Message in a Bottle: Stories of Men and Addiction

Message in a Bottle: Stories of Men and Addiction

by Jefferson A. Singer
     
 
This series of intimate and penetrating portraits of male addicts provides a unique window onto how men relate to drugs and alcohol--and why so many are drawn to these substances. Poignant and deeply moving, Message in a Bottle brings readers to a fuller understanding of these men and the world in which they live.

Overview

This series of intimate and penetrating portraits of male addicts provides a unique window onto how men relate to drugs and alcohol--and why so many are drawn to these substances. Poignant and deeply moving, Message in a Bottle brings readers to a fuller understanding of these men and the world in which they live.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A staff psychologist for the Southeastern Council on Drug Dependence and Alcoholism who has been researching the riddle of chronic addiction since the late 1980s, Singer here focuses on the chronic alcoholic and addict who have been repeatedly exposed to treatment and rehabilitation alternatives (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous) yet choose to return to a life of substance abuse. He argues that chronically addicted patients all share an existential disconnection with society that the "disease concept" of substance abuse fails to address. Singer effectively introduces this theory and then uses the patients' own stories to illustrate. While the result is an interesting addition to the literature, it is written for counseling professionals and makes wide use of psychological terms. Recommended for academic or special libraries supporting psychology and counseling programs.A. Arro Smith, San Marcos P.L., Tex.
Kirkus Reviews
A deeply humane but also thoroughly depressing inquiry into the puzzle of what prevents perpetually addicted men from choosing recovery and sobriety.

As a staff psychologist for the Southeastern Connecticut Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Singer helped counselors to cope with addicts' psychological predispositions. To deepen his own understanding and to develop better treatment strategies on behalf of the council, he also chose to conduct two- to three-hour interviews with 31 residents of Lebanon Pines, a long-term facility for chronic addicts. Among those from that interview pool who are featured here are a gay black man; a one-time millionaire who went from rags to riches to rags again; a former major-league baseball player; and a veteran of the Vietnam War. Singer, who lets the men tell their bleak stories mostly in their own words, presents each interview within the framework of a larger contextual discussion considering how the individual story confirms Singer's theories of addiction and identity formation. Finding the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program—and the very concept of addiction as a disease—too narrow and prescriptive to account for the full complexity of addiction, Singer instead views chronic addicts as severely impaired in their ability to form an identity and find meaning in their lives. Their consequent despair can lead to such defensive behaviors as surrender, denial, and self-destruction. For these alienated men ever to recover, he concludes, they must first regain a sense of connectedness to the sober world and confidence about their place in it. To do so, he urges, they require our trust and faithful assistance.

While Singer would prefer that his insights reach and touch a broad reading public, his professional terminology (e.g., "embeddedness," "generativity") will make this slow going for anyone not trained as a counselor or a therapist.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684827209
Publisher:
Free Press
Publication date:
12/28/1997
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.43(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.18(d)

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