Get Sober in 30 Days—Wait, What?

By Dorri Olds 05/09/16

Jack Canfield's new book boldly offers a 30-day at-home treatment to reduce or eliminate drinking.

Get Sober in 30 Days—Wait, What?
Author Jack Canfeld Photo Derek Smith/Wikimedia Commons

It does not sound possible to quit drinking in one month, at home, and all alone. Bunch of hooey, right?

On May 1, bestselling author, athlete, and ex-addict Richard Roll interviewed uber-scribe Jack Canfield for a podcast called Tackling Addiction. Canfield, best known for his Chicken Soup for the Soul empire, was promoting his newest co-written release, The 30-Day Sobriety Solution: How to Cut Back Or Quit Drinking in the Privacy of Your Own Home.

Canfield is a prolific writer who's even lost track of how many books he's written. “Somewhere in the 250 range,” he estimated. Canfield has written 47 bestsellers and broke a record when seven of his books landed on The New York Times bestseller list—all on the same day!

Okay, so Canfield is smart—he earned an MA in psychology from Harvard—and he’s a great storyteller. But he’s not an alcoholic, so it sounds laughable that he can teach drunks to quit drinking without 12 steps or therapy or medication. However, the book’s credibility-factor goes up a notch via Canfield’s co-author, Dave Andrews, who is an alcoholic with eight years sober. Still, it’s difficult not to feel wary of anyone who calls themselves a “sobriety expert.”

One of the more interesting aspects of The 30-Days Sobriety Solution is Canfield’s candor about growing up in a family saturated with liquor. “Before I learned to read, I had learned the dark side of drinking,” Canfield states in the book’s introduction. “My earliest childhood memories are of my father’s drunken rages—he could drain almost an entire bottle of whiskey in one evening. And when he drank too much, he always became angry and violent.”

Canfield also detailed how often he hid from his father. Even when he found the “perfect hiding spot,” he was still tormented by the sounds of his father physically and emotionally abusing his mother. Canfield was frequently and severely whipped “with a thick leather belt or a heavy pig-bristle brush.” Luckily, his mother divorced his abusive father. Sadly, she became an alcoholic, too.

“My aunt and my grandmother were also alcoholics, often passing out at dinner,” Canfield writes. If there is such a thing as an alcohol gene, he says it skipped him and his youngest brother, but emerged in two of Canfield’s three children.

Without reading the book, it is impossible to judge the validity of the 30-day treatment program. Addicts love instant gratification, though, and being fixed in a month sure sounds appealing. The 30-Day Solution website promises that hundreds of people have been helped.

You can listen to the interview here, or watch this video of Jack Canfield discussing the 30-Day Sobriety Solution:

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Dorri Olds is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Woman’s Day and several book anthologies. Find Dorri on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.