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The Heart of Addiction: A New Approach to Understanding and Managing Alcoholism and Other Addictive Behaviors
     

The Heart of Addiction: A New Approach to Understanding and Managing Alcoholism and Other Addictive Behaviors

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by Lance M., M.D. Dodes
 

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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

Overview

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:

  • Why we feel the impulse
  • Why we feel it when we do
  • What alternatives (really) work in that critical moment

In this refreshing book filled with compelling case studies, Dr. Dodes debunks several such widely accepted myths as:

  • Addictions are fundamentally a physical problem.
  • People with addictions are different from other people.
  • You have to hit bottom before you can get well.
  • You are wasting your time if you ask "why" you have an addiction.

Editorial Reviews

The Psychoanalytic Quarterly
“In a field rife with misinformation, this book represents a bright beacon of light... I recommend it wholeheartedly.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060958039
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
12/24/2002
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
360,210
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.61(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Heart of Addiction
A New Approach to Understanding and Managing Alcoholism and Other Addictive Behaviors

Chapter One

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 and other 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 very nature 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

I first noticed the pattern that I discovered underlies addictive behavior when I treated people such as Michael Franklin, a man who suffered with alcoholism. Michael had been sober for three months until the day he waited, futilely, two hours for his wife at a downtown street corner. Earlier in the day they had arranged to meet there, but she hadn't shown up. He wasn't worried, because she tended to be forgetful and this had happened before. But he couldn't leave, because she wouldn't know where he was and she didn't have a car. In addition, he had no way to reach her. There was nothing he could do. He paced back and forth. The rush hour crowds around him began to thin. He was trapped, and he hated being trapped. Then, on the far corner, he spotted a cocktail lounge. At that moment, his months of effort to stay sober disappeared from his mind. He walked across the street, went into the bar, and ordered a vodka martini, immediately followed by two more.

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...

The Heart of Addiction
A New Approach to Understanding and Managing Alcoholism and Other Addictive Behaviors
. Copyright © by Lance Dodes. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Lance Dodes, MD, is assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in the Division on Addictions. He has been director of the substance abuse treatment unit of Harvard's McLean Hospital and director of the Boston Center for Problem Gambling. He has been elected a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry.

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The Heart of Addiction: A New Approach to Understanding and Managing Alcoholism and Other Addictive Behaviors 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RogerCombs More than 1 year ago
Material was well researched and provides a complete and indepth understanding of the complexities of abuse and addiction as it relates to your body and psyche. The foundation to dealing with an addiction is to first gain a thorough understanding. This book provides that and more.