I obtained a copy of this book and wished to leave a review.
How to Grow an Addict by J.A. Wright is a riveting tale of a family gone wrong. The mother was passive and unresponsive, the brother a secret closeted gay man, an abusive father with a foul mouth and a deadly hand, and then there was Randall – the innocent seeking to escape only to find solace in drugs.
In fourth grade, Randall started chewing toothpicks, to help her nails grow out and to keep from biting them. The problem was she started flavoring them with rum and brandy extracts.
“I opened my locker door so she could inspect it. I showed her my Tupperware container and opened it so she could see my ten toothpicks soaking in the run extract I’d poured over them that morning.”
When dad found out …
“The doctor turned to Dad really quick and in very flat, calm voice he said, “She’s not slow, she’s not fat, and she probably bites her nails because she’s scared. Millions of people bite their nails and she might grow out of it or she might not… I’d stop making a big deal out of it if I were you,” he said as he looked over and smiled at me.”
This situation itself should have sent up red flags for good parents. Randall’s hiding from the world and seeking relief in other forms grew as well; Randall’s problems and solutions blew up into a full-fledge addiction to drugs. Randall was crazily spiraling out of control, lying and facing sure death, until one day a woman talks with Randall about an amazing place … “I was convinced that I was going to a glamorous Hollywood spa, but it wasn’t. It was something completely different. The Facility was in the middle of nowhere, on old farmland in San Bernardino … I could tell just by seeing it that I didn’t want to stay there.”
Randall’s journey is all too terrifyingly real and popular; one that most have experienced in one form or another either as an addict, child of an addict, parent of an addict or friend of an addict. There is nothing easy about this problem, it starts in different ways but ultimately it is a deep desire to be liked or escaping because no one likes or cares about you. Wright uses Randall to tell the horrifying tale in an all too raw voice that demonstrates just how difficult this is for everyone. The denial, the self-loathing, the lying, the hiding, the loss, the blame and the fear.
I struggled through this book over several months, not because it was horrible – far from it! It hit too close to home – my daughter is an addict and always will be. Her addiction has created moments of profound obsessions, all of which stem from her need to be liked, wanted and accepted by her friends. This book opened my eyes widely, helping me see her life from her point of view better. Wrights’s writing is sincere, intense and insightful.
It is common for many people to see and recognize an addict and blame them for their weakness, but Wright doesn’t let you get away with that. In a writing style that is unique, Wright forces you recognize there is more to an addict than blame and weakness, there is an underlying problem that you yourself may be a contributing factor.
An excellent book. A moving and heartfelt book that takes you through the ups and downs, twists and turns like a never ending rollercoaster. Don’t miss it!
WordsAPlenty gives this book a very strong 5-star rating for its heart felt and eye opening moments.