Find your next favorite book

Become a member today and read free for 30 days
Dry: A Memoir

Dry: A Memoir

Read preview

Dry: A Memoir

ratings:
4.5/5 (125 ratings)
Length:
371 pages
5 hours
Released:
Apr 23, 2013
ISBN:
9781466844308
Format:
Book

Description

The Tenth Anniversary Edition of the New York Times bestselling book that has sold over half a million copies in paperback.
"I was addicted to "Bewitched" as a kid. I worshipped Darren Stevens the First. When he'd come home from work and Samantha would say, ‘Darren, would you like me to fix you a drink?' He'd always rest his briefcase on the table below the mirror in the foyer, wipe his forehead with a monogrammed handkerchief and say, ‘Better make it a double.'" (from Chapter Two)

You may not know it, but you've met Augusten Burroughs. You've seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twentysomething guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had two drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn't really a request) of his employers, Augusten lands in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey Jr. are immediately dashed by grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click and that's when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life—and live it sober. What follows is a memoir that's as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is true. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a Higher Power.

Released:
Apr 23, 2013
ISBN:
9781466844308
Format:
Book

About the author

Augusten Burroughs is the author of Running with Scissors (Atlantic 2004), Dry (Atlantic 2005), Magical Thinking (Atlantic 2005) and Possible Side Effects (Atlantic 2007), all of which have been New York Times bestsellers and are published around the world. A film version of Running with Scissors starring Annette Benning and Gwyneth Paltrow was adapted for the screen by Ryan Murphy. Augusten has been named one of the fifteen funniest people in America by Entertainment Weekly. Sellevision is his latest book. He lives in New York City and western Massachusetts.


Related to Dry

Related Books

Book Preview

Dry - Augusten Burroughs

Begin Reading

Table of Contents

About the Author

Copyright Page

Thank you for buying this

Picador ebook.

To receive special offers, bonus content,

and info on new releases and other great reads,

sign up for our newsletters.

Or visit us online at

us.macmillan.com/newslettersignup

For email updates on the author, click here.

The author and publisher have provided this e-book to you for your personal use only. You may not make this e-book publicly available in any way. Copyright infringement is against the law. If you believe the copy of this e-book you are reading infringes on the author’s copyright, please notify the publisher at: us.macmillanusa.com/piracy.

AUTHOR’S NOTE

This memoir is based on my experiences over a ten-year period. Names have been changed, characters combined, and events compressed. Certain episodes are imaginative re-creation, and those episodes are not intended to portray actual events.

In memory of George Stathakis

For my brother

And for Dennis

PREFACE TO THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

When I was a kid, one of my many phobias was that somebody would read my diary. Not because I revealed anything particularly secret beyond run-of-the-mill complaints about my brother’s greasy metallic aroma or the lack of buying power afforded by my pittance of an allowance. It’s just that I’d written this journal only for me; it wasn’t polite enough or interesting enough or funny enough for anyone else to read.

Dry began as nothing more ambitious than a journal I started the day I returned to New York City from rehab in Minnesota.

I was feeling nearly electrified with the discomfort of existing with a blood alcohol level at zero. And I had no idea what to do with my sober self.

What did normal people do when they weren’t drinking?

I supposed they did things like clean, speak to friends on the phone and drop their kids off at gymnastics practice. In the past, periods of sobriety would be spent making apologies to people for various things I did to them while under the influence. So I sprayed Windex on things and rubbed paper towels over them, and with my free hand I clutched my phone and spoke to my cousins and my grandmother. I stacked the mail that had collected into two neat piles: bills to throw in the trash and pretend never arrived and mail-order catalogues for later, bedtime reading. Then I sat on the custom-made couch I’d purchased several years earlier and had only used as a sort of open-format clothes dresser. It was possibly the first time I’d actually used the couch for sitting. I felt like I’d been accidentally locked inside a psychotherapist’s waiting room after hours. Couches were ridiculously pointless unless you had an actual receptionist and maintained office hours. And while it was satisfying to have the debris picked up and air that smelled pleasingly like freshly wiped car windows, the fact remained that four in the afternoon was simply too early for bed.

Which left me with a throbbing and inflamed corpuscle of an issue I had to face immediately: Now what?

Across from where I sat was a round wooden table and a plastic patio chair. My computer was on this table, anchored to it by its sheer size and weight.

