Double Double: A Dual Memoir of Alcoholism by Martha GrimesDouble Double: A Dual Memoir of Alcoholism by Martha Grimes

Double Double: A Dual Memoir of Alcoholism

byMartha Grimes, Ken Grimes

Paperback | January 12, 2016

Pricing and Purchase Info

$19.25 online 
$22.00 list price save 12%
Earn 96 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


“A thoughtful twist on the recovery memoir” (O, The Oprah Magazine) that explains the different ways bestselling author Martha Grimes and her son, Ken Grimes, recognized and overcame their addictions, now with two new chapters—one from each author.

In this introspective and groundbreaking memoir of addiction, mystery writer Martha Grimes and her son, Ken Grimes, present two different, often intersecting points of view. Chapters alternate between Ken’s and Martha's voices and experiences in 12-step program and outpatient clinics.

Written with honesty, humor, a little self-deprecation, and a lot of self-evaluation, Double Double is “an honest, moving, and readable account of the drinking life and the struggle for recovery. This brave and engaging memoir is a gift” (Kirkus Reviews).
Bestselling author Martha Grimes is the author of more than thirty books, including twenty-two Richard Jury mysteries. The winner of the 2012 Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award, Grimes lives in Bethesda, Maryland. Ken Grimes works in the public relations industry and lives with his wife and children in suburban Maryland.
Title:Double Double: A Dual Memoir of AlcoholismFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:256 pages, 8.38 × 5.5 × 0.6 inShipping dimensions:8.38 × 5.5 × 0.6 inPublished:January 12, 2016Publisher:ScribnerLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1476724105

