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Addiction Is a Choice by Ph.D. Jeffrey A.…

Addiction Is a Choice (2000)

by Ph.D. Jeffrey A. Schaler

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The provocative theme of this book, for which the author makes a strong case, is that there is no such thing as addiction in the sense of an actual physical disease causing someone to use drugs or alcohol self-destructively. Rather, Schaler argues, drug and alcohol use is an act of free choice. The "addict" can and does control what he does.

Schaler argues further that substance abuse programs not only fail, but are actually harmful, because they teach the user that his actions are caused by a "disease" that he cannot control. In a masterpiece of illogic, the treatment industry reasons as follows: "Addiction treatment doesn't work. Therefore, since it's so recalcitrant, addiction must be a disease....Therefore it can be treated." And "treatment" means the approach typified by that of Alcoholics Anonymous. The author is especially critical of AA, which he shows is really a religious conversion program, under which participants are expected to give themselves over to God and acknowledge that they have no control over their lives.

The real cause of substance abuse, says Schaler, are life-problems which the user does not deal with. He argues for the legalization of drugs, the termination of tax-supported treatment programs and the end of forced treatment for drug users.

Schaler fails to recognize legitimate medical uses for drugs. But with respect to his ideas about addiction being a volitional condition, he makes a convincing argument. If you reject the mainstream conception of the "addict" as helpless, this book offers you a far more rational view. ( )
  Toolroomtrustee | Sep 10, 2010 |
This is one of the most interesting books that I have ever read on the subject of addiction. I couldn't agree with the author more. The first time I actually read the AAA book I sat there and laughed at how religious it was. I went to a meeting specifically to ask how they see people who are athiests or agnostics using their program with success. They commented that a person could use any word in place of 'higher power' and have it work for them. Obviously that cannot be done.
No #1 is the worst in my opinion and also it seems in Dr. Schaler's opinion.
#1 We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanagable

How I ask can you change your life if you are powerless over your addiction! What rubbish!

All the people that I have known that have succeeded in beating a drug habit have done so on their own and with will-power and determination. You choose to get out like you choose to get in. It's the same thing.

Thank you to the author of this book for clearly showing, with scientific data, that the theory of a habit being disease related has no foundation in fact or in practice. Finally someone has written a book which exactly reflects my observation of compulsive drug use and so-called treatment.

I will recommend this book to others and I will personally lend this book to my friends.
  BookAddict | Mar 20, 2006 |
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It is one of the most mysterious compensatory phenomena of our history that the individual, the mroe forcefully he seeks to emerge from a world rooted in collectivism, stubbornly undermines his own qualities, by means of a doctrine of man assigning each feature and peculiarity in turn to non-individual forces that in the end become completely dehumanized ... This is the alchemy of the modern age, the transmogrification of subject into object, of man into a thing against which the destructive urge may wreak its fury without restraint.

Alexander Mistcherlich and Fred Mielke, Doctors of Infamy (1949)
To the memory of my father, Otto Gerhard Julius Schaler, who taught me about courage and vigilance; and to my mother, Elizabeth Schiltz Schaler, who taught me about courage and forgiveness.
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(Introduction): 'Addiction' is a fine old English word meaning commitment, dedication, devotion, inclination, bent, or attachment.
Today, just about everyone believes, or says they believe, that addicts -- including regular smokers, heavy drinkers, frequent gamblers, presidents who seduce interns, and people who run up credit card debts -- can't help themselves.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 081269404X, Paperback)

Written for both lay and professional readers, this book offers new approaches to understanding addiction and the public policies necessary to successfully battle its detrimental effects on society. The author explains why current policies are ineffective and how they fail to cure the "problem." He argues that they actually encourage addiction by allowing people to feel blameless for the consequences of their choices.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:15 -0400)

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