cover image Blood Orange Night: My Journey to the Edge of Madness

Blood Orange Night: My Journey to the Edge of Madness

Melissa Bond. Gallery, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-1-982188-27-6

In this raw and captivating debut, journalist Bond chronicles her volatile descent into a benzodiazepine addiction. During her pregnancy with her second child, Chloe, Bond developed extreme insomnia, sometimes sleeping as little as an hour a night. Struggling, simultaneously, to care for an infant with Down syndrome, she relied on Ambien to help her sleep, until she met “Dr. Amazing,” who, after Chloe’s birth in 2010, prescribed Ativan, a benzodiazepine. “ ‘Take these,’ my doctor told me,” Bond recalls. “Frantic for sleep, I took them month after month, my mouth wide-open like a hungry carp.” After her doctor began ratcheting up her doses, Bond realized she was in the grip of a full-blown addiction: “I was simply following my doctor’s orders. I was in a free fall.” In lucid flashbacks—one particularly haunting scene sees her blacking out while driving with her children in the car—she details the hellish recovery process (“a year and a half clawing in the underworld”) that counted her marriage among its casualties. Pairing her unsparing candor with the same deep compassion she finds in the physician who helped her level out, Bond’s narrative casts a burning light onto the hazards of overprescribing and the threat it poses to vulnerable people. This cautionary tale stuns. (June)