We Control Addiction

Dr. Stanton Peele, Ph.D., J.D., is a pioneering voice in the field of addiction. A psychologist, in 1975 he published Love and Addiction, which originated the modern view that addiction occurs in many areas of behavior aside from drug use. He likewise popularized harm reduction – or reducing the harm for users rather than anticipating that all users will cease. Dr. Peele believes that the current notion that addiction is a disease is actually a symptom of America’s addictiveness – viewing alcohol, drugs, and an increasing number of other things as overpowering simply means we will create more addicts. For Stanton, addiction is commonplace – but most addicts outgrow their habits if they have opportunities to develop meaningful, normal connections to life.

7 Tools to Beat Addiction

Whether you are battling drugs, nicotine, alcohol, food, shopping, sex, or gambling, 7 Tools to Beat Addiction is a hands-on, practical guide to overcoming addiction of any kind. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction but do not find that twelve-step or other treatment programs work for you, this book can help. In , internationally recognized expert Dr. Stanton Peele presents a program for addiction recovery based on research and clinical study and grounded in science.


Questions and Answers

by Trung Nguyen

You’ve been studying addiction for about 40 years. How did you become involved in it and why?

I’ve always been fascinated by out-of-control behavior – by people who simply give up managing their lives. I was brought up to accept self-control. Yet I had an alcoholic neighbor who was frequently carried home babbling. Why would someone permit themselves to enter this condition? The idea that a disease made them do it is simply unfathomable – even AA claims people can control whether they entered into the “uncontrollable” state. Yet telling people this happens to them – in a sense it is okay – is only more likely to allow it to occur.

What are the first few things you want people to understand about addiction, whether it’s to drugs, gambling, relationships, alcohol, Internet, video games, or another addiction?

People become engaged in addictions for reasons – the addiction creates an experience that the addict welcomes for a time as fulfilling essential needs. If an addiction makes a person feel accepted, liked, valued – for example – then you can see it will rapidly become ensconced for the person.

It isn’t necessary to change your personality to overcome addiction. But it is necessary to overcome life patterns. You can do this through restructuring your existence – simply reducing and eliminating the exposure to addictive stimuli and opportunities. For example, if you know that going out drinking with your friends will end up with you becoming drunk, then the simplest thing to do is to find new ways to entertain yourself. It probably is a bad idea to go to a casino when you’ve had addictive gambling episodes. But, ultimately, the most successful way to overcome addiction is to fulfill those needs that the addiction does in alternative ways – to find new methods to be calm, to accept yourself, to gain esteem.

The easiest way to see this is to imagine young people becoming addicted. I have a new book appearing entitle Addiction Proof Your Child: A Realistic Approach to Preventing Drug, Alcohol, and Other Dependencies . We all know that youths engage in excessive behavior. How useful is it to carefully explain to them that this is a result of their inbred addiction? Not only are we doing this, but we are actually disempowering young people more and more – by giving them fewer opportunities to exercise real self-control. My view is that, at the same time we believe we are fighting addiction all around us by running anti-drug ads and drug education classes, we are actually creating a massive new era of addiction. Even the drug Czar, John Walters, has now declared “We are the drug dealers.” This is based on the fact that the most rapidly growing drug use is with prescription pharmaceuticals.

Nonetheless, even in an era when kids are trained into addiction, most of them will outgrow it for themselves. That is, as long as we don’t eliminate all opportunities for them to grow up and to feel their competence and self-control. The best things we can do for young people are to offer them chances to be independent, to help them to develop positive and wide-ranging interests, and to give them values incompatible with addiction. I list a series of these in Addiction-Proof Your Child. Valuing money, fresh air, and accomplishing things is going to limit your time spent drinking, snorting cocaine, and gambling.

Were you at one time addicted to something? Or was someone close to you addicted to something?

I think we all know about addiction – the feeling of getting deeper and deeper into something at the same time as we watch ourselves and realize we are doing the wrong thing and harming ourselves. On the other hand, I reject the idea that addicts are particularly good at solving addiction. My friend Ethan Nadelmann uses the analogy – would you go to someone who’s been bankrupt for financial advice? People with the most constructive lives and best control of their habits are the best role models. Of course, you may have good self-control in some areas of your life and not in others. That doesn’t prove the one area is diseased. It proves that you know the best ways to control yourself. For example, how the hell did you quit smoking? Let’s use that process to quit whatever. You’re your own best expert.