ISBN - 13:9781476724102


Read from the Book

KG PREFACE: DOUBLE MACBETH If the witches had wanted to double Macbeth’s troubles, their elaborate recipe of eye of newt and toe of frog should have included a pint of Guinness, a quart of vodka, a carton of Marlboro cigarettes, and a pound of marijuana. Or a very, very dry double martini. I came of age in the “Just Say Yes” generation of the late 1970s and the early 1980s, between the end of the freewheeling 1960s— an era that my friends and I adored but which wasn’t ours—and the dawning of Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” decade of merciless greed and cocaine consumption. How did I stop? With more than a little help from my friends. By going to meetings in recovery and finding people who are as crazy as I am. I’ve been sober for two decades and I’m still trying to change the saying “I may not be much, but I’m all I think about.” The literature of recovery says that letting go of the bondage of self is the only way to achieve that “priceless gift of serenity.” Serenity from the screaming voices in my head telling me that I don’t measure up, that I’m inferior, that the other guy is better-looking, that this woman has a better job, that everyone knows more than I do. Serenity is the absence of self, not of constantly thinking about me, and of sometimes actually thinking about others. Stopping drinking was the first step, because drinking is only a symptom of my disease. My fundamental problem is my lack of acceptance of the world as it is, as opposed to the way I demand it to be. A person I really respect in recovery once said to me, “I don’t know where I got this idea of having a pain-free life. My parents didn’t tell me—not that I listened to anything they said anyway— nor did my friends, teachers, doctor, rabbi, or bosses. Somehow I grew up thinking that I shouldn’t have to experience pain. If I felt any pain at all, anything that bothered me, I drank or smoked it away. I mean, that’s the smart thing to do, right? The problem was that when I stopped drinking and drugging, I was a fourteenyear- old boy trapped in a twenty-five-year-old man’s body because I never matured. I never learned how to deal with the normal disappointments, heartaches, and difficulties of life. The second the going got tough, I got going to the liquor store.” In the course of this book, you’ll see that my mother’s approach and my approach to sobriety are a little different. She hit the bottom and went to an outpatient rehabilitation center the day before Christmas 1990 and was a fan of that program for many years. Though she doesn’t go to twelve-step meetings, she has come to grips with her alcoholism. We’d agree that anything that gets you to stop drinking and using is the right approach: organized religion, twelve-step meetings, living in a cabin in the woods, being an exercise fanatic. It doesn’t matter. The one thing I kept telling myself as I was destroying my life with beer and pot was that they were all I had left. It’s the supreme irony of addictions that what is killing you masquerades as the answer. There is a theory in recovery that you stop maturing after you begin drinking excessively, and that was certainly my case. Getting sober at twenty-five was more than lucky; it was a power greater than I, working in my life. Think getting sober is easier at twenty-five than forty-five? As a friend of mine in recovery said, “It’s not easy being young in recovery.” Those of us in our twenties were a minority (albeit fast-growing). Plus, I hadn’t done anything in my life to help define me, to give me an identity. No wife, no kids, no career. Nothing. And the lies the disease tells you! I remember as a child watching the TV adaptation of Sybil with a (very young) Sally Field and wondering what it would be like to have a split personality. There’s a reason why Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is popular: because alcoholism is beyond the yin-yang polarity of good and evil in all of us. From a nice teenage boy I turned into a monster, in a fury at the world for not being the way I wanted it to be. I was going to show them all, and if I couldn’t show them, I was going to kill myself. When I was new in recovery, I completely ignored the slogan “One Day at a Time” (which I’ve come to believe is the single most important message I’ve learned in my sobriety) because I could simply not imagine not drinking or getting high again. Here are some of my early questions that proved to me I couldn’t stop drinking: “What about a business meeting when the client has a glass of wine? Won’t I appear to be insulting him if I don’t have one, too?” I discovered later that the only people who care if I don’t drink are those with drinking problems themselves. No one cares whether you drink as long as they get to drink themselves. “What about dating? What if the girl I’m dating has a drink? Won’t she think I’m a loser if I don’t drink?” Actually, no. If a girl is turned off by your nondrinking, you shouldn’t be dating her. Before I got sober, I had to lie about the volume of my alcohol intake. I used my girlfriends as a control mechanism on my addiction, as monitors, and that’s not a job anyone wants. After I got sober, I followed a very strict rule about dating. On the first date, after the normal chitchat and gettingto- know-you part, I would tell her at dinner I didn’t drink and was sober X number of years. I was being fair to them, but more important, I wouldn’t be tempted to keep it hidden and then want to drink that glass of red wine that was so large, you could wash a Buick in it. “What, can’t I have a drink on my wedding day?” I didn’t have a girlfriend. I was convinced the FBI was outside my door, and auditory hallucinations at work were beginning to be a distraction. I wasn’t getting married anytime soon. “How can I go to a football game without getting high?” When I told my therapist that I had been stopped by the police in Washington Square Park for attempting to buy marijuana (I was let go without being charged, thank God for the non-Giuliani years in New York City), he asked why I had done something so stupid. “Because my regular guy was out, and I was going to go to the Giants–Eagles game, and I had to have some weed.” When he asked why I had to get high to watch a football game, I had no answer except: “What’s the point of going to a football game if you aren’t stoned?” I got married thirteen years ago and didn’t have to drink. Now I can have a business meeting, go out to dinner with my wife, and go to a football game, and it simply doesn’t occur to me to alter my state of being with chemicals. Move over, Moses, because to those who really knew me, that’s a real miracle. MG PREFACE: DRUGSTORE Martinis are my drug of choice, straight up, on the rocks, vodka, gin, lemon peel, olive, onion, ten to one. Any martini drinker knows what I’m talking about. Liquid silver, that’s how my old friend Harry described it. Not, believe me, that I disdained other drinks—none of them, as I recall—being partial also to an old-fashioned, a daiquiri, a whiskey sour. But nothing could win me over like a dry martini, although one has to acquire that taste. I was introduced to drugs when there was really only one hand to shake: alcohol’s. Cocaine, heroin, marijuana, crystal meth: I was unacquainted with this happy quartet. I was school-age at a time when you could go to school without getting shot. That was a long time ago. It makes no difference for the purposes of this book. Heroin and cocaine still rank as numbers 1 and 2 (despite the government’s obsession with crystal meth), the baddest of the bad. Why split hairs? When it comes to addiction, they’re all bad. I’m going to avoid the big-ticket health issue, not because it isn’t important but because it tends to obscure other issues. (When you set it against an X-ray of a cirrhotic liver, can you really convince someone that the drink on the bar is necessary?) You know, we all know, how dangerous addictions are to our health. Nor will I talk about addiction as a disease. I don’t know whether it is or isn’t, but I don’t care whether that martini shows I have a disease or an unquenchable thirst. I think I’ll knock the “willpower” card off the table. It’s way overplayed. Most of life is engaged with filling a prescription. We fill up with whatever works at the moment: food, drink, smoking, shopping. A few hours at Target isn’t quite as tasty as a few hours in Barneys New York, but it serves the same purpose. If you’re starving, it doesn’t matter who the chef is. And what works best is drugs. After the official drugs like marijuana and cocaine, alcohol (which, for some reason, gets separated from the others, for we speak of drugs and alcohol), we’ve got a long list: food (oh, what a drug lies there!), cigarettes, shopping, television, Internet, gambling, chewing gum, romantic love—anything that can fill the emptiness for a few minutes or hours or months, anything that comes from the outside, something that you don’t have to work at. It allows you to escape, no questions asked, just go. The whole world is our drugstore. We must be drawn out of ourselves by something. Maybe that’s why Invasion of the Body Snatchers keeps on being remade. The body snatchers are only after empty husks. Whatever was inside—call it mind, call it soul—is long gone, as with Gregor in The Metamorphosis. In my hometown, there was a movie house, only one theater and only one screen and one balcony—no longer there, of course. When I was young, I would look around at the rows of people, the glow from the screen bathing their faces in ambient light. I was struck by how innocent the moviegoers looked, unguarded as children. They were drawn out of themselves; in a sense, they no longer inhabited themselves. This condition could change at any second: At the moment when the film fails to grip them, they become aware that they’re in a theater watching a movie, which is failing to keep their attention, but suddenly, it can be captured again. Anything that erases us from time to time, that loosens our grip, relaxes us, and lets us breathe again. Anything except death, although at times I think that’s where all of this is headed. We don’t “breathe easier”; we’re on life support. We’ve got all sorts of stuff skating into our systems to keep us alive, and we take this as good, even great, since we’ve left ourselves behind. For the body snatchers. We say we can’t have a good time without a drink. Yet I remember years when I could have a sublimely good time without one. I was a little kid, or a bigger one, or even an adult. So why did I tell myself later on that I couldn’t have any fun without a drink in my hand? A dinner party or any sort of gathering where we stand around and share small talk? No. You need to have a drink just to bear it. A few years ago USA Today did a series of reports on dieting, a challenge they invited readers to take. One doctor or nutritionist— who did an incalculable service for all of us dieters—said that dieting is hard: “You might as well learn to play the violin.” That’s how hard it is. Willpower be damned. Some USA Today readers probably thought the good doctor was brutally discouraging. I thought just the opposite: She told us what we were up against and why we failed time and again. When you fail in a diet you feel like a fool or a lout. Surely anybody should be able to turn down a doughnut. No willpower. Stopping drinking is like this. You might as well learn how to play the violin.

Editorial Reviews

“If you thought there were strange, amazing twists and wildly eccentric characters in Martha Grimes’s Richard Jury novels, wait until you see what happens when she takes on the world of publishing. Foul Matter is a sharp, funny, satisfying caper for anyone who has ever wondered what really goes on in this crazy business.”