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Sober for Good

Anne Fletcher explores recovery approaches

A new book by Anne M. Fletcher explores the many ways people can deal with alcohol abuse problems -- from the traditional support groups to a wide variety of other approaches and techniques.

Graphic courtesy of
Houghton Mifflin
Sober for Good, published by Houghton Mifflin, is subtitled: New Solutions for Drinking Problems -- Advice from Those Who Have Succeeded. In it, Fletcher ask hundreds of men and women who have resolved a drinking problem, "How did you do it?"

The results, according to the news release from the publisher, is the first completely unbiased guide for problem drinkers, which shatters long-held assumptions about alcohol recovery.

In the preface of the book, Fletcher explains her reasons for doing the research:

Along the way I tried some of the conventional solutions for alcohol problems. Though I was impressed with how helpful AA was for others and I'd benefited from the support, I'd come home from a meeting feeling like the odd one out. My take-responsibility attitude --along with my tendency to challenge the status quo and want to do things my way -- didn't mesh with the program's twelve-step philosophy. I wasn't "in denial." I was looking for help but felt I had nowhere to turn.

So I crafted my own rather lonely path to resolving my troubles with alcohol, with the help of some open-minded therapists who did not demand that I become abstinent or that I attend a recovery group but respected my ability to make the decision to stop drinking and encouraged me to develop my own strategies to do so.

Looking for Solutions

For years after, I wondered whether I was the only person who had been able to stop drinking without using the conventional path of AA. I also felt frustrated about all the time and energy I'd spent looking for solutions, and upset that nothing that would have fit my needs much earlier on seemed to be available. I began to hear about alternative approaches to drinking problems. Every so often I read about people who had resolved alcohol problems on their own.

I began to wonder whether there might be common threads in their stories. Perhaps identifying these similarities as well as the differences could help other people troubled by alcohol.

It bothered me too that the recovery stories I heard were always about down-and-out former drunks -- not about people like me, who did something before their drinking got really bad.

Having experienced firsthand a sense of loss after I gave up the substance that brought so much comfort and pleasure, I also wanted to know how people with very serious drinking problems -- the ones who had seemingly lost it all -- had managed to turn their lives around.

For answers, I decided to go out and find people who had once had drinking problems, big ones and small ones.

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