Amanda's Reviews > More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction

More, Now, Again by Elizabeth Wurtzel
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Aug 06, 2011

really liked it

i had been interested in reading this for more than a year, after hearing that Elizabeth Wurtzel got sober in AA after writing Prozac Nation, but I decided to buy it when I started taking Adderall. Wurtzel's story begins when she is prescribed Ritalin to treat "treatment resistent depression" like I was, and I was very interested to read about her experience, especially because taking this new medication makes me feel a little embarrassed and nervous, as someone in recovery. The good news is that, while I identified pretty much constantly with the experience of addiction in the book, I was reassured of my own healthy consumption of ADHD meds for depression because I have had no desire, thoughts, or compulsion to abuse, much less snort, my Adderall. As a big memoir fan, I really enjoyed this one. More importantly, I have read many memoirs of addicts and addiction and this is definitely one of the best, comprable to Dry by Augusten Burroughs. Obviously I'm biased, but it really annoys me when authors describe their experience with incredible detail, depth, and self-reflection, only to claim in the last 50 pages that they are not an addict, did not need a 12 step program, etc. (I'm referring here to Smashed, A Drinking Life by Pete Hamil, and to a lesser extent The Tender Bar. Jack London's John Barleycorn belongs in a category of self-indulgent denial and dated silliness all to itself.) Besides being an excellently insightful and true to life account of Wutzel's addiction, the author's searing intelligence, world-class education, and impeccable literary knowledge kept me deep in thought by providing countless references and quotes (from songs, novels, poetry, pop culture). Wurtzel's profound understanding of the nature of addiction combined with the above mentioned talents allow her to make many of her own accute observations into awesome sobriety sound bites.

Some of my favorites:

"That's the main difference between depression and addiction, as far as I can tell: depression is full of need, and addiction fulfills that need."

"Most drug addicts who stay clean will tell you that they did all the things they were supposed to, they went to meetings, they took care of themselves, but in the end it really was some higher power that pulled them through. In the end, it was grace."

"I started using cocaine because I liked some guy. It was the middle of the day, he was at work, and I'd call. He'd say, I'm in a meeting, honey - he's call me honey because he liked me too - and he'd say, I'll call you in five. Five would turn to ten and then twenty more minutes and I'd be a things fall apart before they start, and I'm always alone."

"Here is how heroin - how all drugs - makes me feel: Quite simply, it makes me feel okay to be me. Here is how I feel not on drugs: I hate me. If anyone has ever been in love with me for real, I don't know about it. All I can remember is good-byes. Sometimes someone will be standing in front of me and already I feel him walking away. It's only a matter of time, so what's the point? I have no sense of presence, mine or anyone else's. But on drugs, I could feel that moment, I could be something besides nostolgic for the things that haven't happened yet. I could live here now."

I could go on forever but the point is made. People say, and I agree, that reading one of the stories in the back of the book is like going to a meeting. I feel the same about good addiction memoirs, except better because the people who wrote the stories in the book are not, shall we say, professional writers. Wurtzel's story is very different from mine, but I identify with the feelings. Her experiences and insight on being an intellectual snob and playing semantic games to get out of looking at her shit, co-dependency in relationships and dating, relationships with friends and co-workers who are not addicts, and especially depression all interested me either because I've been there to some extent or I could be.
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Alyse I fully believe the people who bash this book do so because they can't grasp it, because they aren't addicts. They don't know how well this book explains it for you. I've never read anything I relate to and connect with so much.

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