July 5, 1985

The Courage to Change

Author Affiliations

Editor, The Journal


by Dennis Wholey, 310 pp, with illus, Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co, 1984.

JAMA. 1985;254(1):122-123. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360010132044

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Open almost any door in America, and you will find a family scarred by alcohol. This book is for each and every one of those families. In fact, I do not know a person (physician or otherwise) who would not benefit from reading this book. Dennis Wholey, no longer an anonymous alcoholic, has written a wonderful book for the general public about alcohol. Wholey, a well-known radio and television talk-show host, has done what he does best—capture people's experiences and feelings through candid interviews.

Thirty-one named individuals are joined by 19 anonymous alcoholics in describing their experiences. Most are self-acknowledged alcoholics. Many are celebrities. Some are well known for their alcoholism; others were a surprise to me. All have confronted their problem and are said to be in various stages of "recovery." I found the extent of personal detail offered for many to be rather disarming.

Successive chapters deal with