I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing the phenomenal Amy Dresner. When I say I met her, I mean I found her ass on Twitter and demanded a fucking interview, like the obnoxious Jewish mother that I am. Amy released a raw and real book about her struggle with addiction, and journey to recovery called My Fair Junkie. Buy it, but first read this interview.
-Sarah Fader, CEO, Eliezer Tristan Publishing
“I’m a female perpetrator of domestic violence as well as a female sex addict.” Amy Dresner
- Tell us about what lead you to addiction.
Well if I knew what lead to addiction then I’d have a supplement line or a string of successful rehabs and we’d know how to avoid it entirely! I truly believe it’s different for everybody and that there’s a spectrum of “addiction”. I think for me it was a mix of trying to self-medicate depression coupled with a real genetic predisposition to addiction. When I tried crystal meth I felt “right”, “normal” for the first time in my life and who doesn’t want to feel normal? It wasn’t until later that I found out that my mother and uncle had both been addicted to speed.
- What was the lowest point of your life during substance abuse?
There was so many! Shooting cocaine and having a grand mal seizure? Checking yourself into a psych ward thinking it was spa because you’re in a blackout on Ativan? The one that really stands out for me is getting arrested for felony domestic violence with a deadly weapon on Christmas while high on Oxy.
- How did you decide to get sober?
Which time? I was known as a “chronic relapser” so I’ve been getting sober for over 20 years. Sometimes my parents threw me into rehab. Sometimes I got 5150’d. This last time 5 and a half years ago, it was through AA and being in a sober living for 2.5 years.
- What’s unique about your story?
I think coming from a privileged background where people somehow think you’re immune to the repercussions of addiction. Also I was a comic so my book is funny (or tries to be) because I believe humor helps diminish the shame, breaks the stigma and reaches more people. The other thing that’s unique about my book is that I’m a female perpetrator of domestic violence as well as a female sex addict. Both of those things are rare and still very stigmatized as evidenced by the fact that I haven’t had a date since the book came out. Hahaha. Kidding…sort of.
- Tell us about your book. How did you decide to write it?
It evolved naturally after chronicling my misadventures for TheFix.com over 6 years. Readers wanted more. When I started to document my 240 hours of community labor on Facebook in real time (the “chain gang” I called it), people were interested, amused and incredibly supportive. My editor at the time realized that my days “rocking the broom” (as I was usually sweeping the streets) were the skeleton for my book, interspersed with flashbacks. A friend introduced me to her agent and we were off.
It’s hard to be objective about your own writing but I tried to be as honest as I could, no matter how bad that made me look. Jerry Stahl says “If you had the nerve to live it, you should have the nerve to write it.” I wanted to help people and you can’t do that by editing out the horrible embarrassing bits. Those are the parts where people get the chance to identify. And as I said it’s actually funny which is rare for such a gnarly addiction memoir. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think addiction is funny but I think forgiving yourself and being able to laugh is key to healing. According to messages I’ve received that humor allowed readers to laugh at things that they had felt terribly ashamed about before.