This post is the first of the “New Era” of this website. I recently gave a talk at a gathering here in Ajijic outlining my plans for a new book, “Recovering in Chaos,” and a podcast of the same name. Below is the text of that talk in its entirety, making this a much longer post than usual. Sorry for that, but here are the reasons that I see for writing the book and doing the podcast.
I wrote Powerless No Longer because I couldn’t not write it. I saw a need to do what I could to spread the word about cognitive recovery in an environment that at the time was overtly hostile to the idea that there might be a better way to approach addiction than the traditional 12-step modality. Today, most of that hostility has dissipated, at least in the professional community, primarily due to hundreds of studies done in the last five years demonstrating the efficacy of cognitive tools.
One result of this is the exponential growth of SMART Recovery, the leading self-help group using evidence-based methodologies. When I became involved with SMART in 2006, there were perhaps 200 meetings in the US and Canada, period. Today, the story is a little different. There are now 2,500 meetings on six continents, and over a hundred scientific peer reviewed papers on various aspects of the SMART program.
This growth is due to several factors, one of the important ones being the acceptance of cognitive methods in the battle against addiction by the professional community, but one of the primary drivers has been the surge in the need for recovery programs of all types due to the significant recent uptick in overdoses and addictive problems in general.
The tentative title of my new book and podcast is Recovering in Chaos. First I’ll explain why I chose the title, then I’m going to try and make the case that the exploding addiction and overdose problems in the US aren’t totally due to the factors we’re told they are. Lastly, I’ll talk about potential solutions, but unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of positive things to say about the possibilities.Continue reading
Three years have passed since the publication of Powerless No Longer, and it’s time to make some long-overdue changes. Despite my best efforts to keep the book a secret, it continues to sell. Each and every month I’m amazed by the number of copies that are purchased all over the world, in either electronic, hard copy, or audio format.
A lot of this has been due to the decision by SMART Recovery® to place the book on its “recommended reading list,” and it’s a good thing they did because that’s about all the marketing it has been subject to. That is going to change, beginning now.Continue reading
Powerless No Longer has been released as an audio book! David Smalley, and his fine crew at Dogma Debate have produced and released an audio version on the Amazon affiliate, Audible.com. Those of you who have been waiting for the audio version can purchase it here.
I am very pleased with the way the book has been selling, and I thank all of you for your support over the years. This version opens up a whole new market for Powerless, and will allow it to reach many more people. I would like to thank David for his belief in the book, and his willingness to invest his time and resources in the scribblings of an unknown author. His comment after completing his voiceover of the book was:
“I never really struggled with a major addiction outside of cigarettes many years ago; but after I was done with this voiceover, I realized how much it has helped me in every day life, to perceive reality and take inventory of the emotions I applied to situations. It’s helped me in relationships, and to even make progress in my business. I am a better person after reading this book.”
Powerless is beginning to sell in the overseas market as well as the US,which is very gratifying to me, as I never expected the book to become known outside of a relatively small circle. I thank you all!
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