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Overcoming Your Alcohol, Drug & Recovery Habits Paperback – January 5, 2003

3.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Hard look at the addiction treatment industry---also charts the path for those wanting to quit. I heartily recommend this book. -- Bookviews.com, March, 2003. Alan Caruba, charter member of the National Book Critics Circle

About the Author

James DeSena is a certified alcohol and drug addiction counselor who has chaired hundreds of non-12-step self-help meetings. He lives in Florham Park, New Jersey.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: See Sharp Press (January 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1884365299
  • ISBN-13: 978-1884365294
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,740,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I discovered Overcoming Your Alcohol, Drug and Recovery Habits through the author's website, which contained free sample chapters, an eye-opening self-help test to determine ones substance abuse level, fascinating facts in regard to AA and traditional 12-step treatment, and a comprehensive resources page that was laden with useful links. Of the alternative recovery books I have read, DeSena's book was most enlightening and hit home like none of the others did. For one, his replacing of the word "recovery" with "discovery" to describe post active addiction life was a breath of fresh air; very liberating. Also, his concept of "The Parasite" to describe the self-damaging self-talk all substance abusers grapple with brought rationality to this phenomenon as opposed to the irrationality that AA/12-step treatment term "the disease talking."

My understanding of DeSena's material however, compels me to comment to those who find DeSena's material mirroring the Rational Recovery system developed by RR founder, Jack Trimpey. Just as similarities exist between Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, similarities exist between DeSena's and Trimpey's methodologies. And contrary to those who deem otherwise, DeSena does not claim that all his concepts are his sole creations. Rather, he states that through research, personal experience, and many conversations with those who have independently quit their addictions, he codified these addiction-ending methodologies/techniques and gave them names.

DeSena's name for the substance abuser's addictive self-talk is his metaphorical "The Parasite": "Just one won't hurt," "I gotta have it," "You can a few; just don't drive." In contrast, Trimpey presents his "Beast" as a real entity overshadowing the real you.
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Format: Paperback
After eight years of "recovering," three stints in rehab, countless AA meetings, countless hours spent with Certified Alcohol Counselors (CAC's), and shrinks----I am finally free----Free from a lifetime of "recovering," free from rehabs, free from AA, free from counselors, shrinks, and most importantly, I'm finally free from my self-destructive addiction to booze. This is a true, gut-feeling freedom I never experienced during my eight-year association with the one-day-at-time "recovering" community of Alcoholics Anonymous. For this, I will be forever grateful for finding Jim DeSena's powerful and liberating book, Overcoming Your Alcohol, Drug and Recovery Habits: An Empowering Alternative to AA and 12-Step Treatment.
DeSena has put into words what clearly many "recovering" people think and feel, but are too afraid, embarrassed, scared or intimidated to say: That AA and 12-step programs are NOT the universal answer for everyone when it comes to beating an addiction, or for living thier lives post-addiction. CAC's, therapists, rehabs and the addiction/recovery "experts" are, for the most part, ALL AA "Moonies." It's obvious that those who have found what they believe to be the "spiritual solution" to beating alcoholism/addiction promote it with religious zeal. Rarely are addicted folks offered alternative modes of recovery even when it's blatantly clear that the 12-step "recovery" method is not helping them. I should know, I lived it, or should I say, I endured it for eight grueling years.
Overcoming Your Alcohol, Drug and Recovery Habits has opened my eyes to an array of methods and alternative 12-step programs that the addiction treatment "experts" NEVER offered me. And all these alternatives have great things to offer.
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Format: Paperback
I am a physician who has worked in addiction medicine for many years. I read Overcoming Your Alcohol, Drug and Recovery Habits after reading all the reviews at Amazon.com. Since it's against Amazon.com rules to comment on specific reviews, I will say that I felt compelled to write this review because there are dogmatic "recovery" thinkers who will make false statements about the contents of this book to deceive you. Please know that Dr. DeSena goes beyond the traditional treatment/recovery mindset, which routinely stresses, (unconstructively for many) that the substance abuser's "deep emotional troubles" are the root cause of their addictions. Simply stated, there is no universal law of addiction that states there MUST be some deep, troubling emotion(s) underlying all addictive behavior. There is again no universal law for overcoming an addiction that requires said "deep emotions" to be "treated." Furthermore, using religious mumbo-jumbo and talk of God, these "recovery experts" will insist that you can only manage your emotions and maintain your sobriety with Divine guidance. Such propaganda is a proselytizing tactic used to convert the substance abuser to the "recovery expert's" particular theological beliefs.
Traditional addiction treatment focuses excessively on emotions both during the treatment phase and for dealing with life post addiction. While managing your emotions is important, your emotions are not as unmanageable as most addiction treatment providers and the recovering community would have you believe. In fact Dr. DeSena notes the following in reference to emotions: "Addiction therapists want to analyze your emotional/psychological disturbances.
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