In 1976, Juan Alonso Pérez, published Out of the darkness, a book that recounted his experiences as addicted to different drugs during the Second Republic, the Civil War and the dictatorship. Out of print for years and become a title of worship, has just been rescued by editorial Comares.
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Born into a family of the bourgeoisie of valencia, Juan Alonso was a happy boy until, at the age of 17, the separation, his parents fell into a depression that never exceed. The breakdown in the family joined shortly after a torturous relationship with Glory, dancer, taxi-girl, which got him started in the use of cocaine. But Juan Alonso was never addicted to that substance. The drug that I snagged was the morphine, which he met as a medical student. On the eve of an exam, John and his companions wanted to check to see if the effects of that opiate corresponded with what was affirmed their notes. While the others caused them a narcotic effect, he lived one of the most pleasurable experiences of your life. Although he promised not to repeat, shortly after he was already addicted.
Although in 1936 began a detox process, could not be concluded by the outbreak of the Civil War, in which fought alongside the republican side doing medical tasks, which gave him easy access to morphine, which she used to cope with their addiction and to alleviate the sorrow caused by friends killed in combat.
the conflict Ended, Juan Alonso was purged by franco's authorities. The promising young man was about to study in Germany ran out of a rural doctor in Xirivella, a small valencian in which was very appreciated by the neighbors, most of whom knew of his addiction. In fact, when he decided to tell his story, the book did not provoke any scandal, “except for a small group of mamarrachos very catholic”, as I recalled one of those neighbors to Jorge Marco, a historian who has prefaced the republication of Out of the darkness.
“My godmother, a great aunt, was maid of Juan Alonso for forty years. That's why, in my house there was a copy of his book dedicated to my mother. I read it as a teenager and it impressed me because he spoke of many taboos that I did not know. At that time did not have eyes of a historian but, when I started the race, I thought that it would be timely to repost these memories,” recalls Frame, for those who Out of darkness is an anomaly in the Spanish literature.
“There are few books of memories in Spain in tackling the issue of drugs, but the exceptionality of this is that it is the only one that speaks of the Second Republic, the war and the first part of the dictatorship. This fact allows you to do a reading of the time more full, rich and opposed to the stories strictly political or propaganda”.
In the opinion of Marco, Alonso's book is also valuable for to show the changes produced in the society from the Republic to the dictatorship through the eyes of a character doubly a loser: his political ideas and for his addiction.
“we work with the franco regime we often speak of the ‘new rich’ that created the dictatorship, thanks to repression and corruption, especially during the forties. However, the story of Juan Alonso shows the decrease in social of those bourgeois who supported progressive ideas, and that, after the war, ended up becoming the ‘new poor’. A personal experience, which, of course, also affects his story about drugs,” explains Marco.
Although today is striking, during the thirties and forties the kif, which is smoked in a pipe and not a cigarette, it was only consumed by those who had been in the Spanish territories in Morocco. In the Peninsula which they used was cocaine —that was produced in the black market—, amphetamines —are available from pharmacies without prescription, the morphine —that's up to 50 are prescribed it happily for just about any hassle— and, of course, tobacco and alcohol. In the moments of greatest addiction, Juan Alonso arrived to consume 25 vials of morphine and a dozen of amphetamines daily, and watered with seven or eight cuba-free, four whiskies and two litres of beer. Interestingly, it was the alcohol, legal drug, which further soured his character and complicated the relationship with his relatives, who devoted himself Out of the darkness.Juan Alonso with his wife Titin, and his daughter-in-law Alba Cecilia Sanchez.
“The book was a tribute to his family, especially his wife, for putting up with four decades of addictions and help you overcome them. Also he addressed a public work because if he is, addicted to morphine, amphetamines and alcohol, he managed to quit, they could do so. In a way, was ahead a few decades to the messages on the detox”.
The fact that Juan Alonso wrote a memoir about his addictions to be read by his family and other drug abusers makes his work, in spite of its undeniable historical value, can not be compared with that of international authors who wrote about addiction, like it could be William S. Burroughs, whose audience was a reader interested in the literature of avant-garde and experiences with toxic.
“In my opinion, the experience of Juan Alonso is very different to that of William S. Burroughs. Mainly because neither Spain was the united States, or Juan Alonso was a literary bohemian. In addition, if the history of both countries already had huge differences at the beginning of the TWENTIETH century, after the Civil War, that gap will become a chasm,” concludes Jorge Framework.Updated Date: 12 January 2020, 01:00