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Unhooked: How to Quit Anything 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1616084189
ISBN-10: 1616084189
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Unhooked: How to Quit Anything
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  • Lighting Up: How I Stopped Smoking, Drinking, and Everything Else I Loved in Life Except Sex
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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.

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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: 5.5 x 5.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
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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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By Not a Fan on September 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book because Susan Shaprio was the co-author. I was pretty disappointed. I had bought this book thinking it was more a self-help/reflection type of book. I found this book to be more about the author's case studies and personal achievements with his career and patients, rather than enlightening or inspiring on a personal level. Disappointed.
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By Carbus on February 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I stopped reading about 70 percent through the book. The author spends most of the time discussing his "maverick" ways, how fantastic he is as a therapist and his own childhood problems. It is very repetitive. I think that would be fine if he provided any new suggestions re: breaking addictions (he doesn't) or acknowledged that many of his patients see him for years on end and still don't overcome their addictions. There is nothing wrong with that, but it does make his writing a book with this title and subtitle disingenuous. I anticipate that we might see memoirs by one of his patients in a few years discussing his/her years with an egomaniacal therapist who took all of their money!
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Format: Paperback
I am blown away. I actually made it to page 70..and that was 70 pages of grandiose verbiage of how magnificent this author is. His self praise goes on and on and on. How his unconventional ways cause the heaviest addict to claim "I will see you and only you!" The author continually refers to every addiction revolving around a persons craving for their mother's breasts, breat milk and just really, boobs. That they didn't get enough, were removed from them too soon. Etc. He's got some serious mother issues. And well, he does admit that. I am now on page 171 and have found his pattern of talking about himself incessantly and how he is able to understand every addicts problems because he himself once smoked (due to not having enough time with his mother, and well, you know) and that he conquered eating a PINT of ice cream. He referred to this as binge eating.

Seriously, stop and read that again. He equated eating a pint of ice cream one time in one sitting as binge eating and sought help from family, co-workers and professionals for this. And he states...Is it any wonder he binged on ice cream when it's base is MILK and sugar?

I found his word choices, uncomfortable and even well, like a catholic priest trying to describe a blow job. Just, odd. He talks about his co-author, but I have yet to see anything from her or anything written by her. He does however put all of her issues out on the pages. Chapters filled with foibles, problems and addictions. But thankfully, the author magically swoops in and with his super intuitive and unorthodox ways, cures patient after patient. All after surviving a damaged apartment from 9/11. This little diddy is mentioned numerous times.
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