INTENT

If you are currently reading the series then you’ve no doubt noticed the theme of addiction woven into the plot. Some of you may have already finished book one and moved on to find that The Prime Universe consists of so much more. It’s a fast paced intergalactic love story that contains equal parts of humor and action. Be that as it may, this series was built with a serious intent and if you’d like to learn what brought this project together and where it’s headed you’ve come to the right place.

Over the past two decades a lot has been said in regards to the war on drugs but really where has it gotten us? Today we are in the midst of a global opioid pandemic with mortality rates increasing annually and a majority of our interest being dictated by organizations that focus on treatment after the fact. Now, I have nothing against rehab facilities, they have their place but at that point the person’s personality has already been changed on multiple planes, sometimes irrevocably. One thing the advertisements on TV never talk about in regards to rehab is that each patient is somebody’s son or daughter, the cost of rehab, the fact that it might take several stints to emerge drug free and that even when they do, they’ll wake up each day having to repress the urge to use. In short, rehab isn’t a medical procedure that excises the obsessive urge, it’s an environment that teaches the patient how to live as an addict.

With that in mind it’s much more effective to strengthen our mode of education and develop greater awareness of the pitfalls of drug abuse but there’s a drawback to that as well. Let’s say you and I were both veterans of law enforcement and we were looking to speak to the local high school seniors on the topic of addiction. Even after recanting our most gruesome cases and what could befall the audience if they chose a similar path the result would still fall flat. Don’t get me wrong you’d get a tear or two and many of them might seem receptive but a vast majority of them would all leave the auditorium with the same thought in mind, “That was incredibly sad, BUT IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO ME.”

This is actually a normal mental response and is thoroughly documented by psychologists as The Personal Fable or the Invincibility Fable. This mental process actually has its uses as an evolutionary tool. It acts as a pop-up-blocker when you are presented with dangerous situations. However, it’s the main reason why most drug programs that involve speakers or taking teens for a walk through the local prison have such scant results. Despite this, education is still our most worthwhile defense against addiction and that’s why I developed a trojan horse of sorts to subvert the brains natural defenses. By merely changing the intended presentation into a passive form such as a book to be read in the safety of a teen’s own bedroom, safe, away from distraction and at their own pace, a youth will not only accept the information but internalize it as well. As they read unhindered their mind will perform its primary task which is take information and create a framework as to how it relates to them and their survival. If this information is entertaining and engages their imagination even better.

I actually learned this while I was working a two-year stint on a psychiatric transport rig at a local ambulance company. A majority of our 5150’s and overdoses were at risk youths and every now and then one of the patients would point out that they’d seen our high school presentation on DUI. It was a very interactive production that included actors, Hollywood caliber make-up to simulate injuries on their bodies and actual mangled cars. Near the end a person dressed in a reaper costume would address the audience on the topic of death. When I would ask these patients what they thought about the program the answer was always the same, ”It was alright.” Here’s the thing, in my 15 years as a 911 Paramedic I ran an incredible amount of alcohol related vehicular deaths and it didn’t take more than a few before I hunted down an actual Psychologist and asked for an explanation as to how these programs were missing their mark. When he told me about the personal fable it made sense but what didn’t was why somebody didn’t take the information and integrate it into a program. The response I received was that it would work quite well if somebody were to casually sprinkle the information in a movie or book but it was too much effort seeing as there were already dedicated websites that contained the same message.

At the time I remember thinking what a shame it was because he was right. The only problem with that is that these websites while containing nearly everything you could want to know about drugs and addiction the true pearls of wisdom were few, far between and hidden amongst pages of scientific studies that are as dry as eating a handful of sand. In short very few millennials have the attention span to read said knowledge.

As dismayed as I was there didn’t seem to be anything, I could really do about it so I moved on. Fast forward a decade later and I find my best friend addicted to prescription opiates. One night while working as a Fire Fighter he had fallen from a ladder and crashed down right on the oxygen tank that was strapped to his back. The injuries were extensive but with plenty of work his body would heal. However, he was quite adamant about not wanting to go to drug rehab. In his eyes this was reserved for degenerates and junkies, he was a professional who had been hurt while on the job. This stance would ultimately cost him his marriage and career. As an intervention his family would move him back to the area to go to an outpatient program and I would become his roommate to keep him on the straight and narrow.

