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Alcoholism and Addiction Cure

A Holistic Approach to Total Recovery

How to heal the underlying causes

How to end relapse

How to end suffering

By Chris Prentiss
Power Press, $15.95

Chris Prentiss, who operates a pricey treatment center in Malibu called Passages, has been running numerous spots on TV urging people to buy his book, The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure.

Concerned about what seemed to be extravagant claims inherent in the title, I bought the book on Amazon and settled down for a read.
My conclusion? It’s definitely not for me and probably not for you.

As far as a treatment model goes, Prentiss has reduced the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous to three of his own as follows:
1. Believe that a cure is possible for you.
2. Discover and heal the underlying cause with a holistic recovery program.
3. Adopt a philosophy based on what is true in the universe.

Concerning the universe, Prentiss offers spiritual perspectives reminiscent of Jack Handey’s “Deep Thoughts” from Saturday Night Live.

Here’s one quote from the book, “I lead a metaphysics group every Tuesday morning where we talk about spirituality and personal growth. I tell them about our universe, about how it works and about their place in it.”

As for the holistic part, Prentiss prescribes battalions of therapists to identify and treat underlying problems.

What I mainly objected to about the book is that he seemed to imply that his method will cure addictions in the sense that you can eventually use alcohol safely again.

But after wading through pages of psychobabble and new age metaphysical nonsense, I found that he actually agrees with Alcoholics Anonymous that once alcoholics have crossed the line they cannot return to drinking safely again.

In his book, Prentiss also takes issue with Step One of the AA program which calls for an admission of powerlessness as a precursor to completing the remaining steps. Prentiss suggests that admitting powerlessness is, in effect, bad for one’s “self-image.”
Hmmm, again.

Still, despite his criticism, Prentiss also compliments the AA program on its distinguished founders and record. Basically what he seems to suggest is that AA is still useful but a bit out dated and insensitive to the feelings of its constituents.

What got Prentiss started on his study of addiction and recovery was the severe heroin addiction of his son, Pax, which is told in harrowing and sometimes riveting detail. To his credit, Prentiss stuck with his son during the ordeal, and Pax now claims nine years of sobriety and is a partner with his father in Passages.

If Prentiss has helped several hundred people recover, as he claims, I congratulate him. But I am skeptical. For the basics of recovery I would instead recommend that readers pick up a copy of the Big Book, the Basic Text for Alcoholics Anonymous for a few bucks at the nearest AA Central office. It’s been around for close to 75 years and has helped millions recover.