Charlie M.

I want to thank you for articulating so well many of the things that I have been wondering myself. I have always known that alcohol is bad for you but had no clue about the global way it effects every part of your body. Looking back I should have known.

Before I quit drinking at 45, I’m 56 now, I had me some monumental hang overs. The kind where you go “Oh God please make me feel better and I will never drink again”. Uh huh and as soon as I could, I was popping the top on another cold one. I never got in trouble legally or financially but I knew I was in trouble. I could feel it changing me and I was a very unhappy person. I had no real plan to quit all together I just wanted to abstain and see how things went.

I started riding my bicycle again, something I always enjoyed going back to my childhood. A funny thing happened. I started feeling really, really good. I wanted more of that so I kept at it. I went to see a doctor. I was honest with him. 100% honest. I thought he was going to chew me out. He didn’t. In fact he was very kind. He encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing and had me come back for BP checks and to make sure I wasn’t drinking. I still see that same doctor. When I was 50 he had me go for a colonoscopy. I didn’t want to but he made me. You guessed it, I had colon cancer. I know it was caused by my years of drinking. Surgery followed and19 cm of my sigmoid colon was removed. One lymph node was positive. It was adenocarcinoma I believe. After that it was 6 months of chemo. The bottoms of my feet are still a bit numb but getting better. My Oncologist released me in the fall of 2013. I mentioned my drinking to my Oncologist but he never said alcohol was probably the cause. He didn’t have to.

I shake my head now when I see people drinking. I hang my head when I see where another drunk driver has died or killed someone on our roadways. I wonder why we seem to just accept it and don’t do anything except punish people after the fact. Your book is a good start. It really should be a text in every high school in the country. People need to know what they are doing to themselves. People need to talk about this instead of pretending all is good. All is not good. I’ve seen too many people, my father included, who drank themselves to death. It’s a problem that has always been with us but nobody wants to talk about it. Thanks for talking about it and thanks for writing your book.

Charlie M.

P.S. I look forward to the day that the alcohol industry gets the same treatment as the tobacco industry.


Josh Robbins

Founder, The Addicted Project

When I exited treatment I felt as though I was starved for medical knowledge in regards to my disease of alcoholism.  There are many books out on the current market that try to go the “medical” route when discussing addiction and alcoholism, yet can never achieve the necessary elements needed to make the publication meaningful and of any importance. When I am came across Jeff Herten’s book, The Sobering Truth, I thought, “Oh great, yet another doctor pretending to understand addiction.” When I read the book the first time I have to admit I was a bit taken back- this publication turned out to be something very different and something very honest.

I can say that I have never read anything regarding my disease that has been so sound, ethical, and truthful. The medical facts provided are startling to say the least; however the hope that is provided here cannot be mimicked. As an alcoholic I find that it is necessary to understand my disease a whole and The Sobering Truth provides the missing medical background that is skimmed over in treatment and counseling.

There is simply no book like this on the market—trust me—I have looked. I highly recommend anyone that is newly sober read this as it provides many necessary facts and explanations regarding our disease. I also recommend this book to anyone who is coming of age and thinking about experimenting with alcohol—after reading this you may think twice.

Joshua Robbins, Founder
The Addicted Project


Helen K. Erickson, LCSW

Your book is outstanding and so helpful in educating my clients at a medical clinic. Thank you so much for what you are doing in our community to get the facts out about the toxicity of alcohol and how we need to educate our parents and youth!

Helen K. Erickson, LCSW

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Susan Warren

This was an excellent seminar….It was the best presentation on the medical aspects I have ever seen. We are very lucky to have Dr. Jeff Herten available in our county.

Susan Warren, Director
North County Connection Rehab Center

Denise Braun

Loved the conference today in SLO. Dr. Herten’s presentation was captivating. When I posted information about Herten’s findings on my Facebook page, I was not surprised by the protests and finger pointing I received from talking about the risks of alcohol use. Society has a difficult time accepting that something they love to do (binge on alcohol), can be potentially fatal. I’m personally glad that Dr. Herten opened my eyes to the truth…and helped me understand how irresponsible/long term drinking can absolutely cause major health risks, including death. Thank you for your research and bravery! I’m sure not everyone is happy about your findings!

Denise Braun,
Forensic Specialist,
SLO County Mental Health


As a professional therapist employed in the recovery field for over twenty years, I am always on the lookout for new educational material for my clients. When I received the book The Sobering Truth and its associated DVD, I immediately began showing the DVD to my groups. 

The response was overwhelmingly positive and both the book and DVD are now a regular part of my curriculum. The Sobering Truth is beyond a doubt the best material I have found on the effects of alcohol on the body.  My clients found it enlightening and life changing; several want to purchase it for family members, including teenage children. It is especially effective because Dr. Herten combines personal revelations (he is a former high-functioning alcoholic) with medical facts. 

