Life Process Program Blog
Proceed with Caution: The Pandemic and Harm Reduction
We are in a time of choices and balancing acts. As the Coronavirus lingers, we face difficult choices. So medical officials advise us to proceed with caution. Meanwhile, the ubiquitous protests in the U.S. and elsewhere following the execution-style...read more
The History of Harm Reduction for Addiction – LPP PODCAST Episode 22
Harm reduction therapy is based on four principles: While absolute abstinence may be preferable for many or most substance abusers, very few will achieve it, and even that small group will take time to do so and may relapse...read more
Dr. Sandy Steingard on “Critical Psychiatry” – LPP PODCAST Episode 21
Dr. Sandy Steingard is a psychiatrist and the chief medical officer of a statewide non-profit organization in Vermont called The Howard Center. She is also a blogger for Robert Whitaker’s online Magazine called “Mad in America” and she’s the...read more
Robert Schwebel talks to Zach about his “Seven Challenges” program – PODCAST Episode 20
Robert Schwebel is a psychologist, author, and the creator of a non 12-step program called “Seven Challenges”. Dr. Schwebel’s “Seven Challenges” are a practical guide for people, young and old, to really understand their relationship with drugs and alcohol...read more
Harm Reduction in Policing and Addiction
Harm Reduction is the elimination of worst-case scenarios with drugs and alcohol. Can the same concept apply to policing? The Life Process Program utilizes harm reduction techniques in addictions. These involve cases where people are not abstaining completely from...read more
Greater Goals – Module Eight of the Life Process Program – PODCAST Episode 19
Today’s episode is the final in a series of eight where Zach talks directly to Dr Stanton Peele, the founder of the Life Process Program. Each week they discuss one module of the eight-module program, and in today’s episode they...read more
Maturity – Module Seven of the Life Process Program – PODCAST Episode 18
Today’s episode is the seventh in a series of eight where Zach talks directly to Dr Stanton Peele, the founder of the Life Process Program. Each week they discuss one module of the eight-module program, and in today’s episode...read more
Resources – Module Six of the Life Process Program – PODCAST Episode 17
Today’s episode is the sixth in a series of eight where Zach talks directly to Dr Stanton Peele, the founder of the Life Process Program. Each week they discuss one module of the eight-module program, and in today’s episode...read more
Resources – Module Five of the Life Process Program – PODCAST Episode 16
Today’s episode is the fifth in a series of eight where Zach talks directly to Dr Stanton Peele, the founder of the Life Process Program. Each week they discuss one module of the eight-module program, and in today’s episode...read more
Rewards – Module Four of the Life Process Program – PODCAST Episode 15
Today’s episode is the fourth in a series of eight where Zach talks directly to Dr Stanton Peele, the founder of the Life Process Program. Each week they discuss one module of the eight-module program, and in today’s episode...read more
Pete Davidson’s Path to Recovery: Work, Collaboration, Responsibility
Pete Davidson is an American phenomenon. The youngest cast member ever to appear on Saturday Night Live, at age 20, now 26, he stars in and wrote the forthcoming movie, The King of Staten Island, directed by Judd Apatow...read more
Motivation – Module Three of the Life Process Program – PODCAST Episode 14
Today’s episode is the third in a series of eight where Zach talks directly to Dr Stanton Peele, the founder of the Life Process Program. Each week they will discuss one module of the eight-module program, and in today’s...read more
Values – Module Two of the Life Process Program – PODCAST Episode 13
Today’s episode is the second in a series of eight where Zach talks directly to Dr Stanton Peele, the founder of the Life Process Program. Each week they will discuss one module of the eight-module program, and in today’s...read more
Self Reflection – Module One of the Life Process Program – PODCAST Episode 12
Today’s episode is the first in a series of eight where Zach talks directly to Dr Stanton Peele, the founder of the Life Process Program. Each week they will discuss one module of the eight-module program, beginning today with...read more
The Future Is Now – Tackling addiction amidst the pandemic with LPP
We are in the midst of a disastrous mental health and addiction epidemic, in which the U.S. is at the bottom of the world heap. (See the 2019 World Happiness Report chapter, “Addiction and Unhappiness in America.”) This plummeting...read more
How To Get Over Addiction in Ten Life Steps: The Ian Powell/Kilter Grips Story
Ian Powell, co-founder (with Jackie Hueftle) of the US climbing gear firm, Kilter Grips, has a long story to tell about addiction, which he did for BBC Business News. A rock climber and gifted designer, Powell co-founded eGrips in...read more
Rick Barnett on Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy – Life Process Program PODCAST Episode 11
Today Zach talks to Dr Rick Barnett. Rick is a doctor of Psychology – Clinical, Mental/Behavioral Health & Addiction Consultant. Rick has been accepted into the ‘class of 2020’ at the California Institute for Integral Studies in their Certificate...read more
Dr Ross Greene | Working collaboratively with children | Life Process Program PODCAST Episode 10
Today’s episode is an excerpt of a conversation our LPP coach Zach had with developmental psychologist and best selling author, Dr Ross Greene. They talk about how Dr Ross came up with a way to work collaboratively with children...read more
Life Process Program PODCAST Episode 9 – On Outgrowing Addiction with Common Sense
In todays episode, our LPP coach Zach Rhoads reads an extract from the book “Outgrowing Addiction: With Common Sense Instead of Disease Therapy” that he co-authored with Dr Stanton Peele. With drug overdoses continuing to rise at an alarming...read more
Life Process Program PODCAST Episode 8 – Bill Kinkle on 12-Step Coercion
In todays episode, our LPP coach Zach Rhoads talks to Bill Kinkle. Bill calls himself a ‘person in recovery’ although he is quick to explain that the term probably means something different to him than it does to...read more
LPP, Coronavirus, and Addiction
LPP’s value has become even clearer in the Age of the Epidemic Many organizations are now presenting themselves as online alternatives for addiction therapy. My Life Process Program (LPP) has been offering online coaching and help for addictions of...read more
Life Process Program PODCAST Episode 7 – Outgrowing Addiction
Today’s segment is an excerpt from Dr Stanton Peele’s recent appearance on a Texas radio station called Cultural Baggage, hosted by a man named Dean Becker. In this episode, Dr Peele discusses the simple truth that the majority...read more
Life Process Program PODCAST Episode 6 – Interview with Brooke Feldman
On this podcast, our LPP coach, Zach Rhoads talks to Brooke Feldman. Brooke is an addiction professional who earned her grad degree from the university of Pennsylvanian. Brooke currently manages methadone clinics in Philadelphia. Brooke openly identifies as...read more
Is Coronavirus the Death of AA?
AA may be among the victims of the modern plague. At least if musician Laurie Wright is any example. For Wright, “AA meetings were my saving grace, by going to them every day.” And now? “We do the meetings...read more
Competing Motivations: social engagement versus social distancing
If, as Johan Harri said, the opposite of addiction is connection, what do we do in a pandemic when the safest thing to do is actually avoid each other? These are unprecedented and challenging circumstances. I don’t need to...read more
What Is It with Painkillers? A response to Prof Jamie Coleman
Prof Jamie Coleman, in an article published on the BBC website, has a solution for the painkiller (or opioid) crisis — a crisis that is particularly virile here in the US, where going on a million people have died...read more
Life Process Program PODCAST Episode 5 -Dr. Stanton Peele Does Q&A With Group In Galway Ireland
On this podcast, Dr. Stanton Peele delivers a talk to a group of helping professionals in Galway Ireland. His keynote addresses the importance of recognizing values– as well as motivation, skills, connection, purpose, and meaning– in overcoming addiction....read more
Life Process Program PODCAST Episode 4 – Dr Peele Interviews Harm-Reduction Experts Patt Denning and Jeannie Little
Today’s episode is a throwback! Dr. Stanton Peele interviews harm-reduction therapists and authors of the book, Over The Influence, Patt Denning and Jeannie Little. These ladies were (and are) at the forefront of commonsense, harm-reduction based therapy. Their...read more
Beating Addiction through Self-Help
In a famous research piece, Barry Tuchfeld interviewed people who strove to lick a drinking problem on their own. These individuals rejected the value of AA and treatment in their lives. Here are some of the statements made by...read more
Outgrowing Addiction: With Common Sense Instead of “Disease” Therapy – S. Peele & Z.Rhoads
Stanton Peele, Ph.D., J.D., The Atlantic: One of the experts changing how we see addiction Zach Rhoads, School child development specialist “Outgrowing Addiction is a meditation for parents on how to avoid the trap of medicalizing...read more
Ask Stanton: Being forced into Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) against a pregnant patient’s will
Dear Stanton, I just found out I was pregnant. My husband was told years ago he couldn’t have children so you can imagine our surprise. I was in an accident a few years ago and was prescribed hydrocodone 10mg...read more
Life Process Program PODCAST Episode 3 – Are We “Trauma-Informed”?
Dr. Stanton Peele and Zach Rhoads answer the following frequently asked question: Is LPP a “trauma informed program”? They offer a definition of “trauma” in several contexts. Then they discuss differences between traumatic events and adverse conditions in life. Peele...read more
My boyfriend smokes weed and it is affecting our relationship
Dear Stanton, My fiancé is good person for the most part. He is a hard worker and treats me well the majority of the time. The problem is he smokes weed a lot, lies to his parents about it....read more
VIDEO: Drugs Do Not Define Addiction, with Stanton Peele
Our Life Process Program’s founder and creator, Dr. Stanton Peele, Ph.D. spoke to a group at The Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust on March 29th via teleconference called Drugs Do Not Define Addiction. The topic is one...read more
Life Process Program PODCAST Episode 2 – Rewrite your life story
Rewrite your life story. The Life Process Program takes clients through a staged review of their life stories, focusing first on mistakes, continuing to how they might have acted differently to avoided these pitfalls, to reconceiving their life...read more
Managing Meds, Life, and Suicide: Claire Tomalin
A brilliant literary editor and biographer, whose editing and writing penetrates deeply into her subjects, has fatal trouble in her own life. Claire Tomalin is an English literary editor (Sunday Times) and award-winning biographer (of Mary Wollstonecraft, Samuel Pepys,...read more
Stanton Peele & Jim Breslo (Hidden Truth Podcast): How to Fight Forced Participation in AA and NA
Stanton Peele: Author of Resisting 12-Step Coercion: How to Fight Forced Participation in AA and NA. One of the country’s foremost experts on addiction joins Jim Breslo (Hidden Truth Podcast) to explain that we focus too much on the...read more
Life Process Program PODCAST: Episode 1
We’re pleased to launch the NEW monthly #LPP Podcast that our coaches Zach and Aaron have initiated. Each month, Stanton Peele & Zach Rhoads will tackle & discuss a clinical addiction issue. The first episode deals with this clinical...read more
Over the last two decades, Stanton Peele has answered numerous questions from readers about the following subjects: Addiction Questions Nonsubstance Addictions How To Think About Solving an Addiction Sex and Relationships Society and Science Questions Drug Policy Harm Reduction...read more
Questions From Treatment Professionals – Ask Stanton
Do values pay a role in addiction? What can I say to my employers who push 12-step methods? Can people use narcotics safely, even with benefits, for years?read more
Alternate Treatments – Ask Stanton
Does naltrexone work? What do you think of SMART Recovery? What exactly is the community reinforcement approach (CRA) and how effective is it? Is salvation a cure for addiction? What do you think of naltrexone therapy for alcoholics? What...read more
Beneficial Drinking and Alcohol Policy – Ask Stanton
Are there any positive effects of drinking alcohol?read more
Harm Reduction – Ask Stanton
Can I ever get off methadone? How? Is harm reduction therapy too risky for a therapist to try? What do you think of my individualized harm reduction treatment? Can I ever get off methadone? Can I get wasted once...read more
Drug Policy – Ask Stanton
Should physicians prescribe narcotic substitutes? Can my son’s marijuana use be therapeutic? Tell me about needle-exchange programs and drop-in centresread more
Nonsubstance Addictions – Ask Stanton
Can I create an intervention to force my parents to address my sister’s shopping addiction? Is there such a thing as workaholism? Can a person be addicted to get-rich-quick schemes, and how can I stop my father from ruining...read more
Webinar: Love and Addiction Revisited with Stanton Peele and Archie Brodsky
Love and Addiction Revisited Saturday, October 13, 2018 5:00 PM EDT Register: www.smartrecovery.org/events Stanton Peele and Archie Brodsky will join SMART Recovery® for a FREE Special Event Webinar revisiting the concept of behavioral addiction first espoused in 1975...read more
Purpose Driven Recovery Through The Life Process Program
The Life Process Program (LPP) is a PURPOSE DRIVEN program. What does that mean? In LPP, people learn skills and attitudes, and use their beliefs and personal assets, including relationships and communities, to leave addiction behind. But underlying...read more
Love & Relationship Addiction: How can the The Life Process Program© support?
