Seven Weeks to Sobriety

Most people who successfully stop drinking and/or using drugs continue to experience cravings, depression, anxiety, mood swings and other chemically induced symptoms that play havoc with maintaining sobriety. This can be a lifelong battle due to the failure to address the physical effects and nutritional deficiencies caused by addiction. The book ‘Seven Weeks to Sobriety focuses on the root of addiction issues caused by nutrient deficient biochemical imbalances, and explains how to correct them.

Treating Half the Problem is Not the Solution

When her teenage son committed suicide after completing a three-month alcohol rehabilitation program, Joan Mathews Larson turned her devastating loss into a search for answers. Why had conventional treatment failed her son? Why has understanding alcoholism as a disease become clearer, while advances in treatment have not? Through painstaking study, Dr. Larson found answers and initiated a revolutionary treatment program that has become one of the most successful models ever developed for this disease. Her findings are the basis for her best-selling book, ‘Seven Weeks to Sobriety’, making it possible for millions to have access to this proven program.

The book’s breakthrough self-treatment program is designed to take an alcoholic from addiction to sobriety in just seven weeks. Based on the format developed at Health Recovery Center in Minneapolis, psychological problems (mood swings, anxiety, depression) are proved to be distortions of brain chemistry brought on by alcohol use or genetics; thus, treatment involves stabilizing the brain at a molecular level by utilizing specific “biochemical repair.”

To purchase the books Seven Weeks to Sobriety and/or Depression Free, Naturally -call Health Recovery Center at 800-554-9155

To purchase the book Seven Weeks to Sobriety - Call Health Recovery Center at 800-554-9155 or click button below to buy direct:

Excerpts from Dr. Joan’s best-selling book, Seven Weeks to Sobriety

Chapter #1: Loss of a Son, Birth of a Concept

Rob Mathews

I know you want to recover from alcoholism. I have met few alcoholics who were not desperate to stop drinking. Many try and most fail. If you are one of them, I expect you to be somewhat skeptical of the very idea of a treatment breakthrough that can lead to permanent recovery. You may not believe that any treatment can banish the overpowering craving for alcohol that has defeated all your past efforts. You may not even want to believe it. But permanent recovery is possible. The break through I describe in this book can liberate you from alcoholism, free you from cravings, restore your health, and help you overcome depression or other emotional problems underlying your drinking. I know those are bold promises, and I would not make them if I wasn’t very sure that this program can help you. For the past ten years I have tested, retested, and fine-tuned this approach. It works. It has worked for more than one thousand alcoholics. And it will work for you.


The program itself is based on solid scientific research that challenges all the old assumptions about the very nature of alcoholism. This research conclusively demonstrates that alcoholism is a physical disease, rooted in the genes and activated by the effect of alcohol on the biochemistry of the brain and body. An enormous number of well-controlled scientific studies by distinguished researchers the world over has shown that alcohol undermines physical health and mental stability by destroying the vital nutrients responsible for their maintenance. Additional studies have shown that alcoholism can be conquered by undoing this damage.


And that, in a nutshell, is the concept that underlies this plan. In seven short weeks I will help you fix what alcohol has broken. Unlike other treatment programs, this plan is based on physical repair. As you read the pages ahead, you will learn a lot about the natural chemistry that governs your body and your brain. I’m certain that you will be impressed by the weight of scientific evidence and will quickly come to appreciate the importance of repairing the damage alcohol can inflict on your delicate internal chemistry.


Once you begin the program you’ll notice a difference in the way you feel almost immediately. You’ll be delighted at how easy it is to stop drinking with the aid of the nutrient-packed detoxification formula that blocks cravings for alcohol. Then, I’ll show you how to individualize a repair program to restore your physical and emotional health.


I have been using this program to treat alcoholics since 1981, when I founded Health Recovery Center to test my theory that physical rehabilitation was the missing link in the treatment of alcoholism. Since then, I have treated thousands of alcoholics and drug addicts. More than three quarters remain successfully rehabilitated and abstinent. You may not realize it, but a 75 percent recovery rate is unheard of in this field. Elsewhere, success rates are a dismal 10 percent. Our success has attracted attention from all over the world. Almost daily I receive calls from treatment directors and counselors anxious to learn about our methods. I can’t take full credit for this breakthrough, which is based on the work of many respected researchers, I simply took their findings and put them into practice.