I highly recommend The Sobering Truth to anyone in or out of the treatment field. The information presented is relative to both alcoholics and anyone who consumes alcohol and cares about their health.

Kathryn Osgood, LMFT


Gail M.

I read your most excellent book The Sobering Truth. It should be required reading for early high school age through adult.

Gail M.


Chad W.

Thank you for such an awesome book. I bought The Sobering Truth two days ago and read it all—powerful and brutally honest.

Thank you again Dr Herten for giving back to others. Your style of writing was comforting and right on my level.

Chad W.

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Review by Mary Moses

Dr. Jeff Herten’s book, The Sobering Truth, is a valuable and necessary addition to the thoughtful person’s library. Too often in today’s world, the perils of alcohol are overlooked, sneered at or dismissed.

We are bombarded with the glossy, manufactured image of the drinker surrounded by alluring members of the opposite sex, expensive or exotic locales or deliriously happy sports fans. The message is clear: consume our product and you, too, can have all this.

And, too often, the public buys into this image. What adult wouldn’t want to achieve all those unfulfilled pipe dreams hidden away since adolescence? These false illusions disguise the deadly aftermath of the consumption of booze.

Binge drinking among college students has reached epidemic proportions, with several deaths by alcohol poisoning reported in the media. Ask those who live near off-campus housing or the local police about the problem.

Carefully, logically and in clear language Dr. Herten explains the insidious effects of alcohol on the human body–all of it. He relates the specific damage that occurs when the functions of particular organs are attacked and eroded by liquor. Carefully avoiding impossible-to-pronounce medical terms, he presents a compelling case for the need for everyone to recognize these dangers.

Jeff Herten brings two-fold expertise to the book:  He is a highly respected dermatologist, dermatopathologist and medical school professor; and a former high-functioning alcoholic. His story of slipping into the hazy area of addiction is compelling and the reader can easily see danger hidden in the socially acceptable, even desirable, lure of the casual cocktail or beer.

Herten never whines, but rather presents in an honest and straightforward manner the sequence of his casual drinking that led to the recognition of his problem. The reader clearly understands how his condition was hidden from colleagues, family and self. Alcoholism, he says, often lies hidden, and always is the subject of fierce denial.

Dr. Herten not only presents the perils of drinking, but presents a path to recovery. His easy-to-read book, The Sobering Truth, provides invaluable knowledge. It is an honest, courageous and well-written book.

Mary Moses, author of The Mill and The Family


I found your personal account of addiction very engaging. As someone who has worked in the medical field I was particularly interested in the effects of alcohol on the body. Your book provides a great reference tool and has become another source, like my PDR.

Chapter 50

Informed Consent for the Consumption of Alcohol


I, __________________________________, have been thoroughly informed of the risks of drinking alcohol. Specifically, I have been informed of the following (initial each statement):

________Alcohol can be addictive.

________Alcohol is a poison.

________Alcohol can cause aggressive behavior.

________Alcohol can cause temporary insanity.

________Alcohol can lead to unwanted sexual encounters.

________Alcohol can lead to sexually transmitted diseases.

________Alcohol can lead to unplanned pregnancies.

________Alcohol can cause severe depression.

________Alcohol can cause suicide.

________Alcohol can lead to other dangerous addictions such as methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and narcotic painkillers.

________Alcohol can get me arrested.

________Alcohol may promote dishonesty and immorality.

________I understand that alcohol is a factor in 50 percent of fatal highway accidents.

________I understand that alcohol is a factor in 50 percent of all homicides.

________I understand that alcohol is a factor in 50 percent of all spousal and child abuse.

________Alcohol can cause cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, colon, pancreas, liver, and prostate.

________If I already have had cancer, alcohol can allow it to spread throughout my body.

________Alcohol can cause osteoporosis (weakening of my bones).

________Alcohol can make my allergies worse.

________Alcohol can cause insomnia (sleeplessness).

________Alcohol can cause severe heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

________Alcohol can weaken my immune system.

________Alcohol can cause hepatitis, progressing to cirrhosis.

________Alcohol can cause pancreatitis.

________Alcohol can weaken my heart.

________Alcohol can cause obesity.

________Alcohol can cause diabetes.

________Alcohol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

________Alcohol can cause memory loss and dementia.

________Alcohol can cause neuropathy (a painful burning of the hands and feet).


________Even small amounts of alcohol can cause birth defects.

________Alcohol can increase my risk of breast cancer six times the national average.

I certify that I am of sound mind and body and have made the decision to drink alcohol, having understood all the possible consequences and considered the risks. I make this decision of my own accord and will hold no one else responsible. I am not giving in to peer pressure from my friends just because I want to be accepted as one of the group. I hold harmless the manufacturers and marketers of alcohol as I feel I have been adequately informed of the physical and psychological risks of drinking alcohol.



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