- Taschenbuch: 432 Seiten
- Verlag: Touchstone (15. März 1992)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0671755307
- ISBN-13: 978-0671755300
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14 x 2,8 x 21,4 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 8 Kundenrezensionen
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Truth About Addiction and Recovery (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 15. März 1992
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Refutes conventional attitudes toward addiction and recovery and presents a program of behavioral changes for personal recovery.
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But what if the answer is in between these two poles of thought?
I certainly had MAJOR reservations before I opened this book. Any work that claims to be THE definitive answer to an enormously complex problem should be approached with caution.
Peele raises some critically important issues surrounding current thought on addiction. Foremost is the "disease" model itself. As Peele indicates, this allows people to abdicate personal responsibility for their addiction, a claim Peele says that is the backbone of AA--and the problems with the AA approach to addiction. But a careful reading of "Alcoholics Anonymous" and related literature published under the auspices of AA is more complicated than Peele acknowledges. It is not simply a matter of learned helplessness. On the contrary, AA literature stresses that the individual must take personal responsibility for their actions: no one forced an alcoholic to drink. It is not enough to "turn one's life over to a higher power" and wait for the miracle to happen. That is a simplistic reading of the AA program--one critics of the program seem to make again and again. On the contrary, the addict must take a proactive approach to recovery. Praying and meditating are all very helpful, yes, but only a small part of the total recovery process. And Peele does not, I believe, properly acknowledge that. Perhaps a more reasonable approach to the problem of alcoholism is to say that whether or not it is a chronic, lifelong "disease," it certainly acts like one. And then to discuss the ramifications of that. Simply dismissing it wholesale as Peele does again and again does no one any service.
Peele's answer to this can be similarly reduced to the "pull up those socks and get a move on" approach to recovery. For example, certainly environment plays a factor in addiction, but Peele gives it too much weight. If environment were so all-determining a factor, why does addiction remain a problem at *all* socio-economic levels and environments? I agree that addictive behavior is the symptom of a life out of control. But then again, so does AA. But to state that crack is considered more addictive than powder cocaine because typical crack users live in poor environments with little chance of bettering their lives is a questionable conclusion. Furthermore, to state that most people who become addicted grow out it (oh it's just a stage), is as disturbing to me as the disease model is to Peele. Shall I use and use and use until, by some magical process of maturity, I don't have the desire anymore? According to Peele, I would have a better chance of recovery doing that than if I followed a 12-Step Program.
Certainly there is much to criticize with the current AA and disease-approaches to addiction. And lumping in other behaviors like shopping and sex trivializes the problem. AA's insistence on it being the only effective approach to addiction is equally questionable. But AA does one thing Peele does not: it allows the individual to take what is useful *and to leave the rest behind.* As I stated earlier, I think the answer will eventually be found in between these two poles of thought. Peele's approach, while raising some issues that must be reconsidered, is not THE answer; it is just one answer, and a disturbing one at that.
I've always disputed that things like sex, food, and shopping could be addictions, without denying that people can clearly go overboard with such things to ignore inner turmoil or avoid responsibilities they can't cope with, or because they lack relationship skills. Peele's view is that this characterizes *all* addiction, and treatment should involve learning coping, communication and interpersonal skills. The biggest controversy surrounding Peele, however, is his assertion that most people gain life skills naturally as they mature -- when people get jobs or find something they care for and have better things to do then get smashed -- making clinical treatment unnecessary for addictions in young people. He sites sociological studies that show that most drug users "mature out" of drug use, even if the drug use involved drug binges or other obvious addictive behavior.
Still think that some drugs are just more "addictive" than others? Is it the drug or the person taking them? What makes a person take a hard-hitting drug to begin with? I had never really thought before what it meant that crack was more "addictive" than cocaine. As crack is mostly consumed in poor, degraded environments leading most into dead-end lives, what motivation - what opportunity - does one have to put down the pipe get a life? This book makes a strong case for looking at environment, sociological and psychological factors in addiction, not brain chemistry.
This book also opened my eyes to what happens to people who don't go through therapy or drug treatment. I only looked at the statistics that evaluated people *in* treatment, not those who never went! When you consider how most therapy, especially the 12-steps do not address life skills and in fact hinder them with their rhetoric of powerlessness and doomed childhood, its not really a surprise that untreated people have the same or better outcome as people in treatment.
Most people who use cocaine (and other drugs) do not use it regularly, those who use it regularly do not become addicted and those who become addicted recover on their own. Sound outrageous? Citing several thorough sociological studies, this statement becomes more and more believable as you read this book.
I used to think that behavioral compulsions, like addictions to sex and food, were different from substance abuse. Surely shooting heroin involves a chemical dependency, whereas overeating or spending all your money on porn and peep shows is a sign of psychological escape, right? Some say that all such behaviors are biological, but that sounded preposterous to me. This book drove home the idea that ALL addiction, be it abusing credit cards or smoking crack cocaine, is a symptom of a life out of control, not the cause. The book clearly illustrates how people become addicted when their lives lack meaning and hope, during painful transitions, and when they don't have the life skills or coping skills to ride out the rough edges of life.
Why is smoking crack considered more addictive than sniffing powder? People who smoke crack are generally people who live in the desperation of the inner cities, so they have less *motivation* to overcome their addiction, not a stronger drug.
Any serious student of sociology or psychology should read this book
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