The Alcoholism And Addiction Cure: A Holistic Approach To Total Recovery, by Chris Prentiss
In many ways, this book is a snake in the grass. That is not to say that it is without value, but rather to say that the author takes a while to tip his hand at his true agenda. The book begins with the assumption that the reader is addicted to alcohol or some other substance, and proceeds to attempt to win the sympathies of the reader by discussing, both from the author’s view as well as his son’s view, that young man’s struggle with addiction to heroin, cocaine, and alcohol. The author uses this approach as a way of exploring the deeper roots of addiction and the fact that addiction is almost always a mask for something deeper, a way to self-medicate, seeking to avoid labels as well as condemnation. So far, so good. And then, somewhere around the middle of the book, the author shows his true colors in his attempts to spread Buddhism and other Eastern religious practices. It should be noted that this is by no means a unique problem among this type of literature , as it appears the audience of people struggling with anxiety and/or traumatic childhood and/or addictions is ripe for attempted exploitation by various prophets of heathen Eastern religious practices and philosophies, something that ought to be a warning to many people about the crying need for biblical counseling help that avoids demonization.
This book’s length at over 300 pages will likely deter readers who are not committed to finishing it. Unfortunately, the structure of the book has all the appearances of a bait and switch, with a lot of short chapters opening the book and then a lengthy chapter towards middle of the book that reveals the author’s anti-Christian agenda. The first few chapters give the author’s pledge to the reader that a cure for addiction is possible, focus on healing the underlying causes, give Pax Prentiss’ account of addiction, discuss the change in the treatment paradigm that the author was seeking to do in his rehab facility, and then briefly discusses the four causes of dependency, the author’s chosen word for addiction as it lacks the negative meanings of other terms. It is at this point where the book turns, first when it talks about believing a cure is possible in ways that resemble the sort of false beliefs expressed in “The Secret” and other similar works, and then when the author spends nearly 100 pages talking about what a holistic recovery program looks like, with acupuncture, therapists, Eastern religious specialists, a focus on meditation, and so on. The author presents a false dilemma between Eastern religious beliefs and practices that supposedly correspond to the way the universe works and a Western model that focuses only on drugs, entirely neglecting the reality of sin or the Judeo-Christian religious framework. The book then closes with a discussion of the reader’s personal philosophy as well as an ode to a new chapter in life, as the author assumes that having finished the book that the reader is in agreement with him.
There is something in this book that caused me to ponder why it is that Eastern religious approaches are so popular in contemporary America. For one, this has to do with a lot of people who are easily fooled and fond of religious thoughts and ways that seem exotic but that fail to meet the deepest spiritual needs of mankind, and that try to offer spirituality within a sense of sin, which is the strongest appeal of most New Age religious philosophies. Yet the author’s approach is one that could only be tried in a country that was well-off and generally safe to live in, as the author’s belief that people drew their lives to them through their own thinking would not be feasible to promote in a country where bad things happened, had happened for generations, and where no amount of positive thinking was going to make life any better. This book, and many of the problems it deals with, are the result of affluenza, the realization that one had blessings one did not deserve and did not necessarily want to or believe one could pay for those blessings in good works, that one felt inadequate to what was given, or, alternatively, that one had been treated unjustly and unfairly by life based on seeing others do so much better. Yet although the book strives to deal with root causes, it ignores the root cause of human misery in the sins we commit and the sins that others commit against us.
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