Alcoholism Myths and Realities
Removing the Stigma of Society's
Most Destructive Disease


Review by Cynthianna Appel
Fearless Books, 2005

My first impression of Doug Thorburn’s book was, “No way can this guy condense the two years of ADAC (Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling) classes I took in college into one slim volume in such a way that it could make sense to a layperson.” My second impression after reading it is, “Every person on the planet should read this book.”

Thorburn takes a no-nonsense, short and to-the-point approach to the facts about alcoholism and substance addiction in general. Tackling the most misunderstood disease on a myth-by-myth basis, he explains how the disease works in simple terms. Approximately 10 to 20 percent of the population is alcoholic; alcoholics’ biochemistry processes alcohol differently than the rest of the population. Simply put, their bodies process the acetate from alcohol at a different rate than the person born without a genetic tendency toward alcoholism. Hence, the effects and “rewards” of alcohol (and all addictive substances) work differently in the alcoholic whose body doesn’t send him or her feedback signals such as nausea and sleepiness upon consuming too much. Instead, the alcoholic’s brain chemistry manufactures “feel good” neurotransmitters as it processes alcohol, which in turn reinforces the idea that one drink is good but several more is even better. Thorburn then goes on to bust the myth that drinking doesn’t cause brain damage right away, too. Sad to say, but it begins when we first start drinking and the resulting destructive behaviors are evidence of the brain’s gradual deterioration.
Our culture even tries to hide or explain away the devastating and anti-social behaviors caused by alcoholism by spouting nonsense such as the individual must have “grown up in an abusive home” or “been under a lot of stress at work.” But Thorburn succinctly points out that if an abusive upbringing or work-related stress alone caused alcoholism, there would be even more alcoholics than there are in the general population — and it wouldn’t explain those persons who grow up in stable, loving homes with good jobs who eventually display signs of the disease.

By taking on these destruction myths our society perpetuates, Alcoholism: Myths and Realities offers hope that help and healing is possible. And a little practical knowledge on everyone’s part can go a long way in furthering this cause.

Review by Alan Caruba
BookViews, March 2005

Alcoholism Myths and Realities: Removing the Stigma of Society’s Most Destructive Disease ($14.95, Galt Publishing, Northridge, CA) by Doug Thorburn examines more than a hundred widespread myths about alcoholism that often impede early identification of alcohol and other drug addiction problems. Thorburn specializes in early identification and is the founder/president of the PrevenTragedy Foundation that is devoted to preventing the results of progressive alcoholism. One in ten people are estimated to suffer this and comparable addictions, yet medical doctors take as few as 24 classroom hours on the subject, virtually all on treating withdrawal. The adage is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This book is a good, first step in the right direction.

Review by Paul T. Vogel
Midwest Book Review, August 2005

Doug Thorburn specializes in identifying early-stage addictions to drugs and alcohol. Founder of the PrevenTragedy Foundation (which is dedicated to preventing the tragic results of progressive alcoholism), Thorburn draws upon his many years of experience and expertise to write four critically important books on the subject of alcoholism.

Alcoholism Myths And Realities: Removing The Stigma Of Society's Most Destructive Disease (0967578825, $14.95) explores and debunks more than one hundred commonly held myths about alcohol and drug addition including the popular misconceptions that alcoholics lack willpower, that proper parenting and involvement can prevent alcoholism, that successful people can't be alcoholics, and that being an alcoholic can explain all of a person's failures in life.

How To Spot Hidden Alcoholics: Using Behavioral Clues To Recognize Addiction In Its Early Stages (0967578868, $14.95) considers why most attempts by alcoholics to stop drinking end in failure and relapse. Thorburn lays out all of the "early warning signs" of alcoholism including lying or twisted logic, belittling others, being unusually accident prone, assigning inappropriate blame to others, and encountering recurrent financial difficulties.

Drunks, Drugs & Debits: How To Recognize Addicts And Avoid Financial Abuse (0967578833, $19.95) reveals that we all have been and are affected by people with addictive behaviors and conditions. The reader learns how entire fortunes can be lost due to becoming involved with alcoholics and other drug addicts. Why non-addicts must uncompromisingly disenable and deny anyone as soon as addiction is indicated. Thorburn goes on to provide sixty behaviors, signs and symptoms of addiction to help the reader protect against financial devastation at the hands of an alcoholic or addict, including what actions to take when separating one's financial life from that of the alcoholic or addict.

Get Out Of The Way! How To Identify And Avoid A Drive Under The Influence (0967578841, $12.95) should be considered required reading in every high-school driver education program in the country. Drunk drivers take an hourly toll of shattered lives and brutal deaths every day and night of the year. Now readers will discover how to identify and avoid the one out of every fifty vehicles on the road being driven by someone legally under the influence of alcohol; how to observe inconsiderate road behaviors and avoid being a victim of them, how to protect themselves and their loved ones from the most dangerous drivers on the road; why "road rage" is just someone having a bad day; and why alcoholic beverages and many prescription medicines can cause destructive behaviors directed at family members, coworkers, and the other drivers on our nation's highways.

All four of these outstanding and strongly recommended titles are written in thoroughly accessible language ideal for the non-specialist general readers. No community library system should be without their own copies of Alcoholism Myths And Realities; How To Spot Hidden Alcoholics; Drunks, Drugs And Debits; and Get Out Of The Way!

Join our Yahoo Discussion Group