Almost Alcoholic - Robert Doyle, MD and Joseph Nowinski, PhD

Released April 2012

Robert Doyle, MD
Joseph Nowinski, PhD

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Are you on the verge of becoming an alcoholic? Do you have a loved one who you feels drinks too much? Almost Alcoholic looks at stories involving people who were a few steps short of being a true alcoholic. These people needed to look at their habits and change before alcohol over took them.

Anyone who has watched a loved one dying from alcoholism is unlikely to follow that path. At least that's what I hope you'd take from that horrible experience. I spent a weekend with my aunt as she succumbed to years of alcoholism, Lyme Disease, and Hemochromatosis. The trio of diseases/conditions left her a shell of who she really was. I lost a shopping buddy, a friend, and a family member to alcohol.

I sat in the hospital room hundreds of miles from my home as doctors told my uncle they needed to find hospice care that his insurance wouldn't pay for. Home nursing agencies said she was abusive to them in the past and therefore they refused to come back to his home to help care for her. I tried to assuage her fears of the "green hospital meanies" trying to poison her IV bags, the shape shifter who came into her room and raped her if her blinds weren't left exactly (using a ruler) 12 inches open with flowers placed in the center of the gap and the bathroom light turned on. I listened and agreed as she told me to use her company jet (by that point she thought she controlled both the CIA and Bank of America) to come visit her every day. Jaundiced, weak, and in horrible pain, this is what an alcoholic's end of life looks like.

After her death, I took a look at my drinking habits, not that I drank a lot, but I did share her social anxiety, and knew that I could be at risk. I admit I do drink, but it's a case of one or two beers on the weekend when company is over. Having read Almost Alcoholic, I started to realize how easy it would be for me to stop drinking completely.

Take it from me, this is the type of book anyone who drinks should read. Almost Alcoholic is part of the Harvard Medical School's "Almost Effect" series. It's an easy read, full of information, and likely a guide that can change your life if you let it.


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