Why I read this book?
As I come to a close on my fantastic vacation getaway in lovely Kansas I keep thinking back to
the most difficult times I experienced here. Hands down detoxing was the most difficult
experience of my life. I noticed several of my RDAP roommates reading this book and they
were all blown away by the accurate depiction regarding the addiction experience. I must say
this book delivered. WOW. It is exhausting. His depiction of what it is really like to be an
addict is the most authentic representation I have read. If you haven’t been addicted to drugs it is
almost impossible to imagine the grip it has on you and how hard it is to quit. This guy’s story
exemplifies the struggle you can have with addiction and the damage to your life it can have.
What is this book about?
Jason Peter is an ex-stud football player. He was part of the national championship teams in
Nebraska (under Tom Osbourne). He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers with the 14th pick in
the NFL draft. From an early age he partied. The NFL has testing policies that a 4-year-old
could fool. They really aren’t interested in testing for drugs (reminds me of RDAP). His
problem didn’t really manifest itself until his body succumbed to injuries (sounds familiar).
There is nothing scarier than someone with unlimited funds and a drug problem. The story
chronicles his long 20 year run of battling drugs and living a life that was completely out of
control. He has similar feeling toward AA and traditional rehab that I do. His family and friends
made numerous attempts to intervene unsuccessfully. In the end his hitting rock bottom and an
overall exhaustion with drugs showed him a path to finally get sober. Some of his descriptions
of rehab facilities are fascinating. There are actual rehab centers that hire attractive women to
basically shepherd you through the rehab process, The lure being that you are around good-
looking counselors/staff (never heard of that method)
His descriptions of what it is like to be on drugs is eerily similar to what I felt. There is
something comforting about somebody else describing a problem you had/have…. It brings some
credibility. The passages that really resonate with me are the following:
***Regarding my relationship with pills. I try to explain what it is like taking pills but I always
feel like me explanation falls short.
“I liked the way pills made me feel. When I had enough of those pills inside me, my life didn’t
seem so lonely. Not only did the pain in my back, my neck, and my shoulders recede enough
that I could function again, the chattering in my head would cease. When I was on the phone
with my mother and father, I could tell them everything was great, and for the moment I could
believe it myself, while the painkillers carried me through the day. When I had enough pills
inside me, I felt like Jason Peter the national champion.”
***What withdrawing is really like
“Doctors will tell you that kicking pain pills is like having a severe flu. They will reel off a list
of symptoms: runny nose, runny eyes, muscle aches, stomach cramps, fever, the chills, insomnia,
diarrhea, and nausea. Well as any addict can tell you, for all their good intentions – Doctors
really don’t know shit about withdrawal/detoxing. Comparing opiate withdrawal (years of using)
to the flu is like comparing getting hit by a truck to falling off a tri-cycle. I don’t care how
severe the flu is, it’s unlikely that you have seriously considered throwing yourself out the
window, just to make the screaming in your head go away and the agony in your body stop.
Withdrawing from a long-term opiate habit is the nearest thing to hell that the living ever gets to
***Lying to love ones. This breaks my heart but it is part of addiction.
“Lying to your loved ones becomes second nature when you are addicted to drugs. The first few
times it feels terrible. You can brood and dwell on the fact that you just crossed a line you never
wanted to cross. But pretty soon you learn to subdue that part of yourself and lie with
confidence and detachment. You learn how to make yourself feel OK about lying. You learn to
become a master manipulator of your loved one’s emotions. When I had this conversation with
family, I was high on painkillers and coke. As much as I wanted to stop hurting my family, I had
no faith whatsoever that I had the power to stop myself.”
If you haven’t been addicted to anything I am sure this is hard to relate to…but the pull drugs
have is like nothing I can describe. Some people don’t have the pull…some people can party for
the weekend and shut it down. I have multiple friends like that. Being beaten by something so
soundly is a humbling experience. Addiction did a number on Jason Peter but in the end, he
finds his rock bottom and begins to build himself back up. He met a beautiful woman and
eventually got married. He now works for ESPN and has a podcast.
How will I apply what I learned from this book?
Battling addiction is something I think about every day. The person it had made me is someone I
never want to be again.
Everyone battles addiction in their own way. One of my favorite parts of the book is when Jason
Peter gets a dog and that relationship with the dog is what he credits in getting him sober. He
gets up one day and the craving are overwhelming…he decides to call his connects and go out
and party (ending a 9 months sober stint). As he is about to leave his dog comes running up to
him and jumps in his lap. He knows if he leaves now, he will never come back and ultimately
never see his dog again. He ends up staying because he can’t stand the idea of leaving his dog.
He credits this event as a major turning point in his recovery. I love this story because I believe
the key to one’s own success lies in relying/helping others. Turning to other people or situations
for help is something I rely on heavily. Funny story. I have been really focusing on weight loss
(I have been working out ridiculously hard) …however my biggest problem is eating. I cannot
outwork my eating habits. Prison is super boring …so one of the things we do is eat out of
boredom. No matter what I tried I kept eating more than I wanted…especially after 8pm. I
finally realized I needed help and asked several friends to make sure I stayed away from food
after 8pm. They took it the extreme and ended up locking my locker with a padlock so I wouldn’t
cheat. It ended up working…the lock is gone but the habit is sticking. I think with sobriety and
getting over bad habits you need to do what works for you. That may include getting help from
other people. The thing you need to realize is that you need to try something different. I have
mentioned to multiple people that I want to get a dog when I get out. That may seem trivial but
for a guy like me that never wants responsibilities but it actually is pretty huge (not married…no
This book reminded me of how crazy my life was. I never want to go back to that. EVER….My
one area of concern is how my body will hold up. The pain I lived with in my late 20’s (the
reason I first tried pain pills) was unbearable. Fingers crossed it never gets like that again.