I didn’t set out to find a new way to treat alcoholism; the events of my life led me to it…

Additional information on formulas (schedules and optimal doses to achieve biochemical restoration/repair) can be found in the book Seven Weeks to Sobriety.

The Best-Kept Secret (Chapter 2 excerpt)

  • Craig had every reason to be depressed. He was drinking a quart of scotch a day, often without eating anything. Both of his parents were alcoholic, and his father also suffered from severe depression, Craig was pale and thin. He had completed three alcoholism treatment programs, but nothing had succeeded in bringing his cravings under control. He was desperate for help. 
  • George, a burly young electrician, had been treated for alcoholism six times. Nothing worked. His parents had given up on him, and now his girlfriend threatened to leave him. When I first met him at ten o’clock in the morning, he smelled strongly of alcohol and spoke of suicide as the only way out of his misery. 
  • Alcoholism treatment counselors had expelled Sonnie from their program. Her bizarre behavior was driving them, and the other clients crazy. The last straw came when Sonnie was found giggling hilariously and painting zigzag lines on the walls of the basement furnace room. She had been assigned to paint the walls in exchange for treatment, work she had pledged to do because she couldn’t afford to pay.


Craig, George, and Sonnie are all treatment failures. They are more the rule than the exception. The best-kept secret of alcoholism treatment today is that it doesn’t work. Not for Craig, George, Sonnie and 75 percent of all those who check themselves in with high hopes for recovery.


Ironically, the blame for treatment failure is often placed on the patients. They’re “not ready to stay sober” or ‘”haven’t reached bottom yet” say the counselors who staff these treatment programs. They assume that treatment works but patients fail. It is a curious perspective given the fact that most patients in treatment make an enormous commitment of time and money to be there. Doctors don’t blame patients who are physically ill for failure to recover in response to treatment. They try another form of treatment, and another, and another in an effort to affect a cure. Psychiatrists don’t blame their mentally ill patients for failing to recover. They too try other forms of treatment. This is not true of treatment for alcoholism. Despite acknowledged shortcomings, despite a shockingly high failure rate, there have been few innovations in the treatment of alcoholism in the past three decades. To understand this sad situation, you need to understand what treatment is available and why it so often misfires.


Most alcoholism treatment in the United States today is a version of the Minnesota Model developed in the 1940s and 1950s by the Hazelden Foundation of Center City, Minnesota. This form of treatment is based on the presumption that drinking is a way of dealing with pain and emotional or psychological problems and that once those problems are identified and confronted, the alcoholic will no longer be driven to drink irresponsibly. Typically clients in treatment spend their days with counselors in group therapy. Everyone gets a chance to tell the story of how his life has become unmanageable because of alcoholism. Counselors and other members of the group help with the process of self-discovery by asking probing questions. The emotional release this process can trigger is thought to lower the need for compulsive drinking. The self-knowledge and insights gained about alcoholic behavior are believed to help alcoholics remain sober after treatment…

Additional information on formulas (schedules and optimal doses to achieve biochemical restoration/repair) can be found in the book Seven Weeks to Sobriety.

It's Not All In Your Mind (Chapter 3 excerpt)

Alcoholism runs in families. Even before researchers showed how and why some people are predisposed to becoming alcoholic, simple observation showed that when one or both parents are alcoholic, the children are at risk. Until recently, researchers couldn’t be sure whether this familial link was hereditary or environmental or both. Do people drink because they “learned to” at home or do they drink because they are genetically programmed to become alcoholic? While the environmental influence certainly can’t be discounted, new evidence strongly suggests that heredity plays a much stronger role in alcoholism than was once thought.