The 12 Step programs is a framework for dealing with addiction. CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) is also a framework for dealing addiction and other mental issues. Gestalt therapy, psychoanalysis, psychiatry are also frameworks that can be used to deal with addiction. Can you briefly describe your framework for dealing with addiction?

My technique would be likened to CBT. That is, how you think about your situation and using reinforcers to change behavior is how people change. For example, focusing on how freely you breathe when you are exercising or not smoking. But my approach is broader. It includes environmental controls, like structuring your life to make addictive episodes less likely. It relies heavily on values, which is kind of a no-no in science, even though everyone realizes that nothing propels people more than their values. And the goal of my approach is self-directed change. Mine is an existential approach. I call it Life-Process Change. Since people all the time combine these elements in their own change efforts, my approach is really only common sense. Labeling and using these techniques in therapy, education, and theory is still a novelty, however.

You’re not a believer in the disease theory of addiction or a big fan of the 12-Step programs. What is it that you don’t like about the 12 Step programs?

Step 1 is admitting that you are powerless. As well as being self-contradictory for an effort at change, it is the feeling of powerlessness that is at the root of addiction. A relatively few people actually succeed with the 12 steps as a percentage of alcoholics and addicts who are exposed to it. But the view of addictions promoted by the 12 steps is actually most likely to be the root of addiction. This is most evident when – as is increasingly the case – the 12 steps are used with kids. I like to rely on Einstein’s quote here: We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. Is anyone noticing that more kids are becoming addicted?

As a therapy, the 12 steps is often worse than useless – people sitting around lamenting their pasts. Successful therapy allows people to develop and practice new ways of thinking and strategies for living. The best thing AA does, of course, is to answer the question, “Where can I go to meet people who don’t drink?” Human companionship is an essential thing in life. But hanging around in a smokey room with a bunch of trying-to-be ex-drunks is a lousy existence. It’s the best some people can hope for. But it’s not what you want for a child – or for yourself.

Finally, AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and the entire treatment apparatus and government research community in the U.S. really have one treatment for addiction – quit. Maybe 1 in 20 people accomplish that in any one year (while an equal number or more are becoming addicted). But, after that, our addiction institutions have nothing to offer. Thus, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA (which Senator Joseph Biden wants to rename the National Institute of Addictive Diseases), and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) are actually temperance organizations. They and AA are moral entrepreneurs, like the Salvation Army, lecturing against the evils or alcohol and drugs. All of this, of course, when we are telling exponentially more kids that they can’t manage their lives without psychiatric medication.

In order to overcome any addiction, do you think the ultimate responsibility should rest with the addict, counselor/therapist, or a combination?

Good question – I can see you’re keyed into the issues. The worst thing about AA is that it tells people that AA, God, their therapist or leader is responsible for their salvation. For rock & roll fans out there, Crystal Zevon, wife of alcoholic musical genius Warren Zevon, gave up drinking but never stopped revolving around Warren. Their daughter entered recovery as a teen. In her biography of Warren, I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, Crystal notes: “I owe the life I have today to Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob and my Teacher, S.N. Goenka.” She also records that, in writing this book, she “fell in and out of love hundreds of times. There were weeks when I was sure I’d hate him forever; [and] nights when I’d cry myself to sleep missing the sound of his voice. . . .”

A good therapist or therapy is like a good parent – he or she reflects all success back onto the person’s own self-efficacy. Without this, there is no cure. Warren himself, by the way, quit AA when he discovered his sponsor was shooting up heroin. But he believed the disease theory and 12 steps of AA implicitly. After decades of abstinence, just before his premature death due to lung cancer (he never stopped smoking), he went on a horrible self-immolating alcohol and drug bender. So after decades of practicing the 12 steps, he became an infant again in his mid-fifties. A good friend of his, author Carl Hiasson, wrote: “I could understand the depression, but this was extraordinarily selfish behavior for someone when you have kids, and their hearts are already breaking, and then they have to see their father like this.” Zevon was a musical genius, but what a horrible epitaph he wrote. The only thing worse is that Crystal thinks that she and her daughter have found a life solution by believing that they are as powerless as Warren.

For anyone who hasn’t read your book, 7 Tools to Beat Addiction, can you provide a synopsis of it? [The book is strongly recommended for anyone trying to overcome addiction.]

