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An Officer and a Junkie: From West Point to the Point of No Returnby Michael Winder
Synopses & Reviews
Michael Winder longed to be a part of America's elite--to stand in The Long Gray Line as an officer in the United States Army. His quest for academic, athletic, and leadership excellence began as a cadet at the prestigious United States Military Academy at West Point. But before the end of his sophomore year, Winder buckled under pressure, and in search of an escape, he turned to alcohol and recreational drugs--eventually plummeting into debilitating and self-destructive abuse. Despite his inability to function without hourly doses of narcotics and alcohol chasers, Winder managed to graduate from West Point and earned a commission as an officer in the U.S. Army. An Officer and a Junkie is Winder's documented cautionary tale of his battle with substance abuse and dependency. With episodic, straightforward narrative, he pulls no punches in his confessions of what he did (and did not do) both inside and outside military walls, revealing his innermost delusions and most shameful acts. Once the years of self-neglect finally began taking their toll, the consequences were disastrous; Winder came to believe he was the reincarnation of Mexican impressionist painter Frida Kahlo and ultimately Jesus Christ.
When Winder finally does give up drugs and embraces sobriety, he receives what his doctors assure him is a lifelong sentence of antipsychotic and mood-stabilizing medication. But his fine intellect remains, as does his brutal honesty and his riveting and unforgettable account of his descent into madness.
"Readers may find it hard to sympathize with Winder, who manages to graduate from West Point, gain an honorable discharge from the military and get accepted into one of the top law schools in the nation — all while maintaining a daily regimen of alcohol, GHB, LSD, cocaine and prescription drug cocktails. But that is the point of his memoir: to dispel the myth that addicts are necessarily 'losers and failures.' Emphasizing the episodic in straightforward narrative, Winder vividly captures defining moments in his life as an addict, describing how his abuse of alcohol to escape the pressures of school escalated to a full dependence on drugs to compensate for his feelings of social and physical self-consciousness. At one point, he was using cocaine and Hydroxycut to battle the chronic fatigue of his alcohol binges; Xanax for the shaking and anxiety of the cocaine and Hydroxycut; Prozac for depression; steroids for energy and motivation to stay in shape; and Valium for sleep. While the picture Winder paints of himself is not pretty, it succeeds in capturing the self-centeredness and paranoia of an addict's life." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
An uncensored, documented, cautionary memoir of Michael Winders disastrous foray into drug and alcohol abuse while a West Point cadet, his expulsion from West Point, his drug-induced brain damage, his struggle with sobriety through his twenties, and finding a new path for his future.
Whereas Jim Carroll's The Basketball Diaries painted a chilling picture of a drug addict's world, An Officer and a Junkie crosses all boundaries. It is the memoir of Michael Winder, a West Point cadet who took so many mind-altering substances that he came to believe he was Frida Kahlo. Winder tells his story chronologically, weaving from month to month across the four basic stages of the substance abuse and recovery cycle (use, abuse, rehabilitation, relapse), as it narrates his disastrous foray into drug and alcohol abuse.
An Officer and a Junkie shows what drug-induced psychosis looks like from the inside. It's a startling glimpse at a promising life that becomes a train wreck and then gets even worse. When Michael finally does give up drugs and embraces sobriety, it's too late. He's legally required to take strong antipsychotic medication for the rest of his days. But his fine intellect remains, as does his brutal honesty and his riveting and unforgettable account of his drug-fueled descent into madness.
About the Author
Michael Winder is a personal trainer and speaker, and is in recovery from substance abuse.
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