Top positive review
16 people found this helpful
Best on Subject
on 1 January 2008
The Truth About Addiction and Recovery has to be the best, most comprehensive book on the subject. The book is cogent and intelligently written. It's impeccably sourced. It was a delight to read and have EVERY single question and doubt I've had answered somewhere in this volume.
I'm troubled by the reviewer who titles his review, Disturbing, and states, "Any work that claims to be THE definitive answer to an enormously complex problem should be approached with caution." That sounds like a rational statement. However, Stanton Peele's research isn't based on feeling, like the AA model. It's based on numerous studies by many different scientists done over the past several decades that have drawn the same conclusion OVER and OVER again. And, the conclusion is that it's NOT a disease-- despite the AMA and despite AA and despite every single organization that says it is. The proof lies in this point-- that there hasn't been even ONE successful study that has proven otherwise-- even when the study was created to PROVE that it was a disease.
AA ADMITS in it's own data that only 5% of AA members remain alcohol abstinent. The data that has been proven over and over again is that this number is LESS than those that quit drinking without AA. Additionally, a recent Harvard University Study stated that 80% of those that have quit drinking did it on their own. This goes against the disease model and AA approach. Many can moderate their drinking successfully or quit successfully altogether. This goes against the disease model and AA approach, too. Stanton Peele's book shows us the studies and data that support that once addicted DOES NOT MEAN ALWAYS ADDICTED. Unless, of course, one has bought into the AA philosophy and has now accepted that they are permanently sick and out of control. This is the crux of this argument. Studies have shown that those that have bought into this philosophy wind up having a lower self-image than those that have not, and they wind up believing they are permanently sick and completely unable to manage their lives-- thereby buying into the belief that they are "out of control". The focus is never about getting better in AA (I know they say otherwise)-- the focus is on STAYING 'sick', STAYING in AA, and STAYING permanently in a "RECOVERY" state. The focus, truthfully, is in keeping old folkwisdom alive even though every bit of evidence shows us that there are proven better ways. To add insult to injury, anyone who doubts this model is accused of being in denial, and everyone who remains alcohol abstinent without AA is accused of being a dry drunk (not "sober" according to AAspeak. Hello? Isn't this supposed to be a quit-drinking program?
The problem AAers have (like the reviewer I quoted before) is that this proof (that is shown so coherently here) completely pulls their chairs out from underneath them. I understand this, too. If everything I believed was taken away from me and proven to be false, it would certainly undermine my own confidence in my ability to make decisions. And, so far, although the twelve-step "treatment" (although why we continue to call it treatment when it hasn't successfully treated anything) philosophy has continued to permeate our culture, there is absolutely no evidence at all to suggest that it is beneficial. On the contrary. The evidence proves it hasn't been and that there are better ways that have been proven to work (for instance, Community Resource and Family Training, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, and Cognitive Therapy, as well as other approaches) scientifically.