Jim Carroll, Author of Basketball Diaries, Dies of Heart Attack


All cultures have their hero’s and 12 steppin’ rehabbers are no different. At any youth oriented program there are obligatory copies of angst driven prose, some indulgent and overly dramatic, some not. What drug addict worth his or her diagnosis hasn’t read “I don’t want to live this life” written by Nancy Spungens mother or “No one here gets out alive” The bio of Jim Morrison? It’s not an accident that lyrics of many artists reflect the insatiable demands of the world that many addicts feel. There are those who say these artists are damaging, glorifying drugs and drug use. I say, they give misfits permission to live.

            For the literate addict, Jim Carroll is the poet laureate.  He is the thinking man’s Henry Rollins. His book “The Basketball Diaries” articulates the feelings of being smart, isolated, unparented, mentally ill and addicted.

            Jim Carroll also had the Jim Carroll band and chronicled his often-troubled life in “people who died”, a cult classic among the disenfranchised youth in rehab. Jim Carroll died today, of a heart attack at the age of 60. Pretty good life span for an IV heroin addict, even if he was in remission from his disease.  Jim Carroll was an articulate guy, he was honest and never tied the complexities of his life with a pretty “just say no” ribbon.  I’m sad to hear that he died but I am happy that he made it as long as he did, one day at a time.


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