The Life Process Program addresses addiction, and yet it deals with love and relationships. How do those fit with addiction? Love & Relationship addictions exist when a person devotes themselves so much to one type of experience or involvement...read more
Food Addiction Treatment: The Life Process Program Approach
When we consider drug addiction and alcoholism, we understand that no one needs to use these substances. But how can someone be addicted to a life essential, like the food we eat? An addiction exists when something fills an...read more
Jenn’s experience with NA
Last week we wrote to tell you how several readers are using the comments in the blog section of our website as a forum for sharing their experiences. In the following extract, Jenn shares her experience of escaping from...read more
Sharing experiences through our blog
The Life Process Program Blog features several (anonymized) exchanges between Dr Peele and his readers. We wanted to share these experiences to allow readers to learn more about Dr Peele’s thoughts and opinions, but what we didn’t expect to...read more
I read your book and quit drinking, then became a social drinker!
Dear Dr. Peele, I went through a somewhat nasty divorce in 1990, along with getting laid off from my job. I realized that I had a drinking problem, and I attempted to moderate my drinking. I was somewhat successful,...read more
What Does It Mean to Be Addicted?
Could I be addicted? I can’t be an alcoholic? I wouldn’t say I’m addicted? I’m not THAT bad. My doctor prescribed these. I only bet on sports. Everyone watches porn. Do any of those statements feel familiar? It seems...read more
Pills, Heroin and Street Drugs: What you Need to Know
Painkillers aren’t Addictive like Heroin, Right? It seems like it should be clear. Prescription painkillers are something you take for “polite pain,” like for a backache, or post-surgery; many keep them and use them when a shoulder acts up,...read more
The worlds BEST online addiction treatment program… just got better!
The Life Process Program is proud to announce a significant update to its unique online addiction program, including a new look, new content and new features! The Life Process Program was first created and implemented as an inpatient program...read more
So whats the benefit in quitting an addiction?
IF MOTIVATION is the force that drives you to act, then rewards are what you gain from that activity. People quit their addictions when they begin to get more rewards for living without the addiction than they got from...read more
Overdose and Other Drug and Addiction Myths
Everything you believe about drugs/addiction is wrong. EVERYTHING. It matters. I. Drug Overdose Tom Petty died from, according to the New York Times headline, an “Accidental Drug Overdose.” Here’s the coroner’s list of the drugs found in Petty’s system: fentanyl,...read more
Addiction is NOT a disease
THE GROWTH OF ADDICTION TREATMENT in the United States, predicated on the idea that alcoholism and addictions of all kinds are diseases, is a public-relations triumph, and not a triumph of reason or science. The idea that modern addiction...read more
Self-manage your ‘addiction’ with the Life Process Program
The disease model of addiction does more harm than good because it does not give people enough credit for their resilience and capacity to change. It underestimates people’s ability to figure out what is good for them and to...read more
Are you READY to quit your addiction?
THE simplest answer to the question “When do people change?” is “When they want to.” No amount of science, therapy, and brain scans is ever going to change this truth. This module shows how critical motivation is in overcoming...read more
How to Beat Addiction
This program points out many actual stories of recovered addicts, virtually all of whom did it on their own. These cases come from all walks of life, and from all of my many activities. That is, some are based...read more
Why It Doesn’t Make Sense To Call Addiction A Disease
We frequently hear from people who say: “I drink too much sometimes, but I don’t think I’m an alcoholic. And I don’t want to stand up and talk about myself in front of a group. Is there any other...read more
People All Around Us Quit Addictions
In spite of what the government and treatment programs tell us, we all know that many people escape addictions without treatment. How do we know? Because so many of us, our friends, and our loved ones have quit addictions,...read more
The Solution to the Opioid Crisis
Everyone has a solution for the opioid epidemic. Here’s a real one. Here’s what we must do to improve our addictive situation In 2016, the American Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, announced in a new report on addiction, as though...read more
Is Harvey Weinstein Addicted to Love?
Power monster Harvey Weinstein isn’t after sex, primarily. What does he want? This post is in response to The 7 hardest addictions to quit – love is the worst! by Stanton Peele Everyone agrees that Harvey Weinstein is a...read more
Painkiller addiction is almost nonexistent, according to government data
Painkiller addiction is almost nonexistent, according to government data. News item: The Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, headed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, was released. It declares, in the most lurid terms, that we are...read more
Theories of Addiction – A Detailed Analysis
In many cases, addiction theorists have now progressed beyond stereotyped disease conceptions of alcoholism or the idea that narcotics are inherently addictive to anyone who uses them. The two major areas of addiction theory—those concerning alcohol and narcotics—have had...read more
The Myth of Addiction as “Equal Opportunity Destroyer”
The worst of the disease theory is that it says everyone is equally susceptible News Item: New county-level data from the CDC highlight the extreme geographic variation in opioid prescription rates, with some areas showing average morphine equivalents per capita 10 times...read more
Anthony Bourdain’s Updated Addiction Report Card
He may smoke, he certainly drinks and, good God, that 60-year-old is trim! This post is in response to Anthony Bourdain’s Addiction Report Card by Stanton Peele Anthony Bourdain is the worldly gastronomical traveler with an addictive past. ...read more
Our Drug Death Epidemic Is Worse than Ever But everything we say and do to combat it accelerates the problem.
“I have a theory, of which Maggie Hassan is but one example: We don’t really care whether people become addicted, or whether they die. We only care about maintaining our cultural blinders. All of our energy goes into that...read more
I’m Sorry If You Can’t Drink Alcohol
It’s a regrettable loss to your life, which you may find necessary. I have an older friend (even older than me!) who can no longer drink alcohol or coffee. She has had an unusual drinking career. She came from a...read more
How The Today Show and Ronan Farrow Kept Me from Telling the Truth About Addiction
Source: Vice on-line magazine I have described how liberals are the most ardent supporters of the disease theory of addiction. (Disclosure, I am a liberal.) This truth was driven home for me by my recent humiliation on The...read more
Our Drug Death Epidemic Is Worse than Ever
But everything we say and do to combat it accelerates the problem. The American Ethos and Drug Addiction and Death An odd moment occurred on MSNBC when the host of “All In with Chris Hayes” interviewed liberal New Hampshire...read more
Are Addiction and Mental Illness Really Brain Diseases?
The two primary (New York) intellectual organs, the New York Review of Books and The New York Times, have recently featured two powerful cultural icons saying exactly opposite things. Marcia Angell, the first woman editor-in-chief of the New England...read more
The Health Care Crisis and the Addiction Crisis Are the Same
Donald Trump was elected by a white underclass that is resentful, suicidal, and addictive, and whose existence is declining rapidly. The most noted element in the current health-care debate is how the Republicans’ White House champion, along with the...read more
Reducing Drug Deaths: Heroin Injection By Appointment
The next step in addiction Tx is assisting those addicted to heroin to inject The United States has been stymied in reducing drug-related deaths, which have continued to grow even in places where Naloxone and other anti-overdose medications have...read more
Subject: INSPIRED. A plea from a dissident
Subject: INSPIRED. A plea from a dissident Dear Dr. Stanton Peele, I am in much need of your advice. I am nervous sending this to you because, 1: I am anxious and have been most of my life; 2:...read more
To Stanton From AA Minority
Dear Dr Peele, Thank you for writing “Diseasing of America: How We Allowed Recovery Zealots and the Treatment Industry to Convince US We Are Out of Control,” and co-writing “Resisting 12-Step Coercion: How to Fight Forced Participation in AA,...read more
Why Liberals Love the Disease Theory of Addiction, by a Liberal Who Hates It
Because they can’t draw unfavorable inferences about life in poor ghettos or poor rural communities (to which they have little exposure), liberals are drawn to the belief that drugs cause addiction. I couldn’t disagree more. But as a card-carrying...read more
William White Book Review – Recover!
Book Reviews Stanton Peele with Ilse Thompson. Recover! Boston, MA: DaCapo. 2014. 320 pages. $24.99 (hard cover), ISBN: 978-0-7382-1675-1 Background Something quite interesting is happening in the world of addiction publishing. The unending stream of books on drugs, drug...read more
Normalizing Drug Use
We have entered an era in which drug use is widespread, almost ubiquitous, and yet at the same it is viewed as unmanageable and uncontrollable. We need instead to accept and to regulate drug use. Several recent key writings in...read more
The Good and the Bad of Trauma Theory in Addiction
Why the Life Process Program doesn’t focus on trauma—it doesn’t work! Trauma theory has come to dominate addiction practice. It is commonplace to hear assertions that all addiction is due to trauma, or the converse—no one can escape the...read more
That Time When a Devastating Attack on a Seminal Controlled Drinking Study Set Us Back Decades
Recent reports on the harm reduction movement portray its rude health—yet simultaneously, a catastrophic event could at any point challenge its growing acceptance. To me, the situation recalls a disastrous confrontation that long negated a hugely promising development, before...read more
Like Bad Drug Laws, the Disease Theory of Addiction Ruins Lives: We Must Target Both
Disease Theory of Addiction The disease theory of addiction underpins punitive and abhorrent drug policies—but in fact, its negative impact is evenworse than this. Recently, two notables on an addiction theory list to which I used to belong debated...read more
Anyone Can Escape Addiction
Earlier this year, Maia Szalavitz, my fellow Influence columnist and an old comrade-in-arms, released her masterful book, Unbroken Brain, one that displays skills I only wish I had, and that I try to emulate. In it, she’s kind enough...read more
In Addiction, We Must Constantly Reassert That Research Beats Experience
A piece on The Influence last week by Patrick Hilsman, a member of this publication’s editorial team, strikingly recounted his experiences—both pleasurable and harrowing—with heroin, to which he was once addicted. He contrasted these personal experiences with some received...read more
Seven Things We Must Understand About Addiction to Undo the Mistakes of the Past 40 Years
When Archie Brodsky and I were writing Love and Addiction in the early 1970s, a medical resident told us, “Oh, we’ve established what addiction was long ago.” It turns out, that wasn’t true. In 2013, DSM-5, the most recent...read more
Sometimes I Worry That AA’s Media Fan Club Won’t Be Enough to Secure Our Addiction-Free Future
We heard last week how Arianna Huffington, running her eponymous publication, bravely fought against criticism of 12-step programs in a report on heroin addiction in Kentucky that was eventually nominated for a Pulitzer. Should that surprise us? Of course...read more
Addiction Is Always There – How To Keep From Drowning In It
We are recognizing that addiction is a regular part of life, and it scares the hell out of us. When I published Love and Addiction with Archie Brodsky in 1975, we received catcalls from my fellow faculty members at...read more
Chronic Brain Disease and Addiction
Abstract The world, led by the United States, is hell bent on establishing the absence of choice in addiction, as expressed by the defining statement that addiction is a “chronic relapsingbrain disease” (my emphasis). The figure most associated with...read more
Does the Word Addict Cause Harm?
