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The Heart of Addiction: A New Approach to Understanding and Managing Alcoholism and Other Addictive Behaviorsby Lance M., M.d. Dodes
Synopses & Reviews
Time for a Change
Len, a forty-three-year-old man with long-standing alcoholism, had managed to stay sober for six months. He couldn't remember when he had been able to go this long without a drink. As he stood in his home looking up at the botched handiwork of the man he had hired to fix his ceiling, he abruptly made a decision. Striding purposefully over to the refrigerator, he pulled out a beer and began to drink.
It was late afternoon when Susan drove by the convenience store on the way home from work. Still ahead of her were food shopping, a trip to the vet to pick up the dog's medicine, and straightening up for the impending weekend visit of her parents-in-law. Thinking about these chores, she began to slowly shake her head back and forth. Although she had sworn to her husband that she would not waste any more of their money on lottery tickets, she parked the car and with grim determination entered the store that she knew contained the Lotto machine.
A hard rain made it difficult for Steven to see out the windows of his car. His search was already hindered by the fact that in this weather the prostitutes would be huddling in doorways, instead of strutting openly as on most nights. But he had to find one. Almost every night, he had to find one.
Alcoholism and other addictions are among the most important problems we face in our society. Yet, if you look beyond pat ideas about their cause, such as alcoholism is a disease, nobody has really had an answer for why people with addictive behaviors continue to repeat them in the face of their awful consequences. This book will offer an answer to the core Why? question of alcoholism andother addictions, and will provide the chance for you to do what so many of my patients have done: use this new understanding and the practical tools that flow from it to take back control of your life.
You may be concerned about this subject because you are suffering with an addiction, and perhaps have wrestled with it on your own or have tried one or another treatment approach, without much success. Or, you may worry that a behavior of yours is addictive and want to know the difference, beyond simple formulas and labels, between just doing something too much and having a real addiction. You might also be concerned about a loved one who suffers with an addiction and has not been able to get well — or hasn't found a way to look at his or her problem in a way that feels safe enough to begin to deal with it. Finally, you may be interested in a new way to think about addictions because you provide professional help to people suffering with these problems, and have been dissatisfied with the help you are offering using the usual traditional approach.
In this book, I am going to tell you things that are very different. In fact, in some ways this new approach stands traditional views on their head.
For over twenty years, as a psychiatrist in both substance abuse units of hospitals and in my private office, instead of trying to sell people on a set, preexisting program, I have spent my time "listening to the experiences of people suffering with addictive behaviors. Often I have been moved by their stories of struggling with an urge that seemed so much more powerful than they were. It was after listening to a great many people that I realized I was being told something new about the verynature of addiction. And with the limited success I saw with the standard approaches, it seemed to me that it was time for something new.
This new approach is not a simplistic, one-size-fits-all recipe of quick fixes that cannot possibly work for everyone. This book is self-help of a different sort. I will give you the tools to help you understand and master your addiction, illustrated with many examples of how people have individualized these new ideas for themselves. I believe that you will find in the stories of these people and situations elements that resonate with who you are as an individual — and that these stories and my discussion of them will enable you to thoughtfully and usefully apply this new understanding of the nature of addiction to yourself. This is, in fact, just what they did.
A New Way of Thinking
The next day when I met with him and he recounted his experience, something surprising emerged. We learned that he began to feel better not when he started to feel the physical effects of the alcohol or when the first sip of martini passed his lips. He had begun to feel better "the moment he decided to walk into...
Book News Annotation:
Dodes (psychiatry, Harvard Medical School) argues that human emotions, not genetics or disease, is the central driver of addictive behavior. He presents a self-help guide that uses descriptions of case studies to demonstrate his central thesis that addictive behavior is primarily about gaining a (false) sense of empowerment over feelings of helplessness. It is rage at this helplessness that drives addiction. Addiction, therefore, is a displacement for other actions that could address feelings of helplessness.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Discusses the emotional drive behind addictions and addictive behavior providing readers with the power to master one's addiction by identifying and addressing emotional needs.
The Heart of Addiction presents a new and extremely useful approach for understanding the drive behind alcoholism and other addictive behaviors, and helps readers regain control their lives. Dr. Lance Dodes rejects pat explanations of alcoholism as a disease and instead explores the underlying emotions that drive addictive behaviors. Dodes contends that all addictions— from alcoholism to compulsive gambling to sexual addiction— have, at their heart, certain emotional factors that once understood can be successfully managed. With compassion and deep understanding, Dr. Dodes provides readers with the keys to mastering their addiction and helping them uncover: why they feel the impulse; why they feel it when they do; and what they can do to address these emotional needs another way. Filled with compelling case studies, the book is sure to change the way we think about and treat addictive behaviors.
Nobody has had an answer for why people with addictions continue to repeat them — until now.
For more than twenty years, distinguished psychiatrist Dr. Lance Dodes has been successfully helping people master their addictions — alcoholism, compulsive gambling, smoking, sexual addiction, and more with a radical approach. Dr. Dodes describes how all addictions have, at their heart, unrecognized emotional factors that explain:
In this refreshing book filled with compelling case studies, Dr. Dodes debunks several such widely accepted myths as:
About the Author
Lance Dodes, M.D., a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, where he is a member of the Division on Addictions. He is also the Director of the Boston Center for Problem Gambling. He has served as the director of the alcoholism and substance abuse treatment unit of Harvard's McLean Hospital, and as the director of the alcoholism unit at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital (now part of Massachusetts General Hospital). He is also on the faculty of the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute, where he teaches courses in compulsive and addictive behavior. Dodes's work has been published in many professional journals.
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