Memoirist Opens Up About His Dark Struggle With Addiction, Complicated Relationship With Mother

by Angela Andaloro

He moved to the big city with big dreams — and soon found himself in big trouble.

When Jamie Brickhouse moved to New York City from a small town in Texas, he was searching for a life that just didn’t seem attainable where he came from.

He fell in love with the glamour and pace of the city, and the lifestyle it afforded. He embarked on a career in publishing but, at the same time, embarked on a new career in drinking. Falling prey to the bright lights and long nights of Manhattan, Jamie found that his creative ambitions started to fall to the wayside, and in turn, his struggles with depression became more prominent.

Eventually, he couldn’t sustain his new lifestyle, and he was fired from his job.

This led to an increased reliance on drinking. Unmoored and depressed, Jamie felt hopeless and eventually attempted suicide. Thankfully, his partner found him before it was too late. After a stint in detox, followed by time in a rehab program, Jamie relapsed on several occasions. It seemed that he couldn’t dig himself out of the dark hole he’d found himself trapped in.

But he found the strength to try again when faced with his mother’s failing health. His mother’s battle with Lewy body dementia was the final push Jamie needed to achieve a hard-won full year of sobriety. As he settled into sober living, he was able to reignite his creative passions, which in turn helped him to process his complicated emotions as his mother slipped away. After she passed, he channeled his feelings into writing, penning Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir of Booze, Sex, and My Mother, which tackles his struggles with addiction, his sexuality, and his complicated relationship with his mother. Jamie, a multiple-time champion of the esteemed Moth storytelling competition, went on to perform the memoir as a stage show. 

In the video below, Jamie talks candidly about his struggles with substance abuse, his relapses, and his eventual redemption and success as an author and performer.

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