Powerless no Longer. Review of Pete Soderman Book.

Powerless no Longer. Review of Pete Soderman Book.

I felt this book by Pete Soderman was really good and would help most people who are looking to beat addiction or alcoholism. It is well laid out and has lots of practical ideas that you can use, to change the way you think, and respond in certain situations. A lot of what is discussed here is similar to what you would find being suggested at a Smart Recovery meeting and these types of evidence based techniques have really helped me. In fact Pete started and still runs a Smart Recovery group.

powerless no longer

Like myself, Pete went to AA, but moved on after a while because he wanted a different approach, and explains why really well. Many people feel that the Powerless model of addiction is flawed, and this book certainly gives you an alternative view and solutions. I like the way the book is written because it come across as talking from experience and I feel many people will empathise with what is being said. I certainly did!

He talks about a variety of methods that are available which is important, as so many people do not always realise there are alternatives to AA, even those who have been recovering for some time. He talks a lot about “Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy” (REBT) which is one of the first cognitive behavioural therapies, which can be used in self-help or in a professional led environment. This was something that really helped me, once I really started to use it! It is a great way to change your belief system and rationalise what is happening around you. He explains how we can change or strengthen our neural network by doing this, which has certainly been my experience.

He talks about “Mindfulness” which I also found helpful, and explains why it can be useful for beating addiction. Other parts of the book deal with how we become addicted and what is happening in our brains. It explains how habits are formed through repetition and how we can break the cravings for alcohol that occur. He talks about genetics and I found this whole section fascinating.

In the early stages of the book he talks about motivation and why those who are motivated can succeed. This is important as many people seem to feel that just turning up at some sort of recovery group or simply going to a rehab is going to solve all the issues, and sadly this is not true. It is important to find something that does motivate us to change and to be prepared to make changes.

He talks about relapse in a rational way and how to prevent it as well as learning from it. Most people do relapse at some point in recovery and it is also sensible to acknowledge that this is always a possibility for any of us, who have had long-term problems in the past!

I would really urge people to read this book. It was great for me to read an account of somebody else, who managed to start in AA, but then move on a find their own way. This is pretty much what I did, but he certainly explains in better than I can. There is quite a lot on neuroscience during the course of the book, which also helps explain what addiction is, and why a spiritual solution is probably not going to be the best solution for most people.

I really like the way this book has been written. It puts across well the idea of moving on in recovery and embracing new methods, when the time is right. It explains why he moved from the 12 step world that he never fully embraced, into a recovery where he was taking responsibility for his own actions and using the great techniques, on offer in Smart Recovery. I would certainly recommend this book to people who still attend AA, as many of the techniques could enhance your recovery, while using AA for fellowship and social reasons. It would also be really helpful to those who come to this blog who are thinking about moving on from AA or those who have left and are using new methods.


Amazon description of Powerless no Longer:

Pete Soderman is a published author and lecturer, with a background in computer engineering and sales. He had a 26-year drinking career that began the day before the assassination of President Kennedy, and ended in 1990. As a result of a series of events, he found himself at an AA meeting after a friend told him it was a place where he could learn to drink normally. It isn’t, of course, but he found that he couldn’t agree with its principles, nor follow most of its suggestions, except for one, he didn’t drink. Why was he successful when an overwhelming percentage of those who stumble into AA fail to stay sober for any length of time?

His search for the answer to that question is what this book is all about. He had to find his own way, and in doing that, he discovered that most addicts recover completely on their own, or with minimal help, and that their methods for doing so were readily accessible if one was willing to research the available scientific literature. He spent several years doing just that, and arrived at the conclusion that the established addiction treatment industry was using methods that the research community knew, and had known for years, were ineffective, and in fact counterproductive.

The bottom line, he found, was that the key to recovery for most people wasn’t spiritual at all, it was cognitive! A recovering addict needed a good deal of motivation, a way to overcome urges, the skills to deal with life’s normal problems without a drug, and the ability to change their focus from short-term gratification to the achievement of long-term goals. Once these became a part of one’s life, falling back into addictive habits became virtually impossible, as long as the recovered individual maintained their attitude and outlook.

He helped start a SMART Recovery® meeting in Wilmington NC, and a few years later, another one in a small village in central Mexico, where he retired with his wife, Gethyn.

Here is a link to Pete Soderman’s own Site http://powerlessnolonger.com

You may also find the Smart Recovery section of this blog to contain some useful material.




Commenting area

  1. Shawn Thomas February 9, 2015 at 10:27 am · · Reply

    If that’s so, then this book is definitely awesome! It will help people who want to pull out themselves from the influence of alcohol to start a new beginning in their lives. Yes, you’re right. It needs the decision of the person involved whether he wants a 180 degree turn or not. Also, the motive must be properly established so that he wouldn’t have a chance to change his mind. Then everything else treatment or sessions will just be easy to follow. We should disseminate what is in this book and how it helped Pete, you, and some other people who already read this book that was freed from AA to be loosed in this kind of bondage.

    • I do think it is a great book and will certainly help people make intelligent choices about how they are going to change their life to beat addiction. No book or support group will do recovery for you, and people will change their minds and make mistakes, especially in the early days of recovery.

      i do think motivation is the key to good quality recovery but getting motivated to do something better than drinking can be very hard for many! If people want to change I am sure this book will help them.

  2. Little Rock Larry April 23, 2015 at 6:26 am · · Reply

    I have walked thru the book word for word and its dynamite. He did 4 years homework and the results are anathema to the typical AA powerless mind set. I fully agree and am using some of his ideas/information-realized I was on a relapse path due major changes in my life. Now 27 years in AA i’m deciding how much/how to deprogram myself. Get it use it and GET FREE!!
    Love to all.

  3. I think it is well worth reading and the methods he talked about certainly helped me.

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