The hard copy version of Powerless No Longer is finally available for purchase on Amazon, along with the Kindle version. Here is the link to the book’s page. I would like to thank all of you for your support over the years, and I hope the final product meets your expectations.
Survey after survey has shown that the general public overwhelmingly believes that addiction is a disease, addicts are powerless over it, it’s a result of some sort of spiritual or moral issue, it’s hereditary, and the only hope the addict has of ever being free of it is for he or she to commit themselves to treatment, and resign themselves to life-long participation in some sort of 12-step or other semi-religious organization. None of this is true, of course, which I will address in chapter three, but for now, let’s look at these false beliefs from the standpoint of what we know today about the nature of addiction and how we become addicted.
Firstly, consider that those false beliefs stem mainly from a book that was published in 1939, called “Alcoholics Anonymous,” which became the foundation of the drug and alcohol treatment industry, and the source of most of the public’s knowledge about addiction. Not a single word or phrase in the operative portion of this book has been modified or updated in the slightest since its initial publication, seventy-plus-years-ago, in spite of all we have learned about addiction, especially in the last half-century. For its part, the addiction research community has hardly gone out-of-its-way to change public opinion either, partially because of a reluctance to challenge the established treatment industry, and partially, I suspect, due to their lack of access to the public-at-large. That last is truly unfortunate, because the truth of the nature of addiction, revealed by the available studies and research paint an entirely different picture than the one the public, and even most addicts, currently believe.
Addiction is an extremely complicated Biological, Psychological, Neurological, and social disorder, with no single cause. We are not addicts because we are weak, immoral, or fated to be so. We are addicts mostly because we learned to be, not because of any spiritual shortcoming. We became addicted because of a combination of genetics, experience, personality, opportunity, and outlook.Continue reading
Three-quarters of us who have abused or were dependent upon a substance or activity have either self-remitted or moderated to non-abusive levels, either completely on our own, or with minimal help. That we have done so without formal treatment or self-help programs has been well-established by the scientific community in many detailed studies over several decades. In fact, at least 34 studies have indicated that the single most effective treatment method for dependence is a single brief intervention from a trusted healthcare provider, such as a family doctor.[i]
In 1999, I was sitting on a hospital bed, waiting to be released, merely five days after a major heart attack, wondering how to convince my wife to stop on the way home for a carton of cigarettes. Before my cardiologist signed the release, she looked me right in the eyes and told me that if I started smoking again, my chances of dying, and doing it quickly, were four times greater than if I didn’t. If that wasn’t enough, my wife told me on the way home that she would leave me, should I ever smoke again, because she couldn’t stay around to watch me die. I have never smoked again!Continue reading
In this post, we will be talking about the first stage of the model of change, the Precontemplative, those who have not, as yet, made the connection between the substance they are abusing and the problems in their lives. Unfortunately, there is no clear program, procedure, or method guaranteed to help such people make the connection, other than trying not to stand between them and the consequences of their own behavior.
Most of us go on with our destructive habits for years until someone or something wakes us up, and unfortunately it’s impossible to predict what it will take to make a individual aware of his or her particular condition. Fairly early in my own recovery, I went along with some AA friends who were invited to tell their stories to a group of men who were confined in a minimum-security facility for alcohol-related offenses in Connecticut. These inmates were in Camp Hartell for a variety of offenses, mostly related to repeated arrests for driving under the influence (DUI), and there were even a few who were in there for what was then called “involuntary vehicular homicide while under the influence,” meaning they were responsible for the death of at least one innocent human being because they chose to continue to drink.
I talked with some of these fellows, and to a man they just couldn’t wait to get back out and “have a beer.” Here they were, locked-up, separated from friends and family, in deep legal trouble, and they couldn’t make the connection between the obvious problems in their lives and the alcohol they were drinking! I’ve worked with many substance abusers in various prison facilities, and in their minds, the problem wasn’t the substance at all, it was always something “else,” something totally out of their control that was responsible for their current situation.Continue reading