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Old 02-13-2006, 01:20 PM   #46
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an opinion piece I read yesterday

Jim Frey and my son

By Jim Bildner | February 12, 2006

What both author Jim Frey and Oprah Winfrey have missed is that the real damage Frey has done in fabricating large parts of his book, ''A Million Little Pieces," has nothing to do with literature and being honest with one's readers. It's much worse than that.

By marginalizing the truth, Frey has marginalized the depth of the problem of substance abuse and addiction in our country. While many readers still see the book as a powerful look into one addict's life, too many others see themselves as being conned, once again, by an addict.

What Frey still doesn't understand is that you don't need to embellish the truth when it comes to addiction. The reality of the world of drugs is horrible enough, as are the wave of destruction and collateral damage it creates for the families caught in its vices. I know firsthand the truth of this experience because I lived it as my son battled his own substance abuse for the last three years of his life. He died three weeks before Christmas, at 21.

In justifying why he lied, Frey said in recent interviews that he needed to make things up because he wanted the stories in the book ''to ebb and flow, to have dramatic arcs, to have the tension that all great stories require." But those of us who have experienced the truth of addiction know that is just another lie. There is already plenty of drama and tension in addiction. I watched my son's life ''ebb and flow" for three years before my eyes. And while Frey, his editor, and his publisher continue to engage in finger-pointing, they would all be well advised to consider who the real victims are in this. I know one of them. She's my daughter.

At her brother's memorial service, she stood in front of a church full of friends, neighbors, and family and summoned the courage to speak on her brother's behalf now that his voice was silenced. Choking back tears, she read a passage from Frey's ''memoir" hoping the truth of his words would help those of us assembled to understand what so many of us don't -- that our son, like millions of Americans, fought every day of his life to make it through to the next day. That the struggle to stay sober is a battle without an end that is waged every minute in a recovering addict's life. When my daughter finished reading from ''A Million Little Pieces" she proclaimed her love for her brother, and warned us what too few realize -- that drugs are everywhere and addiction affects everyone, in one way or another. And she's right.

National recidivism rates are in the high 80s and climbing as street drugs have become purer and first-time users are being exposed at younger ages. It's a lethal combination that's not easy to stop or comfortable for most of us to talk about. That's why we're losing this war.

Well it's time to talk about it. And believe me, the subject matter needs no embellishing. We need to find ways to keep these drugs from getting into our communities and our schools. And until real change takes hold, we need to let every child and parent know that what happened to my son can happen to theirs -- it's that simple. If you're looking for a silver bullet, look in the mirror --right now, a parent is the only defense a child has from the horrors of drugs and addiction.

Our son's struggle and the struggle that others go through each day to stay sober and alive are pure truth. The day after his memorial service, I went to clean out his apartment. In one of his dresser drawers in his bedroom, I found a diary that he kept. One sentence after another recount the truth of his experience and the constant battle between his mind and body wanting to use and his fight to recover and be sober.

The truth of our son's diary is absolute. He didn't write it to make a good story or to sell more books. He wrote it to stay alive.

Frey's con doesn't just hurt himself or his publisher. It hurts all those who are trying desperately to survive and all of us who care for them by allowing so many to discount the truth that was in the book.

That's the real tragedy of this story.

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Old 02-13-2006, 01:27 PM   #47
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i have some knowledge of recovery as several of my friends are either recovering drug addicts or alcoholics. i am aware of their tendancy to embellish the truth at times to make it more colorful but what i really see is the person struggling to stay clean and sober one more day.

this book justs takes them two steps back.

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Old 02-13-2006, 01:29 PM   #48
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I have run into this information on another list I'm on. It is claimed that he actually plagiarized parts of the book. As it is, I'm not going to read a faked memoir.
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Old 02-13-2006, 01:30 PM   #49
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Why? Just enjoy it as fiction.

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