RECOVERY OF REALITY: Overcoming Chemical Dependency by

RECOVERY OF REALITY: Overcoming Chemical Dependency

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Dr. Mann's book is a clumsy presentation of a promising program for dealing with alcoholism and drug dependency begun at St. Mary's Hospital in Minneapolis in 1968. The assumption is that chemical dependency is a treatable disease--if the diagnosis is carefully made, if family or friends are involved, and if the program is designed to heighten self-esteem, improve the handling of everyday crises, and in other ways develop psychological equilibrium. Patients are treated on in-or out-patient bases, with aftercare programs and a halfway house available as needed. Lectures, group therapy, and individual counseling are provided for patients, and family or friends, together and separately. In general, the approach is in harmony with AA, and patients are asked to attend AA sessions as well as the hospital program. Running case histories describe individual patients' feelings upon admission and throughout the program--one which in its overall design seems sound. The clincher, nonetheless, is patient selection. How do you motivate people to change? How do you recapture the ones who get away? (There are no statistics on how many reject treatment nor any figures on long-term followup.) Dr. Mann is right in pointing to society's two-facedness in electing chemical solutions to clay-to-day problems and then imposing puritanical judgments on those who get trapped. He is also right in indicating the need for enlightenment at all ages and levels of education (especially in medical schools) as a means of prevention. Unfortunately, many of these wise things are said with unbecoming redundancy, pious pedantry, or bureaucratic numerations: 22 signs of alcoholism; 7 ways to intervene; 6 cautions. . . . The psychological approach is psychologically blunted by endlessly split infinitives, by ""significant others,"" by ""interpersonal communicative skills,"" and by all that relentless learning about ""coping.

Pub Date: March 28th, 1979
Publisher: Harper & Row