Thinking simply about addiction A handbook for recovery

Richard S. Sandor

Book - 2009

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Subjects
Published
New York, N.Y. : Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin c2009.
Language
English
Physical Description
xiii, 190 p. ; 21 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (p. 177-181) and index.
ISBN
9781585426881
1585426881
Main Author
Richard S. Sandor (-)
  • Is addiction a disease?
  • Why me?
  • Does treatment "work"?
  • Is a spiritual awakening necessary for recovery?
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Sandor's book feels more like a personal summation of a life's work than a self-help guide. Reflecting on his nearly 30-year career as a psychiatrist, Sandor presents a series of essays on how to conceptualize and treat addiction, or, rather, how to help people address their addiction. By reviewing what science has learned about addiction, he argues that the answer to dealing with addiction is not found in biology but in responsibility and personal growth, embodied in AA principles. He also addresses two thorny issues skeptics question about the 12-step programs, i.e., total abstinence and the concept of a higher power. Sandor cites numerous other works and scatters aphorisms about life and addiction throughout, two qualities that make this thoughtful book a good jumping-off point on the topic. Anyone who wants to know about 12-step programs or is dealing with drug or alcohol addiction—his or her own or that of someone close—will find this work particularly useful. Recommended for public libraries.—Fran Mentch, Cleveland State Univ. Lib. [Page 93]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Sandor, a psychiatrist specializing in addiction, has put together a thought-provoking, compassionate guide for alcoholics and other addicts to understand and overcome their disease. Sandor explains addiction as a disease of "automaticity," a change in the functioning of the central nervous system "that cannot be eliminated but can be rendered dormant." Total abstinence, Sandor asserts, is the only way to control this automatic mechanism. He compares alcoholism to allergies, both of which involve a "pathological reaction to a substance," and discusses the biological, sociological and psychological factors that make some vulnerable. In Sandor's view, medical intervention is necessary for withdrawal symptoms, but the goal of treatment is "dedicated, active member[ship in] a 12-step group" like Alcoholics Anonymous for life (in large part for the spiritual component, which necessitates "turning our will and lives over" to a higher power). Though understanding, practical and enlightening, the handbook's broader message, that addiction teaches "the same timeless lessons that bring meaning to all human suffering," is bound to be controversial. (Mar.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Evaluates the nature of addiction from a perspective that almost everyone suffers from some form of addictive challenge, in a guide that explains addiction and outlines steps for overcoming involuntary addictive behaviors.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Evaluates the pervasive nature of addiction from a perspective that almost everyone suffers from some form of addictive challenge, in a guide that explains the process of addiction and outlines specific steps for overcoming involuntary, automatic addictive behaviors. Original.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A profound yet practical guide to understanding addiction and recovery from an authority on the subject. No social problem today causes greater confusion than addiction. Whatever form it takes — alcohol, heroin, cocaine, nicotine, etc. — it tears apart homes and relationships, destroys careers and futures, and leaves loved ones asking: Why couldn't he stop once and for all? Or "get better"? Or control himself? Despite everything that's been said and written, many people remain deeply confounded about these problems. The addiction-treatment field itself is in a state of civil war because there is no consensus on what addiction is, much less what to do about it. Based on years of hard-won experience by a preeminent specialist in addictive behavior, Thinking Simply About Addiction explains the core truth of addiction: It is not a neurosis, a physical malady, a behavioral choice, or, in the narrowest sense, a moral failure. It is an automatism — an involuntary, non-stoppable behavior that once triggered leaves the addict powerless. It is a human problem and a part of human nature. As such, it is something that we all experience. In four to-the-point chapters, Thinking Simply About Addiction rises above the noise level and provides real-world help and new ways of thinking for addicts and those who care for them. Its insights are so profoundly clear and sensible that many readers will be able to say: Finally, someone gets it.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A profound yet practical guide to understanding addiction and recovery from an authority on the subject. No social problem today causes greater confusion than addiction. Whatever form it takes — alcohol, heroin, cocaine, nicotine, etc. — it tears apart homes and relationships, destroys careers and futures, and leaves loved ones asking: Why couldn't he stop once and for all? Or "get better"? Or control himself? Despite everything that's been said and written, many people remain deeply confounded about these problems. The addiction-treatment field itself is in a state of civil war because there is no consensus on what addiction is, much less what to do about it. Based on years of hard-won experience by a preeminent specialist in addictive behavior, Thinking Simply About Addiction explains the core truth of addiction: It is not a neurosis, a physical malady, a behavioral choice, or, in the narrowest sense, a moral failure. It is an automatism — an involuntary, non-stoppable behavior that once triggered leaves the addict powerless. It is a human problem and a part of human nature. As such, it is something that we all experience. In four to-the-point chapters, Thinking Simply About Addiction rises above the noise level and provides real-world help and new ways of thinking for addicts and those who care for them. Its insights are so profoundly clear and sensible that many readers will be able to say: Finally, someone gets it.