What Twins Can Tell Us

Much of the new evidence comes from comparisons of identical and fraternal twins. Since identical twins develop from a single fertilized egg that divides after conception, both have the exact same genetic makeup and can be expected to be alike in most respects. For example, identical twins are always the same sex, always have the same hair and eye color, and usually reach the same adult height and weight. Studies of identical twins separated at birth and raised in different families have produced compelling evidence of the power of their genetic bond. In addition to their strikingly similar physical development, the twins have remarkably similar tastes, preferences, and interests.


Fraternal twins develop from two different eggs fertilized by two different sperm. Fraternal twins are no more closely related than siblings born separately.


If environment were the sole cause of alcoholism, the rate of alcoholism among twins raised in drinking families should be the same regardless of whether they are identical or fraternal. But if a genetic predisposition were responsible, the rate of alcoholism would be similar for both identical twins, who have exactly the same genes. Studies have shown that when one identical twin is alcoholic, the other is four times more likely to be alcoholic than when one fraternal twin is alcoholic, indicating that genetics play a part in alcoholism.


There have been many other studies aimed at showing whether nature or nurture is to blame for alcoholism. One of the first (Donald Goodwin, 1978) compared 133 sons of alcoholics adopted and raised by nonalcoholic parents to a similar group of adoptees with no genetic history of alcoholism. The sons of alcoholics were three times more likely to become alcoholic than the sons of nonalcoholic parents. A larger study in Sweden (C.R. Cloringer, M. Bohman, and S. Sigvardsson, 1981) followed 3,000 adoptees separated from their biological parents at an early age and raised by non-relatives. The risk of these children becoming alcoholic was two and a half times higher when one biological parent was alcoholic.


Researchers have also studied what happens to the children of nonalcoholics who are adopted into households where one parent is alcoholic. They have found no evidence that being raised by an alcoholic parent predisposes a child to alcoholism.


Under the Microscope

Research indicates that some hereditary abnormality of body or brain chemistry must be passed from generation to generation to account for the fact that alcoholism runs in families. The search for such an abnormality has yielded a number of valuable clues. The first was the discovery of certain unusual brain-wave patterns among alcoholics and their non-drinking children. P-300 brain waves, which influence memory, were absent or weaker than normal among the alcoholic families studied. (Not coincidentally, memory lapses are common complaints among alcoholics.)



Researchers discovered that alcoholics are much more likely than nonalcoholics to have a certain gene affecting receptor sites for dopamine, a central-nervous-system neurotransmitter that facilitates communication between nerve cells and is associated with pleasure seeking behavior. Researchers theorize that the newly discovered gene alters dopamine receptor sites in the brain. Receptor sites can be thought of as locks that can be opened only by the correct chemical key-in this case, dopamine. Exactly how the new gene predisposes a person to alcoholism isn’t yet known, but the fact that it was found in 77 percent of the alcoholics studied and was absent in 72 percent of nonalcoholics suggests that it underlies some types of alcoholism.


More Chemical Clues

Discoveries about the way alcohol is processed in the body have provided further evidence of a genetic link …

The Difference in Drinkers (Chapter 4 excerpt)

Your body holds the key to understanding the effect alcohol has on you. If you have the ability to drink large amounts of alcohol, you have good reason to suspect that you might be predisposed to alcoholism. But, capacity is only part of the story. Alcohol affects brain and body processes in different ways in different people. 


Case histories drawn from Health Recovery Center files illustrate three different body chemistries that underlie vulnerability to alcoholism They describe the four most common categories of drinkers who have sought help at the Health Recovery Center during the past ten years. A new biotype might be identified in the future, but, in all likelihood, if you have a problem with alcohol, you fall into one of the four groups. If there are alcoholics on both sides of your family, you may find that you fit into two categories. If so, the one that predominates, even slightly, is the one to work with as you embark on the program Health Recovery Center has developed.


Case study 1: Alan was a party animal in high school and college. Even then he had the capacity to drink heavily without noticeable consequences. In fact, alcohol seemed to stimulate and energize him. Later, in the business world, a few drinks at lunch and dinner served to fuel his professional performance.


