07 January 2018

Reviewer, Raised by Alcoholics, is Uplifted by ALL DRINKING ASIDE 5***** Stars

As a student of chemical dependency and an adult who suffered through being raised by an alcoholic mother and father, All Drinking Aside by Jim Anders traverses new and previously uncharted territory for me: Seeing life through the eyes of an alcoholic. This self-proclaimed work of autobiographical fiction introduces you to Jim, and as the old adage goes: To love him is to hate him! His vivid descriptions which lay the bricks for the foundational understanding of himself as the main character are dichotomously negated with the absurdly casual mention of his sister’s death from alcoholism. 
It is this desensitization which allowed Jim to slip so far into his illness, and he is right to include it in the book. Yet it is this aforementioned dichotomy which ultimately makes the reader yearn to read more about Jim, to learn more about him, and to absorb his “metamorphosis of change” (p. 55) alongside him. His creation of three quasi-Jungian archetypal figures as commentators serves to enhance the rhetorical analyses of both his condition and states of mind at various times in his life. They serve their purpose well as does the book: They make one look “longer, harder, wider, and deeper than ever would seem otherwise possible” (p. 97) when daring to ask oneself, “What is it truly like to be an alcoholic?” Jim Anders answers that question for the reader without “romanticizing his phantoms” (p. 133) as so many autobiographers often unwittingly do. All Drinking Aside is clearly not a book to miss and certainly not one I will soon forget. I will take it with me in my academic circles and in my work with future patients. My thoughts are often with Jim as he continues his recovery through interaction with the learned community, and I am grateful to be part of it. ~~ Vilma Reyes
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
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