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Tales from the Last House on the Block: As Jim Sees It (Volume 1) Paperback – November 11, 2013
About the Author
The author drank alcoholically from his first drink at age 14. By 17 he was drinking as often as he could, though it was usually only 3 or 4 times a week. By 19 he found that he was unable to stop drinking – even for a day – when he wanted to. He did not achieve any notable sobriety until he was nearly 40 years old. He was handicapped in his membership to Alcoholics Anonymous in that he was “spiritually broken”. It wasn’t so much that he didn’t believe in God, as it was he had no desire to do business with Him. He prayed and meditated and practiced the program as best he could. He “acted as if” and “faked it ‘till he could make it”. After many years he still had no conscious contact with a power greater than himself. Just as he was about to give up, he had the thought that “Living in faith is more important than professing faith”. So he walks through the program today spiritually bereft, but always seeking. These are things he has learned staying sober. Some of these stories are available on his blog: AsJimSeesIt.WordPress.com .
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That probably sounds simplistic. As one who is fortunate enough to not have developed the addictive relationship, the biological chemical malfunction that is alcoholism, I experienced its effects throughout my childhood and have seen it develop in others. But JT's essays do not focus solely on the personal relationship of alcoholic to alcohol. He explores addictive behaviors in general, having recognized that whether the demon is alcohol, drugs of all stripe, sex, ego or some other damaging dependency. His delivery is frankly, blunt--a no BS exploration of the trip from husband, father, hard-working employee and unhappily misadjusted member of society to a homeless, jobless failure camping in a tent, dumpster diving, and a miserable wreck of humanity.
His essays are packed with life's lessons hard won at the bar, in scores of loveless sexual relationships, and in hundreds of A-A meetings. When talking about writing this book, Jim said, "I've never written a book, I don't know how to write a book, ... but I have a blog." One look at that blog and I told him, "You've already written it." Those blog post essays form the backbone of this powerfully honest book. The Twelve Steps are the loose organizational spine of the `Tales' if you aren't picky about which order he delivers them. More important to the organization is the search for spiritual understanding from a drunk who had no use for God when he realized that A-A offered experienced guides on how to not be a drunk. JT's dance with spirituality and a personal acceptance of God in his life will differ from yours. His God may not have the same dimensions, powers, history, biography, etc. as yours, but his acceptance of loving, doing, being, and trusting transcends robes, incense, and tabernacles.
Despite the irreverent references to the "Book", he truly loves the process of sponsor - sponsee that saved his life and the lives of some of his friends in the struggle. Not all made it. He is truly grateful that some of his friends `died sober'. I am grateful that I have gained insight into those I have known that have shared his struggles, ruining part of my childhood, and dying damaged, way too soon. Whichever camp you find yourself in, read this book.
I'm not in AA, but I've been in Al-anon, and I have friends and family who have struggled with addiction, and I found it to be a really interesting read.