Authors of controversial book about alcoholism appear on radio programme

From: Fame Publicity Services
Published: Tue Jan 10 2006

Lilian and Murdoch MacDonald, authors of the controversial book on alcoholism "Phoenix in a Bottle", were guests on Friday’s edition of BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show.

Lilian and Murdoch, from Ayrshire, Scotland, argue that Alcoholics Anonymous is wrong, and that alcoholism is not an illness or a disease, but a self-harming behaviour problem stemming from childhood.

They maintain that lifelong sobriety is not the solution to alcoholism, as this only treats the symptoms and not the causes of the problem, and is merely a damage limitation exercise.

The couple suggest that alcoholism, in common with other self-harming disorders like bulimia, anorexia and self-mutilation, often stems from problems experienced in childhood.

And if these problems can be identified and properly addressed, then the problem behaviour can be cured.

Eleven years ago the couple had hit rock bottom, sleeping rough for two weeks on the streets of Cambridge, where a quarter of a century previously as an undergraduate Murdoch had received an honours degree in English Literature at Magdalene College.

They had moved to Cambridge from Ayr with the idea of Murdoch doing research for a doctorate, but had reverted to their old habits, started binge drinking, and been thrown out of their lodgings.

After a fortnight, and when they were just about at the end of their tether, two nurses on their way home after a Saturday night out took pity on Lilian and Murdoch, bought them a cup of tea and found them a place in a homeless hostel.

They spent the next twelve months there getting to the roots of their alcoholism. They tried AA one last time, before concluding that it was a quasi-religious cult whose ideas on alcoholism were inadequate and outdated.

Instead, by reading psychology, they decided that the causes of their alcoholic behaviour lay in problems experienced during childhood. And that once these problems were realised and addressed, there was no longer any need for escape through alcoholism, and they could even drink normally like other people again.

Ten years after selling newspapers from a stand in Market Square, Cambridge, so that he and Lilian could get back on their feet financially, Murdoch is now a freelance business and financial journalist, and also runs his own public relations consultancy.

And in order to pass on the benefits of their experience to others who still have problems with alcohol, the couple have written their book "Phoenix in a Bottle".

Reviewing the book, American addiction expert Dr Stanton Peele PhD commented:

"Phoenix in a Bottle is a modern version of The Days of Wine and Roses, and tells the true story of how two people who entered a period of desperate drinking stayed with one another in a close loving relationship, and emerged from their alcoholism able to drink responsibly again.

"Both a wonderful love story and a challenge to conventional wisdom about how people can recover from drinking problems, Phoenix in a Bottle gives people hope, and helps them to confront their own demons - alcohol or otherwise."

"Phoenix in a Bottle" by Lilian and Murdoch MacDonald is published by Melrose Books price £16.99.

To listen to a recording of Lilian and Murdoch's interview on "The Jeremy Vine Show" go to:

and click on "LISTEN AGAIN - Friday"

Lilian and Murdoch’s website:

To buy a copy of "Phoenix in a Bottle", visit the Melrose Books website:

Or buy from Amazon UK at:
Company: Fame Publicity Services
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