Thursday, April 23, 2009

Natural Process of Quitting Forever: Explicit Instructions

William Weber, M.A.

ISBN-10: 1434397769
ISBN-13: 978-1434397768

Reviewed by Alceon

I was excited by the title of this book and couldn't wait to start reading.

My advice is don't waste your money or your time. I have plowed my way through the entire 96 pages of single-spaced typewriter style font on 8 1/4 x 11 inch paper and spent the majority of the time arguing with the book. The book is repetitious beyond belief. He goes over and over and over and OVER the same points, which are mostly based on bashing AA.

On page 4 is a full-page chart called "Quitting Forever" and subtitled "Explicit Instructions" The six steps didn’t quite make sense to me. Step (1) you Think about quitting forever, then (2) Intend on quitting forever, (3) Decide on quitting forever, (4) Maintain Abstinence then (5) Permanent Exit. The final step is (6) Deliberating.

I thought why do you start Deliberating if you’ve already made a Permanent Exit? Well, I'll keep reading. It’s not until I finally got to page 38 that I found two pages explaining his explicit instructions for quitting forever.

It’s kind of like Steve Martin’s advice on how to make a million dollars: "First, you make a million dollars." Well, first, you examine all your reasons then you say "I quit forever." That makes it a decision so you no longer need reasons. You’re free! You can now go anywhere and do anything and no longer be a "second class citizen" because you’ve quit forever.

You don’t need to go to meetings or support groups or forums or read sobriety books to help you quit forever (or stay quit) because once you’ve said "I quit forever" it is now a done deal. It's now a decision, which makes it a value, so you don’t need reasons anymore except the one reason that you said you quit forever. Reasons aren’t good because for every reason to quit you’ll also have to argue with an opposite reason for using and that’s all just words in your head that you can just observe as "mind chatter" and ignore. And if for some reason you drink or use after saying you’ve quit forever it’s because you like getting high or loaded and didn’t *really* quit forever.

He says the Brain-Recovery model is very complex so he will explain it in a way that’s easier to understand. He has several cartoon-like illustrations of the brain and his main proof that the model is wrong is because (and he says you can look in "any anatomy of biology book" you want and see) there are no nerves that directly connect the portion of your brain that makes you want to drink with the portion that controls your hands. So just because one part of the brain makes you want to get high or loaded, it’s biologically impossible for that part to make your hands move.

He also contradicts himself in other parts of the book and says that the whole brain works together.

The back cover of the book says that Mr. Weber "is a licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Marriage and Family Therapist" with "more than 18 years of experience talking with people about quitting forever." These are very fine credentials and yet I frankly think all he knows about addiction is from the books he studied to become a therapist and talking to clients. Nothing rings true and his tone struck me often as quite patronizing.

He talks about cravings as if they were just 1 or 2-dimensional words on paper or in your mind -- not the 3-dimensional war that seems to rage in your entire body when you’re first getting sober -- and sometimes even drops in for a visit months or years later.

He completely doesn’t get the idea of quitting one day at a time. He says it means you haven’t quit forever and have to keep making a new decision to quit every single day. I say it’s because the concept of "forever" to an addict is too hard to even conceptualize at first and even though you know your commitment is to never drink again, cutting that into bite-sized one-day chunks -- and sometimes hours or minutes -- is all that makes it achievable at first.

I was also disappointed to find out that you haven’t *really* quit forever if you count days or time since your last drink. He says it means you’re really only quitting one day at a time and every day you have to decide again to quit for another day. (Damn. Guess that means all those days of freedom I’ve counted since quitting forever four years ago this Sunday don’t mean a thing!)

There is less than 1/2 page of references and there are no notes or footnotes -- but there is an almost 4" tall picture of the author's face on the title page. There are numerous spelling and grammar errors throughout the book and one area where the same two paragraphs are repeated twice.

There are one or two good points in the book but you have to dig hard and far to find them. It’s not worth the search. LifeRing’s motto DDNMW says it all much better.

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