Repentance of a drug rebel: Six years later her son admits she was RIGHT to be tough
Jake Myerson, the son of famed Man Booker Prize-nominated author Julie Myerson, has gone public with the incredible story of how he became sober after years of rebelling against his parents by using hardcore drugs. His mother first caused a stir when she wrote a book about his addiction, The Lost Child.
According to the Daily Mail,
In her hugely controversial book, The Lost Child, Myerson, 54, gave a warts-and-all account of her son’s addiction to skunk, a dangerously potent form of cannabis.
In the book and subsequent interviews, Myerson and her husband Jonathan, 54, an Oxford-educated screenwriter, journalist and magistrate, spared no detail about Jake’s addiction. They revealed how he stole money from his family and physically fought with them until they had no choice but to banish him from their South London home.
Myerson, a doyenne of the literary world and a Newsnight regular, was vilified and dubbed the ‘worst mother in Britain’ by commentators. But she was unrepentant, insisting that people needed to know middle-class families could be destroyed by drugs, too. Meanwhile, Jake retaliated with an excoriating interview branding her behaviour an obscene betrayal of him.
But today, Jake has a different take on events and a rather shocking confession. After his parents threw him out of home, his life spiralled so far out of control that he became a heroin addict living in a crack den.
Just eight months ago, in the grip of his addiction, Jake was suicidal and desperate. At his lowest point he was using £150 worth of drugs a day, stealing, lying and even dealing in order to fund his dangerous habit.
The past three years have been ‘a car crash’, he admits. He’s attempted to kill himself more than once. He’s been admitted to psychiatric wards twice. He’s shoplifted tens of thousands of pounds worth of goods, been arrested, and self-harmed.
At one point, he nearly murdered his father.
Today, the physical scars — the needle marks and horizontal slashes across his arms where he self-harmed with scissors — may be fading. But the psychological and emotional scars will no doubt take longer.
Jake, meanwhile, wants to draw a line under the whole sorry saga and begin to forge new links with the family he still loves.
‘For a long time I blamed my parents for everything that happened to me,’ he says. ‘But I’ve realised over the past few months that no one is culpable for my actions but me.
…‘My mother really did try to help me while I was there by sitting and talking to me, but I was heartbroken. I’d be in tears all day and, after a month of living with them, I was draining her and there were no answers to my feelings.
‘One day my father said: “You’re not Keats, you’re not Byron, you’re not Shelley, just man up!”
‘And it was at that point I thought: “These people are never going to understand me.” I was so angry. I’m not a violent person but I thought: “I’m just going to stab the b*****d.” I got a knife from the kitchen and started walking up the stairs towards him when I thought: “Hang on, Jake, this isn’t you.” But I needed to get this anger out.’
…It was this path to self-destruction that led him to try heroin for the first time just a few weeks later in January 2012. ‘I’d been out one night with some musician friends and they offered me heroin,’ he says. ‘I’d always been fascinated by it but I’d never been tempted. That night, though, I just wanted to die and thought: “Screw it, let’s do it.”
‘I smoked it and threw up everywhere. But afterwards, all my anxiety was gone. It grew from there. Not many people knew I was doing it — certainly not my parents — but I’d become very manipulative and lied all the time.
‘I started off using £30-50 worth a day but, by the time I was seriously addicted about six months later, I was doing £150 a day. I’d lost my job at the same time as I broke up with my girlfriend so if I didn’t have the money, the dealers would give me it on “tick”.’
…His parents agreed to financially support his education and in January 2013 he started studying sound engineering at college in London. Things were going well. With the help of prescription drugs, he came off heroin and was holding together a relationship with a girl he had met.
…As it turned out, although he had to leave college, he didn’t go back on heroin. But then, in January this year, his relationship ended. Feeling abandoned, he blew his £4,000 student loan in three weeks on a mixture of heroin and crack cocaine.
‘I wanted to kill myself,’ he says. ‘I was very, very angry with the world. After the money ran out several “heroin friends” disappeared and I started hanging around with three addict strangers, including a guy with a flat in Dalston, East London.
…Contact with his own parents was sporadic. ‘I rang a few times and said: “I’m harming myself, I’m getting really depressed, I don’t know how to manage this, can you help me?”
‘But their attitude was very much detached love. My mother said: “We can’t help you, you need proper help.” I was so angry with them because I felt if I could just find somewhere safe, I could get clean. I felt huge resentment towards them, I wanted to kill them.
‘Now, I realise it must’ve been hugely difficult for them and she was right. It must’ve been impossible for her.’
…His parents eventually took him home so he could recover from heroin before starting rehab.
‘They were really, really lovely to me. Because we had this “shield” of purpose to my visit and we’d agreed not to talk about the nitty-gritty of what happened, it was actually really lovely and unexpected.’
He was kept locked in the house by his parents, who escorted him to a local drug centre or chemist every day to get his prescription for Subutex, a drug to help heroin addicts kick the habit.
Finally, in June, Jake started council-funded rehab at a centre called Focus 12 in Bury St Edmunds. There, he underwent group therapy and counselling. As part of his treatment, he was asked to read out letters from people who’d been affected by his drug use.
‘Mum’s a professional writer and I’ve an instinctive mistrust of anything she writes because I know she can use words to manipulate,’ Jake says. ‘But she wrote about dreading the phone call or knock at the door to tell her I was dead.
‘What really got to me was when she said she could no longer listen to music any more because it reminded her of me. That made me very sad. I feel intense regret for all the pain I’ve put people through.’
…Relations with his parents are improving too — thanks, he says, to both sides making an effort. And he hopes to return to college in London in the New Year.
‘I went there a few weeks ago for a meeting with the council about housing and someone asked if I would be visiting my parents. My stomach turned. I thought I’d arrive on their doorstep, they’d say something to freak me out and I’d go off and take heroin.
‘But then I thought: “No, if I ignore them, I’m just creating more trouble for the future. The best thing to do is to be kind and visit them.”
‘So that’s what I did. I went around for dinner and I can’t say it was the best three hours of my life, but I said: “Guys, I want to thank you so much for taking me in to detox. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be clean now.” Dad didn’t know quite what to say and Mum got a bit emotional but I could see they were very touched.’
Rachel Alexander is the editor of Intellectual Conservative. She is a senior editor at The Stream, and is a regular contributor to Townhall, the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research, and The Christian Post, and provides weekend news items for Right Wing News. She frequently appears on TV and news radio as a conservative commentator. She is a recovering attorney and former gun magazine editor. She previously served as a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Arizona, corporate attorney for Go Daddy Software, and Special Assistant/Deputy County Attorney for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. As co-president of the UW Political Science Honor Society, she obtained degrees in Political Science and History from the University of Washington, followed by a law degree from Boston College and the University of Arizona. She was ranked by Right Wing News as one of the 50 Best Conservative Columnists from 2011-2016.