No simple redemption
Arjun Nath’s White Magic: A Story of Heartbreak, Hard Drugs and Hope is one of those rare, honest, intelligently reflective accounts about the long engagement (“struggle” seems too clichéd) with drugs. It is illuminating to finally read a scrappy, hard-bitten account. The value lies less in the survivor rhetoric – though in this case it is a happy ending, and Nath fulfills his dream of publishing a memoir. The impatience with which the reader (but also the parent, the friend, the therapist) wishes to know success or failure (which could mean life or death) is part of the difficulty of dealing with issues relating to substance abuse. One quickly wants to know the end—and that end will determine how we perceive the journey. If there is life, the journey was good, beneficial, on-track—and conversely, if there was death, the journey was a failure. However, this is not true, as Nath reminds us. One of the great learnings, to all, is that life cannot be measured by stability (of employment, of partners, of health, of content children) but simply by the quality and insights of that journey itself.
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