In his book The March to Madness, author Nelson Dacier details his personal rise and fall. Dacier goes from being a well-to-do attorney in New York, to declining into alcoholism, addiction, and eventually gets caught stealing from his own firm. We spoke with Nelson about what drew him to writing and eventually publishing his story of addiction and recovery.
Is this your first book? What was the impetus to write it?
While this is my first published work, I have always had an affinity for writing all throughout my college, law school and professional career. However, when it came to creating this initial work, the foremost desire was nothing more than just personal journaling and a way for me to pass the time and to keep my mind sharp during the first few weeks of my incarceration. I truly had no idea that it would lead to a whole novel.
Why is the title of your book The March to Madness?
The title of the book is a play off the NCAA Tournament "March Madness" theme while also incorporating the progressive nature of the disease of addiction. The "March" signifies the long and desperate journey that addicts face through their dependence and abuse and the "Madness" is the continual insanity of doing the same things over and over again but expecting different results.
Can you briefly describe how the novel opens up and the circumstances you're in at the beginning?
The novel commences with my wife and I heading back to the Courthouse for my final appearance, the reading of the terms of my sentence and then my subsequent incarceration. It is the culmination of over a year of dealing with the consequences of my actions stemming from the depths of my addiction. It also sets the scene for the emotional inner battle that I will face over the course of my 1-year sentence.
Readers, through the details of your book, will get a very intimate glance at what addiction can look like. What do you hope they will take away from your story?
I hope that all of the readers, no matter what their circumstances are, realize that they no longer have to live the way that they are currently living. Not only is my story living proof that there is a solution, but it is also a reminder for everyone to not quit before the miracle. The teacher will always appear when the student is ready. It's finding that readiness and determination that truly is the key.
The March to Madness is based on real events. Was it challenging to publish such an honest story?
The challenge was not so much the honesty but rather it was conveying the raw feelings and emotions behind that honesty. However, there were some actual experiences that had to be tempered somewhat due to both the concept of anonymity and the fact that many of my actions were also directly hurtful to several people in my life. In that light, this account was never intended to have those people relive their prior pain and anguish.
Has writing your book helped you in your recovery? If so, how?
Writing this novel was truly a cathartic experience that allowed me to heal on a number of levels. While I had to realize that these were in fact the consequences of my own actions, I still battled with the concepts of addiction and dependence and if I truly had a "choice" in any of this. I never remember ever stating in my childhood that I wanted to grow up to be an alcoholic and addict.
Can you talk about what you're currently working on? Can we look forward to a sequel?
Today I am diligently working on a sequel to The March to Madness which will pick up just where the initial story ended. I have been asked by many of my readers, "What happened next?" and "How can you leave us hanging like that," so I feel the need to convey the rest of the chronicle rather than leaving it all on the proverbial cliffhanger.
Today, Nelson Dacier works as a sobriety counselor. If you’d like to learn more about him or his book, The March to Madness, you can check out his website here: https://nelsondacier.com/. You can also purchase his book online here: https://www.amazon.com/March-Madness-Nelson-Dacier/dp/1645318419.