I walked over and sat, opened a new text document and started to type. Those first few lines simply announced my return from rehab to nobody in particular. I wrote about not knowing what to do with myself, my hands especially. It was like I was writing to a friend, only I didn’t know which friend.

I didn’t even think of it as writing, really, just typing. Something to do with my hands, because I have always needed something to do with my hands or else they will flutter about and twitch; I’m liable to smack them against something or cut into them by accident and require stitches. So it’s good to have them right in front of me at all times where I can watch them.

I found quickly that the mechanics of writing, of my fingertips jabbing at the letters, served to somehow focus me by funneling my attention, backspacing and typing my way into my thoughts. The soft and steady percussion of hitting the keys was a metronome of sorts, allowing the amorphous anxiety or confusion or discomfort or misery or excitement short-circuiting inside my brain to form into actual sentences, detailed thoughts and emotions with definite form.

This was incredibly helpful. So helpful and instructive to me that on that first day I began writing, I continued writing for the next six or seven hours.

And I kept on writing, day after day, month after month.

Dry was written largely in real time. Which is to say, if I went downstairs to the bodega three floors below for a bottle of ginger ale or cigarettes, I would go right back upstairs to my apartment and spend the next hour writing about going downstairs to the bodega for ginger ale or cigarettes.

In the years since Dry was first published, many people have told me they are amazed by the details within the book; how it’s the little things I do or say that really make them relate to the story of my own recovery. I am frequently asked, How could you possibly remember so much?

But I didn’t have to remember much of anything at all because I wrote Dry as it happened. Much of what I did or said during the drunken stupor that was my twenties was lost forever, but I could get down what was going on right now in this, my sober stupor.

As the length of my sobriety increased, so, too, did the length of the document. I still felt like I was writing a letter; albeit an insanely long one, to a friend. But now I felt like this friend would never have a face or a name.

It was, by far, the largest collection of words I had ever assembled, and I began to wonder, Why?

Also, What do I do with it now?

My friend Suzanne Finnamore had answers to both questions. Because you’re a writer, she told me. You can bullshit and pretend you’re not all you want but it’s going to come out one way or another.

As for what to do with all this writing, she said, Your diary should be a book.

She even knew exactly what to call it. "Dry," she said.

What Suzanne told me had begun to feel first possible and then real and true; I really was a writer. Growing up among poets and academics had caused me to view writing as something other and more refined than what I did. But now I thought that might not be true.

Having seen something so basic about myself gave me a sense of joy and a great deal of hope about my future, which is palpable in the writing. Even though it contains so much darkness and sadness, it is all suspended in a matrix of awe at the world and at being alive in such a world.

The problem was, I had no idea how to turn Dry into a book because it had no end.

Then George, the person at the heart of Dry, died. And my life spiraled and narrowed into a focused beam of grief and the need for drinking to escape.

I drank and watched TV. I suspected my body would be discovered by neighbors, dead on the bed with QVC playing on the screen. But instead of this, I began writing a novel about a home shopping channel and once I started, I did not stop until it was finished, seven days later.

My journal was left untouched and I focused on polishing the new manuscript and then finding an agent.

Literary agent Christopher Schelling signed me on as a client, saying, Any query letter that manages to mention Joyce Dewitt, Debby Boone and Princess Diana in the same paragraph is an automatic ‘Yes.’

Only after St. Martin’s Press had acquired Sellevision did I even think to tell Christopher about what I’d written before and ask him if he would mind reading through it just to see if maybe any part of it could be used for something.

My belief that what I had initially written as a journal but now imagined as a book called Dry faded a little each day that Christopher remained out of touch. No e-mails, no calls meant he was still reading it.

By the time he did call, I had convinced myself that he was going to fire me because he was appalled by what he’d read. Preempting him, I began damage control. I mean, I know it’s a horrible mess, but it’s not a book or anything, it’s just my own ramblings. I only wanted you to read it so you could tell me if the style of it, the way it’s just me not thinking about what to say but just saying it, if this kind of writing might be useful. And then I kept on going. Or maybe even there’s a section or two I could just lift right out and use like a seed to grow a novel?

Christopher laughed and said, "Quite the opposite. More like, you had this when you sent me the manuscript for Sellevision? Why didn’t you show me this first?"

Suzanne had been right, I really had written a book.

Christopher said, It needs a shit-load of work; there’s just way, way too much here and it’s all over the place. But there’s definitely a book here.