I wanted in 7 Tools to lay out the fundamental building blocks people have in their lives for recovery. These include the values they turn to which eliminate addiction, the resources they can find in their lives to support their change, the rewards they note from the improvement in their lives due to the change, the support there is among non-addicted groups and friends they have, and the maturity people can – should – develop with age. It’s not easy to eliminate addiction. But it’s not rocket science either. We all have the tools within reach.

This is a quote from your site, "Addiction is a way of coping with life, of artificially attaining feelings and rewards people feel they cannot achieve in any other way. As such, it is no more a treatable medical problem than is unemployment, lack of coping skills, or degraded communities and despairing lives. The only remedy for addiction is for more people to have the resources, values and environments necessary for living productive lives. More treatment will not win our badly misguided war on drugs. It will only distract our attention from the real issues in addiction."

Can you go into detail what those "real issues" are?

Our national drug policy actually sidetracks us form doing what is necessary. For example, we have diverted budgets for housing and job training to addictive disease treatment. Do you see how logical this if you decide, like poor, imbecile Joe Biden, that addiction is some accidental disease people are struck with? When you realize that addiction is an alternative source for what people want, need, and pursue, then we can direct our national resources to the appropriate solutions. Letting an addict out of a hospital or 12-step group to re-enter the same sorry neighborhoods, joblessness, and hopelessness they left is doing less than nothing.

There seems to be a pill out there for every addiction or problem and more pills are constantly being invented. How effective do you think prescription pills are in fighting addiction? Do you think they are necessary in some special circumstances, or not at all?

Don’t you think it’s funny that, while we are engaged in a full-tilt medical approach to addiction, we are preoccupied with developing pills that change people’s feelings so that they can accept themselves and their lives? All of this follows from the fundamental misconception that addiction is some accidental disease, rather than people’s studious pursuit of feelings and experiences that they desperately need. If you follow the medical approach, you say, “Happily, we are constantly developing new chemicals to modify people’s problematic feelings.” From my perspective, we are falling farther and farther behind in creating young people capable of living satisfying lives. Go out and survey the addiction experts. Do they believe there will be more or less addiction in 10-20 years? Even they suspect that we are sliding towards a completely addicted society; no, we are driving towards it.

What are some dangers or negative side effects that you see in prescription pills? If any.

When you rely on a drug to define yourself and to motivate your life, you’re addicted, plain and simple.

In your book, you provide many examples of people who overcame their addiction by discovering what they love to do and doing it. What if a scientist or psychiatrist were to say, “That’s being a reductionist. The problem is much more complicated than thinking patterns, making new friends, lifestyle changes, and values.”

What would your reply be?

MY approach – which you describe very well – is reductive? My approach is a life approach, not a chemical one. I wrote a paper called Reductionism in the Psychology of the Eighties: Can Biochemistry Eliminate Addiction, Mental Illness, and Pain? in 1981.

In it, I quote neurologist Richard Restak (who has recently been president of the American Neuropsychiatric Association) writing exactly three decades ago: “it's hard to leave out the exclamation points when you are talking about a veritable philosopher's stone—a group of substances that hold out the promise of alleviating, or even eliminating, such age-old medical bugaboos as pain, drug addiction, and, among other mental illnesses, schizophrenia.” Of course, he’s saying the same thing today, even as addiction and mental illness have increased, particularly among the young. The pharmaceuticals kids are using addictively today are those same effective pain-killers (like OxyContin) that have always been primary objects of addiction. It is the pain relief itself to which they become addicted! But a reductive biochemical approach is incapable of recognizing this.

In many studies over the decades, CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) has been proven, without the aid of medication, to be successful in treating addiction and mental health issues. What is your view on CBT and its role in addiction?

Everyone now knows that CBT has been shown to be as effective – and more enduring – in attacking emotional problems than medications. So, as with motivational interviewing (MI, another effective therapy for addiction) everyone – including 12-step treatment programs – claims to be practicing them. They can’t! Dictating to people they are powerless and must abstain is the opposite of the empowerment and self-determination on which CBT and MI are built.

There isn’t a general consensus on what causes addiction, but there are millions of dollars being spent on finding an “addiction” gene. What role do you think genetics plays in addiction and do you think they’ll ever find this gene?

Real geneticists know there is no addictive gene. Addiction is a metaphenomenon. Genes may contribute to it – by making some people respond more readily to alcohol’s relaxing effects, for example – but this is so many steps from addiction, it is close to irrelevant. Why would a person who is attuned to the negative consequences of drunken episodes in his life continue to resort to alcohol to feel okay? Likewise, the popular idea that ALL addictive involvements stimulate dopamine, the pleasure neurochemical, is no more efficacious in explaining why people become addicted.