This week on Talk Recovery, Dr. Stanton Peele discusses: ‘Does the word addict cause harm?’ Listen to his response.read more
People Conquer Addiction With Their Minds
Americans are dead set on finding a magic-bullet solution for thier addictions. Experts in the field, including pharmacologists, neuroscientists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists—adding their voices to the 12-step movement—are all clamoring to be recognized as the true messiahs leading us...read more
WEBINAR: Drs. Stanton Peele and Tom Horvath Talking about Addiction for Kids and Young Adults – SMART Approaches
This is a wide-ranging talk about addiction and today’s youth and teens. Dr. Horvath, SMART’s President, interviews Dr. Stanton Peele on what is needed in society, in public policy, for parents, and for those in the caring and justice...read more
Why We’re Losing the Battle with Addiction
When I first started looking seriously at addiction in the late 60s, people would ask why I was interested in it. “We already know everything about addiction,” one student told me. My answer to him was that I wanted...read more
Addiction will always be there – But there IS a way out
We are recognizing that addiction is a regular part of life, and it scares the hell out of us. When I published Love and Addiction with Archie Brodsky in 1975, we received catcalls from my fellow faculty members at...read more
Affordable Community Based Drug Addiction Treatment
In line with Andrew Tatarsky’s and Shaun Shelly’s current entries, I would like to hear more of the thoughts on making drug treatment more available, and accessible on an as-needed basis. ” Howard Josepher Thanks for inquiring, Howard. The...read more
What Is the Purpose of an Addiction Intervention Treatment?
In the United States today, our goal is to shunt the troubled/addicted individual out of the home and into treatment. By itself, that doesn’t work. What is the purpose of an intervention? In the United States, members of...read more
Self Help Addiction Treatment
Here are five practical techniques that I use in my Life Process Program, which follows an empowerment model as opposed to a disease approach for addiction treatment.: 1. Empowerment All of psychological change is based on people’s belief that...read more
How to be a Leader, by Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs reveals his success secrets from beyond the Pearly Gates. “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.” Steve Jobs, college dropout, 2005...read more
I Don’t Want You to Drink!
People know alcohol’s a poison, so I don’t want them to drink—let them die early with dementia! I’ve given up telling people that alcohol makes you live longer, about which I first wrote for the American Journal of Public...read more
Two Approaches to Harm Reduction: Goal-Setting and Meaning
Stanton Peele meets with four harm reduction experts to discuss alternatives to abstinence-based programs like AA. Let me begin with a disclaimer: I lead a dull life. A 69-year-old, I live alone in a rear house in Park...read more
On Love Addiction in Middle Age and Beyond
The cautionary tale of love lost late in life via Sean Penn and Charlize Theron. As the author of Love and Addiction (a book published in 1975 that sold steadily for decades, and was just re-released on Amazon), I...read more
The Diseased States of America
Calling addictions diseases is driving us all crazy I usually watch Morning Joe, MSNBC’s early-morning news program, while working out at the Park Slope YMCA. First, I have to confess, I have used my visits to the Y to...read more
Are We Creating Our Own Addiction Surge?
Rather than over-diagnosing, is psychiatry actually causing the maladies it laments? The American Psychiatric Association creates the gold standard for diagnoses of mental disorders in the United States—and worldwide—through its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. DSM-IV was...read more
Studies Show that Drinking Problems Are Increasing. Here’s Why.
And are we simply barking up the wrong tree in response to our current failures? The United States has been conducting massive national surveys of 35-40,000 plus Americans’ drinking every 10 years with names like NLAES and NESARC. NESARC...read more
When Drug Therapy for Addiction Is Dangerous
Relapse is common for drug treatments—but worse is when people attribute their recovery to them. This article discusses three kinds of drug therapy in addiction: Substitution or maintenance of a less harmful version of the same addiction (e.g., Suboxone,...read more
Online Addiction Treatment Can Work – Effective, Affordable & Anonymous Alternative to AA
At a time when diagnoses are set to increase, I’m working to establish online addiction treatment. Some doubt the value of Internet programs, but their reach is unparalleled and evidence suggests they can work. We are about to witness...read more
Can People Outgrow Sex Addiction?
Yes, just like they do drug and alcohol addictions. But Dear Prudie doesn’t know that. I regularly write about natural recovery from addiction because it illuminates the underlying dynamic of why people recover in bold relief: they quit because...read more
Addiction Prevention: Can Your Child Avoid Addiction?
There are two models for thinking about addiction: the exposure and the resilience models. In the exposure model, addiction is caused by simply being exposed to the addictive object. The epitome of this view of addiction is that...read more
12 Concepts of Recovery from Addiction That Have Stood the Test of Time
1. Purpose I emphasize natural recovery from addiction. In particular, I talked about quizzing a large audience of participants at the International Cannabis Business Conference about their smoking histories. From one half to two-thirds of the group who had...read more
Is Addiction a Disease?
Drug addiction is not caused by the effects of drugs alone. After decades of growing acceptance, the concept that addiction is a medical disease (more exactly, a chronic brain disease) is suddenly being linked to the drug war—and being...read more
I Learned It by Watching You: How Television Distorts Drug Addiction
Addiction is not a function of drug use—it is a standard feedback phenomenon that occurs with or without drugs, whereby people immerse themselves in immediately rewarding experiences that detract from their larger lives. This definition of addiction makes clear...read more
Overcoming Trauma: Lessons from the Football Field
I have written before about my view that emphasizing trauma is counterproductive. Everybody has had trauma, and to focus on its role in your life is to hinder you going forward. This is especially true with addiction. The problem...read more
American Addiction Treatment Is Shame-Based
Addiction therapy focuses people on their deficiencies and addict identities. Have you ever read the 12 steps? Here are excerpts: Step One: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol…” Step Five: “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another...read more
Famous AA Members Who Didn’t Make It
The sudden death of any person who takes a particular path to address addiction represents a failure of that approach. Yet this year we still cried out for more of the same. Any mention of the most notable—and horrible—deaths...read more
Alcoholic Denial – Can it Help You to Recover?
Acknowledging your addiction problem is the first step to recovery, you will hear. But evidence shows that being saddled with an “addict” identity often harms people. Chris drank recklessly throughout his 20s, often getting black-out drunk several times a...read more
What Can a Teenage Murder-Suicide Tell Us About Addiction?
The tragic events in a Washington high school last Friday underline that the most severe addiction of all is not what most people would imagine. We are still exploring the motivations behind Seattle-area high school student Jaylen Fryberg’s suicide...read more
Do We Export Addiction?
Do you know that Richard Nixon announced victory on the importation of such “hard” drugs as cocaine and heroin in 1973? Of course, we are observing the 100th anniversary of the Harrison Narcotics Act, which made heroin, cocaine, and...read more
Exclusive Podcast: Dr Tom Horvath Questions Dr. Stanton Peele on Addiction
This is an unparalleled opportunity to hear a truly broad-based discussion on addiction in the context of the latest in research and treatment by two unsurpassed experts. WEBINAR: Questioning Dr. Stanton Peele — with Dr. Tom Horvath Stanton Peele,...read more
Why We Need to Normalize Drug Use in Our Society
After the disastrous misconceptions of the 20th century, we’re returning to the idea that drugs are an ordinary part of life experience and no more cause addiction than do other behaviors. This is rational and welcome. Drug use was...read more
Exchange Between Gabor Maté and Stanton Peele
Stanton Peele described an unpleasant encounter he had in Vancouver with Gabor Maté last November. Gabor then wrote a series of 13 points. Stanton Peele asks some follow-up questions. Gabor Maté wrote: I’ve followed this multifaceted discussion with interest....read more
How Useful is Trauma as a Therapy Tool?
A personal story from Stanton Peele for www.rehabs.com I had a client who often referred to negative family experiences she had when explaining the rut she was in. Although I won’t detail her current problems or her traumas out of...read more
Why Liberals love the disease theory of addiction, by a Liberal who hates it
The disease theory of addiction is convenient to liberals because it spares them having to say negative things about poor communities. But this conception of addiction harms the very people we wish to help. Because they can’t draw unfavorable...read more
Here’s What Robin Williams Doesn’t Teach Us About Addiction and Depression
Numerous pundits eagerly tell us that Williams’ death underlines the importance of conventional treatment and abstinence. It does no such thing. Media commentators have been lining up to tell us that Robin Williams’ death shows how vital it is...read more
Profile of a Heroin Scare
Vermont’s governor famously devoted his entire State of the State Address to Vermont’s heroin crisis. And, so, it was natural for a new heroin scare to be featured on NBC’s recent program, “Hooked: America’s Heroin Epidemic.” Here are two principle...read more
The Future of Addiction: Dr Stanton Peele’s Predictions for the Next 40 Years
WHAT THE NEXT 40 YEARS HOLD FOR THE ADDICTION FIELD This post originally appeared on Substance.com as “The Future of Addiction: My Predictions for the Next 40 Years.” 1. The concept of addiction will not disappear, and in fact will be deployed more...read more
7 Ways to Prove People Aren’t Born Addicts
Alcoholism and addiction are rarely permanent—they are more likely to be so if you are convinced that they are. There are a variety of arguments explaining alcoholism and addiction—that they are brain diseases, that they are due to permanent...read more
Addiction as a Social Disease
That addiction often seems to read income tax returns – so that the better off you are, the better your chances for recovery – indicates that addiction is more than a biological disease. Poverty, Hopelessness, Addiction, Recovery We don’t...read more
Is it harmful, wrong, and illegal to force people into the 12 steps?
Juliet Abram described for The Fix her unhappy time in AA (she was also in 12-step rehab), forced there by the Ohio court system after each of her three DUIs. Except, following the last, she started her own chapter of...read more
AA Sexism – Does the dominance of men and male thinking in AA hurt women?
This post is based on the experiences of Juliet Abram, a person who recovered from alcoholism with help other than from Alcoholics Anonymous, which she found hurt her. Juliet writes: “Our Father” was recited at my very first AA...read more
Why we need an alternative to the AA
Stanton Peele challenges the received wisdom of the 12-step approach. I recently received this email from a UK addictions worker: ‘Stanton, I was in a public health meeting today (well I was until I walked out). The...read more
Don’t Call Yourself An Addict
It was with great pleasure that I read Meghan Ralston, of the Drug Policy Alliance’s, piece in the Huffington Post, entitled, “I’m Breaking Up with the Word Addict,” in which she wrote: When we do feel the need to...read more
Why We Need to Stop Nora Volkow From Taking Over the World
Stanton Peele versus Nora Volkow in the On-line Magazine, Substance.Com Stanton Peele sees the future of addiction and addiction treatment, and it is bleak. The disease theory of addiction, which has always been with us in one form or...read more
After 75 Years of Alcoholics Anonymous, It’s Time to Admit We Have a Problem
For much of the past 50 years or so, voicing any serious skepticism toward Alcoholics Anonymous or any other 12-step program was sacrilege—the equivalent, in polite company, of questioning the virtue of American mothers or the patriotism of our...read more
TV Addiction – How To Best Help My Son?
