THE COURAGE TO CHANGE: Hope and Help for Alcoholics and Their Families by Dennis Wholey

THE COURAGE TO CHANGE: Hope and Help for Alcoholics and Their Families

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Celebrity experiences of alcoholism, loosely linked by Alcoholics Anonymous-based observations. Wholey, host of PBS's Late Night America, is himself an alcoholic--whose aim is to offer encouragement from those who have had ""the courage to change"" the direction of their lives. Roughly grouped--""Alcoholism--the Beginning,"" quitting, women alcoholics, wives and husbands--are the likes of congressman Wilbur Mills; comedians Sid Caesar, Shecky Greene, and Graham Chapman of Monty Python; baseball players Bob Welch and Don Newcombe; Billy Carter and wife Sybil; and others. Mostly they tell similar stories, which gain interest from the teller's identity. Grace Slick describes how alcohol accentuated her well-known combativeness, and remembers with disgust the last time she drank--in New York City, appearing drunk on national television. (""It was the only time in my life I've ever felt close to being suicidal, thinking, you're the biggest asshole in the world."") Amid all the famous names and familiar tales, Doc Severinsen is a standout of clear-eyed, un-emoting self-acceptance: ""You either quit drinking or you die or you have a wet brain. Those are the three options for an alcoholic . . . no others. There is no Pope for drunks. . . there is nobody to rescue you but yourself."" Peer support from the prominent--bracing but not especially inspirational.

Pub Date: Nov. 28th, 1984
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin