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Sober for Good: New Solutions for Drinking Problems -- Advice from Those Who Have Succeeded Hardcover – April 15, 2001

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Editorial Reviews Review

Anne M. Fletcher resolved her own drinking problem without Alcoholics Anonymous and was fascinated by other people who had found alternative methods to stop drinking. In the spirit of her first book, Thin for Life, for which she interviewed "masters" who had lost weight and kept it off, she decided to find people who formerly had drinking problems and learn how they got and stayed sober. She interviewed a range of ex-drinkers, from high-functioning people with mild or moderate alcohol problems to hardcore cases who had hit bottom. The amount of alcohol consumed ranged from three daily drinks to two daily quarts of vodka. Almost all these 222 "masters" had stayed sober for 5 years or more, averaging 13 years of sobriety.

Sober for Good presents their stories: when they started drinking, how much they drank, how it affected their lives, why they decided to stop, what they tried, what finally worked for them, and their perspective now. The stories are compelling on their own, and Fletcher organizes them according to common themes and strategies. She also includes helpful information about different programs available and relevant research studies.

This book takes some controversial stances. Fletcher chooses to use phrases like drinking problems and alcohol problems rather than alcoholic because she sees alcoholic as both outmoded and pejorative. Many of the masters found sobriety through AA, but more found alternative solutions, leading Fletcher to dispute the one-path solution. And although most of the masters abstain from alcohol completely, some have alcohol occasionally, challenging the accepted contention that abstinence is the only solution. Read what the masters say and judge for yourself. --Joan Price

From Publishers Weekly

Although Alcoholics Anonymous has long been the preferred (and often court-mandated) regimen for the treatment of alcoholism, its ideology isn't for everyone. As Fletcher (Thin for Life) points out, some people are put off by AA's religious tone, others by the concept of powerlessness over alcohol. And, she says, contrary to AA beliefs, many more never "hit bottom," but nonetheless choose to reconsider their relationship with drinking. Additionally, she suggests, with managed care drastically cutting coverage of inpatient treatment, people with alcohol problems need to know about outpatient alternatives to AA. Fletcher, a health and medical journalist, provides a compendium of such approaches, drawing on the voices of "masters" former problem drinkers who have resolved their problems with alcohol and been sober for at least five years. Programs such as Women for Sobriety, Rational Recovery and Moderation Management provide a variety of approaches, and the "masters" themselves offer a collection of strategies for getting and staying sober with support groups, chemical dependency counselors or a combination of treatments. Unfortunately, Fletcher draws a fuzzy line between "problem drinkers" and "alcoholics," a word she avoids because some find it "pejorative." Maintaining that the distress and dysfunction of most people with drinking problems is not as "severe" as that associated with a stereotypical drunk, she promises that, although AA proponents insist otherwise, "you can quit on your own," "you don't have to quit altogether" and "you don't have to call yourself an alcoholic." Though she sometimes appears to bash AA, Fletcher provides a useful overview of the varieties of recovery programs and practices.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1st edition (April 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395912016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395912010
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #957,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anne M. Fletcher, M.S., R.D. is a nationally known, award-winning health and medical writer, speaker, and consultant on the topics of weight management and lifestyle change, as well as treatment and recovery from addiction. She spent nearly five years writing her latest book, Inside Rehab: The Surprising Truth about Addiction Treatment - And How to Get Help That Works, which will be published by Viking in February of 2013 along with accompanying eBook titled Holistic Rehab Therapies: Are Alternative Approaches Helpful, Harmful, or Head Games? In advance of publication, Inside Rehab has received high acclaim from numerous experts in the field, as well as several starred reviews.

Known for her ability to weave together her inspiring findings from real-life success stories with state-of-the-art information about health issues, Anne is the author of seven other books (Houghton/Harcourt), including the award-winning national bestsellers, Thin For Life: 10 Keys to Success From People Who Have Lost Weight & Kept It Off and the New York Times bestseller, Sober for Good: New Solutions for Drinking Problems - Advice From Those Who Have Succeeded.

Anne's last book, Weight Loss Confidential: How Teens Lose Weight & Keep It Off - And What They Wish Parents Knew, was featured on the Today Show, on the CBS Early Show, and in The New York Times, USA Today, US News & World Report, and USA Weekend. She has been recognized with a dozen prestigious awards.

A frequent guest of the national media, Anne has also appeared on The View, the Today Show, Donahue, Good Morning America, CNN, National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation, and The Larry King Radio Show.

As a registered dietitian with a B.S. degree from Cornell University and an M.S. from Drexel University, Anne has counseled hundreds of people with weight problems. She is a founding member of her county drug court in Minnesota and helped develop its treatment program, remaining on its steering committee. She serves on the advisory board for a high school for adolescents with substance use disorders and also serves on the editorial board for BASIS (Brief Addiction Science Information Source) of Harvard University's Division on Addictions.

