I Want My Life Back

Overview


Steve Hamilton is a living metaphor for addiction--and ultimately recovery. A hardened addict in his teens, Hamilton had a heroin habit that led him deep into the drug underworld of South Africa. It took eleven stays at institutions and three times being pronounced clinically dead before Hamilton took his first earnest steps toward recovery. Hamilton eventually became a founding member of Narcotics Anonymous in South Africa and has since counseled addicts in treatment clinics. EXCERPT: "That's the trouble with ...
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Overview


Steve Hamilton is a living metaphor for addiction--and ultimately recovery. A hardened addict in his teens, Hamilton had a heroin habit that led him deep into the drug underworld of South Africa. It took eleven stays at institutions and three times being pronounced clinically dead before Hamilton took his first earnest steps toward recovery. Hamilton eventually became a founding member of Narcotics Anonymous in South Africa and has since counseled addicts in treatment clinics. EXCERPT: "That's the trouble with drugs. None of it is real in the end. The whole thing is one big lie. I wish every day that I could start over, turn back the damn clock and see what the real Steve was like and what he could have accomplished without his dangerous toys and dubious playmates. That's another reason why I want my life back."
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hamilton, a 39-year-old South African, tells a sadly common tale of woe as a reformed drug addict and alcoholic, straightforwardly detailing how he descended into a dismal, purposeless life after surviving a broken home with a drunken father, and squandered his future as a promising tenor. Although Hamilton realizes early on that his addictions could derail his life, he sees little hope in shaking the dependence on drinking and drugging that, from his teens, quickly plunges him into a dead-end existence. Using his grim story as a departure point, Hamilton often lapses into long lectures on the evils of drugs and alcohol; he finds cigarettes can be a "gateway drug'' for those susceptible to addictive behavior. He doesn't render his brave journey from stupor to sobriety in a clear, linear manner, but rather in fits and starts, as he bounces from topic to topic, going from a brief admission of brain damage from his addictions to longer remembrances of his postrehab work with schools and companies, and the difficulty of fighting the urge to get high. While the recollections of his dysfunctional family and tainted friends hold an occasional charge of drama, Hamilton offers few new insights about the rigors of healing and rehabilitation, producing a predictable memoir that is, at times, boring. Hamilton addresses moral courage, determination and redemption in the face of temptation, physical decline and unwavering support from a community of peers. Despite the book's lack of originality and erratic narrative, the author's generous heart and willingness to help others make it inspirational and instructive. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In his first book, Hamilton, a noted lecturer and founding member of Narcotics Anonymous in South Africa, takes readers on a journey into the depths of addiction. At times, we feel like interlopers, looking through Hamilton's eyes and probing his deepest thoughts; at times, confidants, sharing his unimaginable secrets; and at times, voyeurs, reliving his self-destructive behavior. It soon becomes evident that what appear to be disjointed recollections are, in fact, a means of organization: the mind of an addict "pinging" from topic to topic, from the present to the past, with reflections interspersed. There is no beginning and no end to this book, no remarkable time line to clarify the startling events that are told. Not a comfortable read, this memoir is nonetheless a fascinating revelation of one man's journey into the abyss of alcoholism and drug addiction and his continuing struggle to stay sober. Important reading for both public and academic libraries, especially those that specialize in the helping professions and autobiography.-Melody Ballard, Washoe Cty. Lib. Syst., Reno, NV Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592850839
  • Publisher: Hazelden Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/15/2004
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 802,619
  • Product dimensions: 5.13 (w) x 7.88 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

At the age of fifteen Steve Hamilton already had a criminal record for possession of an illegal substance. From there, his life spiraled deeper into the drug underworld of South Africa. It took eleven institutions and three times pronounced clinically dead before he took his first real steps back into normal society. He was a founding member of Narcotics Anonymous in South Africa and has since counseled addicts in rehab clinics. He also lectures before school groups and other organizations about the dangers of experimenting with drugs.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2008

    WOW

    What a book this is!! I am currently reading it and i keep wanting to know more and more of the life the amazing man led. i think he has come a long way. its really an insightful and inspiring book that will teach u alot i am recommending it to all the South Afrcans'young/old' out there these times are hard and we have to be brave an fight it do not resort to drugs they only make things worse

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2005

    This should be on the high school must read list!!

    I Want My Life Back is sooo in depth you feel like you are there as Steve takes his first drink, his first hit, and as he goes through many withdrawls. This should absolutely be required reading for all teenagers!! It shows drug abuse at its most unglamorous..

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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