Alan was the kind of hard driving, compulsive person psychologists describe as a Type A personality: he was ambitious, needed little sleep, and had a strong sex drive. He was proud of his ability to handle alcohol. For years he wasn’t bothered by hangovers and never suspected his supernormal response to alcohol was a red flag signaling trouble down the road. But slowly his body became dependent on alcohol for peak performance. Without it, every cell seemed to feel the let-down. His performance suffered, and he began to crave alcohol. By the time he was forty-five, he was much less able to withstand the effects of his heavy drinking. He began to experience withdrawal symptoms. Drinking no longer made him feel euphoric or energetic. It simply made him feel normal.


His withdrawal symptoms worsened. He was hyperactive, shaky. His moods and emotions swung wildly from one extreme to another. He blamed his problems on the stress of his job, the inability of his family to understand his needs, and almost every other negative external event he could seize on. His family and colleagues correctly attributed Alan’s irritability, mood swings, and the difficulty he had concentrating to his drinking, but they-and he-thought he could and should control it. He began to have blackouts and terrible hangovers, but it was not until he was arrested four times for driving while intoxicated that he admitted that alcohol was destroying him.


Alan’s huge capacity for alcohol and the fact that for years it energized him and caused no hangovers indicates that he was born with an alcohol dehydrogenase liver enzyme (II ADH) that enabled his body to metabolize large amounts of alcohol without negative effects. His brain made endorphin-like tetrahydroisoquinolines (THIQs) from alcohol; the THIQs were responsible for both the euphoria he loved and his eventual addiction.

Alan is a II ADH/THIQ alcoholic.


Case study 2: Leonard first drank in high school and remembers how sick alcohol made him until he learned” to handle it. Unfortunately …

Additional information on formulas (schedules and optimal doses to achieve biochemical restoration/repair) can be found in the book Seven Weeks to Sobriety.

Week One: Assessing the Damage (Chapter 5 excerpt)

Completing the genetic-history questionnaire can be a revelation. It will show you where your alcoholism came from and it will help you see which lab tests may be particularly enlightening. Use the provided chart to track your heredity. Record your paternal history on the left side and maternal history on the right. Do not include relatives by marriage who are not biologically related to you.

Your nationality is important because certain ethnic groups are particularly vulnerable to alcoholism. You may be surprised to learn that there is a direct relationship between the rate of alcoholism among an ethnic group and the length of time that group has been exposed to alcohol. People from the Mediterranean areas of Europe have been drinking alcohol for more than seven thousand years. Today, they have a very low (10 percent) susceptibility to alcoholism. Those from northern European countries, including Ireland, Scotland, Wales, northern parts of Russia and Poland, and the Scandinavian countries, have been using alcohol for only fifteen hundred years. As a result, their susceptibility to alcoholism is measurably higher (between 20 and 40 percent). Native Americans (including Eskimos) had no access to alcohol until three hundred years ago. Their vulnerability to alcoholism is extraordinarily high between 80 and 90 percent).

The scientific principle of survival of the fittest is at work here. Over many generations, those most susceptible to alcohol have been eliminated. The survivors continue to pass along their low susceptibility. The only deterrent to this process of natural selection is the interbreeding of people from different regions.

To make an educated guess about some of the drinkers in your family, use this simple criteria: Does he or she have an unusual high tolerance for alcohol? Anyone who has never been able handle much alcohol is not an alcoholic. Those who can and do put away a lot of alcoholic drinks are most likely to have problematic chemistries.

Drug Dependency
Before you decide that you have no family history of drug dependency, think about the Valium Aunt Mary lives on, and the painkillers Uncle Joe takes for his chronic aches and pains.

This condition may be present on either side of your family whether or not it has been formally diagnosed and treated. Record any tempted or accomplished suicides in this category.

This disorder is often seen in a grandparent within an alcoholic family. Native Americans are particularly vulnerable to adult-onset diabetes early in their drinking careers. A glucose tolerance test to identify regular glucose metabolism is particularly important for anyone with a family history of diabetes.

Mental Illness
Do you have any relatives who suffer(ed) from schizophrenia, nervous breakdowns, or paranoia?

