A Note to the Reader:

This work is a memoir. It reflects the author’s present recollections of his experiences over a period of 5 years. In order to protect the privacy of people mentioned in this book, some characters have been combined and situations disguised, and certain names, places, and other identifying characteristics have been changed. This is how the author remembers what happened.

Remember: “[Memoir] is a radically subjective account of events that objectively took place.” —Steve Almond, author of Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America and Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life.

In other words, your memory of an event is often different from other people’s memory.

I spent a considerable amount of time working on this that it interfered with my current life. I had to stay at my parents’ house and only work semi-part time, while also seeing a therapist. I was physically in the present, but my head was trapped in the past, reliving every scene over and over, picking up details and taking notes on my thought process at the time. I realized, the more and more you relive a past situation, you start questioning whether it happened that way or not—you watch how your memory becomes altered in just the slightest, with unimportant details most of the time. Still, it was an eye-opener learning how our memory can trick and play with you. When this happened, I went back with what I originally saw and went with my gut.

Therefore, if you are someone who was there and remember things differently, keep in mind your memory is flawed, too. If you are upset about it, then you can… Write Your Own Memoir!

2018

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, on a daily basis, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers, synthetic opioids, and heroin—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin. About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids. From July 2016 to September 2017, opioid overdoses in large cities increased by 54 percent in 16 states. This issue has become a public health crisis with devastating consequences including increases in opioid misuse and related overdoses. We have also recently lost two great music virtuosos, Tom Petty and Prince, due to opioids.

So, what can we do?

We have already began improving access to treatment and recovery services, promoting use of overdose-reversing drugs, providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction, advancing better practices for pain management, and strengthening our understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance.

That is exactly what I’m trying to accomplish with this book. I also want to explain a few incredible things about myself I had discovered while living this story.

Some words of caution: there may be an event or two that seems unlikely or improbable to happen in reality, based on one’s individual beliefs. I know what I had witnessed was real. If you don’t believe it, that’s fine, you weren’t there to witness it. Just, please keep your opinions to yourself. If you feel you can’t, feel free to write your own memoir about what happened in mine. The publicity will be great.

One more: It can also be graphic at times—readers beware.

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