cover image Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk

Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk

Mark Gauvreau Judge. Hazelden Publishing & Educational Services, $21.95 (250pp) ISBN 978-1-56838-142-8

Biology is destiny in this opinionated chronicle of youthful alcoholism. Judge, a journalist and writing teacher, attempts to give an edge to his drinking story by excitedly promoting the ideas put forth in clinical psychologist James Milam's Under The Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism (1984). But Milam's contention that the metabolisms of alcoholics differ from those of normal drinkers is hardly news today. Consequently, Judge's bid to appeal to a young generation wary of the Twelve Steps feels forced and shallow. Still, in the time-honored tradition of A.A. he stands to help many young drunks with his account of the hard road he traveled after taking his first drink as a Catholic boy growing up in a bland, affluent community near Washington, D.C. Judge first got drunk the summer before he entered Loyola Prep, an all-boys Catholic school. Jesuit discipline and Irish Catholic family values accelerated his slide. Although Judge denies any behavioral link in his alcoholism, his inability to impress his distant, alcoholic father haunted him as he slipped out of control. By the end of high school, while volunteering at a shelter, Judge encountered Ronnie, a young recovering alcoholic who slipped him his phone number. Judge drank throughout his years at Catholic University, until he finally hit bottom and called Ronnie. Ronnie took Judge to his first A.A. meeting and introduced him to the most useful bit of advice presented here: It is one thing to get sober, he reminded Judge. It is quite another to stay that way. $25,000 ad/promo; author tour. (June)