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Life Process Program Blog

Articles relating to Drug Addiction.

Why Addiction Can Be Difficult to Overcome (and why you will still succeed)

It can be difficult for some people to hear about how so many people drink or take drugs without problems, or becoming addicted. Or, on the other hand, to learn how many overcome addiction in the course of time,...

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Trapped in a Disease: The New Cuckoo’s Nest

Britney Spears is the map of the future  The documentary Framing Britney Spears revealed the story of how a youthful female singing-entertainment star (now 39) has been under a guardianship arrangement since 2008. The basis for this arrangement was...

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The Life Process Program Approach to MAT and Harm Reduction

The Life Process Program’s “MAT Empowerment Model”  MAT stands for medication-assisted treatment. This is the use of medications to assist recovery from addiction. Harm reduction as it relates to substance use means improvement, or recovery, while continuing to use...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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. ...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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:...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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.

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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 —...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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:...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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):...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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 –...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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” —...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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