The Meaning of Addiction: A readers response

Stanton Peele By: Dr. Stanton Peele

Posted on April 22nd, 2009 - Last updated: November 21st, 2023
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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 disease, I immediately went to the library where I was in college at the time, and where I was fortunate enough to find your book “The Meaning of Addiction.”

I had already read something my father sent and was convinced that the genetic thing was for real and that I was doomed. When I saw the table of contents in your book, I at first slammed it shut and was prepared to disregard it as heresy. Instead, I opened it again and began to read. I can’t tell you what a liberating experience that was (although I think the liberation had as much to do with my relationship with my father as with your research).

By the way, I had an old Navy friend who was in Narcotics Anonymous at the time, and he would have none of what you wrote. However, time has weighed in on your side, and he has been for a few years a responsible “social drinker,” a possibility he had vehemently ruled out 15 years ago.

Anyway, whenever the subject of addiction has come up in the intervening years, I have mentioned your book, with the caveat that it might be hard to find. I’m glad to see after a quick search of the web that it might not be so hard to find after all.

All the best in your continuing work.


Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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