Prof’s troubled past sheds light

By Nin Garcia |Staff Writer|

Author and CSUSB English Professor James Brown, is taking his battle against addiction to inspire and reach out to communities and families across America by using his book to captivate the lives of many.

Following up from his previous book “The Los Angeles Diaries,” which has been used as a text book in several colleges including Harvard University, Brown released his second book, “This River.”
In his book Brown provides an honest portrait of the struggles he has faced while breaking free from addiction. It describes his relationship with sobriety and how temptation is an issue, tells of agonizing relapses and traces his attempts to become a better father.

On April 9, 2011 at the Redlands Barnes and Nobles, Brown read an excerpt from his book “This River,” where he takes his two sons to the Chetco Rivers of Oregon.
Conflicted between the past memories of his father and the present he is spending with his sons, teaching them the qualities of life, for Brown it was more than just teaching his kids how to camp.

It is from this part of the book that Brown has drawn the most praise, and Brown believes this is the strongest part, which through the synthesis of his explanation provides the essence of his message. One of the many challenges in writing this book was to remember the past memories that bring him excruciating pain.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “What is fascinating to watch is not a spectacle of decline—he writes of addiction to alcohol, heroin, meth, prescription drugs and antidepressants—but his geologic sculpting, this wearing away of a person, memories and all, down to some pure and simple core.”

Apart from his book, Brown is participating in The Drug Free America campaign, which is a non-profit organization that helps parents prevent, intervene in and find treatment for drug and alcohol used by their children.

With this, he will be doing a podcast on May 15, which will film three videos, starting with his preteen years when he first encountered addiction, then his adult years fighting the alcohol and more intense substances, and lastly his relapse and overcoming it all.

With his partnership in the campaign, Barnes and Noble have sponsored Brown to be a part of a tour that has Brown traveling throughout California.
Through his work, Brown intends to reach a large audience from parents who are trying to understand drug usage and their child to recovering alcoholics and drug users finding sobriety. He hopes his experience gives strength and hopes to inspire others.

Brown gave one last piece of advice to those who had not read his book and are struggling through addictions is, “they can’t lose hope, they need to believe in themselves that they can change and is worth changing, if they lose faith they can destruct.”
Brown tells a message of hope that lies between his painful stories of drug abuse; as Brown attains his sobriety and prays to maintain it by keeping one step ahead of the demons that threaten to consume him.



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