Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure

I read this book several years ago, and I really liked it. A very different approach than AA. Since I have been thinking about other ways of doing things.

He starts the book with a pledge, and I remember when I opened the book, it seemed very far fetched to me, based on my experience with my husband and all his relapses.

My Pledge to you
cure n 1) Restoring to a sound or healthy condition.
2) A Healing

What Prentiss says is that you can not recover unless you heal the underlying causes for your addiction. He primarily uses the example of his son - but they have since opened their own rehab center in California. There is a very touching chapter about his son's story, which Pax writes.

My dad had never given up on me, even though I had been doing drugs for ten years. He never gave up on me, no matter how bad things got or how much money I stole from him. Imagine that the belief he had to have had in me to support me in creating Passages when I had continually demonstrated that I couldn't stay sober myself. He knew that I was healed and that I would never do drugs again. To this day, I'm amazed that he decided to help me. He didn't just give me a second chance. It was a fortieth chance, but he embraced it wholeheartedly.

I still tear up when I read this passage, and I remember practically sobbing when I initially read this chapter. What really gets me is how kind his father was to him throughout the process. He had a belief that that was what his son's journey needed to be, and so he never judged him or put him down.

I can't help relate the story to my husband and his father. Even though my father-in-law was also an alcoholic and is "in recovery", the way he talks to my husband is so terrible. He will slam the phone down on him and say "I'm done with you." They cuss and swear at each other. It is truly disgusting. I have never understood the way they talk to each other. I remember the fourth wife's email saying that I don't know how people talk to each other in the "real world" when the "going gets rough", and I think, I don't know anyone who talks to each other this way. And I certainly don't think it helps with anyone's recovery.

He also says that alcoholism and addiction are not diseases. "All dependency is a symptom, not a problem" (17)

To give up our power to change for the better is inherently distasteful to everyone, and to force people to affirm that they are addicts or alcoholics so they can speak in a meeting is shameful and demoralizing. The stigma attached to those labels is so great that most people won't tolerate it. Such declarations ruin a healthy self-image. They convince us that even if we obtain sobriety, we remain broken instead of whole, spoiled instead of fresh and new....

A small benefit attached to that admission - a reminder that the former alcoholic is constantly at risk of relapsing- is far outweighed by the poor self-image it creates. In fact, that poor self-image is what contributes to their relapse.

One reason he gives for why rehab does not work is that there generally not enough individual sessions. "At the end of the first week, everyone in the room knows everyone else's story. That goes on for three more weeks, and then most people go home with the same problems they brought with them when they arrived." (133)

Most addicts and alcoholics relapse not just once but many times...Relapse is not part of recovery. Relapse is part of failure. Relapse is return to dependency. Sobriety is part of recovery. You may now be starting to understand why the relapse rate is so high - it's because people are just trying to quit without curing the underlying causes, which is like trying to stop scratching while your leg is still itching. (139)

He says there are only 4 causes of dependency:
Cause 1: Chemical imbalance
Cause 2: Unsolved events from the past
Cause 3: Beliefs you hold that are inconsistent with what is true
Cause 4: Inability to cope with current conditions (145)

I do not list genetic tendencies as a cause of dependency for two reasons. First, they are only tendencies, and while they may predispose you to becoming dependent on alcohol or addiction drugs, you don't necessarily become dependent just because your ancestors were dependent. Some people have a genetic tendency to become fat but that doesn't mean they will become fat or that they must become fat. There are many people who are completely sober or who can drink socially, even though their parents and grandparents were dependent on drugs and alcohol. (146)

There are so many great passages in this book - my copy is all marked up...I would highly recommend it to anyone.

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