Best-selling author shares message of hope and healing from addiction

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 10:59 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Best-selling author David Magee, who lost his son to an accidental drug overdose, has turned his family’s devastating loss into a mission to help other families dealing with addiction and loss. Magee is in Jackson to spread the message of recovery, love, and loss.

“Yes, I lost a son, but I’ve struggled with addiction myself, and I have found joy beyond anything I ever could have imagined,” said Magee. “So you know that’s really the message. “It can feel hard and heavy, but you are not alone, and there is help and support to help you turn your life around.”

The best-selling author wrote “Dear William, A Father’s Memoir of Addiction, Recovery, Love, and Loss” in memory of his son, who died of an accidental drug overdose.

“The day I found my son William dead of an accidental drug overdose, you know you think you’ve just lost everything. I mean, he was an Honors College student at the University of Mississippi. He ran track for the Ole Miss track team. You just think like, you’ve lost everything, but then you crawl across the floor and stand back up again, and you realize this death doesn’t have to be in vain,” Magee said.

He will be the featured speaker at Catholic Charities Journey of Hope Tuesday at the Jackson Convention Center.

Magee said, “There was a point to where I was struggling, my sons were struggling, and my daughter was struggling with an eating disorder. Our whole family was rocked and frankly wrecked. But we lost our son William, but by the grace of God, we were able to get back up on our feet. And so we now have another son who’s successful in recovery, my story in recovery, my daughter’s story in recovery. And while I lost my marriage momentarily, we re-married, and so we got our family back together.”

Magee also shares some of the warning signs parents should look for.

“They’re hard to get out of the bed in the morning,” Magee said. “They’re not looking at you in the eyes. That’s one I always say. The eyes. If they’re constantly looking away from you when you’re trying to talk to them, that’s not always a giveaway, but it’s a sign. If suddenly there’s changes in their behavior. They’re real aggressive with you when they weren’t before.”

Magee and his family founded the William Magee Institute of Wellbeing at Ole Miss.

Magee said, “The College Board of Mississippi also created the William Magee Institute for Student Well-being named after my late son, and I work there. That job allows me to go speak in schools throughout Mississippi and, frankly, throughout the region where we can try to reach students earlier upstream — middle school, high school.”

The author says his main message to everyone is all about hope and healing.

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