Michael Pond and Maureen Palmer
Wasted: An Alcoholic Therapist's Fight for Recovery in a Flawed Treatment System

Book Cover

Michael Pond had helped hundreds of people recover from alcoholism, but he couldn't help himself.

After two decades of helping clients battle addictions, Michael Pond, a successful therapist, succumbs to one himself. He loses his practice, his home and his family to alcoholism, ending up destitute in a rundown recovery home populated by a cast of characters straight out of Dickens.

The Couch of Willingness is a real couch in that home, a couch where Pond is forced to sleep until he surrenders and admits he's powerless over alcohol. But just when Pond gains any measure of sobriety, in sashays his other powerful addiction, Dana, a can of Red Bull in hand and a 26er of vodka in her purse.

Pond's harrowing two-year journey to sobriety takes stops in abandoned sheds, dumpsters, ditches, emergency wards, intensive care, and finally, prison. His riveting account crackles with raw energy and black humour as he plunges readers into a world few will ever have the misfortune to experience.

Along the way, Michael the drunk finds himself shamed and stigmatized by the very system in which Michael the therapist thrived. The dissonance rankles for Pond and, by the end of the story, for the reader too.

Praise for Michael Pond and Maureen Palmer's Wasted:

"From the moment I started it I found it pretty much impossible to put down! I was hooked on every page. Congratulations to both of you for writing such an amazing piece of work, and Michael, I commend you for your courage in putting your incredible and inspiring story out there. As a memoir writer myself, I know how challenging it can be to take the events of your life and craft them into a compelling narrative arc, but you both did it beautifully. I wish you much success with the book and with your lives together." —Cea Person, author of North of Normal

"The Couch of Willingness is a riveting and anxiety-inducing read. Mike Pond tells his story of recovery from alcoholism with a brutally honest, warts-and-all approach that makes you want to cheer for him and simultaneously slap him upside the head. Pond is the ultimate comeback kid who certainly has a guardian angel." —Michele Marko, Life Editor, The Vancouver Sun

"With tactile intimacy and surgical wit, Pond invites us to share the tragedy of his addiction with a sad smile. And then reveals a singular truth about how people quit. Truly one of a kind . . . A masterful job of describing the indescribable." óDr. Marc Lewis, Neuroscientist and Author of Memoirs of an Addicted Brain

Genre/Category: Non-Fiction—Addiction Memoir
Length: 408 pp (pb)
Publication Date: January 2016

North American English, Greystone Books

For all rights inquiries, please contact The Cooke Agency.
Michael Pond and Maureen Palmer

MICHAEL POND is a psychotherapist practicing in West Vancouver who specializes in mental health and addictions and is now almost five years sober. He offers individual, family, and group therapy and has become an expert in residential school abuse healing and addiction recovery. He writes the biweekly "Professional Advice" column in The Vancouver Sun.

MAUREEN PALMER spent two decades as an award-winning producer at the CBC, where she held senior positions in both radio and television production. She left in 2000 to produce series for TLC and the Discovery Channel. Shortly thereafter, she co-founded Bountiful Films, which has produced a string of critically acclaimed documentaries.