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Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change
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Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  326 ratings  ·  36 reviews
The groundbreaking method that upends current treatment models and “offers collective hope to families of substance abusers” (Kirkus Reviews), helping loved ones conquer addiction and compulsion problems through positive reinforcement and kindness—from the leaders in progressive addiction treatment in the US.

Beyond Addiction goes beyond the theatrics of interventions and t
Paperback, 352 pages
Published December 30th 2014 by Scribner (first published February 1st 2014)
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4.29  · 
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 ·  326 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Great book. I wish I'd had it a couple of years ago, but it hadn't been written yet. There is other literature with a similar approach, but the way these people wrote really spoke to me. Sometimes I felt like they were reading my mind. It was down-to-earth, logical, compassionate and optimistic. I highly recommend this to anyone who has a loved one with a substance abuse problem and is struggling with frustration, anxiety and a feeling of powerlessness.

When you're looking for help for your love
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As the father of an addict in recovery, I have read dozens of books on addiction, treatment, and self-help. Believe me when I say that this book is unlike any of the others I've read. Written by people at the Center for Motivation and Change (CMC), Beyond Addiction is a truly unique guide for families who are dealing with a loved one's substance use issue.

This book is not another "old school" book on addiction that tells families they have to force their loved one into rehab and totally detach f
Randye Kaye
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mental-health
Full disclosure here: I am an audiobook narrator, and I just finished reading (out loud) and recording this book for Tantor Media (should be released in August 2014), so obviously had no choice but to read it cover-to-cover!

That said, I found it very illuminating and helpful. I was married to an alcoholic, and am also the Mom of a son with schizophrenia (not an addiction, obviously, but sometimes behavior modification tools are so valuable with other issues especially where relationships can be
David Cooke
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a parent who has walked this journey of addiction in their family, I found tremendous insights into the addiction conversation. Beyond Addiction offers a refreshing alternative perspective to the continuous 12-step theology. Not that I am an anti-stepper, its just that our addiction conversations and treatment approaches have not sufficiently evolved. Beyond Addiction is refreshing, insightful, and accurate. Much of what they promote through research and application reflect the behaviors and ...more
P.J. O'Brien
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-read-in-2015
This book is written for those with loved ones with self-destructive compulsions or behaviors who are not at the point of addressing them. It covers what has been learned from clinical experience, and from studies in motivation and compulsion, to offer a range of approaches that respects everyone involved. A lot of the ideas seem basic common sense or courtesy and I don't know if it's a sad thing, or simply reassuring, that there has been a need to have studies to prove what I would have thought ...more
A GR friend recommended this book when she learnt that I was struggling to support a relative who was not an addict but who was suffering with mental health problems. I am so glad she did. There is much wisdom and advice here to help any carer regardless of the nature of their relative's problem. Carer's often feel so helpless and are all too often ignored by the support services. When the relative starts blaming those who love them for their plight things can get very scary and carer's begin to ...more
Morgan Blackledge
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We need a sensible and compassionate approach to treatment for substance dependence. Our traditional methods for addiction recovery are simply insufficient to grapple with the variety and complexity of the issue as we now understand it. It is becoming increasingly clear that we can no longer afford to blindly adhere to vagaries and unfalsifiable claims, no matter how time honored, poetic or beloved.

I believe a lot of the common addiction recovery truisms and approaches were born out of confusio
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Visited the website and browsed deeply. Ordered from my local library and skimmed the intro and first chapter this morning. Especially liked the dedication, "For everyone who is hoping and working for change." Must have this book; it is compassionate and real, and matches my experience. Bought it.

Some weeks later: read it all, in bits and pieces. Very encouraging and practical. Could not read it for very long at a time! Learned things about the brain and how addiction (both the behaviors and the
Deb Gripp
May 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: completed
I read this book because my nephew abuses substances; primarily alcohol and prescription drugs. My sister asked me to read this book so I could have a better understanding of the power of drugs and how to help my nephew. I already had a good understanding of addiction, but this book gave a deeper insight into the disease and real advice on what to do for your loved one and what to do for yourself and the rest of the family involved. I highly recommend this as a great resource for anyone dealing ...more
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is for anyone that knows a human:) Hate the label "addiction" but this book addresses the authors agreement on that. The writers expressed beautifully what I've wondered about for years on human behavior. As a nation we need to change the way we think about ALL imbalances in our bodies/minds. We'd be a far more successful world if we looked at each with eyes of love instead of judgement.
May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beyond Addiction is the number-one book on the topic of helping a loved one get clean or sober. Trusted advice. Buy the book without reservation. It's worth the cost. Underline and highlight the sections you need to review. Worth 100 stars not just 5.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book for family members trying to get their loved ones into treatment for substance use. A lot of the information in the book would also be helpful for supporting their loved ones while in recovery during and after treatment as well. The book does an excellent job citing research to support their claims as well. This book would also be helpful for practitioners to read who want to learn more about substance use disorder treatments, and more specifically CRAFT. I only have a ...more
Mark Manderson
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the top books in addiction:
Evidence shows involving family significantly increases the odds of improvement and helps maintain positive change. 

Motivation for change occurs when the cost of a behavior perceptibly outweigh the benefits. 

What looks like unwillingness to change is often a DEFENSIVE REACTION. People respond with significantly less resistance to kindness and respectful treatment. 

