| "Addicts are the scapegoat of our age."|
--Reverend Terence E. Tanner, London, 1979
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Paying The Piper
Jeffrey A. Schaler, Addiction is a Choice. Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company, 2000. To order, click here.To order, click here.
I leap ahead to the present, before going back to books that educated me in the early days. This one, by my current partner in crime, did not because it was written so recently. Yet, it fits here in terms of its place in the evolution of ideas. This is another of those books that appeals to me on many levels, not least that it outrages so many people at all levels of society and in all occupations and of all political persuasions. It is a mind-bender of a book.
My main reasons for liking it, though, are two. First, it contains many concepts that ring true to my understanding of the nature of addiction and the lives of many addicts. Second, it is a hopeful book. To all you addicts out there, no matter what your addiction or supposed compulsion, harken to Jeff Schaler.
It is your choice, bucko!
Now, why would you not want to hear that? Well, if your are a devotee - need I say an addict - of the AA or NA philosophies, you are powerless to control your intake of your poison of choice and have turned yourself over to a higher power. You may also believe that you have a physical disease and in a real sense are not responsible for your actions. That is the view of the dominant thinkers in addiction science as well as of many traditional medical doctors, treatment providers, and legal experts.
In other words my buddy Jeff has managed in one short book (146 pages of text) to piss off most of the universe - and to turn on their head many of the most cherished concepts that addiction experts have believed and promulgated for eons. This is a remarkable accomplishment.
He has placed in the laps of the addicts of the world the responsibility for their compulsive behavior. Except for the relatively small percentage who must be rated as truly mentally ill, I believe that this responsibility does belong in those very laps.
While this may seem unfair, it is also the cause of the greatest hope for you addicts reading this. You are not powerless. You do not have to get up every day angry with yourself for needing a fix of your current poison. Your life does not have to revolve around your damned heroin, or alcohol, or tobacco or what have you. The choice, believe it or not, is yours!
Of course, many reasonable arguments can be made in answer to this book. I have a number in mind. The main one is there are many junkies who simply do not believe what I, speaking for Jeff Schaler, just said. They do not believe they have the power to change and that belief is powerful. Be that as it may, this is a book that cannot be ignored.
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