Top critical review
The Problem of only Feeling Alive When You're Dead on Drugs
Reviewed in the United States on July 17, 2021
I can appreciate this book because it's not a William S. Burroughs' "Junky" or a Selby's "Requiem for a Dream": it's not page after page of depressing, unrelenting scores and looking for scores; but, instead, everything that happens in the middle also, for a functional addict.
It's impossible to rate someone's personal experience; so I'll say that "the lies about addiction" and "the truth about recovery" are pretty tall orders to fill also in their subjectivity, and struck me as click-bait-ish for a subtitle. Who is to say what is a lie and truth about recovery? As a God-centered person myself, I very much agree with the author that God is not a "one size fits all" for everyone (with drug addiction), but even less is science, which, basically, just describes what God has created i.e. science is limited to describing what already is or has occurred. The irony of fleeing from a drug treatment program not because you don't want help, but because the program is run by religious zealots who also have a false understanding of God is, to me, just as bad as suggesting life-long drug use to curb the side-effects of life-long drug use. In the end, really, man doesn't know. Some people are changed by God, some people succumb; some people are changed by other methods such as methadone. *P.S. I find it very odd, though commonplace, that the treatment counselors (in the book) who make "God" as a foundation for recovery refer to drug addiction as a "disease" rather than Satan. In either case, and because I do believe in God, the treatment base is pretty spot-on, because in God, never mind addiction, you are helpless. But when you pretend that you're not and have a choice, you suffer even more.
The real lie is people's unwillingness to forgive their parents, particularly their mothers, as it forces them to admit that their parents were wrong: the unfortunate thing is that the author, like many, had no problem admitting his father's wrongs and his anger toward him, but nothing about his mother, who *repeatedly cropped up, in my opinion, as a problem, contributing to this fairy tale lie of "everything being OK", playing favorites with her children, and, really, putting the hell of her relationship with her ex-husband on her children, even more so on the author's younger brother who was closer to his father. In effect, turning her children away from their father. Evil. The author talks about this very dysfunctional relationship between his parents and, thusly, being placed on heavy anti-depressant medication as early as 16. And so begins a life-long avoidance of pain, and an inability to really face the reality of God and overcome evil feelings re-created in us by parents and guardians in the home.
Like I said, I appreciate the perspective of this book, but it's a bit disingenuous to overlook all of the aforementioned to suggest a science-based model that just requires more drugs. Once the author was able to really tell the truth (to his family and friends)--at the end of the book, that's when the recovery began. The only way out is through, not away.
I give The Weight of Air 3 1/2 bubblegums.