- Willie Lee Triplett
Living in the House of Drugs
As a child in 1980s, Chicago Willie stole to help feed his brothers, sister, and himself. In grade school his teacher told him to have his parents help him with his homework, but his mother, the only parent around, didn’t know how. As a young man Willie started smoking pot, which easily turned into harder drugs. This eventually led Willie to a life under someone’s front porch, two prison sentences, numerous trips to jail, and various recovery programs.
Living in the House of Drugs is the story of Willie Lee Triplett, a recovering addict and alcoholic. It tells of Willie’s life in the suburbs of one of Chicago’s poorer neighborhoods, his chance trip to Wisconsin, and his struggle for sobriety. It’s a no-holds-barred account of Willie’s life on the street, in prison, and the roller coaster ride of recovery that many addicts know well. The story is unique in its telling, following not only Willie’s interesting life story but also the author’s interactions with Willie as she learns of his sometimes sordid past, seeing beyond the story and into the man.
Behind the Story
Many people ask me why I wrote this story. It's bascially because Willie is a conman.
Willie fell into our family because my brother Early was walking out of a small community hardware story and he looked like he needed help - his clothes were covered in paint with holes here and there. Willie came up to my brother and asked him if he needed help. It so happens my brother did.
I met Willie a year or so later, when he was eating dinner at my mother's (the Old Girl per Willie) home. When he found out I was a writer, he was determined I was going to write his story.
The rest, they say, is history.
Because Willie was basically illiterate, so it was really all up to me, so I interviewed him on numerous occasions, including during one of his visits (for a few weeks!) to the local jail and during one of his court appearances.
Willie was also living day to day, so he was no help on the financial end of things. I squeezed our meetings and my writing in between my other books and we share equally in the profits of any book sales.
Willie still struggles with health issues and minor drug use, but he now has his drivers licence, owns his own car, and is buying a home that his has fixed up and shares with his own renters!