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The Addictive Personality: Understanding the Addictive Process and Compulsive Behaviour: Understanding the Addictive Process and Compulsive Behavior Paperback – 30 Sep 1996

4.3 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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  • The Addictive Personality: Understanding the Addictive Process and Compulsive Behaviour: Understanding the Addictive Process and Compulsive Behavior
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  • Addictive Thinking: Understanding Self-Deception: Understanding Self-deception - How the Lies We Tell Ourselves and Others Perpetuate Our Addictions
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  • Healing the Addictive Personality: Freeing Yourself from Addictive Patterns and Relationships
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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Hazelden Trade; 2nd Revised edition edition (30 Sept. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568381298
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568381299
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 207,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover


For nearly a decade, "The Addictive Personality" has helped people understand the process of addiction. Now, through this second edition, author Craig Nakken brings new depth and dimension to our understanding of how an individual becomes an addict. Going beyond the definition that limits dependency to the realm of alcohol and other drugs, Nakken uncovers the common denominator of all addiction and describes how the process is progressive.
Through research and practical experience, Nakken sheds new light on:

Genetic factors tied to addiction
Cultural influences on addictive behaviors
The progressive nature of the disease
Steps to a successful recovery
The author examines how addictions start, how society pushes people toward addiction, and what happens inside those who become addicted. This new edition will help anyone seeking a better understanding of the addictive process and its impact on our lives.

About the Author

Craig M. Nakken, MSW, CCDP, LCSW, LMFT, is an author, lecturer, trainer, and family therapist specializing in the treatment of addiction. With over twenty years of working experience in the areas of addiction and recovery, Nakken presently has a private therapy practice in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My father was an alcoholic. My mother was co-dependent. My son, a severely addicted gambler, killed himself in 2012. All my life I've had the symptoms Craig Nakken lists as endemic in people from addicted, abusive and/or shaming families; never feeling 'good enough', being very secretive, having few friends, attaching to houses and other objects rather than people, marrying an abusive man first time round, dependent on self-help books to show me how to deal with life. And I'm 58! Now I know why I'm like this, there is still time to change. This book is very readable and can change lives.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book describes what it terms "the addictive process" in which the addict falls deeper and deeper into addiction - whether to alcohol, drugs or behaviours like gambling. It makes a plausible (and not surprising) case that the motivation for the addictions is to bring about a predictable change in emotional state, which addicts come to be involved with to the exclusion of normal life activities and honest and open relationships with others. In the end the addictive part of the person - the addictive personality - comes to completely dominate the whole self, ultimately leading to the rock bottom of advanced alcoholism or other addiction.

So what to do? Well the book stands very firmly in the 12 step tradition and the second part of the book describes some of the key concepts in this type of recovery: meetings, sponsors, higher power and so on. It isn't really a how-to book, it rather sets out some the key thinking behind that tradition. The how-to, of course, would be attending the meetings and following the programme. The author seems convinced that 12 steps programmes work well, and that individual counselling doesn't.

It's a clearly written shortish book and I hope it is useful to anyone looking for help. To my mind it does, however, take a one-size-fits-all approach to recovery by staying so close to the 12 steps. Some of its generalizations about what addicts experience and how they behave do seem simplistic - surely not all addicts are alike?

So, in conclusion, what have I gained from reading this book? A plausible account of how addiction develops and takes hold; and an explanation of the key elements in a conventional approach to recovery. So I'm a bit the wiser, but suspect there are more angles on recovery than are mentioned here.
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Format: Paperback
Craig Nakken is a family therapist and addictions counsellor at the Family Therapy Institute in St. Paul, Minnesota. He describes the addictive personality as "the most important idea expressed in this book". Nakken believes that some people are more prone to addiction than others. He examines various causes of this including influences in childhood. He does not rule out agenetic element saying that, "In all likelihood, it will be found to be a combination of the two" (environmental and genetic influences). An addictive personality may express itself in any addiction. This has important consequences for treatment. As Nakken observes:- Recovery is not just about breaking off one's relationship with an object or event, though this is of great importance. Recovery is primarily about coming to know one's addictive personality and taking the necessary steps to rid oneself of addictive attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviours. An example of the effect of this is given:- "People in a recovery program for alcohol addiction need to clearly understand thatthey are prone to form a possible addictive relationship with another object or event - food for example. For these people, sobriety acquires a new dimension; instead of only monitoring their relationship with alcohol, they also need to learn how to monitor the addictive part of themselves." Craig Nakken believes that Society "can push a person with addictive tendencies toward addiction". In his book he outlines some values in modern society which are similar to addictive values. For those who are politically conscious this section provides an interesting slant on one effect of a consumer society. The section of the book devoted to the topic of recovery is perhaps the weakest section. This section would have benefited considerably from case studies and more detailed advice. -Reviewed by Patrick Harrington  
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Format: Paperback
I can't believe that this book is sold as a serious tool in the understanding and treatment of addiction.
It begins well discussing the addict as a sufferer of a disease - but draws a tenuous conclusion that it is a disease of spirituality. And from there it's only serious recommendation is that the addict needs to find God.
In addition, the only practical advice that is offered is that the reader should join a twelve-step program. Great idea, if you live in Manhattan. Not such a brilliant plan for someone in Kilburn.
To summarise, this book starts well, tails off in the middle and the less said about the end the better. It does give some insights into the behaviour of addicts and what they search for through addiction. However it's thinly veiled theologian bias does nothing to make this a serious contribution to literature on the topic, nor does it allow people suffering from the problem any opportunity to cure themselves.
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