Most alcoholics have some family history of allergy. Pollen, dust, mold, and grasses are common offenders. Classic allergic reactions include hives, wheezing, and sneezing. Many people who have an allergic/addicted response to alcohol react adversely to a number of foods, including those containing refined sugars and the grains from which alcohol is made. Becoming overweight is often a sign of food allergy/addiction.

Obesity/Eating Disorders
Bulimia and/or anorexia are often the outcome of years of wrestling with cravings. Young women are most apt to become bulimic in a misguided attempt at weight control, but at any age binge eating can be a sign of food allergy/addiction.

Alcohol/Chemical Dependency Among Siblings
How many of your brothers and sisters are vulnerable to alcoholism? Some may have stopped drinking heavily, but count them as having alcoholic chemistries. Include any siblings who have been addicted to other drugs…

Additional information on formulas (schedules and optimal doses to achieve biochemical restoration/repair) can be found in the book Seven Weeks to Sobriety.

Week 2: Breaking the Addiction (Chapter 6 excerpt)

Im sure you’re anxious to get started and I know you are curious about the magic detoxification formula I mentioned at the end of the last chapter. Magic may be too strong a word, but if you have tried to detoxify before –and failed– you’re going to get the surprise of your life this week.You are going to be taking a lot of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, up to 60 each day, in a formula designed to ease alcohol withdrawal symptoms and eliminate your cravings for alcohol. If you are typical of our Health Recovery Center clients, you are going to feel terrific after your first weekend of taking the formula. Some of our clients feel so good that they tell me that they don’t need the rest of the program. My standard joke is that the detox formula is bad for business; when cravings for alcohol disappear, so do some of the clients! Seriously, this formula works better than I dared dream. Our clients love it. I’ll never forget a telephone call I received one morning: 

“Do you remember me?” said the voice on the phone. “I saw you a year ago. I couldn’t afford the program, but you gave me the detox formula.” (I’ve done that occasionally for alcoholics who have been in and out of other treatment programs, and are at the end of their rope financially and emotionally.) 

“How are you doing?” I answered

“Well I took your detox formula for eight months, and I never drank the whole time! Then I went to California and lost the instructions. I’m back to alcohol now and I can’t get off. Do you think I could have another copy of the formula?” 

I was shocked that he had taken the potent detox formula for such a long time, but evidently it had helped him enormously. Of course I obliged. He still couldn’t afford formal treatment, but he was sure he could do without alcohol once he resumed taking the detox formula. Actually we use …

Additional information on formulas (schedules and optimal doses to achieve biochemical restoration/repair) can be found in the book Seven Weeks to Sobriety.

Week 3: Correcting Chemistry (Chapter 7 excerpt)

Alcoholics Anonymous cofounder Bill Wilson was very interested in the link between alcoholism and hypoglycemia. He collected research papers demonstrating the extent of abnormal glucose fluctuations among alcoholics and sent three different reports on the subject to AA physicians. Wilson’s interest was personal as well as professional. For many years, he suffered from depression and other hypoglycemic symptoms. He also consumed huge amounts of sugar and caffeine. Finally, by eliminating sugar and caffeine and making other dietary changes, he stabilized his blood sugar and achieved a sense of well-being.

Study after study has demonstrated that the vast majority of alcoholics are hypoglycemic. In one conducted by J. Poulos, D. Stafford, and K. Carron, fifty outpatient alcoholics and fifty halfway-house alcoholics were compared with a control group of one hundred nurses and teenagers. Of the one hundred alcoholics, ninety-six proved to be hypoglycemic; only fourteen of the nonalcoholic controls were hypoglycemic. A three-year study by Robert Meiers, M.D., in Santa Cruz, California, found that more than 95 percent of alcoholics studied suffered from low blood sugar.

More evidence comes from Kenneth Williams, M.D., an internist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and a member of the national board of trustees of AA. Williams has found that a vast majority of his sober alcoholic patients are hypoglycemic; many have told him that their hypoglycemia had been diagnosed even before they started drinking.

Researcher and author Emanuel Cheraskin, M.D., found on the basis of six-hour glucose tolerance tests that between 75 and 90 percent of alcoholics studied were hypoglycemic. “Too much therapeutic emphasis has been placed on psychological factors,” says Dr. Cheraskin “while more basic biochemical deficiencies and defects in body chemistry have received relatively little attention.”

