Books by John E. Smethers, Ph.D
A brief overview of Addict to Academic--A Memoir:
James Frey’s book A Million Little Pieces has created quite a stir. He was an drug-addicted trickster who continues to personify the trickster archetype in his sober life and writing through embellishment and confabulation (the unconscious filling of gaps in one's memory by fabrications that one accepts as facts).
Although Scumbag to Ph.D. doesn’t have the intensity of Frey’s work, it is an honest memoir that can be authenticated through copies of my police record and many of those who I associated with.
I begin with a chapter taken out of the chronological order that the rest of the book is written in, to elucidate a drug-addicted mind-set, and to draw the reader’s interest to my story. The rest of the chapters are sub-titled by the years in which they occurred.
My early years aren’t as dynamic or event-oriented as later chapters, but I describe what I believe predisposed me to a life centered around drugs and alcohol. I also cover my relationship with my parents and some background on them.
From junior high through high school, it’s all about my progression from weekend drinking forays to early stages of alcoholism and all the chaos of that age period. I went to a party when I was 12 years old and didn’t get back until I was 45. My drinking started in junior high school, but my drug use didn’t begin until after I graduated from high school. From there it progressed. My five county jail sentences and one prison sentence is characteristic for most drug addicts. I always said that doing a little time periodically was just the dues I had to pay for living the way that I wanted to. For over thirty years, getting stoned was the very most important thing in my life--even more important than a succession of girlfriends, three wives (two of them common law), and a daughter that I somehow managed to raise.
I have had an interesting life. I disclose my life dealing in counterfeit money, drug smuggling and dealing, I tell about years of writing my own medical prescriptions for pharmaceutical drugs, and how I defrauded the public for ten years in service stations selling tires, shocks, and other automotive accessories. And of course I explain my journey through the prison system.
At 45 years old, I explain, after being released from the California Department of Corrections, I started a clean and sober life that allowed me to pursue an education culminating with a Ph.D. from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. The latter chapters take the reader through my education process, much like the earlier chapters takes the reader through my addiction process.