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Addiction Is a Choice [Hardcover]

Jeffrey A. Schaler
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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From Kirkus Reviews

paper 0-8126-9404-X The pendulum has begun its swing backcould it be that drug and alcohol addictions are not diseases after all, but bad personal choices? Can addiction be overcome by mustering the strength of character to turn away from such choices? Psychologist Schaler (Justice, Law, and Society/American Univ.; Smoking, Who Has the Right?, not reviewed) argues convincingly that society has erred in giving in completely to the AA vision that addiction is a disease, that addicts can't help themselves, and that they need a higher power to be saved. Addiction (which at one time meant only devotion or dedication) has come to mean ``any activity which individuals engage in, deliberately and consciously, and are physically unable to stop themselves from pursuing. Rejecting such a definition out of hand, Schaler maintains that ``people are responsible for their deliberate and conscious behavior. He is sympathetic for those struggling with addiction; he doesn't oversimplify his own or his opponents arguments; and he readily acknowledges his philosophical forefathers (Thomas Szasz, for one, from the last time the pendulum was at this end of its arc). His reading of the results of research into addictionthat it fails to support the disease modelis convincing. And his resulting suggestions for changes in public policy and for individual change demand consideration. If not a new model for viewing addiction, at least a provocative update of an old one. -- Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


A clear and fascinating read. The wealth of information and fresh insights reflect the writer's career as a scholar-teacher-therapist, and especially his many years of research and practical work in the addiction field. The book dispels many myths about addiction and should provide liberating insights to the afflicted. -- Herbert Fingarette, author of Heavy Drinking, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, UCSB

Addiction Is a Choice is a powerful antidote against the twin poisons of anti-drug propaganda and drug prohibition. -- Thomas Szasz, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus, SUNY Health Science Center, Syracuse

Schaler drives a stake into the heart of the 'disease' concept of addictions. Millions of people have stopped smoking, abusing mind-altering drugs, and drinking addictively on their own, without the intervention of counselors or doctors or programs. Dr. Schaler explains persuasively why and how this happens, despite all the genetic and hormonal predispositions. -- Joseph Gerstein, M.D. F.A.C.P., Harvard Medical School

This is indeed a rare book. Schaler has provided a unique, masterly work which explains addiction from a revelatory perspective. The reader can learn how the controversial area of addiction can be looked at and understood in a new light. -- Morris Chafetz, M.D., Founding Director National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
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