According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the leading factor in premature deaths and disabilities is alcohol for people aged 15 to 49. Jeremy Stevens was almost a statistic.
Stevens was a successful middle school teacher, assistant principal and principal in North Carolina until 2006 when his alcoholism abruptly brought everything good in his life to a staggering halt. Over the next four years he battled addiction through jail, two rehab visits, three halfway houses and 16 jobs. He even lived on the streets as a homeless man. From 1994 until his fall, he had acquired five DUIs and one DWLR. His wife and three young boys left him before he reached his turning point.
“The Devil Speaks Louder” is an allegorical look at the battle with alcoholism that Stevens suffered. He has created a fictional high school student who feels invincible while flirting with disaster. Throughout the book Stevens incorporates his own experiences into the character’s story to show the harrowing effects of an alcoholic’s downward spiral to self-destruction.
“Everybody has the good angel talking to them on their right shoulder and the evil angel speaking to them on their left,” Stevens said. “Unfortunately, that devil can be rather charming, and if I hadn’t learned to heed my angelic half I would be six-feet underground right now.”
Stevens has returned to the classroom in order to share his messages and experiences with young people, so they may get an authentic understanding of what alcohol can really do to a person’s life. “The Devil Speaks Louder” is his way to spread that message beyond his immediate reach, to parents and the community-at-large.