Wilderness Survival Helped to Turn One Boy’s Life Around

I read a book entitled Against Medical Advice: One Family’s Struggle with an Agonizing Medical Mystery, by James Patterson and Hal Friedman. At first this is going to sound like something you’d see on Oprah’s show rather than here—and for all I know, maybe this has been on Oprah. Nonetheless, bear with me a while because there are important reasons for sharing this.

Against Medical Advice tells the story of Cory Friedman, a young man who battled Tourette’s syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety. It’s told from Cory’s point of view and demonstrates the family’s tough love, courage and commitment.

This isn’t some heart warming sob story. While some reviewers call it inspiring, it’s a gutsy, in-your-face account of Cory’s frustrations and triumphs with his body and mind.

Though the family took him from one specialist to another, the best most could do was offer an unbelievable cocktail of medications that aggravated Cory’s condition more often than not.

I understand the genuine need for medications because my own health situation requires a limited number of them, in spite of my best efforts to approach things nutritionally. However, to me, Cory’s story speaks volumes about the unconscionable attitude and behavior of conventional medicine and pharmaceutical companies who think they’re God’s best gift to humanity.

The book starts with a teenage Cory being taken to a mental hospital to help him kick alcohol, which he felt did him more good than most of his meds. Once the family walked through the hospital’s doors, the only way Cory could leave with his family before 72 hours had passed was for his father to specify that he wanted Cory released AMA—against medical advice.

That marked a turning point for both Cory and his family, who began searching for solutions other than medications only. For example, Cory needed help changing his thought patterns.

One significant event for Cory was the few weeks he spent at a wilderness survival camp for troubled teens—in Wyoming during the winter. Such would be difficult for anyone, let alone someone like Cory, whose life was dominated by his involuntary ticks, obsessions and anxieties.

The intense rigors of daily life in the wilderness forced Cory to focus on survival, physically and mentally, which proved to be instructional, motivational and therapeutic.

I’m sure there are those who will say, “I could have told you that.” They know getting outdoors can be a good experience for any of us. Thus, camping trips, hiking, hunting, etc.

Cory’s experience proves a point and raises questions that go beyond a day’s or weekend’s outing.

If we experience a total societal collapse or an EMP that changes life for all of us as we now know it, we’ll all get a taste of wilderness survival, and many won’t make it. But who will?

Could we see people like Cory surprisingly come through in the absence of pills and cell phones? Will many of those who are presumably stronger or better prepared fall by the wayside? The book Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why seems to indicate that such is indeed possible. This is why mental attitude and adaptability are such critical components of survival.

Cory’s wilderness adventure comprises only a small part of the story in Against Medical Advice. If your curiosity has been piqued and you want a copy of the book for yourself, click on its title wherever you see it linked in this post. That takes you to the page where it’s featured, and you can place your order from there.

Don’t miss this one. It’s worth the read.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.