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Unhooked: How to Quit Anything Paperback

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Unhooked: How to Quit Anything + Lighting Up: How I Stopped Smoking, Drinking, and Everything Else I Loved in Life Except Sex + Only as Good as Your Word: Writing Lessons from My Favorite Literary Gurus
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing; 1 edition (2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616084189
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616084189
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #376,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Doctor and former patient join forces in this guide to kicking addiction, from heroin to shopping. Woolverton, founder and director of the Village Institute for Psychotherapy, has worked with addicts for 25 years. Even as a successful and self-aware professional, it was when he quit smoking that he gained crucial insight: “I had to let myself suffer, figure out where it was coming from, and figure out what that pain was trying to tell me.” The importance of taking those steps in that order is emphasized throughout; Woolverton bolsters his argument by noting that’s why 12-step programs work. Addicts “need to be told to stop right now or they might die”; afterward, self-exploration supports lasting recovery. Former patient and coauthor Shapiro can attest to this: 10 years ago, Woolverton helped her quit alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes. She’s since discovered a passion for writing and published seven books. Her example and other case studies illustrate how Woolverton’s approach has worked for real people—and Woolverton’s willingness to share his own personal struggles add authenticity. Those stories and their positive message, combined with the authors’ concrete steps for identifying destructive behaviors and seeking help, make for a valuable, hopeful read.” (Publishers Weekly)

About the Author

Susan Shapiro became addicted to her shrink—Dr. Woolverton—when he helped her quit twenty-seven-year smoking and drinking habits and start writing successfully. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, and People, and on Salon.com. She is the author of seven books, including Five Men Who Broke My Heart, Speed Shrinking (currently optioned for films), and the memoir, Lighting Up, about her successful addiction therapy. She is a journalism professor who teaches the popular “instant gratification takes too long” writing method at the New School, New York University, and in private workshops and seminars. Visit her at www.susanshapiro.net.

Dr. Frederick Woolverton is a clinical psychologist who has specialized in treating addiction patients for the past twenty-five years. He is the founder and director of the acclaimed Village Institute for Psychotherapy in New York City and in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He was the former clinical director of the Baldwin Council Against Drug Abuse, has published numerous papers on substance abuse, and has created nationally adopted courses on the treatment of addictive disorders. His works have recently appeared in the New York Times and Psychology Today, and on AOL. Visit him at www.villageinstitute.com.

More About the Author

Susan B. Shapiro is a popular Manhattan writing professor and the acclaimed author of FIVE MEN WHO BROKE MY HEART, LIGHTING UP, SECRETS OF A FIX-UP FANATIC, ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR WORD and two novels, SPEED SHRINKING and OVEREXPOSED. She is coauthor of FOOD FOR THE SOUL, UNHOOKED and THE BOSNIA LIST, recently published by Penguin Books. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation and Newsweek and has been translated into 10 languages. She teaches "the instant gratification takes too long" school of writing at The New School and in private classes and workshops. You can visit her at her website Susanshapiro.net or email her directly at profsue123@aol.com

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 50 customer reviews
There are many helpful suggestions in it to make for a happier and more fulfilling life.
Dr. Woolverton's unconventional approach to therapy is an effective one--and the clear remedy for addicts in the type of crises listed in "Unhooked."
Lawrence E. Forbes
Reading through the book, I was continually struck by how well the author conveyed this wealth of information.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By jerelle on January 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
If Amy Winehouse and Jimi Hendrix had read Unhooked, they'd likely be with us today. Both authors of this book are intimate with the terror of addiction and the triumph of recovery, so you trust them immediately. Dr. Wooleverton, a former cigarette addict, is the eminent substance abuse shrink who helped author/professor Shapiro quit her 27-year, two-pack a day habit.

Unhooked delivers poignant tales of real people who've recovered from fierce addictions to everything from drugs and sex to tattoos and Facebook. Shapiro is candid about her myriad former crutches: dope, Diet Coke, shopping, shrinks, booze, gum, pills, and cupcakes. And many of the examples recounted here are extreme enough to make your own horrors feel conquerable.