It’s been said that in addiction there are biological, psychological, and social components involved. What is your view on this?

This statement is a no-brainer, but let me demur from emphasizing the biological. Biology is ubiquitous. All people experience pleasure from some stimuli. But, in the final analysis, everything is filtered through people’s beliefs, values, and environments. Ordinary people experience no less pleasure from sex than sexual predators, rapists, and sex addicts. Yet they behave differently – they don’t depredate other people. Why is that?

Let’s look at a few types of addictions: drug addiction, gambling addiction, alcoholism, and sex addiction. What would you say are the differences and similarities between them?

One filter is to view these things through is their primary experiential mode of action, particularly stimulants versus depressants. The latter deaden feelings, the former present overwhelming stimulation and reactions that block out alternative experiences. Gambling and sex appear to be stimulant activities.

But this is still too reductive. Such activities have specific meanings and associations for people. Being in a gambling casino is so overwhelmingly reassuring to some folks! This is the ritual component – the familiarity and comfort zone – of addiction. Why chance uncertainty and pain when you can be in your own protective womb?

Basically, you have to examine any involvement in terms of its place in your life – and this means evaluating its net impact for you. Generally, you will find that you are sacrificing long-term benefits for short-term rewards – like the protectiveness of the addictive experience and the key emotional needs it satisfies, the immediacy and assuredness of the rewards it provides is a key element for defining and understanding addiction.

One psychologist, Paul Good, has said that gambling addiction will take its place alongside alcoholism and drug addiction as one of the significant addictions of our time. What is your view on gambling addiction? Do you think it’s any worse than drug or alcohol addiction?

People have traditionally encountered powerful gambling experiences – and these experiences are multiplying exponentially today. First it was the creation of ubiquitous gambling centers. Now it is the Internet. These developments point out two things: First, the experience of throwing your lot on the line for tremendous losses or gains is remarkably powerful and potentially overwhelming. Second, you (or your children) better have strong life ballast in order to resist such addiction – you can’t just count on avoiding gambling (or alcohol or drugs) forever! What provides strong life ballast? When you (or your child) can say, “I can’t waste all this time in this artificial environment – I prefer being outdoors, I have better things to do, there are people counting on me, et al.” – only then can you be sure of resisting gambling (or really any) addiction.

For those who haven’t visited your site, you recently called Bruce Willis an “Idiot.” Can you explain the rationale behind that? Do you think it’s a case of self-fulfilling prophecy with what he said?

Apropos the power of self-fulfilling prophecies and the myths of genes (real genetics is about complex intragenetic-developmental-environmental interactions that are stupefyingly complex), a group of proud addicts likes to brag that they told their kids they would become addicts – and lo and behold, they did! Ozzie Osbourne is a moron of this class. Alternately, Bruce Willis likes to warn his teens (who aren’t as crazy yet as Ozzie’s) never to use drugs and alcohol (like Ozzie did his) – although he and Demi in fact were themselves not addicts (and Bruce had to overcome a problem drinking period in his life).

Then there are the proud imbeciles like Warren and Crystal Zevon, who laud their children for entering recovery as inevitable because they, the parents, were both alcoholics. Yet neither of Warren’s or Crystal’s parents were alcoholics. Sometimes, when people explain things like this, you realize that science is used as just another form of superstition. “Well, the reason Warren’s parents weren’t alcoholics was because his father was a Jew, and they drank ritualistically, and his mother was a Mormon, and she didn’t drink at all. Deep down, underneath, they REALLY were alcoholics.” Of course, the Jewish formula (Warren grew up with his mother) is the far more successful template for addiction avoidance – where young people are exposed to substances and experiences in a demystified way, so that they learn these cannot control them. You know, there’s nothing wrong with better on your home team or the Super Bowl with your kids, or playing pinochle or poker with them. They won’t become gambling addicts – rather, the opposite is likely.

What are your views on the symptoms, causes and possible cures for the following:

Depression: [This IS going far afield!] I don’t buy that depression is a disease. I don’t because (a) CBT is the best treatment for it, (b) what explains the constant growth in depression – at the same time we are congratulating ourselves for recognizing it more readily and for developing such superior treatments, (c) we seem willing to say: “Thank God – we now know that depression is a disease and treat it as such – it’s so great that half the population is now on antidepressants!”