Glucose Patterns in Health Recovery Center Clients

After years of research, Dr. Tintera concluded that even recovered alcoholics who have been sober for many years continue to suffer the effects of hypoglycemia. He strongly believes that the treatment of alcoholism “centers essentially about control of hypoglycemia… by far the most important part of the physiological treatment of alcoholics is the complete restriction of easily absorbed carbohydrates.”

Until their severe fluctuations in blood sugar are stabilized, Dr. Tintera warns that alcoholics will be predisposed to depression and what only appear to be “deep-rooted emotional or psychiatric disorders.”

Tintera and other researchers who have documented the close connection between alcoholism and hypoglycemia consider psychoanalytic treatment “utterly unsuccessful [in rehabilitating alcoholics] since the deep-rooted emotional factor is, in reality, physiologically based.”

Unfortunately, despite the work of Tintera and many others, few physicians today have a good understanding of hypoglycemia. Some may refuse your request for testing as unnecessary or even dismiss hypoglycemia as a fad disease. Others will test you but misinterpret the results because of the wide variance in diagnostic approaches practiced during the last two decades. For these reasons, you may need to search out a physician who fully appreciates the impact of hypoglycemia on alcoholism and can diagnose the condition accurately…

Additional information on formulas (schedules and optimal doses to achieve biochemical restoration/repair) can be found in the book Seven Weeks to Sobriety.

Week 4: Tailoring Repair (Chapter 8 Excerpt)

If you have not yet begun to feel better, this is the week that will prove to you that this program really works. Although I still worry about clients that don’t begin to improve early on, I have learned to be patient. Experience has taught me that Week Four can make all the difference. I had to remind myself of this last winter when we had two severely depressed women in the program. During their first three weeks Anita and Mary Jo sat glum and listless while the others slowly perked up. Reviewing their records, I saw that since childhood both women exhibited a pattern of depression that can require taking large doses of GLA for a while before the bleak moods are eliminated. Sure enough, for both women week four was the turning point. Suddenly they were laughing and chatting happily. 

Some clients feel so good at this point they don’t think they need anything else. What about you? Even if you’re feeling better than you have in years, ask yourself if any of your medical tests have indicated any liver abnormalities, thyroid disorders, or potentially harmful accumulations of toxic metals. Perhaps you’ve been having trouble sleeping. Or you may be tired too much of the time. What about pain? Or shakiness? There is no reason to tolerate any of these symptoms. You can overcome them with the aid of the nutrient formula on the pages ahead. 

Ask yourself also about psychological symptoms –anxiety, paranoia, obsessive-compulsive behavior, chronic stress or memory problems– all common complaints among recovering alcoholics. Many of these symptoms are directly related to the biochemistry of the brain; some are the result of depletion of minerals our bodies need for good health. All can be eliminated by supplying the nutrients needed to normalize and stabilize your emotions. 

Now it’s time for you to begin using the nutrient replacement lists (Charts 6 and 7) that will help you keep track of the nutrients you’re taking on your adjusted nutrients plan. In the weeks ahead you will probably be adding more nutrients to the ones you’re taking now. If you follow these simple instructions you will have no trouble keeping track of what you take:

1. To add a nutrient, find it on your nutrient replacement list …  


Week 4: Continuing Repair (Chapter 9 Excerpt)

By now your repair program should be paying big dividends. You are feeling better and have weaned your body away from alcohol—the addictive bond has been broken. Or has it? You may be physically free of your addiction to alcohol but still emotionally vulnerable to its grasp. 

In the previous chapter we discussed the physical basis for some of the emotional problems common among alcoholics. You won’t be surprised to learn that a number of other emotional problems are caused by alcohol’s depletion of the natural brain chemicals needed for stable emotions and good mental health. On the following pages I’ll discuss aggression and irritability, short attention span or poor concentration, and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a serious psychiatric disorder seen in advanced stages of alcoholism. 

