Dry by Augusten Burroughs

Dry by Augusten Burroughs

I've a big fan of books by Augusten Burroughs and I'm a big fan of books where New York City is such a force within the story, the city becomes almost a character itself. Dry is both.

I'm not a big fan, though, of what are called recovery memoirs when they don't talk much about recovery and instead merely list, describe, and detail the many drugs a person did before they got into recovery, what they did because they were doing said drugs, and what they did to get the drugs.

Dry is different than other memoirs of this type because Burroughs describes his descent only in the first few chapters. When his advertising workplace performs an intervention which forcibly encourages his attendance at a rehab, Burroughs flies off to Minnesota to an un-named rehab for substance abusing LGBT folks. He spends some time, gets sober, learns some stuff and then returns to New York and the same job, apartment and life where he developed his drinking problem. He has a lot to learn.

Burroughs' description of the twelve step world of New York is as fascinating as his description of the advertising world, although both seem a little—make that a lot—depressing. But he talks frankly and at times hilariously about the loneliness that sometimes disconnected urban life can bring. When his recovery is further compromised by a relationship with a wealthy crack addict, and the fact that his best friend is dying of AIDS and Burroughs can't quite seem to deal with it, or with his own feelings about it, Burroughs finds hope in community.