Now, my best friend Manny and I had lived together for a few years in the mid 90’s and were, as close as two people could be. I had introduced him to his wife and his first child was named after me. To say I was blindsided on the move in date would be an understatement. Manny showed up with nothing more than a box of assorted belongings. According to him hours earlier, a deer ran out in front of his truck and it rolled, catapulting most everything he owned across the three-lane freeway. From there I would get a front row seat education as to how addiction changes a brains chemistry. It seemed that all of Manny’s redeeming traits had regressed and been replaced by its opposite counterpart. He was aggressive, conniving and really wanted nothing to do with sobriety. In fact, when his Doctor stopped prescribing his medication of choice Manny started building a grocery list of new Doctors. If at any time they began to catch on he would cut them and recruit more. When that avenue ran dry, he’d simply visit a friend and ask to use their bathroom. Believe me I received more than a few angry voicemails from mutual friends claiming their medicine cabinet was a lot lighter after one of my roommate’s visits. In every way shape and form though, Manny’s brother Liam and myself anticipated and parried every trick in the book until a year later when we could confidently say that he was finally drug-free.

However, there was one thing we couldn’t foresee and that was the fact that after years of addiction, happiness was a chemical plateau that was no longer obtainable for Manny. Months after we parted our separate ways as roommates he succumbed to a severe bout of depression and unfortunately took his own life.

It was strange but months after the funeral I still found myself and a handful of friends stuck in various phases of the grieving process. I couldn’t explain it at the time because I’d actually lost family members and recovered in half the time but this was constant. Each day the wound seemed just as fresh as the day before. It would be six months before I would realize that I had survivor’s guilt. It was during this time that I would revisit the theme of the personal fable. I was less than five credits away from a degree in nursing and sifting through my old notes from my psyche classes when I reread nearly word for word what that psychologist had said all those years ago. The main difference was this time I couldn’t help but break down and cry from the internal sorrow and the realization that all across the world there were hundreds of thousands of families that had been maimed emotionally as a result of the same type of loss. It was at that moment that I decided that no matter how long it took, regardless of how tough times became, I would develop the program myself.

Using a culturally diverse cast and based upon gender equality The Prime Trilogy is a sci-fi/fantasy fable that follows the story of Josh Michaels a reluctant, would be hero that lives in an alternate universe. Despite the fact that he’s destined to save humanity, Josh feels he has his hands full just being a modern teen. When his reality warping powers start to rage out of control, though, Josh begins self-medicating with opiates to keep them in check. What follows is a precautionary tale that will span across the multiverse, re-imagining some of the most notorious figures from world mythology and divinely inspired texts to lead and keep him in rehab.

Over the course of the trilogy the objective is to paint a stark picture of both sides of the addiction coin. On one side is Josh’s journey as he runs from a destiny he never really wanted. Each chapter will take him farther down the rabbit hole including his trajectory through addiction, homelessness, loss of his best friend, survivor’s guilt, rehab and ultimate redemption.

On the flip side, his soulmate Dianna Imperial experiences the tremendous fallout of loving an addict. While learning to master her own blossoming powers her path takes her to the Icarian a make-shift homeless shelter that doubles as a drug rehab clinic. Once there, her life becomes a precarious balancing act between maturing into the woman she needs to be and saving Josh, before their reality begins to reflect his growing despair. (Of note, the narrative is actually split amongst five main characters to balance the tone. After every serious chapter it is countered by one that is either humorous or action oriented.)

All the while, scenarios are discussed or characters added, that will introduce the topics and undesirable long term side effects of.

Alcohol

Tobacco

Opiates

Methamphetamines

Cocaine

MDMA/Ecstasy

PTSD

Survivor’s guilt

Depression

Anxiety

Body Dysmorphia

Suicidal Ideation

72-hour hold, 5150

The character’s stories emphasize the need for professional treatment and the inherent dangers of what could happen when you try to detox on your own.

Ultimately it is my ardent hope to utilize the series as an all-inclusive informational program but there are quite a few hurdles to clear before this is done. We currently have two types of web based testing to add on to what the reader has learned but are waiting for legal permission on certain content. Until then the first book will remain free to gage reader response. There are two versions available at this time, an unrated version and a cleaner, more spiritual version. This came about after the beta test of The Prime. We pooled together a group of twenty five people consisting of Doctors, Nurses, Psychologist’s, Youth Pastors and members of all three branches of the 911 system and gave them copies to review. After two months the reviews were rated and it was felt that the series was well written and met it’s objective. Of meritable note, though, the readers without a church background thought the content of the story was too religious and those with a church affiliation felt it wasn’t religious enough. To solve this we used the rest of the reader feedback to rewrite the entire first half of the book and then made two versions out of that. Currently we are looking for church groups interested in reading the series to see if anything else needs to be revised. If you happen to know of a faith based festival or concert please feel free to contact  me directly at theprimenovels@gmail.com