people. The way he described these things leads me to believe that he still enjoys lying and hiding things, and not hopeful for a long term recovery. This is a book written by someone who is still selfish and brags about the destructive things that they did to other people, right down from what he called "pranks" as a child, but were really horrible acts and bullying. Also there are many racist and homophobic messages, attitudes, and statements made in this book. I guess the best thing about this book is that the author is truthful. I sure hope he finds true recovery.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Nick P
  • 13-04-2019

A Boring Lead

I am not sure what qualifies this guy to talk about recovery. He's a junkie who is still wet behind the ears. Explains the disease concept incorrectly and may give people the wrong impression of what recovery is really all about. I give him credit though, his ego has made him an author.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Peter Wiley
  • 09-08-2018

Excellent! Best Book So Far

From the story to the narration, this audio book is great. It is actually just like a drug. I couldn’t get enough of it. I was addicted to keep listening to it to see what happened next. He did not disappoint. The narrator was awesome. I will def be listening to this again.

4 people found this helpful

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  • karen nichols
  • 29-09-2018

UGHHHH. NOOOO.

SO disappointing that this book turned into a ridiculous church service at the end. Absolutely ridiculous.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Jamie
  • 24-08-2018

This book was horrible!

I generally like memoir's like this that discuss the troubled past and way to recovery but this book was too disgusting. I found the author racist and narcissistic. He comes across as quite the dirtbag which I would expect some outrageous things since this is a book about addiction but his use of the N word and constant putting down the African American community was too much for me along with his sleeping with a 14 year old while high, not supporting his family and coming across as a catered to rich kid who had everything he needed and he kept screwing up. He made insults at others when he really should look in the mirror.

26 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • bree gibson
  • 22-07-2018

American drug addict

What can I say about this , that hasn't already been said? It's so amazing!I love the way it is written in complete honesty,I have 335days today and this book just explained my life in grate detail,I just want it to keep going couldn't put it down.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Ashley Atkinson
  • 01-05-2018

What an in depth eye-opening biography!

I had no idea about some of the depths of hell junkies will go to in order to get their fix. Such a waste. Informative though.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Catrat
  • 03-08-2019

Frightening story but important to hear

Very frightening story of how addiction can destroy you completely. Well written and well read, sometimes funny but mostly jaw droppingly scary.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-11-2018

Just wow - what a story

Narrated in the style of the lead role played by Cristian Bale in American Psycho, this is an incredibly engaging story. The events are genuinely amusing at times but the the story is harsh. On a few occasions I felt quite uncomfortable and it’s credit to the author that he shifts your emotions at will. I’ve read a lot of autobiographies - a lot linked to hardship of some description - and, this is the best.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Louise arnold
  • 29-10-2018

**MUST READ.. AMAZING **

addiction put into words amazingly!
what a journey, that powerlessness us addicts share is so painful, but this story is so gripping... i felt like I walked every step with him. cunning and baffling but so much honesty its painful in parts.
you wont want to put it down x

1 person found this helpful

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  • LBlanco
  • 08-07-2018

Beauty Misery

A lesson how to destroy your life and then rebuild it.

Sometimes life gives us a second chance. This audiobook is for those who choose to change their situation or who think they are trapped forever in a spiral with no way out.

Drug addiction is the same for everyone. It steals your health and isolates you from the real world and your loved ones.

I just hope that this story helps others see the light at the end of the tunnel before ending up in jail or dead. But remember that no one is going to help you if you do not help yourself first.

This story is honest, real and reflects a reality that millions of people suffer daily. Totally recommended for them and their families.

1 person found this helpful

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  • G r
  • 09-09-2019

annoying

left me feeling like he was bragging for messing up his good life and loving family for no reason other than how much he loved drugs and daddy didn't tell him he loved him

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  • george applegate jnr
  • 04-08-2019

A tor de force of drugs, lies, sex, crime..

Mindblowing that the chap is still alive to tell the tale, lessons to be learned..

1 person found this helpful