Anne is a former executive editor and chief writer of the "Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter" and was a contributing editor for Prevention Magazine. Her articles have appeared in Good Housekeeping, Vogue, Shape, American Psychologist, Cooking Light, Bottom Line Personal, Readers' Digest, Restaurant Hospitality, Parenting, Journal of Food Science, Eating Well, The Humanist, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, and Obesity Management.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Jean Marie Taylor on April 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wrote the review below in 2002. Since then I have passed it on as a loan or sold it for what I paid for it maybe 20 times. I've told dozens of women about it. It is still indispensible. I've studied many texts and read many popular books, but Fletcher's book still stands head and shoulders above the rest!

Sober for Good is a book filled with hope. It offers perspectives rarely seen in alcohol-related materials, and I sincerely hope that it gets wide distribution.

I'm a certified moderator (volunteer small group leader) for Women for Sobriety groups, and this book is a driving force in the sobriety of nearly all of the women I meet. Not everyone benefits from AA, and it's incredibly validating to see that other people similar to ourselves have gotten sober (and stayed sober!) using other methods.

The book is put together in a way that allows the reader to go to the parts that relate most to her/his situation, which is particularly important for people still grappling with addiction or newly sober.

You go, Anne. You have a big fan club in San Francisco!
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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful By madhatter on February 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
As a long term sober member of AA, I approached this book skeptically thinking is would be just another in the 'bashing' series. But it's not. Fletcher does a very competent job surveying the various means of achieving sobriety. This book is a valauble tool for someone who is struggling with their drinking. It shows that there are a range of options for the person and that they have an opportunity to find which approach works for them.

It is also a strength of SOBER FOR GOOD that Fletcher shows how many people with long-term sobriety have migrated thru various programs thru different phases of their recovery. This would be a good book for one who has been sober for a while, but is feeling the need to expand beyond the limits of what their current program has to offer.

The one drawback in the book is the use of jargon in too many places. For example, use of the term 'master' to describe a person who has achieved sobriety smacks of the guru feeling of many other self-improvement books. A good editor would have made Fletcher find other terminology.

All in all, well worth the $12. I went ahead and bought 5 copies for use with my AA sponsees to let them know that if they don't feel comfortable with the work of the program, then it doesn't mean they're doomed to an early grave.
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92 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Frederick B. Glaser on April 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Anne Fletcher's "Sober for Good" is an outstanding contribution to the literature on alcohol problems. It is written in such a way that the average lay person can undersyand all that the author and her more than 200 subjects are saying. She deals with the many controversies in the field in a balanced and judicious manner. Anyone who wants help with an alcohol problem would do well to consult this book first, as the multiple opportunities for assistance are all well outlined. I strongly disagree that the book has even the "appearance" of AA bashing; a mindset that views any comments on AA that are not gushingly superlative as "bashing" is deplorable. It is an honorable and even remarkable organization, but (as the book amply documents) it is not for everyone. As the author of the foreword to the book, I want to make it absolutely clear that I am not a co-author, as Amazon's listing of the book would indicate. Ann Fletcher is owed the entire credit for this excellent and timely contribution to our knowledge of this area.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By mejake007 on April 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has thought they might have an alcohol abuse problem. There are many roads to recovery - not just through AA and this book gives a wealth of knowledge of alternative options. Also great for those that have someone in their life with an alcohol abuse problem - provides insight to understanding the problem. Not trying to be too melodramatic here but this book has definitely change my life forever - sobriety is amazing.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It takes guts to go up against an existing paradigm, but that's just what Anne Fletcher has done in SOBER FOR GOOD. Surprisingly, that isn't what Ms. Fletcher set out to do. Her simple goal was to find out just how folks beat the alcoholism goon.

Her results, after numerous interviews and nearly three years of research and writing, was that recovery is a highly individualized path. This is welcome news for those who are struggling with alcohol but who also don't feel that the established ways, such as AA, aren't right for them.

All in all, this is an empowering book, destined to be a lifesaver for many, heresy for some, and a major step forward in how we perceive and treat one of humankind's most destructive addictions.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By on May 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Sober for Good – Anne Fletcher
I was sent a complimentary copy of Sober for Good, and opened it much as one might open a piece of junk mail – casual, uninterested, getting a fix on the waste bin for rapid disposal. Shortly afterwards I was reading avidly.
This book displays the immense variety of ways that people really stop drinking destructively, from the traditional methods of Alcoholics Anonymous to a personal decision, taken and held to. Anne Fletcher calls people who have tackled an alcohol problem and now live comfortably “the Masters”, and I’m one of them, in her terms. The book was created from first person accounts of people who have successfully resolved alcohol problems, using a wide variety of methods, and the author pulls these personal stories together to offer a balanced and very helpful overview of the varied ways that people use to stay sober for good.
The Chapter titles give an excellent précis of the contents.
Read more ›
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