Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Cet For Life – Book One: The Oxycodone Blues by B. Alexander Owen is a deep dive into the mind and world of an opiate abuser. Now in his fifties, Steve (or Stiv as he prefers to be called) is a product of the Seventies and Eighties and grew up on a diet of both illicit and licit drugs plus, of course, the obligatory alcohol. Despite giving up the booze some three years ago, Stiv is hopelessly addicted to prescription medications, most notably the pain-killer Oxycodone. He has been taking the drug for supposed back pain for some fourteen years now and his one attempt at weaning himself off the drugs a while back had gone horribly wrong for him. Despite having a loving and caring wife, whom he adores, Stiv’s life revolves around his monthly doctor’s visits and his filling of the prescription for his beloved “blue bullets”. Having just lost yet another job (this time for fighting), Stiv needs his calming, relaxing, and soothing little friends more than ever. When a vigilant pharmacist suddenly cuts off Stiv’s supply, all hell breaks loose in his psyche and his mind. What is he going to do now? How can he possibly survive without his beloved Oxycodone? What follows is a thorough self-examination of who Stiv is and what he really wants from this life that seems to be rapidly descending into his own personal hell.
Cet For Life is certainly a no-holds-barred examination of personal addiction and the scourge of opiate abuse that has swept the western world in recent years. Author B. Alexander Owen pulls no punches as he describes in technicolor clarity the hell that is opiate addiction withdrawal. What I found particularly endearing about this character and the story in general was Stiv’s ability to see, to understand, and to act on the ideals of personal responsibility – that it wasn’t anyone else’s fault he was in this position except his own. I particularly enjoyed the counterbalance of Stiv’s wife to the main character. Her constant, loving pressure on Stiv to “sort himself out” without overt threats and tantrums was part of what drove Stiv to realize just how much he did have in his life, that wasn’t provided by the pills. Her life affirmations and Law of Attraction principles gave a wonderful counterpoint to Stiv’s own fearful and depressing thoughts and dreams. The author’s flowing and descriptive style allowed the reader to get inside Stiv’s head and feel his pain along with him. As a debut novel, this was a successful effort and a great, satisfying read. I look forward to Book 2 in this series. A highly recommended read.