Checking in as a patient is not the only way to know what it's like to be in rehab. Sometimes, it's possible to get a fairly accurate picture by reading a book like A Million Little Pieces by James Frey.
Frey was a 23 year-old who had been abusing drugs and alcohol since he was 10 years old when he was brought to a rehabilitative center in Minnesota. He was told he would die by the age of 24 if he did not get immediate help. And so began a long, painful, highly graphic journey of his path ro recovery.
The writing is conversational in parts. But it's more accurately an insight into the author's mind, as though he has hooled it up to a silent reader which translates his thoughts into text. Frey has employed an interesting use of capitalization, treating different words as though they were characters. Ironically, this is not distracting but actually lends more meaning to the reading.
The story develops very well, carrying the reader comfortably through it at every stage. The beginning of the book is quite harsh and it takes determination to get through the first few chapters. But once past that, the effort becomes worthwhile.
The timing of reading this book coincided with my discovery of a television show called Intervention. It deals with addictions of different kinds through real people suffering from the conditions. With help from their family, victims get help from medical facilities in different parts of the country. The visual elements of the show helped put the book into perspective.
A Million Little Pieces was once Oprah's choice for her book club. However, soon after it was discovered that not all parts of the book were true. Frey appeared on the show to admit and apologize for the falsity which was part of his "memoir." I don't support deception and it is tragic for the credibility of a text especially like this to be marred by something like untrue facts. But the story is compelling. Read A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. It will suprise you how a book with that title can make you feel reknewedly whole again.
On an aside, I've started my new blog here, where only my published journalistic work will be available. I encourage you to to take a look and would really appreciate feedback.