With his recent biography, called Hunter S. Thompson: An Insider’s View of Deranged, Depraved, Drugged Out Brilliance, of late gonzo journalist, Hunter S. Thompson, friend Jay Cowan relates his experiences and the time he lived with the addiction treatment eschewing writer. He knew Thompson during the last thrity years of his life when he took refuge in his home in Aspen in a place called Owl Farm.
Cowan lived with Thompson in on again, off again arrangement until he turned thirty-five and moved out for good. The two writers met when Cowan was still in high school and the lead editor for the class yearbook during the political race for mayor.
Because of Thompson’s infamous reputation for a wild and insatiable appetite for drugs and alcohol, Cowan gives other details that help to humanize Thompson.
Cowan demonstrates in his autobiography that he was one of his closer friends out of the inner circle that Thompson kept throughout the years. He shows that the journalist actually had a growing concern with how the public viewed his insane and crazy persona as his only facet, and therefore only wanted more. Cowan hints that this probably manipulated his already extreme addiction into a worse problem as the years went on. With the number of shots and barbiturates that he consumed, his slow deterioration seemed inappropriate to his image, a situation that bothered Thompson as well.
As his addictions worsened—that threat of lawsuits was a common problem, his increasing number of passed out states, and cocaine tabs were talked about like laundry bills—Cowan took action with some of the other friends of Thompson who were worried about him. They attempted to stage an alcohol abuse intervention that sadly went awry. By that time in his life, the drugs and alcohol he consumed had become fundamentally linked to who he was as not only a writer but as person.
Despite these addictions and never having received any help whatsoever for them through a residential drug treatment center, Thompson remained as intelligent and quick-witted as ever, even into his old age. Though many may not have agreed with his controversial views, he was nevertheless a deeply influential writer on what we know as journalism today.