The core theme--that all addictions are coping mechanisms for deeper psychic issues--is deftly documented. And the periodic self-quizzes are effective in helping us learn why we self-medicate. Unhooked's tight, lively writing; its solid, valuable advice; and its powerful, mesmerizing case studies had me hooked throughout.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Deb on July 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
If addiction affects your life, or that of someone close to you, _Unhooked_is a great resource to hook into. With its captivating case studies, the book reads like a novel; with its clinical rationales, insights, and guidelines, it informs like a documentary.

The author--a clinical psychologist and a recovered addict himself--presents a coherent synopsis of the factors underlying addictions and the approaches most effective in treating them. Reading through the book, I was continually struck by how well the author conveyed this wealth of information. Here's just a small sampling demonstrating his ability to effectively communicate overarching principles of addiction etiology and treatment:

Addictions are more about avoiding pain than about seeking pleasure:
***Often addictions bring no joy or amusement to the user whatsoever. Instead they take away intolerable pain, depression, and anxiety, and replace it with a numbness, or uneasy equilibrium that make mere survival seem possible. Substances often function as self-medication for an addict's usually undiagnosed distress. (p.63)
***Substances succeed in self-medicating only for short periods of time. A common misconception about addicts is that they are hedonistic pleasure seekers. This is not the case. Most addicts do not use to seek pleasure. They are people out to avoid terrible pain. They use not for fun, but often just to feel okay and get through the day. (p.113)

Substances serve as human stand-ins:
***Addicts often have an infantile need for the attention and safety they never felt from their parents. They have turned to their substances as a stand-in for soothing. So when they quit a substance dependency, they revert back to the age they were when they started using.
Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By DJay on February 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
For those of us who can't afford the price of premium Manhattan psychotherapy, Unhooked offers the advice of an innovative addiction therapist. While not everyone will agree with everything Woolverton says, anyone reading this book will come away with valuable insights about how to avoid the pull of addictive behavior. Some of the case histories are harrowing, and many are inspiring. What's particularly enlightening is that Woolverton and his co-author and former patient, Shapiro, make it clear that anything has the potential to be addictive. Beyond the obvious alcohol and drugs, everything from chewing gum to exercise can be destructive in large amounts. Even teetotalers may recognize symptoms of unhealthy behavior and find themselves adopting Woolverton's strategies for overcoming self-destructive tendencies. Some of his methods are unorthodox, but his forthright analysis has helped many patients. And, at the price of a paperback book, it's a bargain.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Arlington J. Trombley Jr. on April 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I knew nothing about Susan Shapiro when I bought this book. The title, subject matter (and price to be honest) lead me to putting this into my cart. From time to time I buy books like this. I call it buying "blind". Here's one way of reviewing it - I bought all her other titles after I read it. Sometimes an author's style just connects with you and her style did just that. This is a book about addiction therapy. It is about one therapist's career and his treatment techniques. Shapiro helped write it. The book goes down easily but the thoughts raised do not. Rarely do you read a book like this where the therapist tells you that your journey will be hard. In fact he suggests that is if it not hard you might not be doing it right. All addictions carry with them some hidden agenda. The way to win is to figure out what drives the addition. The main therapy recommended here is writing your feelings down. That and a healthy dose of reality therapy in the guise of professional help through personal therapy or group therapy like AA and Weight Watchers. I appreciated the way all addictions were portrayed as potentially harmful. Just because someone is not doing dangerous things like drinking or drugging does mean they are healthy. Spending too much money is harmful (if you don't have it so spend). Spending too much time on-line, on your phone, on social media sites and the like are also problems (or can be is they impede your real life relationships). I will not review Shapiro's other books here, I will tackle those in the appropriate sections, but I will say that even though I am a "normal" middle aged man I learned a great deal from this book. I will be reading again very soon with a journal close at hand to start unpacking whatever I need to unpack. I just hope I do not discover that my addition is to finding great books like this while searching Amazon.com.
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