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The Bitter Taste of Dying: A Memoir

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  624 ratings  ·  55 reviews
In his first book, author Jason Smith explores the depravity and desperation required to maintain an opiate addiction so fierce, he finds himself jumping continents to avoid jail time and learns the hard way that some demons cannot be outrun.

While teaching in Europe, he meets a prostitute who secures drugs for him at the dangerous price of helping out the Russian mafia; i
Kindle Edition, 210 pages
Published July 2015 by Thought Catalog
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Sky Fuller
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I’ve been avoiding this book as I figured it would be too dark and painful. Had a few hours to kill yesterday and breezed through it. Wouldn’t quite call it uplifting but certainly not the depressing tale I was expecting - and it ends on a very positive note. It’s a great firsthand account of prescription medication addiction that could happen to anyone. The author was a clean cut kid, good student, stellar athlete, from an intact family - who suffered through a 16 year pain medication addiction ...more
Jen from Quebec :0)
Fantastic! A memoir that read like a real, structured NOVEL. A brutal and graphic depiction of a teen dealing firsthand with a family member's death by drug overdose--Jen from Quebec :0) ...more
Christa Wojo
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Just a few years ago, Jason Smith was lying in his bloody bathtub, the blood slowly draining from his slit wrists. Now he is here to tell us how he reached the point of suicide after his long, dark descent into prescription opiate abuse. The Bitter Taste Dying is a story of resurrection told by an author who has literally come back from the black grip of death.

Today’s junkies are not just on the street corner anymore. Big Pharma are the suppliers, and doctors are the pushers, cultivating (perhap
Judy Herzanek
A Wild Ride: Disturbing, frightening while brutally honest, witty and sarcastic.

Author Jason Smith has a rare talent . . . and an amazing story. The Bitter Taste of Dying is his memoir of addiction, struggle, despair, discovery and ultimately, recovery. The book is engaging, brutally honest, dead serious while at the same time, sarcastic and “laugh-out-loud funny.”

The Bitter Taste of Dying leaves the reader with graphic mental images of life and death, struggle and surrender. We witness the insi
Jason Pettus
Feb 09, 2016 rated it liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

So what's the most heartbreaking thing about the times we live in, when there have been literally hundreds of millions of books published at this point and several million more getting printed every single year? Well, that would be that, no matter how intriguing or shocking or riveting a true story any par
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book really grabs onto you and doesn't let go. I was very excited for this book as I have followed Jason's writings on the prescription drug epidemic (and other short stories on Medium) for some time. First and foremost, Jason is a natural storyteller and I am quite certain that he could write a mundane story about going to the grocery store that would be interesting, thought-provoking, and make you laugh out loud. But this is no mundane story. As someone who has not personally struggl ...more
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A candid look at the extraordinary lengths an addict will go to to feed the flames of their addiction, and how far they will continue to go long after logic, reason, and everything and everyone they ever loved has left them.

For the addict, this book is a chance to see the similarities.

For the co-addict, this book is a chance to understand the choices, or truly the lack of choice, that addicts have when caught in the throes of their addiction.

For everyone, it is a chance to read a good story wel
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely awesome! If I read a book in a day, I know it was one of the top books I've read. Jason's writing was very sincere and cut to the chase. The book seems to be a truthful account of someone's life stuck in addiction without an overly exaggerated "pink cloud" for an ending. I'm not spoiling it, but I appreciate the writing as well as Jason's openness in this book. It is his story without filler words or chapters...every chapter had me hanging on to the book to get through to the next and ...more
Michael Klein
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An amazing journey of one man's struggle for 16 years to rid himself of addiction.

I struggle with drugs myself and have a daughter struggling with alcohol addiction, so for me this journey,this life story was very poignant. I could not put this book down. Even if you never struggled with addiction, you still will enjoy the read, however it is easier to identify with the author,when you,'ve faced the demons yourself. Thank you Jason for sharing this touching,,grueling and at times embarrassing st
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, read it all in one sit. He's brutally honest, and starts to conceptualize the rationale of a modern day drug addict. He vividly describes the lengths he will go to to feed his addiction. He has a very powerful message in the mentalitly of why relationships fail when you are an addict. A definite reccomendation. ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this--it's the latest in the Awesome Addict Memoirs rabbit hole I've fallen down this year (and am loving!). This guy's story is tragic and crazy; he writes with an honesty that is sharp and captivating. I was a little skeptical of the high reviews at first, but now that I'm finished with the book, I totally get it. ...more
Margaret Carpenter
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Jason Smith, for inviting us to read about your incredible story. Having been around addiction for most of my adult life, I found your story intriguing and very emotional. I would highly recommend The Bitter Taste of Dying to anyone. Thank You!
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Incredible story about what an addicts life is and becomes. Quick and enlightening read. Thanks Jason (a high school classmate) for having the courage to tell your story so publicly. I am so glad you ended up on the other side.
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
review to come, but excellent book.
June Gillam
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An astonishing account of what it's like to be an addict--would be a great book for a freshman comp class. ...more
Zainab Hasan
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
All about drug addiction, drug addicts and how it feels to be a sick when withdrawing. Such an amazing book, well written and detailed book. If you ever knew or know a drug addict, read this.
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a first for me, reviewing a book written by someone I once knew. It's odd, especially given that this is a memoir.

