Part of Speech: verb
Definition: spend or use without thought; dwindle
Synonyms: atrophy, be of no avail, blow, burn up, consume, corrode, crumble, debilitate, decay, decline, decrease, deplete, disable, disappear, dissipate, divert, drain, droop, eat away, ebb, emaciate, empty, enfeeble, exhaust, fade, fritter away, frivol away, gamble away, gnaw, go to waste, lavish, lose, misapply, misemploy, misuse, perish, pour down the drain, run dry, run through, sap, sink, splurge, squander, thin, throw away, trifle away, undermine, wane, wear, wear out, wilt, wither
I think the word 'wasted' captures the essence of that stage Mark Johnson was at in his life at the lowest ebb. The descriptive words I have 'lifted' from a dictionary pretty much sum up how this book will immerse you into the chaotic world of drugs Mark managed to make a break from.
I caught sight of this book when a colleague commented that she was unable to put it down. As it had been a while since I'd read anything worthwhile, I thought I'd give it a blast. If you've read any of my movie reviews you'll know that it takes me a few sittings to accomplish a viewing...the same can be said for books - no matter how intriguing the storyline is, I seem to have narcolepsy when it comes to concentrating on books/movies! After the mammoth task of reading this book, I am reviewing it, simply because I feel that alot of recovering addicts and people who work with substance misuse can use it as a learning tool.
Mark's drug use was eclectic, depending on what was around at the time - he went from Cannabis, to LSD, right the way through to the lethal concoction of heroin & cocaine. As a bit of an aside, I will give some details about cocaine to give you a fuller idea of what this drug is and what its effects are. I will only give an overview about cocaine, but if you wish to get more of an idea about other drugs http://www.talktofrank.com/ is a good starting point.
The all encompassing nature and the force of drugs is overwhelming and put across very well in this book. 'Talking about your weaknesses gives you back your power' expresses the power of sharing and speaking out. This was a suggestion made to Mark by a fellow addict as a way to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. Mark was wary about vocalising his past as he felt ashamed and some of the situations he'd been in could potentially incriminate him, so naturally, he was cautious.
In terms of his background, his dad expressed himself through his fists whilst his Mom was a devout Jehovah's Witness. Sunday's would consist of Mark and his siblings being marched to meetings at Kingdom Hall and being wary of their inebriated father. His relationship, especially with his father, is explored, with the gist being that Mark is 'miserable because you love dad and he doesn't want your love'.
The rush of feelings returning when the body is depleted of its regular supply of drugs is captured with eloquence. The visual description of the physical effects, 'my bones are bleached of their marrow' encapsulates the extent of the toll heroin takes on the body. You have to reach rock bottom before you can begin the road to recovery. It is the realisation that rock bottom has been reached that was clearly a hard thing for Mark to recognise as he began to normalise his situation and gain a sort of begrudging acceptance of it.
Cocaine - this soft lumpy white (or off white) powder is typically crystalline in appearance and can be broken down into a fine powder using an implement such as a razor blade. 1 unit of this substance weighs in at about 0.2grams and can be equated to the size of 2 match stick heads. This could cost in the region of £65 for 1 gram and could potentially deliver between 1 and 4 'hits'. The user quickly builds up a tolerance level and has the innate need to acquire more and this can lead to a habit that needs funding which costs anywhere from £30-£200 per week! There are