Early last week, before Appetite for Addiction was published, I had a conversation about the impending release with my boy Brian. He asked how I was doing, knowing that my entire life was about to be available for the world to see (he put it more mildly). “I’m fucking scared dude,” was my response. The previous couple of weeks I had been wrought with insecurity. Even though I’ve shared quite a bit of my story on this blog, it doesn’t tell the whole story. I was terrified about what the reaction might be once people actually started reading it and finding out that I was a pretty big jackass for so long (which is a judgement that I reluctantly place on myself from time to time, still working on those).
Curiously, as the release day got closer, the anxiety began to somehow subside. Then, last Thursday, went Appetite was released, I felt this huge weight come off of my shoulders. I hadn’t felt that light in some time. Even today, as the book is slowly getting out there, I feel somewhat grounded and relaxed. Perhaps having all of these crazy stories and narratives persist in my mindframe before the books release was doing more harm than good. Or, perhaps, it is just a part of the process that writers experience when they cultivate their own memoirs.
Right after I resigned from the Hilton, in June of 2015, I started to write. I had this idea that it might be fun and therapeutic to put my entire story down on paper. I didn’t necessarily know that I was about to start a three year project of intensive self-reflection on my history. In fact, I began writing chronologically, beginning with my upbringing as a child, gradually progressing to present day. Looking back to some of the writing I was doing back then was kinda embarrassing. But then, I received a valuable piece of advice from my good friend and author, Buffy. All he said, loosely, was just write. That’s it. Just write. I carried that knowledge with me until the day I submitted my first final draft to my copy editor last fall. Thank you Buffy.
At first I was going to name the book Renovatio, latin for re-birth. My reasoning was because of a tattoo I had to cover up (the initials of my ex-fiancee, I can’t believe I actually did that) with a new word. Right around the time I wanted to get the tat redone I saw an Ewan McGregor movie that featured the word Renovatio. It had a nice ring to it. I though it might be cool to replace LMC with a word that signified re-birth, regeneration.
After I nixed that idea for whatever reason I wanted to name the book Eat, Sleep, Run, Repeat. After a day of thinking about it, and a few suggestions from friends to keep working on the title, I quickly nixed that as well. Plus, I didn’t want to come off writing a “running” book and the title was just silly and irrelevant given the content of my story.
Then, one afternoon while driving to the gym I was blaring the Guns N’ Roses album Appetite for Destruction. BAM! THAT’S IT. Thus, Appetite for Addiction was born.
Ultimately I wrote Appetite for two reasons. One, to help me understand the construct of my life, especially as it relates to addiction and sobriety. Two, to help other people know, who might suffer in silence from their own demons, that they are not alone. The reason I had my mom be the main editor, other than the fact that she’s a very good editor, was because it was the best way for me to express what I had gone through in life. Up until I started writing I just didn’t know how to properly help her understand the anxiety, stress, and depression that I seemed to be relentlessly steeped in.
In my previous work-life experience in the corporate world it was all about producing results, quickly, my paycheck depended on it. Other than training athletically I was always reluctant to enter into multi-year projects, mainly because of the fear that I wouldn’t see it through. Trust me, there were times where I wanted to scrap the whole project, simply because I wasn’t getting any immediate results. Fortunately, with the help and encouragement from several friends, I didn’t stop. I am very thankful for this. Plus, during those times of frustation, I was still firmly of the belief that results were everything. Thankfully, part of that thinking has subsided and transformed into a sense of patience, something that always seemed to elude me in the past.
I’m grateful to have gone through this process, it has been so very rewarding. Plus, I found out that I have somewhat of a knack for writing! Funny, because I failed my writing class at St. Lawrence University. With the revelation of this new hobby I am proud to say that I’m already half-way through the follow-up book to Appetite for Addiction. A Comeback from Addiction, My Story, will be out soon!
A huge thank you to everyone who helped keep my head above water through the writing process.
P.S. – for those who read Appetite I would enjoy hearing your constructive feedback.