That a person might want to read? I asked.

Absolutely, he said. It’s funny and sad and fucked-up and crazy and completely riveting.

*   *   *

My childhood memoir, Running with Scissors, was actually the book that came out after Sellevision, and it changed my life. Then Dry changed it again. So many more people read Dry than would have if Scissors had not come before it.

Everywhere I went, literally, somebody I didn’t know would politely pull me aside and say, "I read Dry. Me too."

People told me their English professor made them read it in a class or somebody passed it to them in treatment.

Your book saved my life. The first time somebody said this to me I felt stricken, almost mistaken for somebody else.

If I said Thank you, did that make it seem like it had been intentional? When in truth, if Dry had saved their life it was only by accident. All I did was write my way through the day.

Fifteen years, very dense ones, have passed since I wrote Dry, and ten years since it was published, so when somebody tells me that it’s been an important book to them, I like knowing why.

Today I can see how my lack of a filter while writing about trying to get sober could actually be helpful or inspiring or life-saving to somebody. I didn’t try to polish my life up because I was trying to see it clearly myself.

I think that’s what people respond to.

When strangers approach me about Dry, they tend to do so with stunning openness about their own lives.

This book has introduced me in one way or another to so many amazing and essential people in my life.

On its own, without me doing anything.

Books are like that. Books just are. Sometimes books need to be, they need to exist and so they will body-snatch a writer and climb out through the writer’s fingers and into the world where they belong to different people to different degrees and for different reasons.

I wrote Dry, but it’s not my story today. Dry belongs to the person who connects most powerfully with it, who identifies and says, That’s me.

It is you, if it’s you.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I am so fortunate to have St. Martin’s Press as my publisher, specifically: John Sargent, Sally Richardson, Matthew Shear, John Murphy, Gregg Sullivan, Tiffany Alvarado, Kim Cardascia, Jeff Capshew, Ken Holland, the entire Broadway sales force, Lynn Kovach, Darin Keesler, Tom Siino, George Witte, Lauren Stein, Matt Baldacci, John Cunningham. With love to Frances Coady. I would also like to thank my literary agent, the brilliant and generous Christopher Schelling at Ralph M. Vicinanza, Ltd. (Hi, Ralph.) With love for Lona Walburn, Jonathan Pepoon, Lawrence David, Suzanne Finnamore, Lynda Pearson, Jay DePretis, Lori Greenberg, the beautiful Sheila Cobb and her handsome and goofy husband, Steve. Also, when I needed blurbs for my memoir Running with Scissors, I wrote to a bunch of my favorite authors, and they wrote back. Thank you so, so, so much: Kurt Andersen, Phillip Lopate, Jay Neugeboren, Gary Krist, Tom Perrotta, A. L. Kennedy, Maxine Kumin, Jerry Stahl, Neil Pollack, and a special thanks to David Rakoff and Haven Kimmel. Thank you, Amy Sedaris, for your astonishing support and cupcakes. More gratitude must now drip on the booksellers who invited me to read Running with Scissors. Thank you also to Booksense for your support. And to the many hundreds of people who wrote me e-mails about Running—thank you. Most of all, I would like to thank Jennifer Enderlin for believing in me from the very first word.

PART I

JUST DO IT

Sometimes when you work in advertising you’ll get a product that’s really garbage and you have to make it seem fantastic, something that is essential to the continued quality of life. Like once, I had to do an ad for hair conditioner. The strategy was: Adds softness you can feel, body you can see. But the thing is, this was a lousy product. It made your hair sticky and in focus groups, women hated it. Also, it reeked. It made your hair smell like a combination of bubble gum and Lysol. But somehow, I had to make people feel that it was the best hair conditioner ever created. I had to give it an image that was both beautiful and sexy. Approachable and yet aspirational.

Advertising makes everything seem better than it actually is. And that’s why it’s such a perfect career for me. It’s an industry based on giving people false expectations. Few people know how to do that as well as I do, because I’ve been applying those basic advertising principles to my life for years.

When I was thirteen, my crazy mother gave me away to her lunatic psychiatrist, who adopted me. I then lived a life of squalor, pedophiles, no school and free pills. When I finally escaped, I presented myself to advertising agencies as a self-educated, slightly eccentric youth, filled with passion, bursting with ideas. I left out the fact that I didn’t know how to spell or that I had been giving blowjobs since I was thirteen.

