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Understanding the Alcoholic's Mind: The Nature of Craving and How to Control It Paperback – June 8, 1989

ISBN-13: 978-0195059182 ISBN-10: 0195059182 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (June 8, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195059182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195059182
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.4 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,036,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An outstanding effort filled with important information for those who treat alcoholics, live with alcoholics, or who are alcoholics.... A significant contribution to the field, and all who deal with alcoholics would benefit from reading it."--Science Books and Films

"A thoroughly readable and rich introduction to...the process of recovery from alcoholism."--New England Journal of Medicine

"Ludwig offers a unique integrative perspective which encompasses the clinical wisdom accrued through twenty-five years of experience as an alcoholism researcher and therapist....The book serves as an excellent primer for clinicians and recovering persons on a practical and multiperspective approach to alcoholism treatment."--Contemporary Psychology

"An exciting contribution to the growing self-help literature in the addictions field....Dr. Ludwig has long enjoyed an excellent reputation both as a researcher and clinician in the field of alcohol studies. This book will strengthen that reputation. It will also save lives."--G. Alan Marlatt, University of Washington

"Perhaps the best book on the subject I have read for a long time."--Donald W. Goodwin, M.D., University of Kansas

"Solid, informative, imaginative, and elegantly written."--Harold Kalant, M.D., University of Toronto

`The sifted and assimilated result of years of thoughtful observation by a kind and sensitive clinician."--Margaret Bean-Bayog, M.D., Harvard Medical School

"An excellent little book--highly informative, full of challenging and stimulating ideas, and teeming with shrewd clinical insights."--British Journal of Psychiatry

"Useful for physicians who wish to understand alcoholism and the recovery process, and to gain anecdotal evidence of this process, which is presented by using the words of recovering alcoholics....Can be of great value to those many physicians faced with individual patients who are drinking too much." --New York State Journal of Medicine

"A rich and interesting book filled with references to research, self-reports by alcoholics, and fictional allusion to the thought-processes of the alcoholic... Ludwig does not proselytize about any one approach and he offers a hearty notes/bibliography section for those who wish to find out more about technical aspects of alcoholism and treatment." --KLIATT Young Adult Paperback Book Guide

About the Author

Arnold Ludwig, M.D. is E. A. Edwards Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. He is on the editorial board of The American Journal of Psychotherapy and has written five other books and over one hundred articles.

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Customer Reviews

It is good when a good can get through.
Marie Callahan
Written by a doctor, this book tells you what to expect in recovery from substance addiction.
Island Man
I think anyone who is in a relationship with an alcoholic should read this book.
Pam

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By "k_kat" on January 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have been in substance abuse counseling and AA on and off for a few years. Recently I began researching alternatives to the 12-step approach in secular organizations such as SOS and non-AA affiliated books such as "Rational Recovery." This was one of the books I chose to read and I'm very happy I did. Written by a medical doctor and experienced researcher, the book brings together a lot of information about alcoholism that I had picked up in bits and pieces from treatment into an understandable and inspiring model for recovery. The chapters -- entitled "Paradoxes and Contradictions", "The Lure of the Siren", "The Dry Drunk", "The Mystery of Craving", "On and Off the Wagon", "The Proper Frame of Mind", "Resisting Temptation", "Sobriety Scripts" and "The Sober Mind" -- cover in depth how and why alcoholics relapse, and present foundations for committed sobriety. He states the fundamental view of the book in the preface: "1. ...many alcoholics, under the proper circumstances, do manage to recover. 2. Those who recover do so by adopting certain characteristic ways of thinking and behaving. 3. The changes associated with recovery...tend to involve...all aspects of their lives." The book follows this premise with scientific background, real life examples, and insight into why AA and other approaches work or do not work for different individuals. I've been able to put into perspective the seriousness of my harmful drinking and understand what it means for me to make a true, lasting commitment to sobriety. Most importantly, I've gained insight into the worst aspect of alcoholism (for me), craving, through the latter chapters on how to avoid, curtail and resist it. The information in this book has given me valuable tools to continue with my sobriety.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is a good "companion" book for someone who wants to stop drinking. It has chapters detailing the nature of cravings, practical solutions for resisting temptation, and what happens beyond sobriety. You can pick it up and put it down, after the first read through, and always find something useful if you need a little boost. The author's credentials and amount of research are exemplary.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Timothy P. Scott on July 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
Though lucky enough to not be an addict myself, I have learned a huge amount about alcoholism and recovery from it in the past few months. I've been to several dozen AA and Al-Anon meetings, read many, many books and pamphlets and I must say that Ludwig's book is definitely one of the best I've read during that time. Everything he writes about rings dead true from what alcoholics, both using and recovering, and their loved ones report. If I had only one book to recommend as an adjunct to a good 12-step program, it would probably be this one. Don't be put off by the mass of references and small print, it's not a completely academic effort, but extremely pragmatic, super well written and easy to read and compassionate without being coddling.
(The other writer I can't recommend highly enough on relapse prevention is Terence Gorski, but that's a subject for another review...)
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. As a drunk, I recommend it to all my friends who need help quitting. The book talks a lot about the tricks we play on ourselves.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By the barefoot cook on August 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a highly educated scientist who wants to know the WHY behind everything, and also as a regular person who struggles with an alcohol problem, I found this book to be tremendously useful. It offers clear, concise information about what is known about the development of alcohol dependence, both in the every-day living of a drinker, and from a biological and psychological perspective. It discusses ongoing research into why it is so difficult to quit drinking permanently, and touches on the biology behind the problem. It also explores the relative success of different types of recovery programs.

I recommend this book to everyone I meet who has in interest in learning more about alcohol dependence, either for themselves or because they have alcohol-dependent people in their life who they want to understand better. So, we could probably ALL benefit from reading this...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pam on January 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think anyone who is in a relationship with an alcoholic should read this book. Standing on the outside of an alcoholics mind is very hard to do. I wish I would have had this book years ago--when I kept saying I dont understand how anyone can just keep drinking and hurting the people that love them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Phillips on March 20, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book. I was having difficulty with a relative who was addicted. The book gave me insight into the problem. It was written at a high school level. It was easy to understand. The author gave me a lot of insight into the problem of addiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marie Callahan on November 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It may be unfair to rate it so highly because I haven't read it. The prisoner it was sent too said it was helpful. It got through the prison mail room screenings so that is a real plus. Prisoners are allowed only ten books at a time; very few when you consider that educating themselves through books can help them survive prison and become responsible citizens once released. It is good when a good can get through.
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