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Drunks, Drugs & Debits: How to Recognize Addicts and Avoid Financial Abuse 1st Edition
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...valuable reference with useful suggestions and tools that could make a big difference in lives affected by anothers addiction. -- Counselor - The Magazine for Addiction Professionals - Review by Lindsay E. Freese, MEd, MAC, LADC
From the Publisher
The author wishes to acknowledge the most important (but by no means all) of the authors whose shoulders on which he has stood. The most important of these include James Graham (The Secret History of Alcoholism), James Milam and Katherine Ketcham (Under the Influence), Terence Gorski (numerous works), Vernon Johnson (I¡¦ll Quit Tomorrow), David Keirsey (Please Understand Me), Eve Delunas (Survival Games Personalities Play), and David Parker and Ralph Stacey (Chaos, Management and Economics: The Implications of Non-Linear Thinking). He would also like to publicly thank Jeff Bezos for having founded Amazon.com. Without this vast resource for research, this book would have been far less complete.
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I read the author's "How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics: Behavioral Clues...." before I read "Drunks, Drugs and Debits". The former book is more concise, and a fast read. It introduces Thorburn's basic theory about the nature of alcohol and drug addiction in a way that clarifies some typical confusion we encounter when dealing with persons whose behaviors cause us frustration and grief. When I had finished it, I felt as if a window had been cleared of heavy soil, so that light at last came through it, along with the details of the landscape. I wanted to find out more, so I bought Doug Thorburn's first book, "Drunks, Drugs and Debits." I especially like what the author had to say about not being a professional, nor an alcoholic, because there is so much he would have had to unlearn if he were, in order to write his books. Learning the biological basis of addiction is refreshing. It removes the need to wrestle with blame, and with issues of character and will-power, which traditionally have led to evasiveness when dealing with persons who are a threat of one sort or another to themselves or to us.
This book covers much more ground, and has some material in it about protecting oneself financially , and about enabling, that is priceless. I come from an extended family in which there are a number of alcoholics, and had made a big mistake in having married (a hidden) one, from whom I literally escaped with my life, so over the years, I had attended Al Anon meetings, and read all kinds of self-help books on the subject. Never before has the picture been clearer than it now is. Had I read either of Thorburn's books, I would have known better than to enter that terrifying marriage.
I am especially interested in what Thorburn has to say about counseling for an addict, and how the typical counseling experience actually works to enable the addict. This insight goes counter to standard practice, but it is worth a pile of gold. I have watched a person's behavior actually deteriorate after she entered treatment, and now I understand why and how that could happen.
I am glad that I first came across "How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics" because it is so much easier to read. The author is an original and creative thinker, and he is a good researcher and skillful at synthesizing what he picked up from all kinds of resources. My only problem with this title is that since he did not begin as a professional writer, Thorburn's prose can be just a bit clunky at times in this first of his books, "Drunks, Drugs, and Debits," which slowed me down in my reading.. I did not have this problem when I was reading "How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics." I think this author's work is well worth our attention, and I intend to read more from him. Check out his web site and monthly newsletters.
If Thorburn's work would be required reading in the schools, I believe our society could be spared untold misery, heartbreak, broken relationships, and tragic, unnecessary, untimely deaths.
In his words, "Because we've never been given the tools, it takes the average spouse or significant person many years to tentatively diagnose alcoholism or other drug addiction. The uninitiated may never suspect active addiction in friends, business associates or other contacts."
Thorburn notes that addiction has never been truthfully and accurately taught in our schools. On pg. 137, he writes "Children are told, "Just say no to drugs. Teenagers are warned "When you're old enough, drink in moderation, or not at all. As adults we're implored, `Don't drink and drive.' That is what addicts do."
Thorburn also points out (pg.145) that while there has been some improvement in the diagnosis and treatment of drug addiction, it's been uneven and sporadic. Also, the 24 hours of instruction in addiction that most doctors receive today is still far too little for a disease that has been found to be the number one killer.Drug addicts are frequently mistreated and misdiagnosed to this day.
The book is full of solid information and shocking stories. On pg. 150, the author writes, "simply put, addiction causes brain damage...this accounts, at least in part, for the almost impossible task of getting and staying sober."
Thorburn notes that The American Medical Association still describes a symptom of alcoholism as "an uncontrollable desire to drink" yet omitting any description of the behavioral signs of alcoholism or how it affects those near the addict in devastating ways.
Mary Ann Crenshaw (pg. 154) wrote a best-selling book, The Natural Way to Super Beauty, while drinking alcoholically. She is an example of what often happens to alcoholics:
1). She was repeatedly misdiagnosed by physicians, psychiatrists and diet doctors, despite exhibiting symptoms including hypoglycemia, agitation, suicidal thoughts, insomnia, severe stomach pains, migraines, nausea, frayed nerves, blackouts, hallucinations and violent mood swings.
2). She was prescribed Valium, Fiorinal, Placidyl, Percodan, Librax, Navane, (an anti-psychotic), Cogentin, (to counteract the side-effects of Navane), Phenobarbital, codeine, and numerous other drugs.
3). Diet doctors told her she could drink all the hard liquor she wanted.
4). Despite all this, she got clean and sober and most of her symptoms disappeared!
Thorburn asserts that treating addiction as a compulsive disorder has never worked. If psychological disorders caused chemical addiction, there would be many recovering addicts who could drink or use socially. Instead, there are almost none.
One addict commented, "My therapist was my biggest enabler." It's an opinion shared by almost every AAer who dealt with a therapist prior to sobriety.
Throburn's book covers a lot of ground. He addresses the problems of the non-alcoholic/ co-dependent. "Non-addict codependents must be educated about addiction before successfully addressing their own issues." And of course, the average codependent has a lot of their own issues.
Thorburn offers sage advice throughout the book. He provides steps to take to protect oneself when involved with an active addict. He also writes about the challenges of recovery for the addict and his family.
He touches on the importance of proper nutrition for the addict, as well as noting that an intriguing aid to the feeding of the mind in early sobriety may be caffeine. Perhaps that is a reason that you will always find pots of coffee brewing at AA meetings. Addicts may have learned that coffee helps them stay sober.
And who knew that the herb, kudzu, has been used for centuries by the Chinese for the treatment of alcohol-related illnesses? As well as the fact that acupuncture has been reported to help reduce cravings for alcohol and other drugs.
This book is for everyone. Read it and learn. The information Thorburn provides is vital to all of us who live in this drinking culture. The life you save may be your own, or that of a relative or friend. Very highly recommended!