Not many people get into advertising when they’re nineteen, with no education beyond elementary school and no connections. Not just anybody can walk in off the street and become a copywriter and get to sit around the glossy black table saying things like, Maybe we can get Molly Ringwald to do the voice-over, and It’ll be really hip and MTV-ish. But when I was nineteen, that’s exactly what I wanted. And exactly what I got, which made me feel that I could control the world with my mind.

I could not believe that I had landed a job as a junior copywriter on the National Potato Board account at the age of nineteen. For seventeen thousand dollars a year, which was an astonishing fortune compared to the nine thousand I had made two years before as a waiter at a Ground Round.

That’s the great thing about advertising. Ad people don’t care where you came from, who your parents were. It doesn’t matter. You could have a crawl space under your kitchen floor filled with little girls’ bones and as long as you can dream up a better Chuck Wagon commercial, you’re in.

And now I’m twenty-four years old, and I try not to think about my past. It seems important to think only of my job and my future. Especially since advertising dictates that you’re only as good as your last ad. This theme of forward momentum runs through many ad campaigns.

A body in motion tends to stay in motion. (Reebok, Chiat/Day.)

Just do it. (Nike, Wieden and Kennedy.)

Damn it, something isn’t right. (Me, to my bathroom mirror at four-thirty in the morning, when I’m really, really plastered.)

*   *   *

It’s Tuesday evening and I’m home. I’ve been home for twenty minutes and am going through the mail. When I open a bill, it freaks me out. For some reason, I have trouble writing checks. I postpone this act until the last possible moment, usually once my account has gone into collection. It’s not that I can’t afford the bills—I can—it’s that I panic when faced with responsibility. I am not used to rules and structure and so I have a hard time keeping the phone connected and the electricity turned on. I place all my bills in a box, which I keep next to the stove. Personal letters and cards get slipped into the space between the computer on my desk and the printer.

My phone rings. I let the machine pick up.

Hey, it’s Jim … just wanted to know if you wanna go out for a quick drink. Gimme a call, but try and get back—

As I pick up the machine screeches like a strangled cat. Yes, definitely, I tell him. My blood alcohol level is dangerously low.

Cedar Tavern at nine, he says.

Cedar Tavern is on University and Twelfth and I’m on Tenth and Third, just a few blocks away. Jim’s over on Twelfth and Second. So it’s a fulcrum between us. That’s one reason I like it. The other reason is because their martinis are enormous; great bowls of vodka soup. See you there, I say and hang up.

Jim is great. He’s an undertaker. Actually, I suppose he’s technically not an undertaker anymore. He’s graduated to coffin salesman, or as he puts it, pre-arrangements. The funeral business is rife with euphemisms. In the funeral business, nobody actually dies. They simply move on, as if traveling to a different time zone.

He wears vintage Hawaiian shirts, even in winter. Looking at him, you’d think he was just a normal, blue-collar Italian guy. Like maybe he’s a cop or owns a pizza place. But he’s an undertaker, through and through. Last year for my birthday, he gave me two bottles. One was filled with pretty pink lotion, the other with an amber fluid. Permaglow and Restorative: embalming fluids. This is the sort of conversation piece you simply can’t find at Pottery Barn. I’m not so shallow as to pick my friends based on what they do for a living, but in this case I have to say it was a major selling point.

A few hours later, I walk into Cedar Tavern and feel immediately at ease. There’s a huge old bar to my right, carved by hand a century ago from several ancient oak trees. It’s like this great big middle finger aimed at nature conservationists. Behind the bar, the wall is paneled in this same wood, inlaid with tall etched mirrors. Next to the mirrors are dull brass light fixtures with stained-glass shades. No bulb in the place is above twenty-five watts. In the rear, there are nice tall wooden booths and oil paintings of English bird dogs and anonymous grandfathers posed in burgundy leather wing chairs. They serve a kind of food here: chicken-fried steak, fish and chips, cheeseburgers and a very lame salad that features iceberg lettuce and croutons from a box. I could live here. As if I didn’t already.

Even though I’m five minutes early, Jim’s sitting at the bar and already halfway through a martini.

What a fucking lush, I say. How long have you been here?

I was thirsty. About a minute.

He appears to be eyeing a woman who is sitting alone at a table near the jukebox. She wears khaki slacks, a pink-and-white striped oxford cloth shirt and white Reeboks. I instantly peg her as an off-duty nurse. She’s not your type, I say.