Hi Dr. Peele, Season’s greetings from Calgary! My son is obsessed with TV watching. He is 13 years old. However he is addicted to Cartoons, Laptop games. He spends up to 12-13 hours in front of TV. Whenever we...read more
I Have Relapsed So Many Times
Dr. Peele, I have relapsed so many times but I went to Betty Ford and got 1 year 5 months clean. Then my husband told me to get off my insomnia med (Trazodone) and I did. Then he told...read more
Cross Addiction – Is There Such a Thing?
Hello Dr. Peele, I was hoping you could shed some light on a the topic of cross addiction for me. I have just recently found out what cross addiction is, the idea that if you are addicted to one...read more
What Can Obama’s BRAIN Do?
by Stanton Peele People imagine that President Obama’s massive new ($100 million) brain mapping project will unlock the secrets of the brain, including how we act and why we succumb to mental illness and addiction. It won’t. Two milestones...read more
Overcoming disease treatment for addiction: A first person account
Dr. Peele: I stumbled across your web site, but I was familiar with your work already. I wanted to write you a letter and let you know that your book, The Truth About Addiction and Recovery was a great relief to...read more
The Truth About Addiction and Recovery – Introduction
Contents | Chapter 1 | Stanton Peele, Ph.D., and Archie Brodsky with Mary Arnold (1992), The Truth About Addiction and Recovery. N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, Inc., pp. 9–16. Introduction The growth of addiction treatment in the United States, predicated...read more
Addiction is not a Disease – there are alternatives to AA
The Truth About Addiction and Recovery Why It Doesn’t Make Sense To Call Addiction A “Disease” We frequently hear from people who say: “I drink too much sometimes, but I don’t think I’m an alcoholic. And I don’t want...read more
The Truth About Addiction and Recovery
Stanton Peele and Archie Brodsky with Mary Arnold The Truth About Addiction and Recovery. N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1992 (as modified by the authors for the Life Process Program, 2010). Contents Introduction 1 Why It Doesn’t Make...read more
What is Addiction
The following 5 questions are designed to get you thinking about what is addiction: 1. Is addiction limited to illicit drugs? Quite clearly, the answer to this one is “no.” In the U.S. today, narcotics addicts are more likely to...read more
Love and Addiction: Appendix
Chapter 4 | Contents In: Peele, S., with Brodsky, A. (1975), Love and Addiction. New York: Taplinger. © 1975 Stanton Peele and Archie Brodsky. Reprinted with permission from Taplinger Publishing Co., Inc. Appendix A. Responses to Morphine and a...read more
Love and Addiction: Authors’ Preface, 1991 Edition
Contents | Introduction | In: Peele, S., with Brodsky, A. (1975, 1991), Love and Addiction. New York: Taplinger. © 1975, 1991 Stanton Peele and Archie Brodsky. Reprinted with permission from Taplinger Publishing Co., Inc. Authors’ Preface, 1991 Edition...read more
Love and Addiction: Introduction
Preface | Contents | Chapter 1 In: Peele, S., with Brodsky, A. (1975), Love and Addiction. New York: Taplinger. © 1975 Stanton Peele and Archie Brodsky. Reprinted with permission from Taplinger Publishing Co., Inc. Introduction “Love” and “addiction”: the...read more
Love and Addiction: 4. “Love” as an Addiction
Chapter 3 | Contents | Appendix | Further Reading In: Peele, S., with Brodsky, A. (1975), Love and Addiction. New York: Taplinger. © 1975 Stanton Peele and Archie Brodsky. Reprinted with permission from Taplinger Publishing Co., Inc. 4. ...read more
Love and Addiction: 3. A General Theory of Addiction
Chapter 2 | Contents | Chapter 4 | 3. A General Theory of Addiction I hate its weakness more than I like its pleasant futility. I hate it and myself in it all the time I’m dwelling on...read more
Love and Addiction: 2. What Addiction Is, and What It Has to Do with Drugs
Chapter 1 | Contents | Chapter 3 | Further Reading 2. What Addiction Is, and What It Has to Do with Drugs Breuer preferred what might be called a physiological theory: he thought that the processes which could...read more
Love and Addiction: 1. ‘Til Death Do Us Part
Introduction | Contents | Chapter 2 1. ‘Til Death Do Us Part I need your love to survive Without it I’m just half alive . . . . . . I’m forgetting all my pride I couldn’t leave...read more
Love and Addiction
Stanton Peele with Archie Brodsky ©1975, 1991 by Stanton Peele and Archie Brodsky Reprinted with permission from Taplinger Publishing Co., Inc. ISBN # 0-8008-5041-6 There are more spells than your commonplace magicians ever dreamed of. —Joseph Conrad, Victory Views...read more
Change is Natural
Writing to SMART Recovery counselors and group leaders, Stanton reminds them that recovery is a natural process, one assisted by counselors and support groups, or reinstated when a person goes in the wrong direction. When presenting this view, Stanton...read more
Sex and Relationships – Ask Stanton
Save me from the addict I’m with What should I do? I cheated on my alcoholic husband, now he can’t stop thinking about it I gave up everything for my boyfriend and now that he’s left, I’m desolate I’m...read more
Addiction Questions – Ask Stanton
Is marijuana addictive? What kinds of people do you think are at high risk for addiction? How come the scientific explanations of addiction I receive in drug court and treatment make no sense to me? Is Valium a real...read more
Forensic or Legal Questions – Ask Stanton
I was concerned about my alcohol consumption, and now I am forced into treatment. What should I do? What is the correct punishment for two DWIs in five years? Can you develop an alternative program when a court orders...read more
Questions About Family Members – Ask Stanton
How do you help an addict hundreds of miles away? The wondering spouse asks: How do I fight my husband’s treatment with him? How do I rescue my marriage when my husband deserts me and the family for AA?...read more
Personal Questions- Ask Stanton
Am I a marijuana addict? How do I make a secure place for myself in life? Can I use marijuana and cocaine as antidepressants? I am social activist for whom both AA and Jack Trimpey have failed; what can...read more
12-Step Questions- Ask Stanton
22-year-old struggling with leaving AA Can I argue against AA in my philosophy debate? Where do I go for help now that I am out of AA? I grew out of AA Is my son an alcoholic? Did my...read more
Resuming Social Drinking and Drug Use – Ask Stanton
How do you define relapse? Is taking cocaine every every now then less dangerous than using it on a daily basis? Should an AA member who feels capable resume moderate drinking? Is my moderate drinking okay or was AA...read more
Treatment – Ask Stanton
Is it better to rely on psychiatric drugs and to lose the feelings that they mask, or to risk suicide? Why won’t they let me off methadone? Here is my story of being hospitalized for a drinking problem Should...read more
Society and Science Questions – Ask Stanton
Is my adopted baby doomed by her mother’s drug use? How should I raise a crack baby? Are all crack users addicts? Should society disapprove of addiction? I avoid withdrawal in the wilderness, but not at home Why do...read more
How To Think About Solving an Addiction – Ask Stanton
How can I overcome withdrawal when I quit drinking? My alcoholic counselors says I’m an addict — am I? How can I combat my withdrawal from meth? Police lectures to students How do you help a talented and attractive...read more
Is there such a thing as workaholism?
Dear Stanton: Is there such a thing as workaholism? I’ve read three-fourths of the material on your website and haven’t run into any material dealing with the topic. I do understand that under your model of addiction, any...read more
Heretic in a 12-step treatment system
I just read some letters on Stanton’s web page about the difficulties of being a non-disease counselor in a field dominated by 12 step approaches. I have been employed in this business since 1974 and was an early escapee...read more
How do I fight my husband’s treatment with him?
Hi, Stanton… My husband was admitted into a well-known treatment center for alcoholism after a family intervention. I (his wife) was not told about the intervention until the day before it was to occur — it was planned by...read more
Skill at Substance Use
We don’t ordinarily think of substance use as involving skill. But the concept of skill at substance use is essential in treatment, harm reduction, and prevention. The Pre- and Modern History of Substance Use There are two large framing...read more
They put people in addiction treatment without withdrawal symptoms!
Further Reading Stanton: I have been looking for an address for you for months and am glad that I finally found it! Your book “Diseasing of America” is the first I have read that agreed with me about...read more
We Need a Conceptual Breakthrough in the War on Drugs
Among the misconceptions fostered by AA and the disease theory of addiction is the idea of “hitting bottom” — that there is some objective state beneath which no human being will go. The same is true in our misconceptions...read more
I avoid withdrawal in the wilderness, but not at home
Further Reading Dear Stanton: Once again, I’m quitting smoking. I have this technique for quitting that I’ve been using for the last couple of years (obviously an amazingly successful technique!). It always makes me think of your ideas....read more
Why drink or use drugs at all?
Further Reading Dear Stanton (hope you don’t object to the first name), Thanks for taking the time to answer my rather vague questions. I will look into some of the sites you mention as well as your own...read more
The Meaning of Addiction Has Changed — Addiction is Not a Characteristic of Things
Writing as editor of MedPage Today, the redoubtable George Lundberg* confidently (and briefly) declared: “All drugs are habit-forming, but only a subset of psychoactive drugs can produce psychological and physical dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms when taken away, the usual...read more
Have You Ever Noticed? People Take Drugs
Let’s see, I have three lead-ins to this post. Lance Armstrong — American icon and seven-time Tour de France winner (when I was coming up, Americans weren’t even competing in the Tour) — has given up his fight against charges that...read more
Mindfulness and Harm Reduction in Addiction—The Caffeine Example
This post is a response to What Caffeine Really Does to Your Brain by David DiSalvo Whenever people can be shown how any mood-affecting substance affects their brains, it becomes easier for them to comprehend the thing can be addictive. Which...read more
Marijuana Is Addictive – So What?
The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, January 7, 2006. Research increasingly shows that intensive marijuana use often meets the technical requirements for addiction (or dependence). Analysts use this as evidence of the need to maintain the drug’s illegal status. But...read more
Where do I go for help now that I am out of AA?
Stanton, I am 35 years old and have had problems with alcohol on and off since I was about 15 years old. I have never been physically addicted to any susbtance/alcohol other than nicotine. I had several incidents that...read more
Can I get wasted once in a while?
Further Reading Hey, Stanton. Ok, I haven’t gotten really drunk in a while. But for some reason, the only thing I had on my mind for the last couple of weeks was drinking until I got totally wasted,...read more
If Gambling, Games, and Sex are Addictive, What is Addiction?
Gambling Addiction DSM 5’s announcement that the psychiatric diagnostic manual will, for the first time, call something addictive that doesn’t involve substance abuse — gambling — has opened the floodgates. It is intriguing to consider how gambling was placed in this...read more
Why does my friend waste time in AA instead of me?
Further Reading Dear Sir: I have a very dear friend who is going threw her 3 AA rehab program. She is starting her 3rd month of a 3 month program. Here is the question. She is a person...read more
Are a “Sensible” and a “Scientific” View of Addiction the Same?
Calling gambling and game addictions brain diseases is a stretch. DSM-V’s announcement that the psychiatric diagnostic manual will, for the first time, call something addictive that doesn’t involve substance abuse—gambling—has opened the floodgates. It is intriguing to consider how gambling was placed...read more
Is “Almost Alcoholic” a Useful Concept?
