by Jack H. Hedblom, M.S.W., Ph.D.; Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007, 224 pages, $18.95
Dr. Masry is affiliated with the department of psychiatry, Westborough State Hospital, Westborough, Massachusetts.
For anyone who frequently encounters the phrase "90 meetings in 90 days" without truly understanding the depth of that phrase, this book is for you. In Last Call, Dr. Hedblom discusses the biopsychosocial aspects of an alcoholic on his or her quest to achieve and maintain sobriety. He describes this quest through the use of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as well as touching on the spiritual aspect of the program, a topic that needs to be addressed. As Dr. Hedblom states, "the impact of alcohol on the alcoholic is physically and psychologically devastating. The impact of the disease on the spirit is perhaps the most elusive and yet the most crucial to understand."
The steps that a person who is sober from alcohol has gone through with AA to achieve that sobriety are eloquently described in Last Call. The book starts off by describing the founding of AA and discusses the various ways in which alcoholism has been defined, but it also stresses the multivariate syndrome, which is akin to the biopsychosocial formulation. Last Call discusses each of the steps of AA, describes what alcoholism means to the alcoholic and his or her family, and looks at the promises of the 12-step process and how it is applied to maintaining a sober life. In short this book is a valuable guide to anyone who treats someone suffering from alcohol addiction and is not familiar with the depth of the role that AA plays in treatment.