He gives me this how-the-hell-do-you-know look. And why not?

Look at what she’s drinking. Coffee.

He grimaces, looks away from her and takes another sip of his drink.

Look, I can’t stay out late tonight because I have to be at the Met tomorrow morning at nine.

The Met? he asks incredulously. Why the Met?

I roll my eyes, wag my finger in the air to get the bartender’s attention. My client Fabergé is creating a new perfume and they want the ad agency to join them tomorrow morning and see the Fabergé egg exhibit as inspiration. I order a Ketel One martini, straight up with an olive. They use the tiny green olives here; I like that. I despise the big fat olives. They take up too much space in the glass.

So I have to be there in a suit and look at those fucking eggs all morning. Then we’re all going to get together the day after tomorrow at the agency and have a horrific meeting with their senior management. Some global vision thing. One of those awful meetings you dread for weeks in advance. I take the first sip of my martini. It feels exactly right, like part of my own physiology. God, I hate my job.

You should get a real job, Jim tells me. This advertising stuff is putrid. You spend your days waltzing around the Met looking at Fabergé eggs. You make wads of cash and all you do is complain. Jesus, and you’re not even twenty-five yet. He sticks his thumb and index finger in the glass and pinches the olive, which he then pops in his mouth.

I watch him do this and can’t help but think, The places those fingers have been.

Why don’t you try selling a seventy-eight-year-old widow in the Bronx her own coffin?

We’ve had this conversation before, many times. The undertaker feels superior to me, and actually is. He is society’s Janitor in a Drum. He provides a service. I, on the other hand, try to trick and manipulate people into parting with their money, a disservice.

Yeah, yeah, order us another round. I gotta take a leak. I walk off to the men’s room, leaving him at the bar.

We have four more drinks at Cedar Tavern. Maybe five. Just enough so that I feel loose and comfortable in my own skin, like a gymnast. Jim suggests we hit another bar. I check my watch: almost ten-thirty. I should head home now and go to sleep so I’m fresh in the morning. But then I think, Okay, what’s the latest I can get to sleep and still be okay? If I have to be there at nine, I should be up by seven-thirty, so that means I should get to bed no later than—I begin to count on my fingers because I cannot do math, let alone in my head—twelve-thirty. Where you wanna go? I ask him.

I don’t know, let’s just walk.

I say, Okay, and we head outside. As soon as I step into the fresh air, something in my brain oxidizes and I feel just the slightest bit tipsy. Not drunk, not even close. Though I certainly wouldn’t attempt to operate a cotton gin.

*   *   *

We end up walking down the street for two blocks and heading into this place on the corner that sometimes plays live jazz. Jim’s telling me that the absolute worst thing you can encounter as an undertaker is a jumper.

Two Ketel One martinis, straight up with olives, I tell the bartender and then turn to Jim. What’s so bad about jumpers? What? I love this man.

Because when you move their limbs, the bones are all broken and they slide around loose inside the skin and they make this sort of… Our drinks arrive. He takes a sip and continues, … this sort of rumbling sound.

That’s so fucking horrifying, I say, delighted. What else?

He takes another sip, creases his forehead in thought. Okay, I know—you’ll love this. If it’s a guy, we tie a string around the end of his dick so that it won’t leak piss.

Jesus, I say. We both take a sip from our drinks. I notice that my sip is more of a gulp and I will need another drink soon. The martinis here are shamefully meager. Okay, give me more horrible, I tell him.

He tells me how once he had a female body with a decapitated head and the family insisted on an open casket service. Can you imagine? So he broke a broomstick in half and jammed it down through the neck and into the meat of the torso. Then he stuck the head on the other end of the stick and kind of pushed.

Wow, I say. He’s done things that only people on death row have done.

He smiles with what I think might be pride. I put her in a white cashmere turtleneck and she actually ended up looking pretty good. He winks at me and plucks the olive from my drink. I do not take another sip from this particular glass.

We have maybe five more drinks before I check my watch again. Now it’s a quarter of one. And I really need to go, I’ll already be a mess as it is. But that’s not what happens. What happens is, Jim orders us a nightcap.

Just one shot of Cuervo … for luck.

