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Powerless No Longer: Reprogramming Your Addictive Behavior Paperback – August 28, 2013
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About the Author
Pete Soderman is a published author and lecturer, with a background in computer engineering and sales. He had a 26-year drinking career that began the day before the assassination of President Kennedy, and ended in 1990. As a result of a series of events, he found himself at an AA meeting after a friend told him it was a place where he could learn to drink normally. It isn't, of course, but he found that he couldn't agree with its principles, nor follow most of its suggestions, except for one, he didn't drink. Why was he successful when an overwhelming percentage of those who stumble into AA fail to stay sober for any length of time?
His search for the answer to that question is what this book is all about. He had to find his own way, and in doing that, he discovered that most addicts recover completely on their own, or with minimal help, and that their methods for doing so were readily accessible if one was willing to research the available scientific literature. He spent several years doing just that, and arrived at the conclusion that the established addiction treatment industry was using methods that the research community knew, and had known for years, were ineffective, and in fact counterproductive.
The bottom line, he found, was that the key to recovery for most people wasn’t spiritual at all, it was cognitive! A recovering addict needed a good deal of motivation, a way to overcome urges, the skills to deal with life’s normal problems without a drug, and the ability to change their focus from short-term gratification to the achievement of long-term goals. Once these became a part of one’s life, falling back into addictive habits became virtually impossible, as long as the recovered individual maintained their attitude and outlook.
He helped start a SMART Recovery® meeting in Wilmington NC, and a few years later, another one in a small village in central Mexico, where he retired with his wife, Gethyn.
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It points out the common fallacy that one becomes powerless over a substance which leads to an addictive behaviour and that one no long has choice about continuing to use or stop.
First a substance is just that - a thing. It has no inherent power. Being powerless over a thing is a blatant misconception . It is true that the addict who misuses a substance such as alcohol " feels" powerless , but as the author points out and has been shown again and again, the power is still there. With sufficient motivation , people with these sorts of problem can regain their ability to choose not to use- the majority do with no further help as wonderfully described by Pete Soderman in this book- from his own first hand experience. This phenomenon of natural recover is very common but not really known all that well inspite of its importance. If one becomes aware of the problem early enough in the process of substance misuse, and decide to stop- that's it. Now Im not saying its easy but happens. Can happen and does happen.
Many however seek some support and help and this is good because its there. Rather like an assisted natural recovery for many. The author points out , and this is the strength of the book, that there are now alternatives available. And one can exercise the power of choice in figuring out what is best for them- and it is an individual process. One size does not fit all.
For years all there was available was the 12 step approach of which the most well known is Alcoholics Anonymous. In my opinion, as well as many others, there are lots of problems with AA. Thats not the purpose of this review however to point that out - but that not having choice is a huge issue. Or rather was.
Well no longer is it AA or no way. And this book points them all out so you can choose for yourself. I myself chose one the book tells alot about called Smart Recovery. Smart is a science ( psychology) based and now evidence based approach that at least to me makes sense. And it works - not just for me. It is now increasingly available both in face to face and online meetings.
No longer does one need to declare that one is powerless and the only way out is to rely on a higher power to do what you can learn to do and succeed to do yourself. No longer do you need to brand yourself an alcholic who needs to attend meetings for the rest of you life. No longer do you have a chronic progressive incurable disease which can only be managed by something other than yourself; this most commonly being God.
This book nicely lays out what Smart is, how it works, and how to use the self-empowering tools incorporated into the secular program as one grows through the change process known as "Recovery" . That starts with abstinence but is a growth process that takes time and work . But one can recover- permanently and completly, keeping in mind of course that you can develop the problem again. And Pete Soderman in a nicely crafted and well-written, easiliy accessible work shows just how to do this.
I like this book alot and think an important contribution for anyone coming to realize they might like to have the overwhelmingly likely better they will enjoy without this generally destructive behavior.
If you're like me, and AA simply does not work for you, I highly recommend this book!
The style is non judgemental which is important if you are addicted as self esteem become a a problem. I am not a fan of 12 steps as it seems to cause more harm than good, with a very low success rate . However the author points out that recovery plans can be unique to the individual.
Most recent customer reviews
The information is very helpful to anyone with personal addictive behavior or someone that has...Read more