When I ordered “The Meaning of Addiction” I was psyched. As an existentialist and someone who has worked in addiction for 20 years, I couldn’t wait to read this book. I first became familiar with Stanton Peele on Psychology Today, where we both write. I saw his picture and a blurb about his most recent post at the top of the page. After reading his article, I checked out his books and ordered this one. While waiting for it I grabbed a book I had read over a decade ago called “Addiction and Responsibility.” Low and behold the section I began reading was referencing Stanton Peele.
The day my books arrived (I had purchased a few, as I frequently do) and the psychiatrist in my office happened to walk in. He was leaving on a cross country trip and wondered if he could borrow the book. Since I had others I let him. When he returned he discussed how scholarly the book was. I began the book whilst I read several others, and read it slowly over the course of a couple of months. The book is rich with studies, and Peele does an outstanding job of supporting his argument that addiction is primarily social, and that we are going about treating it incorrectly.
Peele’s argument is substantive. He uses studies to support his position, and lays his argument out in an organized fashion. He discusses the differences in the presentation of substance problems, and argues that behaviors are as worthy of the designation addiction is any substance.
I highly recommend this book, and believe it a necessity for anyone serious about treating addiction. If you are a person who believes the 12 Step program is the only true treatment for addictive disorders, just put your preconceived ideas on the shelf while you read.