I was prepared to hate this, especially given the fact that the author wrote an online article several years ago that eviscerated many people that I still have a lot of respect for. And which the events of, transpired during the time I knew him, and I can say with 100% honesty that not everything he wrote in that article is true. It's peppered with complete lies, half truths
May 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: addiction
another 12 step war story. author writes that this is the way that works and subsequently adds the 12 cliche that if you have a better way to get clean, write about it. the second paragraph in the book almost ended it for me when the sponsor says "how about you get the ... out of my house and come back when you're ready to try things my way." 12 step programs help only 3 to 5% of those who try it. telling addicts to get lost is sending many of them to their deaths. this book is so 12 stepper cli ...more
Mar 20, 2017 added it
Shelves: memoir
A traveling-on-drugs memoir. Damn, people's bodies are resilient. Kind of amazing what he put himself through. The more I read recovery memoirs, the more I realize that human beings (addicts or not) use substances because we can't stand to feel our feelings. It seems crucial that we teach meditation and mindfulness to kids, so they can learn from the outset how to watch their feelings like the weather, to let the clouds and storms pass, and to know that they are NOT their feelings but are a vast ...more
Lora Covrett
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-books-read
The author doesn't pull any punches when talking about what he was thinking while in his addiction. He makes a comparison that really hit home with me. This author describes an addict's behavior to that of a dog. When an addict steals or manipulates you for money, he doesn't realize or care how hard you worked to get that money. He just knows he has needs and he's getting those needs met one way or another. The same way a dog will jump on the stove to eat whatever you may have spent hours prepar ...more
Jean Poole
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Incredible series of anecdotes... he's lead a colourful life, and has climbed his way back from rock bottom - but aye carumba - this book is written in such a very, very heavy handed way...

((....lots of his memories are so clunkily reconstructed and then over-explained...... much of the dialogue is improbable ( in terms of how people actually speak - rather than the content of what they're saying)..... and the moralising is delivered with sledgehammer subtlety... ))

a kind of distrust settled i
sheryl gray
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Extremely well written....true to the feelings and hits the nail on the head! Jaspn, you are the first one to explain the path I traveled in active addiction. The path that lead to that place where I literally "prayed" those same words, after my suicides attempt ....."I can not live with the drugs, and I can not live without them. I can not die. Now what?". You brought me right back to that experience....and what a gift that is...because following those words, I too had a"feeling" and a s
Ms Tambo
Sep 24, 2016 rated it did not like it
THE TRUTH ABOUT JASON SMITH. (is that even his real last name?)

For one he is a hypocrite. Witness's have confirmed he is back on drugs and he is allowed to run a homeless shelter (right hand auburn shelter) and is doing a very poor job at it. Doubt he will be there much longer. I can't find anyone who like Jason, not his staff not anyone at the shelter, so how did he become boss? Must be WHO YOU KNOW, not what you know. Jason's ego is very huge and he doesn't have any real compassion or empathy
Greg Taylor
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book fulfilled its promise

I'd read Jason's writings on Medium before I heard his book was coming out. Like he alludes to in the book, the first half of an addict's story is much like the first half of every other addict's story, because addicts all share the tour of thinking that allows them to love their drug more than anything else.

With all he put his body through, I find it amazing that's he's not only alIve, but thriving. His story is powerful, compelling, extremely well-written, and h
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-read
Here is a very important book about drug addiction. A lot of society has opinions on addiction with no understanding or experience of how it works, here you get to see the gloomy grim details in all their horrifying brilliance.
I have placed this book on my must read list because it is important to see and understand drug addiction and how we as a society contribute to the loop holes that many fall through. I think this book will help many people to tread with caution through slippery slopes and
Melissa Lockwood
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was the authors first published book, but there was no way of telling that by the writing. The highly personal imagery and the roller coaster of emotional turmoil gives the reader a chance to feel as though they are sharing Jason's pain. His raw writing is also welcoming in what has become an epidemic in our country, in terms of opiates. I highly recommend this book to everyone, because this is an addiction that, even if it hasn't affected you personally, I can guarantee you know someone wh ...more
Jack Boyle
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I'm not much for reviewing anything because I'm a selfish prick and only care about me, me ,me. However, this book shook me to my very core. The raw truth Jason divulged unto these pages was more than I've heard anyone say about their experiences with addiction and recovery. I never understood why I couldn't get better until I read his book straight through and this was all while kicking. I would recommend this book to addicts, alcoholics and especially anyone who has a relationship w
I’ve read other addiction/recovery books but this one was much more visceral. The description of him giving CPR to his uncle was heartbreaking and horrifying. The jail time in Tijuana was the kind of tale that should be required reading for someone who wants to take drugs.

I’m trying to get my head around the cause of the opioid epidemic. This book tells of one person’s quick and easy drop off into the abyss.

His honesty was helpful to understanding how addicts can separate themselves from their
Sarah Riddell
Sep 19, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is very intriguing and the author has a sense of authenticity; there is no doubt he's writing from a place of radical self-acceptance. It's quite refreshing. I read this book quickly once I actually picked it up. My only real issue with it is that it's not very well written. I think the editor could have made the prose more fluid without sacrificing Smith's voice. ...more
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
A no holds barred memoir of author and recovering drug addict, Jason Smith. A grim look at the desperate measures, manipulation, clever resourcefulness, lack of shame, and failed accountability over the course of 16-year of drug addiction. It's nothing short of a miracle that this man is even alive to tell his story. ...more
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