Although the memoir is based on actual events, the first pages include this author's note: "This memoir is based on my experiences over a ten-year period. Names have been changed, characters combined, and events compressed. Certain episodes are imaginative re-creation, and those episodes are not intended to portray actual events."
The first part of the memoir centers on Burroughs' intervention by his co-workers and boss as well as his time spent at a rehab facility that caters specifically to gay and lesbian patients. The second part of the novel deals with Burroughs' first bout with sobriety since leaving the rehab program. He meets a love interest at his group therapy sessions and takes in a fellow addict in recovery. Part II also shows the decline in health in Burroughs' ex-boyfriend and current friend, only named Pighead in the memoir. Pighead is living with HIV, and although healthy in the beginning of the book, he eventually succumbs to the effects of HIV. The death of his friend sends Burroughs into a relapse, including drinking, cocaine and crack. The memoir ends with Burroughs getting clean and helping another alcoholic friend of his through his recovery.