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While memories of recovery from substance abuse in a rehabilitation center are nothing new, this one takes a somewhat unusual approach. It combines former NBC news correspondent McCormick's own tortured experience (filtered through in dribs and drabs) with more factual reporting on alcoholism abuse: the centers themselves; doctors' slow awakening to the treatment of alcoholics; the growing management/labor alliance in programs to aid alcoholic workers; and the profitable ""Big Business"" of helping alcoholics to regain their footing. Though alcoholics might profit from this information, it's especially suited to would-be rescuers of someone in trouble. McCormick details some good approaches to confronting the alcoholic with his problem--like pitting two people against the alcoholic's logic, one to play the strongarm role, the other to be more gentle and rational. He talks in a general way about rehabilitation centers and what makes them work: they're somewhat military in approach, and most demand the shattering of any remaining alcoholic self-deceit. (One is reminded of brainwashing and so-called religious cult techniques, but the possible connection isn't explored.) Most of McCormick's pitch is based on Alcoholics Anonymous' Twelve Steps, which he claims also form the foundation of the rehabilitation center approach; but he is more enlightening than most on what exactly makes all this effective, and he even gives the tentative go-ahead to aversion therapy if it works. Though doctors come in for their share of criticism for ""neglecting"" their responsibilities to alcoholic patients, McCormick sees much hope in the American Medical Association's tackling of the issue, and quotes at length from their manual to physicians on the subject. Altogether a timely, probing, and informative look at an important issue.

Pub Date: May 24th, 1982
Publisher: Oak Tree