Heal Thyself

A Doctor at the Peak of His Medical Career, Destroyed by Alcohol--and the Personal Miracle That Brought Him Back

Sarah Crichton Books

Heal Thyself is the paperback edition of The End of My Addiction—a memoir of Ameisen’s struggle and a call to action. “[This book is] the story of the dazzling discovery of a cure that could soon be within reach of all . . . you must read this book.” —David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PHD, author of Healing Without Freud or Prozac and Anticancer When Olivier Ameisen’s book was first published, Barbara Fisher noted in The Boston Globe that “this is not your usual memoir of addiction, degradation, and redemption.” His story is indeed unusual—not because he was a brilliant cardiologist who developed a profound addiction to alcohol, or because he tried numerous treatment options and none helped. His story was the story of millions of alcoholics—until he decided to take his treatment into his own hands. Searching for a cure for his deadly disease, he happened upon baclofen, a safe muscle relaxant that had recently shown promising results in studies with laboratory animals addicted to a wide variety of substances. Ameisen experimented with increasingly higher dosages until he reached a level that left him free of any craving for alcohol. That was more than six years ago. In the past year, a growing number of researchers and doctors have been inspired by Ameisen and begun prescribing baclofen and lobbying for wide-scale studies into how the drug works. Last spring, no less an authority than the leading medical journal Alcohol and Alcoholism endorsed the book. Hailing Dr. Ameisen as “a remarkable medical researcher,” it summed up its assessment strongly and directly: “This book is to be recommended.”


Read an Excerpt

1. Moment of Truth

I CAME TO MY SENSES and took stock of where I was: in a cab, with blood streaming down my face and spattering my trench coat. I looked out the window and in the glow of the streetlights saw the cab was on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, waiting for the light to change at 76th Street. The church on the corner reminded me it was Sunday, and I looked at my watch. It was almost midnight. The few people on the street were buttoned up against the late winter chill, but it was warm in the cab.

My apartment was not too far away, on East 63rd Street between York and First

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Praise for Heal Thyself

“You have discovered the treatment for addiction.” Jean Dausset, M.D., winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize in Medicine

“This is not your usual memoir of addiction, degradation, and redemption.”— The Boston Globe



“Brave, insightful and sure to be significant.” —Publishers Weekly

“In this remarkably candid memoir of crippling alcoholism, cardiologist Ameisen’s passion for curing addiction is palpable, at times gritty, and, in the end, hopeful.”—Booklist
“WOW! . . . This is a wonderful book . . . Ameisen may be responsible for making a signal discovery much like, but better than, that of George Cotzias, [the first to show that L-dopa could alleviate Parkinson’s disease,] in that so many more patients may be involved.” —Jerome B. Posner, M.D., George C. Cotzias Chair of Neuro-oncology, Department of Neurology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
“This book is . . . the story of the dazzling discovery of a cure that could soon be within reach of all. If you or someone close to you suffers from alcoholism or drug dependence, you must read this book.” —David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D., author of The Instinct to Heal and Anticancer

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Olivier Ameisen, MD, inaugurated the position of official physician to the prime minister of France. He came to the United States in 1983 to join the prestigious cardiology team at New York Hospital and Cornell University Medical Center, where he became an associate professor of clinical medicine and an associate attending physician. He is currently Visiting Professor of Medicine at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.




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Heal Thyself

A Doctor at the Peak of His Medical Career, Destroyed by Alcohol--and the Personal Miracle That Brought Him Back