Bipolar: Bipolar is the fad diagnosis for young women of a certain social class. It’s a combination of the volatility of adolescence with the growing separation from real life such young women feel. I attended a part of social anthropologists where one woman was studying the fad and fancy appeal of the bipolar “movement” for young women, while one of those present had a “bipolar daughter” and the researcher agreed wholeheartedly the girl had the disease. I asked the mother if she knew any women in her generation who were bipolar – she looked confused, then answered, “No, but this shows the younger generation is much more liberated!” This is a cultural sickness.

Schizophrenia: Schizophrenia too, despite the evolution of successive generations of antipsychotics, is growing worldwide (like depression) I’m afraid. Again, our triumph will be, “We have cures for the disease of schizophrenia. They’re far from perfect – there’s no guarantee they work and many experience their side effects as worse than the disease – but thank God we have them – the disease has become so rampant!” Let’s return to Einstein’s prescription: We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder): ADD/ADHD is obviously the biggest new disease fad. I write about it in all my books. For parents, I suggest exploring nonpharmaceutical alternatives. And I should know – I’m ADD!

Do you feel that any of the above are not mental illnesses?

The mental illness movement was invented to permit people to show compassion for crazy people – including especially family members -- because, to this day, and even more so, people react so anyone who is different like they are lepers. So it serves a purpose. But it is an imprisoning label.

Gambling addiction has been labeled as a mental illness and a disease. Many medical doctors, one prominent one is Dr. Thomas S. Szasz, have asserted that mental illnesses do not exist. There is an anti-psychiatry website that warns consumers about psychiatric drugs and buying into the mental illness and disease labels. What is your opinion about the medicalization of addiction, the anti-psychiatry movement, and the power of the pharmaceutical industry? (It’s the most profitable industry in the world).

What I have against Szasz is the implication that crazy people are ordinary, run-of-the-mill souls who would be happy if we just left them alone. As a psychologist, I don’t find that to be the case. What I DO find is that schizophrenia et al. is understandable in terms of ordinary psychology – as is addiction. Schizophrenics find the world of reality insufficiently nurturing and rewarding and create private realities to sooth their souls and feel important. There are constructive ways of responding to this – by gently reinforcing reality on the one hand, and by encouraging their self-regard by expressing acceptance of their delusions without fully participating in them. Therapy involves accepting the person’s reality while nurturing real-world coping options that will, ultimately, make crazy people happier.

There are the two Ps in the Big Pharma, “If it can’t be Patented or you can’t make a Profit from it, it’s not medicine.” Would you more or less agree or disagree with that statement?

Some drugs make you live longer – the primary example being the statins (which reduce cholesterolemia). So I won’t discount pharmaceuticals across the board. Someday maybe they’ll even make us thinner! At the same time (a) reliance on drugs is always a secondary choice to lifestyle modification, (b) the business impetus is to always expand markets – to develop new drugs often later proven useless, to expand use of already developed drugs, and to have more diagnoses for which to find pharmaceutical solutions, (c) a society in which every human being happily takes six or seven drugs seems like the stuff of science fantasies we once watched with horror and repugnance. Remember, America – the most drugged society imaginable – rates, according to Michael Moore, as 27th in life expectancy in the world. It’s funny that – as much as I like Michael Moore (he was the first to announce at the Academy Awards that the Iraq War was trumped up, wasn’t he?), his solution is to give more people more drugs!

Can you share with us your knowledge about Omega-3 Fish oil, Ginkgo Biloba, St. John’s Wort, and other nutritional supplements. Do you think they’re effective or have their place in curing addiction?

In general, systematic explorations of vitamin therapies have produced ambiguous or negative results. Besides, we already know that having several drinks a day reduces heart attacks by 40 percent and mortality by 20 percent (these numbers are even higher for middle aged people), as well as being more fun than popping omega oils (better to eat fish). Yet medicine discourages dissemination of this real information, established by hundreds of studies over many decades, because of fears of alcoholism. We are looking under stones for life-extending therapies when there is something that people already know how to do and like doing that substantially extends their life expectancy. This returns us to the primacy of addiction theorizing in our lives – because young people learn that regular drinking signals addiction, they are more likely to favor binge drinking than the daily moderate drinking that makes people live longer!

The following is a quote from your website, “Its experiential and environmental approach to addiction revolutionized thinking on the subject by indicating that addiction is not limited to narcotics, or to drugs at all, and that addiction is a pattern of behavior and experience which is best understood by examining an individual's relationship with his/her world. This is a distinctly nonmedical approach. It views addiction as a general pattern of behavior that nearly everyone experiences in varying degrees at one time or another.”

