The Bitter Taste Of Dying: A Memoir


Book Review:
The Bitter Taste Of Dying: A Memoir
~Review by Judy Herzanek/Changing Lives Foundation

We have just added this new memoir to our popular resource: Favorite books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts.


The Bitter Taste Of Dying: A Memoir
~by Jason Smith

“A Wild Ride: Disturbing, frightening while brutally honest, witty and sarcastic.”


Author Jason Smith has a rare talent . . . and an amazing story.
The Bitter Taste of Dying is his memoir of addiction, struggle, despair, discovery and ultimately, recovery. The book is engaging, brutally honest, dead serious while at the same time,  sarcastic and “laugh-out-loud funny.”

The Bitter Taste of Dying leaves the reader with graphic mental images of life and death, struggle and surrender. We witness the insidiousness of addiction as it slowly and completely consumes Jason.

Jason describes the all-consuming nature of drug addiction:
“Drug addiction is a love affair, pure and simple. It’s hot, and passionate, and seductive, and engrossing. It’s captivating, in that it makes an addict think about the drug non-stop, never content because you know what you have won’t last, regardless of the size of the most recent score. Maintaining addiction is a game of chess, ever contemplating the NEXT move, the NEXT score, for fear that when what you have is gone, you’ll be without.”

He describes the moment he realized he was addicted:
“The drugs didn’t get me high anymore. They just kept me from being sick. It’s like the drugs have turned on you, refusing to hold up their end of the bargain. No matter how much I did, I couldn’t get high. I went from chasing a high to running from a detox.”

And we read about an ingenious little trick he learned from watching an episode of the “Intervention A&E series.”
“I never thought of doing drugs like that.
It took about 30 seconds, and when it hit, it hit hard.
Euphoria, Instant Euphoria.
For the first time in a year, I FELT SOMETHING. Sure, the high was great. But I was just relieved to be able to feel again. I had energy. I could eat. I could leave the house. I could interact with people again. I had life.”

Just when we are sure Jason will  “reach his bottom” and turn his life around, he veers off onto another detour. Through his honest “no-holds-barred” descriptions, we ever-so-slightly, glimpse into his dark world.

“ I wanted to stop with every fiber of my being, but could not. Nothing obliterates the human spirit and self- esteem more than using a substance against your own will, while hating every second of it. I was homeless, living outside of a train station, stealing bread and drinking from public toilets. And when given money to survive, to eat, to re-hydrate, to live like a civilized primate, I chose the drugs.”

The vivid memories of his time spent incarcerated and detoxing alone in a Tijuana jail cell is disturbing and frightening.

He speaks of his fear of withdrawal:
“The only thing worse than a journey through hell is knowing that you’re about to go on a journey through hell.”

16 years later, Jason finally got clean and sober. He writes:
“It took me losing everything to appreciate anything.”

This memoir reveals great gems of wisdom as it nears the conclusion. Through powerful and painful episodes with his wise, experienced sponsor, Jason eventually learns what it takes to stay clean and sober and truly comes to know that “you help yourself by helping others.”


About the Author Jason Smith

Jason Smith is a graduate from the University of California, Davis, whose work has been published extensively in both online and print media. His eclectic style ranges from personal essays to investigative reporting, drawing on his own personal travels and experiences.

Jason’s pieces have been translated into multiple languages and published in multiple countries, demonstrating his ability to connect with readers across cultural lines. Jason has multiple projects in production after being acquired for film rights.

Jason is heavily involved in the recovery community in Northern California, where he frequently shares his experience, strength, and hope in getting out of the hell that is addiction. He is a frequent speaker at the California Medical Board and California Board of Pharmacy.

Jason is currently the Creative Director of The Real, an online community for people who’ve struggled with addiction, and their loved ones, to tell their stories and share their experiences.

Jason lives in northern California, raising a family with his wife Megan and their two children, Isabella and Jaden.

Buy “The Bitter Taste of Dying” on Amazon

Judy Herzanek Telluride

Judy Herzanek is the Director of Creative Development and Marketing for Changing Lives Foundation. She graduated from Columbus College of Art & Design in 1976 and worked as Graphic Designer and Art Director for Hallmark Cards, Kansas City, MO (12 years), Celestial Seasonings, Boulder, CO (16 years) and owned and managed her own design business.

Author, Chaplain Joe Herzanek and Judy met in 1984 at an AA meeting in Kansas City and have been married for over 30 years. Both are in long-term recovery. She loves working from her home office in Berthoud, Colorado and the opportunity to combine her design, marketing and online skills with her 30+ years of sobriety to bring the message of hope to families struggling with addiction.
Please visit our Changing Lives Foundation website

> Recommended Books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts.

> Addiction Recovery Resources for Families of Substance Abusers, Addicts and Alcoholics

Why Don't They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.

2016 Updated and Revised

Why Don’t They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.

~By Joe Herzanek

Our most recent reviews:
Best book ever about addiction. Written by one whose done it and is recovering. Easy to read, not preachy, just honest. I recommend this book to anyone with an addict in their life! ~Lynda A

Got an addiction problem in your family? Read this book. Joe knows his stuff. This book helps you to better understand those who are dealing with friends and family that are addicted to drugs and alcohol. I have read several of these books but this one is the best. ~RJ

I, like many people, have some knowledge of what drugs and addiction are, but are clueless on what the process of recovery entails. This book does a great job in what it would take to help a loved one, who is an addict and is willing to get clean and stay clean. It also gives one hope that your loved one will survive the nightmare they are living through with their family. ~CG

> Paperback
> Audio Book CD (Listen in your car)
> Kindle
> Audible Audio Download (LISTEN TO 4 MIN. SAMPLE)

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>”I need help because I’m not able to deal with my live-in Fiance’s need to get drunk every night.”
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>Gambling vs. Drug Addiction? What is your opinion?

>How can I tell if someone is an addict/alcoholic or just a heavy user?

>What is Methadone? What is Harm Reduction?

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