Praise for I Almost Murdered A Complete Stranger:
“Spiked with dark humor, Jim Spina provides a fresh, starkly candid take on Alcoholism with forceful grit, compelling the reader to experience the brutal intensity and mortality of it.” – Patrick Gooding
“An insightful, humorous, and intelligent memoir of what it means to be human…and deeply flawed. Spina’s story of self-deceit, the alcohol addicted life of control, and redemption is compelling, disturbing, and inspiring. I especially appreciated the way that addiction is an entity of its own that rules all aspects of a person’s life… almost a possession. It is a must-read for substance abusers, addicts, and family members. This is an honest and refreshing rendition of addiction!” – Dawn Marmora
“Alcoholism is more enigmatic than models that professionals assert, using in treatment. Spina sheds light on the complicated, disputed nature of the fatal affliction, and its relationship to the human condition. He bares his soul, exposing his struggle for meaning and purpose, which gently bares the readers.” – Aaron Hester
“There were many times during my reading this that I was uncomfortable. Not because of your writing style, but because you were inside my head and my soul. I had been there and felt that! You vomited the truth right in my face. I HAD to accept and remember. Not a pretty place to revisit.
Bravo! Thank you for your honesty.” – T. B.
“Let me say that your story is worth sharing, it brings inspiration and hope to so many that are in various places on similar journeys. You are brave to face down challenges that I cannot begin to say I can truly empathize with. Stay strong, use and rely the support of others. If there is ever some small way I can be a help to you, let me know. ” – L.G.
“Mom, I gotta go. Dad is lying in a pool of blood, I have to call 911. He’s not dead.”
The culmination of my murder plot is regrettably revealed to my daughter Elizabeth as she walks into my home.
As she opens the front door, the house is surprisingly dark. There is one faint light on, over the kitchen desk. She dimly hears a strange sound. It sounds like muffled gasping. A quiet death rattle from the small inhalations of breath. Moving towards the sound, her eyes quickly lock on me. I’m lying face down, in a puddle of blood, unconscious on my kitchen floor. Elizabeth glances at my German Shephard, Xena. She’s anxiously pacing around me, her dark red paw-prints leaving a ghastly mosaic painted on the ceramic floor tiles.
“911 operator. What’s your emergency?”
“My father is lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor of his house. Yes, he’s alive. I hear him breathing; it’s loud, like gasping. Yes, 4225 Serenity Court, Davidsonville, Maryland.”
“Don’t move him. We have help on the way.”
Elizabeth’s alone now. Except for me. I’m not much company.
At the age of 55, I drifted into consciousness.
I had no idea where I was.
Apparently, I had suffered through two massive hemorrhages, causing traumatic bleeding. I didn’t realize I was in a hospital bed until the next day. I had had no memory of being flown to a world class trauma hospital, by way of a Shock-Trauma helicopter (I’m still pissed I missed out on the spectacular views from a $30,000 helicopter ride.) The first bleed occurred Saturday, August 6, 2016. I awoke August 12. Oh, I almost forgot. I’m a recovering alcoholic. Since it’s somewhat relevant, I need to mention that. Briefly.
In the aftermath of my traumatic medical and near-death experience, I decided to share my story: One of an all too human, intelligent, charismatic nuclear physicist, who eventually spiraled into the tragic despair of end stage alcoholism. (I needed to add the “Intelligent and charismatic” part, to balance my character out, after coming clean with that alcoholic thing. Remarkably, there’s still a lot of stigma associated with that.) Something happened in that bed, that changed me forever. I was compelled to tell my story.
“I Almost Murdered a Complete Stranger” is what came out, after a year’s work. Intense work. It was cathartic, but writing this book distressed me. Getting honest with yourself sucks. Writing it hurt at times, it was gut-wrenching toil. My story shocked me when I read it after completion.
I’m not complaining. My life to-date has had numerous great experiences, and plenty of humor. But it also had a shitload of dysfunctional, disturbing, and disgraceful aspects to it as well. Every one of these were centered around alcoholism. Things I chose not to look at, to bury as deeply as I could, away from any self-awareness. Eventually, my self-awareness meter was stuck at “clueless.” I liked it that way. Unfortunately, it sprang to life, and my conscience was flooded with the whole truth of my life.
I wanted to tell a story, a true story, and my story. I think I did. The book wound up a visceral and humorous account of my life as an alcoholic. It’s not a pretty picture. I never lost my sense of humor though. Many of my stories would be repugnant if I had lost my indelicate, satirical sense of humor. If I couldn’t laugh at myself, unveiling my story into the open would be an unbearable experience.
I’ve been humbled mightily by my experiences, particularly the last phase of my past life. It’s hard not to be humbled when you awaken a brain-dead zombie, with a catheter in your crank, and a poop tube up your butt. No bragging rights there. So, there’s a string of deserving self-deprecation that runs through the book as well.
Writing it was part of my healing.
My hope is that reading it will be an encouraging experience for my readers. If there ever was a hopeless case, I was it. Yet hope remained alive, even when I didn’t. I also desire to diminish some of the terrible stigma surrounding alcoholism, founded on a lack of understanding of its nature. That alone would help all of the afflicted and their families. It’s no surprise that the condition is hidden, and kept silent. Nothing heals in the darkness of secrets.
Nonprofit Recipient Chosen for Book Profits
I will not personally receive any profits made from the sale of this book. Profits will be donated to a local, state certified rehabilitation that is effectively assisting struggling alcoholics who want to recovery.
The Samaritan House is saving lives.
Founded by recovering addicts who saw a need for residential care in 1971, Samaritan House has helped men on their journey to an addiction-free life.
Samaritan House provides 17 halfway house beds for adult males and 9 transitional beds. Samaritan House facilities include amenities to encourage activity and fellowship and help build an addiction-free community.