Do you think that there is a common cause and cure for all addictions?

I would say young people are marked for addiction and emotional disorders to the extent they can’t manage themselves independently and lack a sense of self-efficacy (a belief in their ability to control their lives and to produce the outcomes they seek). We need to ask ourselves if these tendencies are increasing in young people. If we answer yes, then all of our therapies, all of our attempts to stem diseases, all of desires to make our children happier than ourselves – all are doomed to fail.

You’ve successfully treated many patients in your career. What are some of the more memorable patients you’ve treated?

Although you can produce “miracle” cures with some young people – since they are just going through a developmental phase with their addictive or other problems -- I now appreciate the reality of people’s life trajectories. They are constantly facing problems they struggle with and overcome to the extent that they resolve to, can expand and improve their lives, and become more comfortable with themselves. This overview is the opposite of the disease-cure model of addiction, which is made up as a fantasy for people with problems and to make money for providers (providers and patients of course frequently overlap).

I focus on one woman who had badly-formed life management skills and a negative self-image. She drank and drugged to a fare-the-well throughout her teens and twenties, went to AA and quit, then couldn’t take AA, then resumed drinking. When she drank, she often binge drank, but even so no one could argue that her life wasn’t improved from her drinking days, and even from her time in AA. She had a job, worked out and was healthy, had real friends, took up creative and constructive hobbies, and didn’t binge for days and weeks on end – even though by some diagnostic criteria she might still measure alcohol-dependent. For me, this is the ultimate in what we need to know about harm reduction – you can be an alcoholic in better or worse shape! Of course, I identify with helping clients overcome addictions. But if this is the only measure of success, we are – all of us – failures (although some of us less so than standard treatment programs and AA). To demand abstinence and complete cures is to satisfy ourselves – more likely our fantasies – not to deal with real people.

You make many speaking engagements around the country. Have proponents of the disease theories and 12 Step programs ever given you a piece of their minds?

At one point in my life, I was on the hit list for The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), a private 12-step foundation. John Wallace (director of treatment at the now defunct Edgehill-Newport hospital which almost killed Kitty Dukakis) ate out attacking me. My then-wife sometimes worried for my safety – as did I. This whole period now resembles earlier movements like witch trials and the McCarthy hearings, so I thank god I survived them. And academic departments were not immune (one of the leading witch hunters, Irving Maltzman, was a prominent psychologist at UCLA who, along with a prominent UCLA psychiatrist L. Jolyon West and the redoubtable Mary Pendery, who was killed by a drunken alcoholic she was dating, tried to tear apart all harm reduction approaches to addiction). Although I survived, I don’t look at the world through rose-colored glasses.

You have a new book coming out in August. Tell us more about it.

Addiction Proof Your Child: A Realistic Approach to Preventing Drug, Alcohol, and Other Dependencies attempts to attack the disease approach to addiction at its source – youthful substance users. Even kooky disease advocates (like the directors of the NIDA and NIAAA) can’t believe that every kid who gets drunk or drugs has a lifetime disease! Yet that is the way we are tending. In place of these harmful delusions – which are not science but moralistic propaganda – I propose to examine the fundamental ways in which children relate to the world so as to allow parents to ratchet down their children’s addictive potential.

Of course, I’m working against our pharmaceutical milieu, where we are taught to think the best we can do for our children is to quickly addict them to psychiatric medications to prevent them from having harmful outcomes in their lives. What used to be called growing up is now regarded as a disease state! We are now short circuiting the life development of our children so as to make the outcomes we dread all the more likely, requiring us to institute even more DARE programs (which are ineffective and counterproductive, you know). Throughout the book I demonstrate effective communication, treatment, and prevention techniques for young people.

Do you have any parting words for our readers?

Question authority!


Thank-you for taking the time from you busy schedule to do this interview.

7 Tools to Beat Addiction at Amazon.com

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Finding something immediately 'off' with the 12-step approach, I embraced this book completely! Not only did it chime-in the key points to focus upon to combat any addiction, but it so clearly states what is overall 'wrong' with society today and how we can make it better. It seems that any recovering person who is a 12-stepper is going to stay in 'victim' mode and not move forward to a higher realm. This book is a must-read for the entire human population.

I have the 7 Tools. It's common sense and it works.

read the book about 2 years ago and (still) find it practical in conducting my life. you do have to find a passion for something to live a fulfulling life.