Lowering the threshold for alcoholism can make us mindful, or hobble us Based on a post in The Atlantic—“Are You Almost Alcoholic? Taking a New Look at an Old Problem”—Gizmodo has helpfully(?) declared: “Is Everyone You Know an Alcoholic?” These posts...read more
Addiction Is All in the Delivery
That the DSM-5 substance-use-disorders committee has decided one thing that doesn’t involve a psychoactive substance — gambling — can be addictive has set off a debate about what is the most addictive non-drug experience of all. Leading candidates are love/sex/porn/Internet/food —...read more
iPhones, Games and the Addictive Experience
Addiction is all in the delivery system That the DSM-5 substance-use-disorders committee has decided one thing that doesn’t involve a psychoactive substance—gambling—can be addictive has set off a debate about what is the most addictive non-drug experience of all. (One of...read more
Why People Get Better
Novelty-seeking used to make people alcoholic, now it makes them creative. The large population studies from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (called NLAES and NESARC) that have found three quarters of ever-alcoholic people become stably sober, and a majority of those...read more
The War of the Addiction Worlds – Four incompatible views of addiction
Four incompatible views of addiction fight to capture America’s consciousness This post is going to be unusually brilliant, even for me. In it, I review four factions warring against one another for our consciousness about addiction. “Chronic Brain Disease” = the dominant view...read more
Do values pay a role in addiction?
Dear Chris: I noticed with great interest and appreciation your chapter incorporating values in motivational interviewing in the latest edition of Motivational Interviewing. Values is often the missing link, in my view, in both clinical research and therapy....read more
Is Valium a real addiction?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: I was disappointed in your web site. I combed through it but not a word on the most harmful and troublesome drugs, benzodiazepines. It is well known that benzo withdrawal is as bad as...read more
My whole family is in AA
Dear Dr. Peele: My name is , and recently I had the great fortune of stumbling across your web-page. Wow! What a life-changing event that has turned out to be! I will not bore you with a comprehensive...read more
Proof That Treating Addictions With Drugs Doesn’t Work
For some time, nicotine replacement therapy (nicotine patches and gum) has been the sine qua non of pharmacological treatment for addiction. NRT’s pedigree is unassailable — if smoking addiction is due entirely to maintaining cellular nicotine levels, then replacing nicotine through...read more
Is TV addictive and can the addiction be treated?
Stanton, Can addictions in non-substance abuse cases be related to drug addiction, for example to technologies like the web or TV? Is there counseling for that? Amit Dear Amit: The same general issues apply for non-substance and for substance...read more
The Opposite of Mental “Disease”
People outgrow and control mental illness, the opposite of a disease I often write about how — as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has only recently rediscovered – most alcohol and drug dependent people recover on their own. (See my...read more
How do you help a talented and attractive addict?
Further Reading Dear Stanton This is the first time I really devoted considerable time to your website—because it’s the first time I ever needed close-to-home advice on the topic of addiction. I invited a young guy (28) who...read more
What kinds of people do you think are at high risk for addiction?
Further Reading Stanton, What kinds of people do you think are at high risk for addiction? Why do you believe that fear of a drug problem may actually make people more susceptible to addiction? Thanks! Carrie Trebucq Dear...read more
How Did We Discover Sex Addiction?
We have discovered sex is addictive—why now, with what implications? As the author of Love and Addiction (in which I discussed sex addiction in 1975), I have kept a close view on the societal vision of addiction in re sex. I pointed out in that book...read more
Can People Have Different Personalities?
People sometimes seem to act differently in different situations Herman Cain’s wife, a lovely, appealing woman, has declared that the accusations of sexual harassment and assault against her husband are impossible: “I know that’s not the person he is. He...read more
There Will Never Be a (Useful) Addiction Vaccine
And here I thought all that addiction vaccine talk had been put to rest in 2009. Yet, there it was staring me in the face at the top of the on-line edition of The New York Times: An Addiction Vaccine:...read more
The Benefits of Addiction: Why Alcoholics Drink
How to think about the plusses alcoholics are pursuing People who believe in the disease theory are dumb. They can’t help it, so we shouldn’t mock them. You see, they don’t have enough human insight to answer the question,...read more
Saved or Lost? AA and American Perfectionism
AA’s perfectionism prevents people from attaining their perfect selves. Alcoholics Anonymous grew out of the temperance and Protestant revival traditions in America. The first installment of the Ken Burns documentary, Prohibition, described the Washingtonians, a group of what we would...read more
Police lectures to students
Further Reading Dr. Peele, I have been a police officer for almost 25 years. I have masters in Criminal Justice and Psychology. I am currently a CAGS (Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies) candidate in psychology. Due to my...read more
My Old Girlfriend Lives with a Woman: She’s Not Gay, Right?
The Republicans have the cleverest strategy; I really have to commend them. Every month or so, they force a new imbecile to the front of the pack to compete with Mitt Romney to be the party’s nominee for president....read more
Leaving AA – A 22 Year Old’s Story
This young man stands for a large group of individuals – those who turn to AA for help, but who are filled with doubt and ambivalence and now feel ready to leave AA. The AA answer is to “fake...read more
Love and Death in Pedro Almodovar
Manohla Dargis’s review for the New York Times of Pedro Almodovar’s film, The Skin I Live In, makes it aTimes ”critics’ choice,” as A.O. Scott did Almodovar’s previous film, Broken Embraces in 2009. But — aside from some general comments about Almodovar’s oeuvre — Dargis draws no direct...read more
Here is my story of being hospitalized for a drinking problem
Dear Dr. Peele, In February, I drank too much vodka — about one pint — and blacked out. In the black out I wandered out to the living room and said something to my husband and son about the...read more
Should I get treatment after I have already stopped my addiction?
Further Reading Stanton, I am a health professional who developed an opiate dependency that cycled out of control over a 6 month period. I stopped the drug use on my own 6 weeks ago and have no desire...read more
This is How People Quit Addictions
Our fellow HuffPost blogger, Laura Harvey, has written “How I Broke All the Rules — But Still Quit Smoking.” “I was a smoker for 28 years. This month I celebrated one year smoke free. Even though I tried to quit...read more
Do The 12 Steps Work?
Further Reading What do you make of the Stanford group’s claim that continuing in 12-step aftercare helps people recover? Dear Stanton: I am two years away from earning my Ph.D. in clinical psychology. My graduate training has continually...read more
How Do You Spot A Drug User?
Further Reading Can’t you spot a drug user because their brains are fried like they show on TV? Dear Stanton I have never been around cocaine addiction. The last guy I dated was addicted for 20 yrs. After...read more
Drinking Lowers the Risk of Dementia About One-Fourth
From time to time, researchers send me their latest results when they are controversial. Recently Dr. Michael Collins, of the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics of Loyola University’s School of Medicine, sent me a copy of a just-published...read more
Why Medicine for Addiction Will Make Our Problems Worse
The New York Times last week announced a new medical approach to addiction taking hold in America’s medical schools, where addiction medicine is becoming a recognized specialty. Although the Times welcomes this development (it was inevitable), it is doubtful it will improve America’s addictive...read more
Inside Alcoholics Anonymous
On June 12, the A&E Television Network ran one of its investigative reports entitled, “Inside Alcoholics Anonymous.” Although promoed as including “leading national health authorities and the organization’s outspoken critics. . . answer questions never before asked,” it was...read more
Recovering from an All-or-Nothing Approach to Alcohol
Psychology Today, September/October 1996, pp. 35-43, 68-70 (material added not present in original article) American attitudes toward alcohol are paradoxical: we focus almost exclusively on abstinence, yet we frequently drink to excess. Every year $2 billion is spent advertising...read more
The Meaning of Addiction: Is Eating Addictive?
This blog post originally appeared on Stanton’s blog at The Huffington Post website. That idea that addiction has a “meaning” seems strange — haven’t they discovered “addiction” in a PET scan in a laboratory at the National Institute on Drug...read more
The Top Ten Problems with the “New” Medical Approach to Addiction
The New York Times announced on Sunday the new medical approach to addictiontaking hold in America’s medical schools, where addiction medicine is becoming a recognized specialty. Although the Times welcomes this development (it was inevitable), it is doubtful it will improve America’s addictive...read more
Reading your book saved my life
Dear Stanton: Just a little note to let you know that six and a half years ago I coincidentally came across your book whilst in the middle of my 9th or 10th try with outpatient alcoholism treatment. This was...read more
Harm Reduction: The Only Realistic Approach to Substance Use and Recovery
Psychoactive substance use — certainly including alcohol and psychiatric medications, on top of illicit drug use — is nearly universal in Western societies. It is becoming more, not less, so, and it’s beginning at younger ages. American public policy...read more
Is Food Addictive? (Who wants to know?)
The question, “Is Food Addictive?” is not easily resolved, as we shall see. And it isn’t the most important question. That actually is, “Why do you want to know?” The (July 2011) issue of the journal Addiction has at its...read more
Should society disapprove of addiction?
Further Reading Stanton, I was chastized by several heroin addicts — men I like and respect — for a statement I made that society should indeed disapprove of addiction. Of course I don’t myself look down upon drug...read more
Are Addiction and Mental Illness Really Brain Diseases?
The two primary (New York) intellectual organs, the New York Review of Books andThe New York Times, have recently featured two powerful cultural icons saying exactly opposite things. Marcia Angell, the first woman editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine and now...read more
Why Anthony Weiner Is Not a Sex Addict
As the author of “Love and Addiction,” I am a frequent go-to person for media to ask, “Is Anthony Weiner addicted to sex?” My answer? No, he’s not. Women contact me because their husbands spend all night — night...read more
I inherited my alcoholism — can I drink socially?
I find your opinion very, very interesting and extremely controversial. I would love to see you go more public. Why haven’t I seen you on one of the tv news shows like “60 Minutes” and why haven’t I...read more
AA has failed – what can I do?
Further Reading I am social activist for whom both AA and Jack Trimpey have failed; what can I do? Dear Stanton: I have been going to AA meetings for almost five years, mostly gay meetings. I have had...read more
Why Do We Now Have a Prescription Drug Abuse Problem?
Everybody’s talking about it — the fastest-growing drugs of abuse are prescribed painkillers, synthetic opiates like OxyContin. “Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic” is the lead story at the Web site of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control...read more
What do you think of SMART Recovery?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: What are your opinions about Smart Recovery? Jack Trimpey’s AA Bashing was/is opposed by the Smart Recovery Board, but now there is a ground swell of “Let’s give it back to them.” What are...read more
Does my sister-in-law belong in a treatment center?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: My sister-in-law is a sophomore in college. She has just been admittied to a treatment center for alcohol and marijuana. It is her first program, but she has had counselling since this past summer...read more
Addicted to Gambling? What do addicted gamblers look like?
How do you know if you are addicted to gambling? The new American Psychiatric Association diagnostic manual, DSM-5, scheduled for publication in May 2013, for the first time specifies that an activity not involving a substance can be addictive – namely...read more
After reading you book, I set new goals
Mr. Peele, If I may bend your ear, if for nothing else, to hear myself think, I would like to share my story. I quit using Meth December of last year. I was using daily for 7 years prior...read more
What Is the Toughest Withdrawal to Endure?
Meave Ryan stopped Tuesday evening when she saw La’Shaun Armstrong, 10, screaming on the street. She drove with him to the boat ramp where his mother, Lashanda Armstrong, age 25, had driven into the water with his three siblings,...read more
Should I date a woman in AA?
