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"You Can't Die": A Day of Clarity

ISBN: 9781545327708
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Edition: 1
Publication Date: 2017-04-16
Number of pages: 302
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  • Regular price $24.74

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“A DAY OF CLARITY,” by John C. Wolfe, is a detailed account of one man’s attempt to master alcohol. By the time he’s twenty years old, he is convinced that alcohol improves his character and abilities in all facets of life. At first, it’s hard to dispute his thinking. He rises quickly in his career as a writer. As Chief Speechwriter to the Governor of New York, he writes over a thousand speeches while drunk. He drinks in restrooms, courtrooms, even in the delivery room where his son was born. He even manages to sneak drinks into a three-way meeting with the Governor and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He finds a way to drink in every situation, except once, on September 11, 2001, when he finds himself in withdrawal among the rubble of the World Trade Center. Finally, after ten years, he is coaxed into treatment by family and friends. He emerges from rehab twenty-eight days later. One night in the church of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, while sober but disoriented, he inexplicably swallows a lethal dose of a narcotic medication meant to assist his recovery. His heart stops twice and he is placed on life support. He is thought to be suicidal, banished from the State Capitol and mandated to a psychiatric center for a month of observation. While there, he becomes convinced that the strain of sobriety caused his overdose. He comes to believe that he is suffering from a mental illness that only alcohol can control, and he vows to never stop drinking again. Soon after his release from the psychiatric center, he returns to his daily routine of heavy drinking. There are countless hospital and rehab stays and severe alcohol withdrawals in detox units. His family turns to the last best hope for a recovery at the prestigious Caron Foundation in Pennsylvania. Twenty days into his treatment there, he claims the walls are closing in around him and runs from the facility. That night, he gets drunk in Reading, PA, returns to Caron the next day, then runs back to his lake house in the Adirondacks. Within two weeks, he is physically unable to go fifteen minutes without a drink without suffering dangerous withdrawal symptoms and risking a seizure. He knows he is going to die and accepts it. Opting to spend his final summer at his beloved lake house, he stays inside so no one is able to see his condition. There was little left for his family and friends to do. It was just a matter of what killed him first, alcohol or suicide. Just three months after leaving treatment in Pennsylvania, relatives find him gravely ill on the floor of the lake home and bring him to an emergency room. Doctors weren’t sure if he would live. He is heavily medicated through the withdrawal process, then sent to the detox unit. A month later, he walks out of the hospital completely sober for the first time in twenty-five years. Doctors predicted a long and difficult recovery. They warned that his alcohol abuse had stunted his emotional growth by more than twenty years. They said that all the years of intoxication may have been masking a mental illness. They said he could be agitated, confused and even paranoid for as long as two years. More than anything else, “A Day of Clarity” is the story of a man’s distrust of himself. He uses alcohol as an elixir to control all facets of his life – his mood, his decisions, even his health. He drinks to temper his anger, regulate his physical comfort and stifle what he feared were psychotic impulses. He drinks to prevent another inexplicable near death experience. At the age of forty-seven, he must begin what he believes is an impossible task: Starting all over again, right where he left off 25 years earlier, disavowing everything he believed was true when he first learned it, and relearning it all over again, while anxiously waiting for a day of clarity.

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