The very last thing I remember is standing on a stage at a karaoke bar somewhere in the West Village. The spotlights are shining in my face and I’m trying to read the video monitor in front of me, which is scrolling the words to the theme from The Brady Bunch. I see double unless I close one eye, but when I do this I lose my balance and stagger. Jim’s laughing like a madman in the front row, pounding the table with his hands.

The floor trips me and I fall. The bartender walks from behind the bar and escorts me offstage. His arm feels good around my shoulders and I want to give him a friendly nuzzle or perhaps a kiss on the mouth. Fortunately, I don’t do this.

Outside the bar, I look at my watch and slur, This can’t be right. I lean against Jim’s shoulder so I don’t fall over on the tricky sidewalk.

What? he says, grinning. He has a thin plastic drink straw behind each ear. The straws are red, the ends chewed.

I raise my arm up so my watch is almost pressed against his nose. Look, I say.

He pushes my arm back so he can read the dial. Yikes! How’d that happen? You sure it’s right?

The watch reads 4:15 A.M. Impossible. I wonder aloud why it is displaying the time in Europe instead of Manhattan.

THOSE FUCKING EGGS

I arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art at a quarter before nine. Fifteen minutes early. I’m wearing a charcoal gray Armani suit and oxblood red Gucci loafers. My head throbs dully behind my eyes, but this has actually become normal. It usually wears off by the end of the day and is completely gone after the first drink of the evening.

I didn’t technically sleep last night, I napped. Even in my drunken stupor of last night, I realized I couldn’t show up here this morning looking like a total disaster, so I managed to call 1-800-4-WAKE-UP (You snooze, you lose!) before I laid down on my bed, fully dressed.

I was awake by six A.M. and still felt drunk. I was making wisecracks to myself in the bathroom, pulling faces. This is when I knew I was still drunk. I just had way too much energy for six A.M. Too much motivation. It was like the drunk side of my brain was trying to act distracting and entertaining, so the business side wouldn’t realize it was being held hostage by a drunk.

I showered, shaved and slicked my hair back with Bumble and bumble Hair Grooming Creme. Then I ran the blowdryer over my head. Afterward, I arranged my hair in such a way that it appeared casual and carefree. A wisp of hair falling across my forehead, which I froze in place with AquaNet. After having gone on more fashion shoots than I care to count, I’ve learned that terminally unhip AquaNet is the best. The result was hair that looked windblown and casual—unless you happened to touch it. If you touched it, it would probably make a solid knocking sound, like wood.

I sprayed Donna Karan for Men around my neck and on my tongue to oppose any alcohol breath I might have. Then I walked to the twenty-four-hour restaurant on the corner of Seventeenth and Third for a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and coffee. The fat,