Further Reading Dear Stanton, I am presently locked into a marriage with a disabled wife, who can show no affection. Recently, I met a very attractive woman who, after a few meetings, expressed a desire to strike up...read more
My sister has a shopping addiction – please help!
Stanton, My sister has a shopping addiction. She is 26, she lives at home, she works 30 hours a week at my parents dance studio. Her shopping addiction has escalated exponentially in the past two years. She has gone...read more
Dear Sherlock: How much does my boyfriend drink?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: Please could you give me your view regarding the following: I have recently discovered that my partner is drinking a lot “differently” to how he has ever described his drinking habits — for instance,...read more
Living and Dying With and Without Harm Reduction
I had the unusual experience of having been, within the last couple of weeks, in a room depicted in The New York Times webcast, which covers three stories around the world each day. This was the injection room in Vancouver. The New...read more
What does sex addiction tell us about addiction in general?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: What do you think about sexual addiction. Jennifer Schneider, M.D., PhD has a good article on sexual addiction which begins: Addiction to sexual activities can be just as destructive as addiction to chemical substances....read more
The Best Prevention Research Tells Us Harm Reduction Is the Best We Can Hope For
Following are five key points about addiction prevention programs and the current research, the best ever conducted on the question, and the three key results of the research and three conclusions from this (see Effectiveness Bank Bulletin , February 25, 2011):...read more
Everything You Need to Know About Sex and Addiction: The Outsider’s Manual
I. The myth of neurochemical addiction Among American’s mass delusions are that we have either discovered the neurochemistry of addiction or are on the verge of doing so. In fact, we have decisively disproved this possibility, and are inexorably headed in...read more
Why We Should Give Serious Thought to Wet Shelters for Homeless Alcoholics
On the one hand, young people shouldn’t act addicted — because it can become a lifelong habit. On the other, we shouldn’t regard young people as lifetime addicts due to their current situations (think Drew Barrymore); this is a horrible mistake...read more
How do I make a secure place for myself in life?
Further Reading Dear Stanton, I am so glad that I stumbled across your website. Something sensible – finally. I decided for myself that I am an alcoholic about 5 years ago when I was 29 years old. I...read more
The Effects of Cocaine
Further Reading Stanton, does the latest discovery about the effects of cocaine disprove your theory? Stanton, What effects do these results have on your theories? Thanks in advance, Joel Becker Science Slots Piece In Cocaine Addiction Puzzle LONDON...read more
Explanations of Addiction Make No Sense To Me
Further Reading How come the scientific explanations of addiction I receive in drug court and treatment make no sense to me? Dr. Peele, I am currently halfway through a one-year drug court program, having been arrested with .2...read more
Save me from the addict I’m with
One thing I have learned from my Website is that many women tolerate long periods of abuse from men, often excusing them because of their addictions. Here are three examples I received in the last few days. The letters...read more
Is salvation a cure for addiction?
My 17-year-old daughter has been taking amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine, and possibly other drugs, for approximately 7 months. In the last month, she has been “saved” and baptized in church, and has dropped the “bad influence friends” Now she...read more
How can I salvage my dating relationship?
Further Reading Dear Stanton, While I write this, I still feel the need to protect the person I’m dating, by not saying for sure he is an alcoholic while it is obvious I think he is. We have...read more
People Should Quit Drinking and Smoking – But Can They?
You Shouldn’t Smoke Or Drink Allen Carr is an Englishman who wrote bestsellers about quitting things (he died in 2006). Most famously, he wrote the all-time bestselling book about quitting smoking, “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.” Carr later...read more
Is harm reduction therapy too risky for a therapist to try?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: I am a counselor who finds you ideas on harm reduction very appealing and sensible. But I wonder about the liability issues involved. If I work with a client encouraging him to limit his...read more
Drinking for Health
Abstinence from alcohol (no, you’re not misreading this) is the second greatest cause (after smoking, and more than being overweight) of heart disease, the greatest killer of Americans – particularly middle-aged and older men (and almost as much so...read more
Addicted to Get Rich Quick Schemes
Can a person be addicted to get-rich-quick schemes? Dr. Peele: My father has what I consider to be an addiction, but it is not addressed in any literature that I have read (including any that I could find on...read more
I Don’t Want My Husband To Use Drugs
Further Reading I don’t want my husband to use drugs, even if he can resume drinking Dr. Peele: I am writing to ask you about your opinion on using narcotics recreationally after going through an intensive (6 week)...read more
What is recovery?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: I’ve heard so much about assessment, treatment, relapse prevention and the difficulties of staying sober and the “need” to be in recovery but next to nothing is said about just what recovery is. Besides...read more
Is Marijuana Addictive? Does It Matter?
As the effort by drug policy reform advocates to achieve their holy grail — the legalization of a formerly illegal substance (marijuana) in a leading-edge state (California) — was within reach, former Clinton Drug Czar, General Barry McCaffrey, bad-mouthed...read more
Another reason to stay away from AA
Further Reading Can a counselor use her personal knowledge that I have attended AA against me in a court proceeding? Dear Stanton, For the last couple of years I have attended A.A. meetings, not for alcoholism but for sober...read more
How should I raise a crack baby?
Hi Stanton, We are raising a “former” crack baby adopted by us at the age of 2. I have seen articles relating to behavioral problems being a product of poverty, not cocaine and been very frustrated. Dr. Ira Chasnoff’s...read more
If I feel I should abstain currently, can I ever resume drinking?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: I am trying to stop drinking, and not having much luck. I need to understand it better. Is drinking too much progressive, or not? If I quit now, and start in a year, will...read more
May I question AA members?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: Do I have the right to ask the recovering alcoholic questions about his recovery? Joan Joan: That’s an ethics question. But let me put it this way — if a recovering alcoholic presents him/herself...read more
Opioid Analgesics – Redefining drug addiction
The concept of addiction, once thought to be clearly delineated in both its meaning and its causes, has become cloudy and confused. The World Health Organization has dropped the term “addiction” in favor of drug “dependence,” dividing illicit drugs...read more
Relying on Psychiatric Drugs
Further Reading Is it better to rely on psychiatric drugs and to lose the feelings that they mask, or to risk suicide? Dear Stanton, I am faced with a possible serious problem that it seems I must solve...read more
Are psychedelics good for you and is marijuana addictive?
Further Reading I was favorably impressed with your insights in The Meaning of Addiction. I wonder what you think about addiction in relation to psychedelics. Do they harm? help? Are they addictive? Allan In general, (a) psychedelics don’t...read more
Alcohol as evil – Temperance and policy
Abstract Alcohol has developed indelibly different footprints in different cultures. Research shows that how a culture views and appreciates alcohol impacts people’s very likelihood of being addicted to it. In this context, the US and other Protestant English-speaking nations,...read more
Is there an alcoholic/addict personality type?
Further Reading I’m currently doing my dissertation on the question of the addictive personality. Do you think there is one? Dear Student: The idea of addictive personality has recently fallen into disuse. It is too glib to say...read more
Alcohol — The Good Side
Los Angeles Times, July 21, 2010, A17. As California contemplates legalizing the sale of marijuana, the real war over intoxicants in this country is, as always, over alcohol. Since Prohibition ended in 1933 with the 21st Amendment to the...read more
Moderating Drinking and AA Views
Further Reading My “had a drink and I was okay” sharing was not met with a enthusiasm by my fellow A.A. friends Dear Stanton: I am 45 years of age and have spent the last 15 years both...read more
AA Isn’t the Best Solution: Alternatives for Alcoholics
Building on an essay in Wired magazine by Brendan Koerner, New York Timesconservative columnist David Brooks lauds to the sky AA and its founder, Bill Wilson. Both Brooks and Koerner point out the worldwide spread of AA (although it is limited mainly to the...read more
Tell me how to get off of methadone?
Further Reading Hi, I have been a herion addict for 10 years and 2 years ago I went on methadone and my life is back to normal and I do not use drugs at all. I started on...read more
What if I can’t escape the pull of a 12 step program?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: Thanks to you I was recently able to write in my journal that “I am recovering from my ‘recovery’ “—and leave 4 years of intense OA involvement with which I was increasingly disillusioned. (ie...read more
Drug Courts: You’d Think They Would Work
A new Scottish study found something surprising. Scotland has recently adopted American-style drug courts, where the court works with drug offenders to arrange for treatment in place of incarceration. The expectation was for effective sentences of drug treatment and testing orders,...read more
Help me get my nursing license back – Board of Nursing revoked licence for drugs
Dear Dr. Stanton; I am truly in a bind. Approximately 13 years ago, the Board of Nursing revoked my license for diversion of drugs. I hit rock bottom and decided on my own that this was over forever. I...read more
Put All Drug “addicts” Through Treatment
Further Reading What do you think of New York’s decision to put all drug “addicts” through treatment? Dear Dr. Peele, Thank you for your web site. You validated for me a lot of thoughts and opinions I developed...read more
The Good and Evil of Alcohol
“If you mean the demon drink that poisons the mind, pollutes the body, desecrates family life, and inflames sinners, then I’m against it. But if you mean the elixir of Christmas cheer, the shield against winter chill, the taxable...read more
What do you think of naltrexone therapy for alcoholics?
Stanton, What do you think of the use of the drug Naltrexone to curb alcohol cravings? Dear Dr. Peele: Thanks for your erudite, yet accessible approach. I am researching a TV documentary on alcoholism. I have found a...read more
Porn Addiction Takes a Lot of Time
I examined the toughest addictions to quit, and found that love was the worst. But recent research has indicated a seriously disturbing addiction that is more commonplace than most people realized: pornography. Senator Chuck Grassley asked for an investigation of...read more
What should I do with my husband?
Further Reading Hi Stanton, I am sure this is not unfimiliar to you with my such case. I have been married for almost 6 years to...read more
Thank you notes
Who else could say something like that. In the midst of all this recovery hysteria we’re lucky you’re here. K. Hi Stanton! I don’t have a question — I just want to thank you for your work. You are...read more
Are all crack users addicts?
Further Reading Dear Stanton, Many social and moderate drinkers never have a dependency problem. Maybe 10 to 15 pct do. What other substances can be used moderately and responsibly and not cause problems? Marijuana? cocaine? opiates? speed? Are...read more
Is my moderate drinking okay or was AA right?
Further Reading Hi Stanton, Just like some input from you. I resumed drinking after 10 plus years sober, was involved with AA. Started doing some critical thinking on the subject, and read tons of books and literature. My...read more
Can my son’s marijuana use be therapeutic?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: My son is 19 and has a diagnosis of Tourette’s, OCD, depression, and a complex partial seizure disorder that manifests in the form of rage! He says that marijuana helps him control the rages...read more
How do you help an addict hundreds of miles away?
Further Reading Dear Stanton, I have recently discovered the nature of a long time friend’s problems with school, mother, father, law, etc. have been due to methamphetamine. I see a lot of your site seems to be devoted...read more
How can I combat my withdrawal from meth?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: Why don’t they have a drug to help meth users go clean? I am aware that it’s not supposed to be physically addictive… although your body is somewhat back to normal after around 2...read more
Why won’t they let me off methadone?
Guest response by Robert Newman Further Reading Dear Mr. Peele, I was addicted to H for about 3 years. Then I knew it was time to get off the train, so I got on methadone which worked well for...read more
Will the Internet Encourage or Combat Addiction?
