Tom's Story: Don't Believe the Lie
by Debbie Petrie
Trafford Publishing

"My name is Tom and I am an alcoholic/addict in recovery applying the twelve step program."

This provides a look at addiction from the inside out. The journal of a drug addict and alcoholic as he works the Alcoholics Anonymous twelve step program, Tom's Story (his last name is never mentioned), was compiled and published, we are told, by Tom's wife Debbie Petrie after his suicide, in order to help others who may be struggling with addiction avoid the same fate.

Tom had been drinking for twenty years when he found himself sitting in jail at thirty-six years old, locked up for the latest of many assaults. He made the decision to turn down bail, choosing instead to remain in jail the two months until his court date and use the time to try to clean up his life. When he got home, he entered AA. His thoughts on each step of the program and how it pertains to his life make up the bulk of the book, as he takes an honest and unflinching look at all the harm he has caused to those around him, from robbery to violence, and comes to grips with the fact that if he doesn't change now his time could be running out: "By the time I reached the age of 25, I had experienced my first hospitalization due to drugs and alcohol... After that there were many accidents, and many visits to the hospital due to substance abuse."

As it was never intended for publication, Tom's Story is written in a first person narrative throughout. Tom simply pours his thoughts out, without editing, as he attempts to make sense of his life and addiction. Occasional garbled sentences, along with references to people unknown to the reader with no background explanation, make for difficult reading at times. Nevertheless, it is worth the effort to absorb the sense of honesty and urgency in the words of a man who believes he is writing for no eyes but his own. While Tom didn't achieve the long life he hoped for, there is no reason why the next Tom can't. Published so others can see how well he was doing while he was sober, Tom's Story can provide ample inspiration for anyone fighting the same battle.

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