You've reached the end of this preview. Sign up to read more!
Page 1 of 1

Reviews

What people think about Dry

4.3
125 ratings / 63 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Burroughs has made the life threatening disease of addiction entertaining...he is a gifted writer and his book helped me understand better the disease of alcoholism.
  • (4/5)
    Follows Augusten through this travails in alcoholism and recovery. He has a high paying job in advertising but is forced into rehab by his boss. It's either go to rehab or lose the job. We follow him through rehab and then into sober living. He pokes fun of both rehab and the system. He states that he despises AA meeting but we find him attending them again/still at the end of the book. Was sometimes funny, but more often than not was very emotionally trying. Seems to be a very good insight into someone struggling with alcoholism and trying to recover.
  • (3/5)
    I've torn through several alcoholic memoirs recently and while this one is entertaining and revelatory in spots it seems to drag more than others. For Damaged Gay Memoirists, David Sedaris is the better bet for consistent entertainment.
  • (3/5)
    I recommend this book. It is dry in nature as well as a tale of a struggle of a man to get "dry" it is the continuation of the memoir of Augusten Burroughs. (From Running with Scissors). This sequel does not disappoint.
  • (3/5)
    good for past time. funny, but couldn't get to the end because of the repetitiveness.
  • (1/5)
    Reading this book made me thoroughly grateful that I didn't ever have to do an intervention on anyone, and that no one in my immediate family suffers from a debilitating alcohol addiction. This book was painfully honest, but I got the feeling that Burroughs' writing about his addiction had a certain rubbing-salt-and-lemon-juice-into-the-paper-cut element, and he struck me as a little too James Frey-ish...kind of a shiny superman but only in his imagination. Basically, it was like listening to the drunk guy in your neighborhood bar tell you about the time he saved some dude from a fire but you know it's really a scene from Backdraft.
  • (4/5)
    Everyone read Running with Scissors, but most people missed Dry, and it's very sad. It's better writing, it's a fascinating story, and there's more humor, more pathos, more life.
  • (4/5)
    Augusten Burroughs has a talent for describing events with a sickening realism. Dry: A Memoir is a shining example of Burroughs talent. The book takes a dive into the life of alcohol-fueled workaholic and binge drinking Burroughs only days before an intervention sends him to rehab. The reader experiences the ups and downs of his journey and watches Burroughs troubled existence as he stumbles across his path to recovery. Describing the book as emotional is somewhat unrealistic, as it extends deeper than the emotions that most of us can comprehend. Dry shows the cycles that Burroughs must travel through on his trip toward sobriety and the pitfalls that await him along the way. Dry also gets deeply personal diving into Burrough's personal life, his career life, and his love life. Burroughs spares nothing revealing his own personal successes and failures along with the most traumatic events that leave him teetering on the brink of relapsing. Dry is at times painful, and you find yourself wanting to scream advice at Burroughs regarding his slip ups and the perils of substance abuse. Instead the reader is relegated to the sidelines forced to witness a series of mishaps and poor choices as Burroughs stumbles. It isn't all bad though. Dry balances Burrough's failing with his successes and his redemption. Dry is also uplifting as it shows the control that Burroughs regains over his life. Dry a moving narrative. Burroughs does a spectacular job of conveying an extremely powerful experience through his own snarky sense of humor. I was a fan of Running with Scissors and I was a fan of Dry, but the Dry most certainly maintains a darker appeal. Dry isn't a light read, but it's certainly worth reading. It's riveting. It's harsh. It's realistic in an emotional way that most authors try to shield us from.
  • (3/5)
    This book was written well. Its a memoir and to say it was boring would mean to say that Augustens lifes was boring. Which it was far from that. I thought Running with scissors was alot better. But this book did hit home alittle bit and I did enjoy reading it alot. Its a book to read if you really want to know the author. Not a book to just pass the time.
  • (5/5)
    A fantastic, funny and sad book that held you from the beginning to end. Burroughs is good at portraying himself as humorously intellectual, socially stunted, and otherwise a genuine soul. Touching. I couldn't wait to see how it ended, while not wanting it to end.
  • (3/5)
    Witty and well written, Augusten Burroughs chronicals his experiences with rehab and AA after practically ruining his life and career with alcoholism. Along with his journey into sobriety we get glimpses of Burrough's pain at watching a beloved friend die from HIV, as well as snippets of the personalities of his friend the undertaker and his work associates.
  • (5/5)
    This is one of my favorite books of all time. I have it on audio book and I think I've listened to it somewhere around thirty times! I always like it when authors read their own books because I feel that it gives the reading more life. I liked this one better than Running With Scissors because it was as vile. It's really humorous and self-deprecating in an endearing way.
  • (4/5)
    I know I'm in a minority of my friends, but I fine Augusten Burroughs hysterically funny. He writes so well of the difficult times he has had-the reader can empathize without feeling sad and sorry for him.
  • (4/5)
    Made me think i drink too much, but then again i don't think i drank half as much as he did. Awesome litterary voice.Also a story to love and be loved.
  • (5/5)
    I am truly a fan of Augusten Burroughs. I was hooked after reading Running with Scissors and i just couldn't get enough so i ran out and picked up Dry. It didn't let me down at all. I was roped in half way through the first chapter and i couldn't put it down. now like i said I'm a fan of Burroughs so i might be a little biased but I would suggest this book in a heartbeat.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this book. The ending is heart wrenching for sure. I would give this book 4 1/2 stars if Goodreads allowed it.He has a great writing style and is a king at similes.
