THAT PLACE IN MINNESOTA: Changing Lives, Saving Lives by Ed. Fitzgerald

THAT PLACE IN MINNESOTA: Changing Lives, Saving Lives

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Twenty-eight days at an alcohol rehab in Minnesota. Fitzgerald retired as Chairman and CEO of the Book-of-the-Month Club at 65, says he found himself with nothing to do, and spiralled into deep alcoholism. A year earlier than this book covers, he wound up at St. Mary's rehab in Minnesota, did 28 days, came home--and drank again. This time, his family intervened and he was shipped back to St. Mary's for another 28 days whether he liked it or not, which at first he didn't. The centerpiece of recovery at St. Mary's comes in the third week of the $5,600 stay, called Family Week, when the alcoholic's family members show up for a lengthy group confrontation and unburden themselves of their griefs about the drinker, while he later has his say too. This allows all secrets and injustices to be out in the open, and ready to be faced upon the alcoholic's return home, though it's often regarded by the reluctant recoverer as a masochistic Clubbing to death of his spirit. As they say at St. Mary's, the rehab exists only to help with the disease, not with depression, which should be treated by various agencies when one returns home. There are several hard cases in Fitzgerald's band of recoverers, and Fitzgerald himself appears to be the same old self-centered Ed, but without the alcohol, and going by his description here has not undergone a change of character at depth. Perhaps this has to do with his dismissal of the buddy-buddy stuff in AA and of the bonding of fellowship that replaces the lift and later agonies of booze. Pleasant, sometimes moving, soft. footed approach for those with $5,600 to invest in the first step to recovery.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1990
Publisher: Viking