Addiction is a preventable, treatable disease, not a moral failing. As with other illnesses, the approaches most likely to work are based on science — not on faith, tradition, contrition, or wishful thinking.
These facts are the foundation of Clean, a myth-shattering look at drug abuse by the author of Beautiful Boy. Based on the latest research in psychology, neuroscience, and medicine, Clean is a leap beyond the traditional approaches to prevention and treatment of addiction and the mental illnesses that usually accompany it. The existing treatment system, including Twelve Step programs and rehabs, has helped some, but it has failed to help many more, and David Sheff explains why. He spent time with scores of scientists, doctors, counselors, and addicts and their families to learn how addiction works and what can effectively treat it. Clean offers clear, cogent counsel for parents and others who want to prevent drug problems and for addicts and their loved ones no matter what stage of the illness they’re in. But it is also a book for all of us — a powerful rethinking of the greatest public health challenge of our time.
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About the Author
DAVID SHEFF is the author of several books, including the #1 New York Times best-selling memoir Beautiful Boy. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Wired, and many other publications. His ongoing research and reporting on the science of addiction earned him a place on Time magazine's list of the World's Most Influential People. Sheff and his family live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit David at DavidSheff.com, and on Twitter @david_sheff.
Table of Contents
Author's Note ix
I America on Drugs
1 This Is Your Brain on Drugs 3
2 This Is Our Nation on Drugs 12
II Why We Use
3 Everybody Does It 29
4 Helping Kids Grow Up 44
III When Drug Use Escalates
5 Use Becomes Abuse, and Abuse Becomes Addiction 77
6 Addicts Aren't Weak, Selfish, or Amoral-They're Ill 88
7 Don't Deny Addiction, Don't Enable It, and Don't Wait for an Addict to Hit Bottom - He Could Die 103
8 Intervention 114
IV Getting Clean
9 Finding Treatment 127
10 Detox 141
V Staying Clean
11 Beginning Treatment 149
12 Primary Treatment 170
13 Treating Drug Problems with Drugs 198
14 Where Does AA Fit In? 207
VI Treating a Chronic Illness
15 Treating Dual Diagnosis 237
16 Relapse Prevention 251
VII Ending Addiction
17 The Future of Prevention and Treatment 271
18 Fighting the Right War 284
The Clean Paradigm in Twelve Steps 310
Appendix: Just Say Know 318
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Having been in the same boat as David Sheff, I can appreciate the work he put into this book. I researched many of the same things, but as a journalist, Sheff was able to do a thorough study of this issue and give some great recommendations. Very readable, helpful book that contains a lot of myth busters. I am very happy to see someone look at the science of addiction and realize that we have learned a lot since the 1930s when AA originated. What other life threatening disease would we treat with 1930's protocols? When people are really in crisis and looking for immediate answers, they may not have the time or the sanity to read this book. But the entire addiction community should read it and challenge some of their widely held but not science based beliefs. We can do a better job of treatment if people are willing to open their minds. My only criticism is with his prevention chapters. He needed to go further and discuss how checking off all the prevention strategies can not guarantee prevention of the disease. It read at times like he blamed divorce, or other circumstances for causing addiction. Much like the exercise-obsessed vegan with a family history of heart disease, prevention strategies may help, but not eliminate the risk of heart attack. Having read the comments written following a review of this book in our local paper, I was appalled. Way too many people still look at addiction as a moral failing. This issue affects many aspects of public policy yet our society is terribly uneducated and wrongly educated about it. I hope this book can help start some rational discussions.
I bought this book for a friend who's son is battling addiction. It has truly changed her life and I am so glad. She said this book changed how she looked at drug addiction.
David Sheff has a clear-cut writing style. Due to his experiences with his son's addiction, this is not a purely objective book, yet he does the legwork and research to get the best information possible on this complex and difficult subject. At times his conclusions are a bit fantastical (i.e.: ridding the American prison system of the majority of criminals through alcohol and drug-treatment), however his heart and mind are in the right place and I'd rather be in his optimistic world than the cynical-violent cycle we've been in for the past 20-years. I enjoyed reading this book both for its easy-to-read accessibility and for the excellent research. It definitely spurred me to do more reading and research on my own, and to encourage others (especially in the mental health, medical, and government arenas) to read it as well.