  • (4/5)
    Entertaining and devastating. I've never been so close to (and unwilling to become) a drunk before in my life. This author, whose other books have covered his painful childhood (Running with Scissors and A Wolf at the Table, I have not had a chance to read either), has distilled what it means to have an addiction. There is a moment in the book that describes his realization, after coming home from rehab, that every inch of his apartment was covered in empty liquor bottles. Completely haunting.
  • (4/5)
    I've found that this author's memoirs have real staying power. I believe it's because he writes with such immediacy, the reader is right there with him both when he has his epiphanies and when he has his setbacks.
  • (5/5)
    loved it, loved it, loved it - he's so awesome. I wish I could meet him.
  • (5/5)
    I really enjoyed this book! It is especially pertinent to those in recovery.
  • (4/5)
    This is Burroughs's memoir of getting sober, of giving up alcohol and learning to live with alcoholism. Treatment comes to Burroughs when he is given an ultimatum- go to treatment or lose his job. And the job is a significant source of the addiction. Burroughs worked in advertising, an industry that he portrays as high-ego, high-stress, alcohol-soaked, and drug-addicted. As with anyone else, Burroughs finds sobriety to be a difficult process. His efforts to stay dry are complicated by the fact that one of his close friends is dying, and one of his more obnoxious colleagues continues to try and tempt him to drink. The book offers a gritty look at the day-to-day process of sobriety. This is not a book about rehab, it's a book about what happens after rehab. There's definitely suspense laced throughout this book- will Augusten fall off the wagon or won't he? This book also offers a rather interesting look at the over-the-top world of New York advertising. If you didn't already find advertising loathsome, you probably will after reading this book.
  • (4/5)
    As the title says, it's dry but the reader will still root for Augusten.
  • (4/5)
    Augusten recounts his battle with alcoholism and attempt to work the program. Despite his sometime arrogance, I can't help but like Augusten. You root for him the whole way through the book. I think that I rooted more for him and Pighead than anything, but a great read.
  • (4/5)
    Dry is a great memoir that transcends the cliches of other addiction stories. The author's got a knack for telling it like it is, with no sugar coating. However it is similar to others in that it details his life in the throes of alcohol, follows him to rehab where he is reluctant to adhere to 'the program' and then details his life post-rehab, trying to resume his life with a clear head, sans alcohol induced haze. This is an obvious, frequently traveled, plotline.... but his voice is what makes his story so engaging and relateable- even to those unafflicted with such diseases. He's funny, yet poignant, in only that infamously raw Augusten Burroughs way. One of my favorite memoirs.
  • (5/5)
    Anything by Augusten Burroughs is excellent. Read RUNNING WITH SCISSORS first before this so you have an idea of what he dealt with in his childhood to get him to this place. Excellent writer.
  • (4/5)
    Running with Scissors is Burrough's memoir of his extremely fucked-up childhood, and this book is about his alcoholism, with occasional PSTD-like flashbacks to some of those childhood memories. He works in advertising and drinks constantly; his employers stage an intervention; he goes to rehab and does really well with it, until he doesn't. It reads pretty honest, and I got a sense of what he meant when he talked about struggling to feel his own emotions--he's believable not understanding when he's in love and struggling with whether he can trust what he thinks he's feeling.
  • (4/5)
    Not as funny or as compelling as Running With Scissors, but still decent. On the other hand, it's definitely a more mature read. Somewhat sad ending.
  • (4/5)
    In Dry, Augusten Burroughs recounts how he is forced into to rehab or will lose his job and how this experience opens his eyes to his alcoholism. The book continues on to describe his recovery efforts as he faces some heavy emotional personal hurdles. This second memoir from Burroughs jumps ahead in time from the ending of his previous book Running with Scissors, picking up in the middle of his advertising career, which manages to be successful and lucrative despite his burgeoning alcohol problem. It's not necessary to read his first book to jump right in to this one, but I think it helps to know his background to both understand how Burroughs got to this point in his life and to sympathize with him even when he's at his worse. There are a couple moments here and there where Burroughs does touch on a few "highlights" of his abusive, dysfunctional childhood, which serve to provide the necessary context for this moment in his life.Once again, I found Burroughs's work to be compelling, not just for its plot but because Burroughs's writing style flows so easily. He is concise and to the point, but his writing isn't simplistically dull. Burroughs peppers the book with interesting metaphors, colorful allusions, dark humor, and moments of insightful clarity. I haven't read much by the way of recovery memoirs, so this book's thematic content was new to me and provided much by the way of food for thought. While not overly emotional in his telling, Burroughs's story is nevertheless one of emotional highs and lows as it takes its readers along the path of his rehab, recovery, relapse, and further recovery.
  • (4/5)
    Very good. Must read his other books.
  • (5/5)
    This is my all-time favorite book, by my all-time favorite author. He is great at telling a tale (someone autobiographical) of hardship, love, fear, and triumph with the perfect balance of seriousness and humor. I could read this book over and over. Read it -- you'll love it!