At the end of this chapter you will find tables that will summarize your vitamin/mineral needs. Look them over carefully. Although this program provides you with adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals alcohol depletes, after studying the tables you may feel that you need even more than you are getting. If so, so can increase the amount to take up to the therapeutic dose listed on the chart.  But first scan your nutrient replacement list to double-check the amounts you already take.

Now let’s take a look at the emotional problems that can sabotage your recovery and discuss what you can do to overcome them…  

Additional information on formulas (schedules and optimal doses to achieve biochemical restoration/repair) can be found in the book Seven Weeks to Sobriety

Week 5: Good-bye Depression (Chapter 10 Excerpt)

If you have been unsuccessful in your battle against depression and your attempts to improve mental health, you are not alone. At least 40 percent of all alcoholics in the United States are affected. I say “at least” because our Health Recovery Center study found that almost two-thirds of our clients are seriously depressed at entry. In fact, most alcoholics I have treated suffered from depression.

It is tempting to pin the blame for hopelessness and despair on external events that can be triggered by alcoholism such as the deterioration of a marriage or the loss of a job. To be sure some of the depression alcoholics report is a result of the negative course life can take when you drink too much. You will be relieved to learn that this type of situational depression is self-limiting and will pass as your life begins to improve. Counseling or group therapy can be of enormous value here.

But most depression among alcoholics runs much deeper than the situational variety I have just described. Depression, like the other emotional problems, often has biochemical roots that stem from the destructive effect of alcohol on the chemistry of the brain. Research has verified the relationship between biochemistry and depression. Autopsies of people who have committed suicide have revealed biochemical disruptions that are unique to suicidal depression. On these pages you will learn to recognize the warning signs of this tragedy in the making.

No amount of counseling or psychotherapy by mental health treatment centers can produce a cure for depression for people who suffer from biochemically-induced depression. I learned this the hard way, watching my son fight the deep sadness and feelings of hopelessness that descended upon him as his depression worsened. The counseling he received was excellent, but words have no power to reverse the biochemical disruption caused by alcoholism and drugs. In fact, therapy’s focus on the failures and unhappy external events in the lives of seriously depressed people only creates more misery for them.

My search for an explanation for Rob’s suicide led me to research studies that confirmed the connections between brain biochemistry and depression and offered methods of repair that work far more reliably than any form of talk therapy. I learned that there is no single biochemical glitch that explains all depression. At HRC, we treat seven (7) different sources of depression that affect alcoholics. On these pages you will learn which may underlie your depression (in some cases, two or more may be to blame). You will also learn how to overcome your particular chemical problem or problems. Your depression or anxiety cure depends on the replacement of key missing nutrients. It may require further changes in your diet, or you may need to correct a medical condition, like hypothyroidism, that can precipitate depression. Before you take a look at our formulas used as a cure for anxiety and depression, you’ll of course, have to confirm that you are depressed. Then you can evaluate the severity of your case…


Additional information on formulas (schedules and optimal doses to achieve biochemical restoration/repair) can be found in the book Seven Weeks to Sobriety.

Week 6: Biochemical Traps That Block Recovery (Chapter 11 Excerpt)

If you have been faithfully following the biochemical repair program outlined in Seven Weeks to Sobriety and still do not feel as well as you suspect you should, you may be wondering whether a biochemical restoration program is right for you. Relax. This program will work for all alcoholics, but you may be suffering from food allergies or chemical sensitivities that must be identified and treated before your recovery can be complete. Or you may be battling an overgrowth of Candida Albicans, a yeast that can sap your energy and undermine your health. Alcoholics are particularly vulnerable to candida overgrowth. To deal with these complex conditions you’ll need to learn how to determine whether you are affected and, if so, what you can do to overcome these debilitating disorders. Dramatic recoveries have been made many Health Recovery Center clients who discover that they are afflicted with one or more of these problems.

When I suspect that a client is chemically sensitive, I always tell the story of Roger, a counselor at an alcoholism detox center who had not had a drink since he had completed traditional treatment three years before I met him. Underneath the veneer of success, Roger was tormented by explosive anger, anxiety, and exhaustion. When he called me, he said his dry-drunk behavior was threatening his job. He didn’t know how to control his emotions and was afraid that he would wind up drinking again. Worse, he recognized that he was having suicidal thoughts. He was very frightened.

