Addiction can be one of the most heart-breaking things you can see a loved one go through. Whether it’s seeing someone deal with a disease like alcoholism, or in the case of Geoff Rickly (the front-man of Thursday and No Devotion), it was heroin use. Rickly’s debut novel is called Someone Who Isn’t Me for a myriad of reasons in my interpretation of the book: he’s writing the book with a person named “Geoff” as a fictional character who just happens to be the front-man of a band called Thursday, he’s writing with the intention of replacing several key “character” names with different names, and most importantly, Geoff Rickly doesn’t recognize the person that he’s become. Someone Who Isn’t Me is riddled in tragedy, heartbreak, and luckily the real Geoff makes it out fairly unscathed in the process. As great of a lead singer and lyricist Geoff Rickly is, he is arguably a more talented writer on this loosely-based work of fiction that feels as raw as its likely intended to be.
The book is organized into three main sections: Forest, Inferno, and Borderlands, with each section brimming with purpose and a feeling of uncertainty for the lead character in each. Geoff Rickly goes into great detail about how heroin use led to fractured relationships with the people he loved the most, including his bandmates, and the darkest of holes he had to climb out of to begin to recognize the person that he is today. Some parts are difficult to read, like the moments of where Geoff is ignoring his loved ones desperate pleas to get help, and instead finding solace in his dealer.
Other sections are unintentionally funny, like when Geoff explains the feeling of playing shows with Thursday under the influence and asking his drummer how many songs they’ve played; to which he replies, “that was the first one.”
And still, Rickly continues to go in rich detail of his personal struggles, and seeking a drug called ibogaine that may be able to relieve him from his heroin addiction. Geoff goes to a clinic in Mexico to deal with the after-effects, and near-psychosis, of the dual-cocktail of drugs fighting each other in his system. It’s hard to not root for this “character” as he fights for his well-being and hits setback after setback, until eventually finding the light at the end of the tunnel.
The road to recovery is something I’ve luckily never had to deal with in my own life, but I know several people in my life fighting similar types of demons that they are trying to exercise for good, and it’s never easy. It’s fucking hard. Addiction can be one of the most traumatizing things to see someone go through, and all you can do is continue to be supportive and let that person know you love them, and you’re here for them in hopes they make the connection that they do in fact have a support system outside of their sickness. Geoff Rickly has garnered near-unanimous critical praise for his steps into the literary world, and I commend him as well for being brave enough to put a version of himself forward in Someone Who Isn’t Me.