Tag Archives: I Am Jennie

I Do Everything In Excess

Dear Literopathy:

I tend to do everything in excess. I drink too much alcohol, I eat too much food, I smoke weed (when I have it) constantly…

How can I go about reducing what I believe is a compulsive behavior (in addition to going to psychiatrists and therapists)?


Smokes, Drinks and Eats Too Much


We entertained thoughts of recommending several different novels to you, but they all seemed to glorify or encourage the kinds of behaviors that you say you want to reduce. We also toyed with the idea of recommending self-help books to you, but that feels like more of a job for the therapists you speak of going to. So we thought it most fitting to steer you towards a good memoir. Speaking from our own experiences, sometimes there is nothing more helpful than hearing the story of someone that you can relate to and identify with– someone who has been and there and done that and found a way to overcome it.

With that in mind, we’d like to prescribe to you Augusten Borrough’s Dry. Dry is a sarcastic and honest look at the author’s attempt to get sober from alcohol, only to find that his compulsive behavior extends to other things, like sex, relationships, and work, too. Sometimes it takes someone else’s moment of clarity to help us reach our own. He cuts to the truth of where it comes from when he says,


I’m lonely. And I’m lonely in some horribly deep way and for a flash of an instant, I can see just how lonely, and how deep this feeling runs. And it scares the shit out of me to be this lonely because it seems catastrophic.

Because, at the heart of it, isn’t most compulsive and self-destructive behavior an attempt to fill some kind of internal void? Don’t we often continue to seek out external solutions in the hope that the pain we feel somewhere inside ourselves will finally go away? “Just one more drink and I’ll feel better. Another hit and I’ll be numb.” And on and on and on ad infinitum. It’s wonderful, heartwarming, and wildly entertaining to read as Borroughs manages to find happiness and serenity within himself, though he has to go down a dark path to get there.

If dry wit (pun intended?) is not something you’re in the mood for, another remedy might be I Am Jennie by Jennie Ketcham. Jennie, formerly the porn star known as Penny Flame, speaks frankly and candidly about her sex, drug, and alcohol addictions. She says,

I am into anything that you put in front of me, whether it’s human, whether it’s substance, whether it’s a good decision or bad decision and I follow it through. I do it to my own detriment. I do it until I hurt myself.

She decides to appear on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew with hopes of boosting her flagging career but instead ends up discovering that she is more broken than she originally thought. What follows is the brutally honest and brave account of how she fought her way out from under through hard work, humility, and art. You can’t help but feel inspired after hearing her talk about how far she’s come.

We all have our own paths to fulfillment and some of us self-medicate while we try to find our way there. Here’s hoping that one of these books hits home for you and, at the very least, makes you feel better about your own compulsions by showing you that some people are WAY worse!

What about you, dear readers? Do you have a book that you think will do the trick better than the ones we’ve prescribed? Let us know in the comments!