|About the Book|
Agony and Ecstasy is a poignant study of addiction and how it can devastate a family. The author details the life of his son Jimmy, vividly describing the slow decline into addiction, criminality, violence, helplessness, incarceration and eventualMoreAgony and Ecstasy is a poignant study of addiction and how it can devastate a family. The author details the life of his son Jimmy, vividly describing the slow decline into addiction, criminality, violence, helplessness, incarceration and eventual tragic death.Each chapter is split into personal reminiscences and technical information. Thus, family memories are contrasted with expert theories and medical analysis of the actual physical effects of the various substances explored within the tome.The early chapters detail Jims childhood and look at the theories around learned behaviour, genetics, peer influences and positive / negative family role models, in the effort to understand HOW Jimmy became attracted to illicit substances and determine what was missing from his life that forced him towards depression and drug and alcohol abuse at such a tender age.Chapter three looks at the onset of what his family supposed was teenage tantrums / moodiness, but was in fact Jims discovery of alcohol and marijuana. By his late teens - Chapter Four - Jim was heavily abusing cocaine and the violence and criminal behaviour commenced as his previously exuberant personality visibly changed.Chapter Five reveals the most destructive period of Jimmys life, as he alienated family members with his aggressive and often emotionally / mentally erratic behaviour. Homelessness was now added to his repertoire, as his mother could no longer cope with the constant strain and abuse of living with an addict.This chapter also looks at the actual workings of the brain and body when taking various substances and portrays how they both change personality and promote dependence.The final chapter is a heart-rending exploration of bereavement and debilitating grief, as Jims family try to come to terms with the tragic death of their young son.Interspersed throughout are examples from celebrity addicts, detailing their own battles with drug or alcohol abuse, and interviews: a former drug user, the mother of a drug addict, a recovering alcoholic, a bereaved mother, and two of Jimmys friends, who give an alternate view of their old school-friends decline.With absolute honesty the author reflects upon whether anything could have been done to prevent his sons decline, and WHY all of the early warning signs were missed. [In the process of writing the book the author was forced to finally confront his own alcoholism!]Ultimately, this is a first-hand guide on the devastation of addiction, which will hopefully touch somebodys life and help prevent similar painful tragedies.