What is the future of addiction and the Internet — will more people be locked in rooms alone communicating wholly electronically, increasingly with entities that may not actually be human? A European group has created an international effort to...read more
The Surprising Truth About Addiction
More people quit addictions than maintain them, and they do so on their own. That’s not to say it happens overnight. People succeed when they recognize that the addiction interferes with something they value—and when they develop the confidence...read more
Reductionism in Psychology – Can Biochemistry Eliminate Addiction, Mental Illness, and Pain?
A growing consensus is emerging that the best hope for understanding and dealing with psychological problems lies with work being done in genetics, biology, and the neurosciences. Research in the neurosciences, especially, is expected to revolutionize the treatment of...read more
What do you think of methadone treatment – is it good for me?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: I wonder what you think about methadone maintenance. In two years I’ve detoxed from heroin 6 times – I never get beyond physical withdrawal (back using within 10 days, released from hospital after 5...read more
Is Sex Really Addictive?
Stanton reviews a new medical tome on sexual addiction, by psychoanalyst Aviel Goodman. Yes, people become addicted to sex; no, it is not a medical disease best treated by the 12 steps. Contemporary Psychology, 44:154-156, 1999 Review of Sexual Addiction:...read more
Love Can Be An Addiction
People can become addicted to other people in the same way they become addicted to drugs. We are not using the term addiction in a metaphorical sense; we mean it literally. The interpersonal dependencies in the cases that follow...read more
Cures depend on attitudes, not programs
Los Angeles Times, Wednesday, March 14, 1990 About one-third of the $10 billion-plus that President Bush has requested for waging war on drugs is targeted to pay for treatment and prevention programs. That’s double what it was as recently...read more
Tell children the truth about drinking
Los Angeles Times, Friday, March 1, 1996 After years of debate, the U.S. government has finally decided that alcohol can be beneficial. Federal dietary recommendations, revised every five years, now indicate that moderate drinking lowers the risk of heart...read more
Why Controlled Drinking Never Dies
In response to howls of outrage that some professionals (few enough) continue to talk about controlled drinking, Stanton points out that the result that many people reduce their drinking healthfully is an ever-present research finding, even among the most...read more
The Persistent, Dangerous Myth of Heroin Overdose
Heroin overdose is almost nonexistent. Rather, heroin users who concurrently take tranquilizers, alcohol, and cocaine are those at risk for sudden death. But the promotion of the idea of heroin overdose (seen most recently in the well-off Texas suburb...read more
Treating Alcoholism and Other Addictions
Private treatment for alcoholism and drug abuse expanded greatly beginning in the late 1970s. Between 1978 and 1984, the number of beds in private alcoholism treatment centers more than quadrupled. In the ’80s, hospitalization of adolescents in private psychiatric...read more
The Genetic Model of Alcoholism and Other Addictions
Abstract The kind of clear-cut model of the genetic sources of alcoholism perceived by the public and presented in popular tracts does not accurately reflect the state of knowledge in this area. No persuasive genetic mechanism has been proposed...read more
Why do people become addicted?
In this chapter piece, Stanton lays out the basic causes, dynamics, and cultural dimensions of addiction. Among other things, he explains why every pain-killing drug is found to be addictive, why addiction is not a chemical side-effect of drugs,...read more
Is alcoholism a disease? We don’t believe so!
AA, treatment centers and alcohol counseling are the only known successful methods of arresting the compulsion to drink or take drugs. Alcoholism was totally untreatable and fatal until 1935, when A.A. was founded. —Ruth Harris, WomenSpace Shelter Project, Cleveland...read more
History of Alcohol in America
WOMAN IN THE BALCONY: Is there much drinking in Grover’s Corners? MR. WEBB: Well, ma’am, I wouldn’t know what you’d call much. Sattidy nights the farmhands meet down in Ellery Greenough’s stable and holler some. Fourth of July I’ve been known...read more
Addiction is not a Disease
Why Addiction is not a Disease – Policy, Epidemiology, and Treatment Consequences of a Bad Idea The effect of conceptualizing addiction as a disease on policy and treatment has been predictably disastrous. The disease conception that addiction can only...read more
Coming Clean: Overcoming Addiction Without Treatment – A Book Review
Coming Clean: Overcoming Addiction Without Treatment by Robert Granfield and William Cloud is a book based on interviews with addicts and alcoholics who recovered without treatment. The authors draw important conclusions from, first, the phenomenon of self-cure, and second,...read more
Did I mature out of alcohol addiction?
Further Reading Stanton, For 30 years I went to AA, did the Steps and had a sponsor, and stayed sober 3 months at a time. I was in treatment perhaps 35 times and in the state penitentiary once,...read more
Will Sex Addiction Be in DSM-V?
The fight over the new psychiatric manual, DSM-V, has escalated. The conflict is due to an underlying flaw in the manual’s conception. Rather than tracing human activity in terms of its impact for people’s lives, it instead attempts to...read more
How to ‘interview’ a relative about drug use
Further Reading Hi…. I wondered if you might answer a couple questions for me. I think that a close family member of mine may have a problem with cocaine. I know that she uses the drug on social...read more
I was surprised that my inmate husband is a pot smoker!
Further Reading Dear Dr. Stanton Peele: Thank you for providing information on your web site that is thoughtful, provocative and informative. Mine is a question that deals with personal freedom and MJ use and relationships. I married an...read more
What personality traits do children of alcoholics inherit?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: What psycho-social tendencies, if any, are inherited by the children of alcoholics? Michael Dear Michael: Cloninger claims that male alcoholics inherit antisocial, criminal tendencies. That doesn’t register for me. It seems more plausible to...read more
Did my mamma cast a 12-step hex on me?
Further Reading Stanton: I am writing you in hopes that you can provide some insights. About six years ago, I had an experience that has negatively impacted me. My mom at the time was in Overeaters Anonymous. She...read more
What’s the Most Dangerous Addiction?
I previously answered the question, “What’s the hardest addiction to quit?” It turns out that the same addiction is the most dangerous. Michael Jackson died at age 50, and long term prescription drug abuse is suspected. In other words, it often takes...read more
What do you think of my individualized harm reduction treatment?
Further Reading It has been several years since I have last written you. I will try to be a brief as possible. What I have experienced in my struggle with drug addiction has been so profound that I...read more
Are there any harm reduction programs in place for cocaine?
Dear Stanton: Are there any programs for cocaine maintenance in the world. If so, do they work as well as methadone? Can IV users of stimulants find or get an acceptable oral alternative? This question has been asked...read more
The Toughest Addiction to Quit
Headline: Former Washington Mayor Marion Barry has been arrested and charged with stalking a woman. Remind you of any other politicians? When Marion Barry’s arrest was announced on various news media, each recapitulated how Barry had previously been videotaped –...read more
Can love be addictive? Ask Mark Sanford – or his wife
Mark Sanford’s wife has made clear just how far “gone” her husband, the governor of South Carolina, was over his affair with his Argentinean lover. Vice President Biden should consider appointing Jenny Sanford director of the new National Institute...read more
What are the leading treatments for alcoholism and addiction?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: What types of treatment are successful for alcoholism and addiction? Jes Aaron Jes: Before identifying treatments that work, let me make the following five points: Allowing the person to select a treatment — and...read more
The Higher Power Doesn’t Work For You?
Further Reading What if you think God is a bastard, and the higher power doesn’t work for you? Mr. Peele: Thanks a million for your swift reply to my question about medical malpractice and 12-Step programs. It’s a shame...read more
How do I get a 12-stepper to stop harassing me?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: I know it is wrong for one to proselytize one’s religious beliefs in the workplace, but what of someone who is proselytizing 12-step dogma at work? I neither drink or use drugs. I did...read more
What do I do when I am forced to attend AA for my job?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: I am a professional pilot. I was a drinker for some time in my life. I decided that alcohol was interfering with things in my life. Although alcohol never was a problem for my...read more
Thanks for helping me to drink moderately
Dear Stanton: A year ago I asked you about “Non-AA help in the U.S. and overseas” as I intended to start drinking again after 11 nondrinking years in AA . The reason was that I wanted to be free...read more
The Meaning of Addiction: A readers response
Mr. Peele, I’m glad to see you’re still out there kicking butt. When my father told me, in 1987, that he and my mother had classified themselves as alcoholics, and that there was probably a genetic component to their...read more
You helped me escape both AA and alcoholism
Dear Stanton, I spoke on the phone with you back in 1992. I had been in and out of AA for 10 years but could not get more than 6 months clean and sober at any given time. I...read more
How to help your child with addiction
People become addicted to experiences that protect them from life challenges they can’t deal with. It is not possible to say that any one thing causes addiction. Most kids who use drugs and alcohol don’t become addicted to them....read more
How not to solve an addiction
Further Reading My husband has been compulsively gambling for about two years (maybe more as I was slow on the uptake). Can you give me some ideas of ways I and other family members can support his recovery?...read more
What’s the most important factor in overcoming alcoholism?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: Does the amount or extent of what there is to lose in one’s life (successful career, loved ones, money, respect, etc.) have an impact on helping an alcoholic to recover? At the risk of...read more
Can I ever get off methadone?
Further Reading Dr. Stanton, I am currently on a methadone clinic which I find counter-productive to the well-being and healing of their clients. Indeed, most patients there remain for decades without ever becoming fully ‘clean’ which I assume...read more
Why We Can’t Legalize Drugs
We can’t legalize drugs – despite political, economic, even survival pressures to do so – because of deep underlying American mindsets against drugs, the two primary ones being that we believe continuing drug use is, or causes, a disease,...read more
Should I get even with the drug dealer who killed my brother?
Further Reading Dear Stanton, My 39 year old brother died of a heroin overdose. He was not alone at the time. The man doing heroin with him didn’t bother to call the authorities until 8 hours after my...read more
What can I say to my employers who push 12-step methods?
Dear Stanton, I am a CASAC, that is a Drug and Alcohol Counselor, in the state of NY. I went into this field because I wanted to assist people with many aspects of their lives affected by overusing drugs...read more
Will my little sister become addicted to ecstasy?
Further Reading Stanton, I recently found out that my 23 year old sister had tried the drug ecstasy, which she claimed was combination of cocaine, heroin, and acid. As far as I know she has only tried it...read more
Government-Media-Corporate Mantra: Only the Little People Worry About Money
Jack Strong, former CEO of El Dorado Investing, has been fighting off criticisms that he was extravagant when he bought another plane — an Airbus — in addition to the corporate jet and helicopter he already had parked in...read more
Real Recovery Requires Life-Building
Addiction is like the tail wagging the dog, or person, with the tail being a habit that dominates the person’s whole life. Addiction therapy concentrates on the tail – cutting it off in abstinence therapy, making it smaller in...read more
What should I do?
Further Reading Dear Stanton, My husband is an ex-con who just got out. He promised me that he was going to quite the old life he had and concentrate on us. Well, he didn’t come straight home when...read more
The Aftermath of Crazy Love
Crazy Love is the 2007 movie (shown recently on the IFC cable network) about Burton and Linda Pugach. After Linda spurned him when she was 22, Burton hired thugs to throw lye in her face, blinding and scarring her...read more
AA’s declining dogmatism
Although it might seem surprising to say so, responses to my post “Addiction Myth #4: moments of clarity lead ONLY to AA” actually indicate a decline in the dominance and dogmatism of AA in the 21st Century. When I entered...read more
Two Types of Confidence – Obama and Bush
George W. Bush preserves his self-confidence by shutting out other points of view. Barack Obama’s openness is possible, on the other hand, because of his genuine self-confidence. Outgoing President George W. Bush’s farewell speech put on display, once again,...read more
Is ‘dry drunk’ a real medical diagnosis?
