Magazine article Addiction Professional

Hey, Thanks a Million

Magazine article Addiction Professional

Hey, Thanks a Million

Article excerpt

With both my sense of writer's pride and the cover of the James Frey book noticeably gathering dust, I finally pulled A Million Little Pieces from the shelf and mined the source of all these months' worth of angst. I sense not having been alone in my hesitation. I have talked to more than a few people, both in my profession and yours, who had eagerly procured the recovery memoir when the San Francisco Chronicle's prediction that it would become "the final word on the topic" still rang true, only to push it aside in disgust later.

Now that I have actually read the book. I'm not sure which profession I think has been saved more by Frey's public shaming: the writer's or the addiction clinician's. While the book's depiction of addiction's horrors is at times utterly consuming, too much of its description of addiction's treatment comes across as an overacted drama, with unyielding professionals and noncompliant patients failing to hear each other. Accounts of Frey's therapy sessions at Hazelden (never mentioned by name in the book) bring to mind the partisan shout-fests that pass for political discourse in prime time.

Of course, with what we now know of Frey's appetite for puffed-up police encounters, we have to consider the source. …

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