The Heart of Addiction

A New Approach to Understanding and Managing Alcoholism and Other Addictive Behaviors, by Lance Dodes, M.D.

Cover of The Heart of Addiction by Lance DodesThis month’s Great Read is a groundbreaking and empathic way to view and treat addictions, not as a character flaw or a disease, but as an attempt to address emotional pain.

Lance Dodes is a retired clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard who watched people repeatedly fail sobriety programs — sometimes as often as a hundred times — and realized that there had to be a better and more humane way to treat addictions and addicted people. 

His humane and emotionally intelligent approach turns addiction treatment on its head and provides support, empathy, and a way forward. The Heart of Addiction supports your emotional intelligence and emotional development, and it can help you understand addiction — your own or your loved ones’ — in a clearer and more hopeful way.

This book has become a textbook in the DEI licensing program because it helps us view the pain of others in an empathic, empowering, and truly healing way.

Lance writes this about why people seek addictive substances or behaviors: 

Every addictive act is preceded by a feeling of helplessness or powerlessness (an overwhelming of the capacity to manage without feeling emotionally flooded). Addictive behavior functions to repair this underlying feeling of helplessness. It is able to do this because taking the addictive action (or even deciding to take this action) creates a sense of being empowered, of regaining control over one’s emotional experience and one’s life. This reversal of helplessness may be described as the psychological purpose of addiction.

Lance’s approach is supported by research and decades of clinical practice, and it’s also supported by a genuine concern and empathy for the suffering of others. This book is a welcome game changer.

You can learn more or purchase The Heart of Addiction here.


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