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Based on diaries he kept between the ages of 13-16, musician and author Jim Carrolls book, The Basketball Diaries, describes his harrowing descent into drug use. The descriptions in the book are useful in helping those who work with adolescent substance abusers understand their patients experiences. Using Carrolls descriptions of his addiction, the author discusses various parameters that determine the appropriate treatment approach to the adolescent substance abuser. He discusses how Carrolls depictions of himself can be understood in light of research on motivation and readiness for change, and concludes that the evidence at age 16 does not suggest a good prognosis. Nevertheless, Carroll did survive, overcame his addiction, and made an adaptation to the drug-free adult world.