Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Dresner.
Amy, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I began writing for magazines in college but at 24, I found myself a crystal meth addict. The next 18 years were full of rehabs and psych wards and various stints of sobriety as I struggled with booze, cocaine, oxy and eventually IV drugs. In 2012 I started writing for various recovery magazines, primarily theFix.com, chronicling my own bumpy voyage as well as my thoughts on different aspects of the recovery industry, including 12 steps, rehab, etc. I was brash and un-PC and grossly honest and I think people found it a refreshing break from the usual “I’m so evolved” or the self-pitying “I can’t get it together” ones. I landed an agent and soon a book deal and my memoir, “My Fair Junkie: A memoir of getting dirty and staying clean,” was published in 2017 to rave reviews from critics and readers alike for its humor, insight and rawness.
Has it been a smooth road?
Smooth? I was arrested for felony domestic violence on Christmas of 2011 and went to jail. I ended up penniless in a psych ward, sentenced to a year of domestic violence counseling and 240 hours of community labor. That’s how the shift for me really happened… losing everything and ending up on an essentially a chain gang. It also turned out to be the framework for my book, days on the chain gang sweeping trash, interspersed with flashbacks to using days, childhood memories, psych wards, rehabs, etc.
I am now seven years sober but I struggled with a sex addiction at the beginning of this sobriety. That was extremely painful and humiliating and I chronicled that in the book also. But there is nothing easy about starting over in your 40’s with nothing. And I wrote the book to help people and amuse them. People feel like they know you when they read a memoir as intimate as mine and they also feel like they can criticize you because everything is out there. I learned early on not to read reviews or comments but I do respond to personal messages because I think it takes a lot of guts to reach out to somebody you don’t know but whose writing you really connected to. People are always surprised when I write back. I’m not famous. I’m just a junkie that wrote a book.
I think the hardest part about writing a book and getting published by a big publisher, is that after the three months is over with the hotshot publicist, it’s all on you to get the word out. That can feel embarrassing or uncomfortable but you just have to pretend that’s it’s somebody else and keep on keeping on with the podcasts and articles and interviews. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I’m a freelance writer, a published author, a speaker and a recovery advocate. I think I’m most known for my honesty and humor and resilience. I’m not afraid to ruffle feathers, swear or say or write the thing that everybody is thinking that nobody dares say. There is nothing funny about addiction but our hypocrisy, inconsistency and self-delusion can make for our own very human comedy and some life-saving laughs.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I was born and bred here so it’s home. The weather is amazing. But I’m not a big fan of the traffic or how easy it is to feel disconnected because it’s so sprawled out and there isn’t the type of community you have in walking cities like New York.
- Website: www.amydresner.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org