Tight Rope Walker

Tight Rope Walker

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dry by Augusten Burroughs

Dry is a memoir written by Augusten Burroughs. He also wrote Running With Scissors. I just finished reading it. I had taken a break from reading addiction books for awhile. But when I saw this book on the shelf at Goodwill for 1.99, I couldn't pass it up. I have always wondered why Emily can make it about 9 months and then relapse. Like at that 9 month mark, something goes wrong. I just couldn't understand why? From all I read and hearing Dr. Phil say it over and over, it takes about 30 to 90 days to change a habit, so by 9 months, certainly the bad habit has changed. Not so with Emily. Here is what Mr. Burroughs wrote about 9 months.

" At work the next day, I feel edgy and worried and frustrated and angry and sad and confused and relieved and every other emotion on that damn rehab feeling chart. Sometimes, a few feelings collect and have a sort of party in my head. Then it seems they all leave and I have no feelings at all. I remember in rehab someone saying that nine months was a turning point. It's like the seven-year itch. I think this must be because we have nine months programmed into us from our time in the womb. After nine months we are ready to make a dramatic change. Be born, or go get drunk."

He obviously relapses... very badly.. for quite awhile. What he learned after the relapse, as he explained to his friend going thru it, was this:

" You're suppose to go to a meeting. I mean , as much as you hate them or if they feel stupid or you just don't want to go. The thing is, if you go to a meeting, you won't drink that day. It's like a minibrainwash. It kind of fixes you for the little while. But then I say, "of course if I'm really wallowing in self-pity, then I will tell myself, ' Pighead, (his best friend who died) would give anything to feel this uncomfortable right now.' So there's always the auto-guilt trip method."

I get it. I understand what he is saying. I get he is using the tools he's been given now. His relapse taught him, meetings , meetings, meetings. How come our kids don't get it? I wish I could gift "getting it" for a Christmas gift, instead of a coat or gift card.



  1. If you are able to make some of those "getting it" cards....could I have one too for my son's stocking ??
    I read Dry too,...good book. Augusten Burroughs is really quite a character....and I do enjoy his writing.

  2. My son has never made it past nine months either and he is 35 now! I think this has to do with PAW (Post Acute Withdrawal) or what I think AA refers to as "The Wall." You might want to Google that as it does make a lot of sense when considering chronic addiction.

    Prayers for you and your family.

  3. "Dry" interests me a lot due to its bit of controversy regarding memoir v. fiction.

    Another book that might interest you is Herta B. Feely's "Confessions: Fact or Fiction?" as it is an anthology of different authors' works meant to challenge reader expectations regarding genre and truth.