On the surface, schizophrenia seems to have nothing in common with alcoholism and addiction, however I highly recommend reading the book The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure: A Holistic Approach to Total Recovery, by Chris Prentiss. For starters, the author doesn’t shy away from using the word “cure”. He doesn’t consider alcoholism or addiction either “incurable” or a “disease”. These are symptoms that are coping mechanisms that one has chosen in response to life’s pain. Medical professionals who refuse to use the word “cure” in the context of certain mental health problems deprive people of hope and virtually guarantee that their problems are forever managed, never cured.
Mental health professionals are being disingenuous when they say that the cause of schizophrenia or alcoholism or addiction is unknown. Some people will stop right there and think to themselves, “well, if a doctor says this, there’s not point in my looking any further.” It is true that there is no one neat scientific explanation that can explain away the cause, but that doesn’t mean that a cause or causes cannot be found. Chris Prentiss makes a clear cut case for finding the cause of the pain by looking at the problem through the prism of the family story. Through my own research and willingness to undertake psychotherapy, I now have some insight into the cause(s) of my son’s problems. The causes are both psychological and physiological. I have developed a working theory that makes sense to me. I may be entirely wrong about what the real causes are, but it doesn’t really matter because I have noticed whatever we are doing seems to be working. I can empower healing in my son by changing the way I relate with him, by showing conviction that he will recover, and by understanding that his problems have a context.
Chris Prentiss eventually came to realize that his son’s descent into alcoholism and addiction was due to the son’s deep rooted anger with his father. The family background that he describes in his book provides a plausible explanation for this outcome. Many people will protest that everybody is angry with their father (or their mother) and that most people who are angry with a parent don’t descend into drug addiction. Well, actions do make sense if you care enough to pay attention. There is a logic to life.