Further Reading Dr. Peele: I emailed you a few weeks ago regarding the definition given by a therapist of a “dry drunk” as someone who was an alcoholic who never drank. I thought this an aberration, of sorts,...read more
Progressives War over Drug Czar
Some progressives want to change our approach to drugs to recognize that there will be continuing use, and to accept the need to protect users through providing them with clean needles, non-injectible drugs taken orally, medical care, good diets...read more
Addiction Myth #4 — Moments of clarity lead only to AA
Recovered addicts often describe their escape from addition in terms of a moment of truth when they see clearly how their addiction violates their most basic values. Such moments inspired Christopher Lawford to write about famous addicts in recovery, like himself,...read more
Does my daughter have a drug problem?
Further Reading Dear Sir: To give you a little background of our family, I am not at liberty to tell you who I am or where I live . Since we...read more
Readers Quiz: Why Are Americans So Kooky About Drugs, Sex, and Rock & Roll?
I asked a British man what struck him about the United States. The thing he found most amazing about America was how many towns didn’t allow restaurants to sell alcohol, and that some towns allowed no alcohol sales at...read more
How To Make Your Child a Psychological Wreck – The Playground Manual
Push the kid the whole way to the playground in their stroller. “I have to – otherwise they’ll run out in the street.” Well, you’re getting them ready to be adults who try to park as close to the entrance...read more
Ohmigod! Drinkers Think Better for Longer! Hide This From Children AND Adults!
A paper to be published in America’s leading alcoholism journal compiled the results of studies of mental functioning in relation to drinking. The research repeatedly finds moderate drinkers have lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease and are mentally sharper in...read more
Addiction Myth #3 — addiction is a treatable disease
It is not that addicts don’t get better – the vast majority do. But the disease theory actually does damage by conveying the image of addiction as an alien force that medical experts can remove. In fact, recovery is...read more
Tell me about needle-exchange programs and drop-in centres
Further Reading Dear Mr. Peele: I am looking for models to support a user-controlled, safe place, drop in centre for drug users in a very depressed part of our city. I am heartened by your description, “When people...read more
Addiction Myth #2 — alcoholics are addiction experts
Addiction differs from such DSM-IV disorders as, say, schizophrenia, in that having the condition qualifies a person as an expert. “What alcohol does to me is reality,” alcoholics believe, “and so I know all about alcoholism.” Susan Cheever, who added her...read more
Why Harm Reduction Makes Sense: These Three Things I Know are True
Harm reduction is the concept of reducing the dangers of drug and other substance use, including the damage due to addiction. While this seems perilously radical — opponents claim it encourages drug use by “sending the wrong message” —...read more
Shouldn’t we treat alcoholism as a disease?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: Is alcoholism a disease? At a bar association seminar we were told that alcoholism is (a) a disease (b) “treatable like a disease”, and (c) a “disease based concept”. I have friends at CDC...read more
The 7 hardest addictions to quit – love is the worst!
Here are – in reverse order of difficulty – the seven addictions people find hardest to quit. Cocaine. Cocaine is an episodic-use drug. It is one moreover associated with certain lifestyles – at one time (if not now) people...read more
I take drugs therapeutically for depression but am worried about this
Further Reading Dear Dr. Peele, I am so grateful for your web site! I wish I could see you personally–do you have a private practice? I would like to talk to you to clear up some things about...read more
Are antidepressants addictive?
Further Reading Hi ! My best friend has been taking anti-depressive drugs since 1995. She has a lot of problems right now because she can’t leave this “medicine.” When she has tried to leave it, she has felt...read more
How do you define relapse?
Further Reading Stanton, I have been abstinent (mostly) for almost 3.5 years with 3 relapse events – 1 moderate (half pint) about 3 yrs ago, 1 heavy (2 pints over 2 day period) about 1.5 years ago, and...read more
Mother asks for help for her daughter
Further Reading If you suspect your college aged child of substance abuse and addiction, for example, mood swings, withdrawal, lack of initiative, energy and interest, few friends, dislikes nearly everything, bad grades, hates school, doesn’t want to be...read more
Should I stick with the problem drinker I’m dating?
Further Reading I know this may sound stupid coming from a Female of my age group but I’ll ask anyway….I am a 16 year old female who is dating a 18 year old male…When I met him he...read more
The Disease of Having Too Much Sex — Addiction is real, it’s just not a disease
Dr. Joseph Beck, psychiatrist and addiction specialist, wrote an article for the Sun-Times News Group titled, “Addiction doesn’t always involve drugs, alcohol.” I confess to thinking, as the author (in 1975) of Love and Addiction, “I’m glad someone got psychiatry...read more
What exactly is the community reinforcement approach (CRA) and how effective is it?
What exactly is the community reinforcement approach (CRA) and how effective is it? I read about it briefly in your book “Diseasing of America”. I am an Intake Counsellor at a Drop In Crisis Center in Montreal and feel...read more
What is the correct punishment for two DUI’s in five years?
Further Reading Stanton, I was arrested for my second DWI within five years, which is a felony. In order to avoid jail, “clients” are referred to the Alcohol Abuse and Deterrent Program. As a condition of this probation,...read more
How do I convince my ex-wife my drinking is no longer a problem?
Further Reading Dear Stanton- I was enlisted in a 30 day in-patient treatment center last spring. There is some history (my grandfather) of alcohol abuse in the family. I have a 17 year old cousin (my grandfather’s grandson)...read more
Concerned About My Alcohol Consumption
Further Reading I was concerned about my alcohol consumption, and now I am forced into treatment. What should I do? Dear Mr. Peele: I have worked for my current employer for 20 years, and have progressed steadily to...read more
Why did you use ‘addiction’ in the title of your web site?
Further Reading Dear Dr. Peele I am a Swedish researcher working on an article about social work and drug abuse. My question concerns the concept “chemical dependance” which seems to be used to a very large extent in...read more
When I went to college, I became involved in addicted sex
Further Reading Dear Stanton: Oh my, where do I start? I am a married 34 year old full time student at a very prominent university. I am very successful in college. I am currently an honor student and...read more
What does it mean to be codependent with a drug addict?
Further Reading I have been seeing a great guy who I knew had smoked crack in the past. He had been clean for over a year, had a good job and was saving money. The past two weeks...read more
How do I manage withdrawal from clonidine?
Further Reading Is it possible that someone who went thru heroin withdrawal with Clonidine (last dose heroin 12 days ago) Clonidine patch removed 2 days ago, suddenly have severe heroin withdrawal symptoms (freq. vomiting, diarrhea, “gooseflesh”, shakes)? Dear...read more
Please help me to help my client recover naturally
Further Reading Dear Dr. Peele: I am relatively new to direct treatment in addictions, although I have been in the social work field for over 25 years (BA, MSW, and a year of graduate-level addictions studies). I am...read more
Why am I not addicted to cigarettes?
Dear Stanton: I am 30 years old and essentially a non-smoker. Most everyone I know is a non-smoker. The other night I was in a bar with some friends, all except one non-smokers. Because the one smoker was smoking,...read more
Legalization of Alcoholic Drinks to Minors
Further Reading Would legalization of alcoholic drinks to minors decrease or increase underage drinking? Would legalization of alcoholic drinks to minors decrease or increase underage drinking? Anonymous Dear Anonymous: The U.S. is the only country in the world...read more
Substance Abuse Problem
Further Reading The catch-22 of employment law: Whether to tell about a substance abuse problem Stanton, I am looking for a suggestion on how to handle the following situation: I worked for eight years on Wall Street (I...read more
Should physicians prescribe narcotic substitutes?
Further Reading Dear Mr. Stanton, I have been adicted to heroine for almost ten years and have spent seven of those on methadone as well. I have only achieved prolonged periods of heroine abstinence twice, eight years ago...read more
Going Broke With Counselors
Further Reading My son and his counselors think they are doing fine, only I’m going broke; how do I stand up for myself? Dear Dr. Peele: My husband and I have a 23 year old son who is...read more
Drinking around the world
This spring, I have had a chance to observe alcohol consumption in three very distinctive cultural settings – First Nation (Canada), Irish, and Iberian (Portugal/Spain). Alcohol use – and consequences – could not have been more different in these...read more
Do I Have a Drinking Problem?
Further Reading What about alcoholism assessment at recovery centers, and do I have a drinking problem? Dear Stanton, I recently went through an alcohol “assessment” at a recovery center because of a dwi I recently received. My question...read more
Can you experience withdrawal from antidepressants?
Further Reading Dear Stanton, I have been taking the antidepressant dothiepin for seven years and am finding it really tough to come off the drug. I was originally prescribed it for CFS by an unsympathetic GP. But now,...read more
Do antidepressants work?
Further Reading Stanton, Do you think that the whole seratonin transmitter thing is totally wrong regarding depression? I have suffered from depression for at least thirty years. And I’ve been through therapy, AA and whatever else I could...read more
How to analyze a drinking problem
Further Reading I have always been aware that my boyfriend of 5 years has “a problem with alcohol.” I have put the previous phrase in quotes because I am having a tough time classifying his problem. He does...read more
Should people be allowed to be marijuana addicts?
Further Reading Hello, The main concern I have regarding marijuana addiction is loss of productivity. It seems like if people weren’t wasting all their time smoking (and “waste of time” behaviors while high) people could improve their life...read more
Non-AA help in the U.S. and overseas
Further Reading Non-AA help in the U.S. and overseas Hi. I’m writing to you from , Sweden. I like your integrity. I joined the MM list some weeks ago as I searched the Internet for alternatives to addictions...read more
Hillary Enters Rehab!
Hillary Clinton created a firestorm when she downed a shot and followed it with a beer chaser (called a “boilermaker” in local parlance) while “campaigning” in a bar in Indiana. Reaction reverberated across the country. One woman wrote: “Do...read more
No Desire to do Anything but Drink
Further Reading My husband is continuously losing jobs and has no desire to do anything but sit and drink My husband is an alcoholic who has been in treatment 4 times over the last 4 years, the last...read more
Costs To Abstinence & How To Deal With Them
Further Reading Are there costs to abstinence and how do you deal with them? Stanton: I had a husband (now an ex) who was a long time user of alcohol and pot. He was a genial soul when inebriated...read more
Open letter to Nora Volkow
(Nora Volkow is the neuroscientist who directs the National Institute on Drug Abuse) Dearest Nora (and thanks for the Passover card), My last two posts at my blog for Psychology Today – “The End of Addiction” and “End Alcoholism – Bomb Spain” — have...read more
Is marijuana addictive?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: I keep reading that marijuana is addictive. Yet, although I have smoked it, I haven’t known many marijuana addicts (maybe a few people who overdo it). Isn’t it wrong to say mj is addictive?...read more
What actually is addiction?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: I am a forty-four year old part-time student at a local University in Indiana and a full time minister in a local church. I have been working toward a degree in Behavioral Sciences with...read more
Am I a marijuana addict?
Further Reading Dear Stanton: I am a 20 year-old college student who is going on to his fifth semester. Last fall, I was introduced to marijuana by a someone close to me. Since then, I have smoked pot...read more
Forced into AA for using marijuana medically: What do I do?
Mr. Peele, About 3 months ago I took a hair drug test at work. The test showed positive for marijuana. I had been using marijuana for a few years and only used a small amount each night before bedtime....read more