Psychotherapist Michael Pond is no stranger to the devastating consequences of alcoholism. He has helped hundreds of people conquer their addictions, but this knowledge did not prevent his own near-demise. In this riveting memoir, he recounts how he lost his practice, his home, and his family—all because of his drinking. After scores of visits to the ER, a tour of hellish recovery homes, a stint in intensive care for end-stage alcoholism, and jail, Pond devised his own personal plan for recovery. He met Maureen Palmer and together they investigated scientific alternatives to the rigid abstinence doctrine pushed by 12-Step programs.
Pond's memoir recounts his painful journey through alcoholism, hospitalization, poverty, homelessness, incarceration, various addiction treatment centers, and the Alcoholics Anonymous program. He also explores reasons why the treatment programs didn't work for him. Pond was a successful psychotherapist living with his wife and their three sons in a beautiful home in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, but he lost everything to alcoholism. Despite his 20 years counseling clients with addictions, it took several more years before he could escape the same vicious cycle. On his road to recovery, Pond met Palmer, a journalist and filmmaker, who not only stood by him personally but encouraged him to write his memoir and chronicled their search for alternative treatments in a documentary. In the last section of the book, Palmer discusses the societal tendency to shame and blame people struggling with addiction, rather than treating it as an illness from which they can recover in a number of ways. She highlights some programs that don't use abstinence as the only marker for success and others that prescribe drugs to treat addiction. Pond's insights coupled with Palmer's section on evidence-based treatments make this an invaluable resource for readers battling their own addictions or concerned about their loved ones.