The Heart of Addiction – Lance Dodes
The Heart of Addiction – Lance Dodes
I became aware of the work of Lance Dodes, after reading the excellent “The Sober Truth” which describes the rise of AA and importantly the way that the treatment industry, has grown out of the ideas presented by the founders of AA, such as Bill Wilson. Lance Dodes also has his own website here http://www.lancedodes.com and it was from this, that I heard about this excellent book “The Heart of Addiction” . It is a great shame that I did not find this book, when I was getting serious about stopping drinking several years ago, as I feel it would have given me a really good insight, into the problems I was facing. However, I still found it useful today and would recommend it to the target audience of this site, who are people who have moved on from the 12 step world and are living an independent life in recovery as well as those who are still struggling. It would also be of great help to those in the treatment industry, especially those who have not had much training and who come from a 12 step background.
Lance describes addiction really well here. He is a clinical Psychiatrist, with over 25 years experience helping people with addictions. He concentrates on the desires and emotions which underly an individuals addiction and not the specific object of addiction such as alcohol itself . He describes the feelings of helplessness or powerlessness that precede addictive behaviours. He shows why people who have one addiction often transfer to another. He talks about a wide range of addictions and gives good examples of stories about what has driven the addiction in various individuals, and how they found a solution after a period of time, through one on one therapy.
He blasts away, at some of the common myths about addiction, which have built up over the years. A lot of misinformation is published in the press about addiction and the popularity of the 12 step solution has led to the acceptance of very broad-based ideas that will not help many, find the root of their problems. He talks about the ways he helps a variety of people with different backgrounds through therapy, which is miles away from the one size fits all, type of solution offered by 12 step therapists who are often very poorly trained. He gives good advice on how to find a suitable type of therapy and therapist, which is really important, if you decide to go for therapy. He explains why discovering the cause of the problem is so important and mentions that good therapists may well recommend seeing another professional at some point. This was actually what happened to me. I went to AA for a bit, and am grateful for some of the support I got in the group but regarded the 12 steps as unsuitable. After talking to my family Dr, I received help from a non 12 step counsellor, with many years of experience, who after a while made a major breakthrough with me and who then recommended that I see a specific psychiatrist in Harley Street, London. Although this psychiatrist is probably one of the most expensive in London and I am lucky to be able to afford him, the solution was actually very cost-effective, compared to if I had gone to residential rehab a couple of times, for a 12 step indoctrination with some table tennis and snooker! I was able to gain a huge insight to my problems very quickly once I looked at part of my life in a different way and made a lot of progress. I would not have reached the same conclusion working the old-fashioned AA solution. This book will hopefully help other people make a more informed view of the type of treatment that could help them. I have come across quite a few people who are pretty angry about the poor quality treatment they have received in 12 step based institutions and I feel that reading this book would have helped them make a better choice, for their own needs.
Towards the end of the book he talks about the good and bad things in the 12 step world and acknowledges that support can be a great help to people in addiction. He talks about the reasons that some people really do benefit, from being a member of this type of AA group, but urges caution as the powerless concept can often cause problems for people late on in recovery. He talks about why some people find it hard to move on from AA, even though they feel it is not appropriate, due to the dynamics of the group. I think there is a lot of truth in this, and again it mirrors my experience in the 12 step world, where I found having somewhere to go away from drinkers was good in the early days, but that overall the steps were not going to lead me to solving the issues that had driven my addiction. I also met a lot of people who have damaged themselves as a result of binges and I feel that some of them might have done better, if they had followed a different recovery approach.
The previous post on my blog was also about Lance Dodes http://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/lance-dodes-interview-fix/ and talks about an interview on the Fix website that is worth a look. I generally do not read too many comments on these type of articles, as they are generally written by the same small bunch of people who have fairly extreme views, who like to argue with each other, and not look for solutions. It is interesting that much of the criticism that Lance gets is probably by people who are closed-minded and who will not read his books. This is probably a result of the dominance of the 12 step methods that is all many people have been exposed to and who treat any criticism in a similar way to an attack on religion. These people are then attacked by the handful of active anti AA people, using equally broad arguments, and this tends to result in lots of bad feeling, rather than people working together to help each other in recovery. It actually devalues some of the points being made in the article. This book will help people who have used a variety of methods in their journey, to beat their problems and take a step back, to see the issues that are really driving them. I think it is important to evolve in recovery and change support methods when appropriate, and I felt this book could help many do this.
I have just read to reading his other book Breaking Addiction: A 7-Step Handbook for Ending Any Addiction and you can see me review here http://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/breaking-addiction-7-step-handbook-addiction/ . We all have a responsibility to beat our addictions and find a solution that works for us. It is clear that the most widely known “solution”, which is AA, does not suit everyone, and in fact has very few members, that stay long-term. I am glad when good books become available with more rational approaches, which I feel can reach a lot of people who are in desperate need of finding some help.Google+