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Review of Victoria’s Voice (2019), published posthumously by Momosa Publishing and parents David and Jackie Siegel

This is not the first diary of a substance abuser. GO ASK ALICE, 1971, dealt anonymously with the topic of drug addiction to psychedelics. More recently, 2017, during the opioid epidemic our country has, Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx chronicles his year of heroin abuse in THE HEROIN DIARIES: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A SHATTERED ROCK STAR.

Victoria “Rikki” Siegel ( her adopted name) is not a rock star or an author like Jim Carroll of THE BASKETBALL DIARIES (1995).  She is a high school girl whose diary, her so-called “Book of Life,” started in 2012, depicts loneliness, low self-esteem, preoccupation with weight, all with all wonderful illustrations.  Like many middle schoolers or high school students, Rikki never felt that she fit in.  In middle school, she was called “chubby” and bullied.

Her diary records her drug usage that started with Adderall and marijuana in middle school to help her lose weight.  Her yo-yo dieting eventually led to diagnosis of anorexia nervosa (198 lbs. at age 12 to 125 lbs in 2012), her experiments with psychedelics, mainly “shrooms” (mushrooms), bongs at Starbucks before class, pot in the halls of her new private school, Crenshaw, abuse of tranquilizers such as Xanax, Lorazepam, Klonopin prescribed by her psychiatrist, sleeping pills that she abused to the point where she was hallucinating at school and home.  Her doctor gave her a drug for schizophrenia, but she went off all pills on February 18,2013.  However, two months later, she was cutting herself, “the one thing I thought I would never do,” she wrote.

Her diary reeks of teenage angst on steroids.  The oldest of seven children, Victoria started out in life as a happy child who had unusual pets that she rescued.  She had a talent for drawing at a young age.  It’s too bad she didn’t pursue that trajectory instead of life in the fast lane.

The daughter of super-wealthy executives, David Siegel, CEO, Chairman of Westgate Resorts and Jackie Siegel, a globe-trotting model who was dubbed “The Queen of Versailles,” as she attempted to build the largest home, still unfinished, in Windermere, Florida.  Victoria resented the camera crews at her house while they filmed the documentary (2012) about their lives in a suburb near Orlando.

At her fancy private school, Victoria skipped class, drugged, and paid someone to do her homework.  At night, she would fall asleep with a bottle of alcohol in her hand rather than study for midterms.

Her parents were not totally clueless.  They paid for a psychiatrist, a rehab, but didn’t know the extent of Rikki’s drug usage (the cutting and starvation that she hid with baggy clothes).  Her father talked to Rikki about getting a job.

But with her increasing drug usage, she distanced herself from them even though she wrote she loved them, particularly her mother.  But she always felt alone and that no one would help.  She moved into the guest house on her parents’ property, and eventually, after a stint in rehab, into an apartment with her best friend Korina Cockrell. But while Korina was at work, Rikki would huff whippets, small chargers containing nitrous oxide that cuts off oxygen to the brain.  In February, 2015, Rikki moved out, but they remained friends, but their friendship wasn’t the same.

Rikki had met a heroin user in rehab and started dabbling in it herself.  She called him her boyfriend.  On June 6, 2015, Victoria passed away at her Windermere home.  Her death, ruled an accident, was from acute methadone and sertraline toxicity.

As the mother of a son who abused opioids, Rikki’s feelings were similar to my son who lost his battle with drugs in 2016: hyperactivity, low self-esteem, adoption, comfortable background. It’s tragic that these young lives (my son was 33) could not have found a greater purpose that would have helped negate the dependence on drugs and made recovery worth the course of hard work to fight this brain disease.

Substance abuse disorders aren’t just found in West Virginia and Ohio, but also in wealthy areas, right under their parents’ noses!  The Siegels were smart to publish Victoria’s diary, according to her wishes.  Victoria’s raw writing demonstrates how easy it is to hide addiction from parents, schools, anywhere.

To VICTORIA’S VOICE, the Siegels have added a list of helpful resource organizations for those afflicted with the disease as well as their sober parents, a chapter on “How To Prevent Drug Use in Kids,” a list of commonly abused drugs and their side effects.

I recommend this book written by a desperate teen.  It’s honest and doesn’t glamorize drugs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson is an award-winning freelance writer and journalist specializing in parenting as well as gay and lesbian content. For the past two years, Wesley has concentrated almost exclusively on the lesbian and gay community, specifically on advising straight parents of gay children on how to be better parents and raise happy, well-adjusted adults
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