At our initial interview, I discovered that Roger was consuming twenty-five cups of coffee and a six-pack of cola every day. Correcting his hypoglycemia soon calmed the mood swings, but his behavior was still unpredictable. Not until he told me about his hobby, taxidermy, did I begin to suspect the culprit. In his off-hours, Roger was inhaling solvents, glues, and thinners that just might explain the symptoms that continued to trouble him. To find out, I sent him to a clinical ecologist for tests. His reaction to ethanol’s and formaldehydes was dramatic. Upon exposure in the lab, he became quite anxious and paranoid. Tests also revealed sensitivities to wheat and dairy products that brought on delayed reactions of severe irritability and fatigue.

When Roger was drinking, withdrawal from alcohol typically brought on violent scenes and bleak moods. Although he had managed to quit, for permanent relief he had to avoid other substances that altered his brain chemistry and undermined his emotional stability as well. Roger recovered by giving up caffeine, nicotine, refined sugars, wheat, and dairy products, and minimizing his exposure to ethanols and formaldehyde.

Over the years I have learned that house painters, garage mechanics, hair stylists, printers, and others who continually breathe chemical fumes on the job are often alcoholic. At the end of the workday they are literally intoxicated by the fumes from their jobs, and they head straight to the bar to forestall withdrawal symptoms. Those who try to stop drinking develop unrelenting cravings for alcohol…

Additional information on formulas (schedules and optimal doses to achieve biochemical restoration/repair) can be found in the book Seven Weeks to Sobriety.

Week 7: Planning the Future (Chapter 12 Excerpt)

Not long ago I had lunch with a former client, a successful young builder. Jim was brimming with health and energy. He told me that his business was doing so well that he could take time off to race cars at tracks around the country. Listening to him, it was hard to believe that just four short years ago Jim’s life was at a standstill, bogged down by lack of motivation and mental confusion.

Jim had completed another treatment program before coming to Health Recovery Center, but no one there had told him he couldn’t live on ice cream, coffee, and cigarettes. The intervening years had been miserable for him. He had resumed drinking. The more sugar and alcohol he used, the worse his cravings became. He was also subject to dramatic mood swings, complained of fatigue, and said he often felt too spacey to function. His intelligence and talent were obvious, but they were going to waste as he continued to drink.

Now the picture is quite different. Jim has been through some rough times since I first met him, including a painful divorce, but he has managed to weather it admirably. I asked him what has kept him sober over the years. “I never knew I could feel this good,” he replied. “Now that I do, I would be a fool to deliberately destroy myself by letting alcoholism take over again.” Even today, Jim continues to use the recovery strategy he learned at HRC. It has served him well. It can do the same for you.

If you have been making the changes I have recommended in this book, undoubtedly you too have begun to feel healthy and energetic. To prove to yourself how far you have come in six short weeks, I would like you to retest yourself for any current symptoms by again completing Health Recovery Center’s symptometer (Chart 11). Compare your new score with your score from Week One (Chart 3). The results will confirm the improvement in your health. You may still have a few lingering symptoms, but they will disappear gradually over the next few weeks or months as you follow your aftercare plan. In this section, I’ll give you the strategies you’ll need to maintain your sobriety and further improve your general health. And, at last, I’ll review HRC’s tested and effective plan for overcoming one last addiction-your dependency on nicotine. If you’re still smoking, the time has come to quit!

The relapse studies cited in Chapter l of Seven Weeks to Sobriety, demonstrate that more than 75 percent of alcoholics resume drinking only a year after treatment? Those formidable odds can defeat the incentive to depend on sheer willpower. But you have at your command powerful recovery tools that will enable you to beat those odds and continue on the path to renewed energy and health.

In the pages ahead you will find a plan to follow during this first crucial year. Like your repair program, you will need to personalize this regime to suit your individual needs. It encompasses physical, psychological, and personal-growth strategies you can use to maintain and build on the gains you have made in the past six weeks…