View life as a series of experiments. 

Labeling as an addict is circular logic. 

The goal is to keep
Ashleigh Mattern
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
The overall advice I've received from counsellors about how to deal with a loved one who has addictions has been that there's very little I can do: I need to stop enabling them and let them hit rock bottom; I need to detach and set boundaries; I can offer resources but otherwise it's up to them to change.

This book gives very different advice and right from the beginning it feels right. There IS something you can do: You can motivate your loved one to change through positive reinforcement. Beyon
Jamie Fuller
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: professional
This will not be the most cheerful or un-put-downable book you'll ever read, but it is a book that most of us would benefit from reading not just once but several times. I absolutely wish I'd gotten my hands on it many years earlier than I did.

If you're trying to figure out how to help family or friends addicted to substances or poor lifestyle decisions, you need this book! Read it before you try to navigate the mess of mainstream medicine and read it TWICE before you think about treatment or t
Katy Jo Turner
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s refreshing to get a fresh, science-based take on addiction. It helps that it has actionable suggestions that would improve anybody’s life, not just those with a loved one with substance abuse problems. It’s given me HOPE for a happy life with the person I love (who’s addicted)—or at least the opportunity to properly pursue a happy life with him with the correct information on what to expect during the journey to recovery. I wish I would have gotten this book back when I thought he might hav ...more
Pauline Plissner
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a comprehensive look at understanding why people engage in behaviors that are destructive to them and their relationships, how people change and how loved ones can positively help both themselves and those they love who struggle with addiction. There are exercises and practical steps that are very helpful. I gained a lot of perspective and encouragement as well as the ability to look at my situation differently and make some needed changes in how I was approaching dealing with an ad ...more
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a really interesting approach to addiction and even just the idea of how to get someone else to change their behavior. I liked the idea that a 12 step/abstinence only approach isn't for everyone. I also liked the idea that family and friends can modify their approach to the situation in a way that can lead to more organic and longer lasting change. I would recommend this for anyone looking to help a loved one through a tough time, not just addiction, and also for any counselors or thera ...more
Michelle Vandepol
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant roadmap for creating a life of sanity and peace even while walking with loved ones with addiction struggles. Even better, this book holds the clues to motivation, encouragement, grace, and balance. The best results-based book on addiction I've ever encountered. This will fit whether you are a fan of 12-step & family groups or not and merges perfectly with grace based living. Will be recommending this book to everyone I know who finds themselves in the place of dreading a rock botto ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's interesting that I've coincidentally been reading so many books on motivation and this ties into it very well. This is a good read in general but especially if you feel uneducated about substance dependence issues. I didn't realize how much unhelpful propaganda I had bought into over the years, even as someone sympathetic to the issue. This book focuses on the pragmatic and I was surprised how approachable the techniques were with a large emphasis on self-care.
Deidrah Reeves
Apr 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Some very helpful information, especially in the first few chapters.
Rebecca Valentine
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Couldn't put this book down. Even if you don't have a loved one who struggles with addiction, many of this book's suggestions and assessment tables apply to anyone who needs to make changes.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Extremely helpful, totally new approach to dealing with a family member with addiction!
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Not a book you want to need to read, but very informative if you do.
Morgan Bradham
Really excellent for helping family and friends learn how to help and understand loved ones struggling with addiction.
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was life changing for me. It completely changed the way I view addiction and has helped me to help someone in my life who suffers with an addiction. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It opened my eyes and has improved my relationship beyond measure. After putting the methods in the book to use my family member decided to quit on their own, and while it's still a long road ahead of us, I feel confident travelling it with the knowledge from this book under my belt.
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well done and a book everyone who has a loved one in active addiction should read. Book is written by two clinicians at the Center for Motivation and Change in NYC and is based on the CRAFT method (in turn a modification of Community Reinforcement). This book is used as the basis for the Parent Hot line run by

Based on concepts of positive reinforcement to influence behavior change.
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't have any direct experience or need for this book at the moment, though I do have friends who are dealing with loved ones with addictions, and read it more for a general overview of the concept as well as to see if there was anything I could extrapolate from it that might be useful for other areas, and I think there were a few things like that.
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very refreshing approach to the issues surrounding substance abuse and what to do as a friend or family member to help (yourself and your loved one). This was a heavy read for me and I had to take frequent breaks just to process and also to practise what I was learning. Very interesting concepts.
Feb 17, 2016 rated it liked it
OK book for what it is... I suspect I would give most books in this category a much worse rating (or simply wouldn't read them). Pretty even handed and realistic, doesn't go in for culty kind of stuff.
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“From another corner of neuroscience, we’re learning about a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Though there are more than fifty neurotransmitters (that we know of), scientists studying substance problems have given dopamine much of their attention. The brain’s reward system and pleasure centers—the areas most impacted by substance use and compulsive behaviors—have a high concentration of dopamine. Some brains have more of it than others, and some people have a capacity to enjoy a range of experiences more than others, owing to a combination of genetics and environment. The thing about dopamine is that it makes us feel really good. We tend to want more of it. It is naturally generated through ordinary, pleasurable activities like eating and sex, and it is the brain’s way of rewarding us—or nature’s way of rewarding the brain—for activities necessary to our survival, individually or as a species. It is the “mechanism by which ‘instinct’ is manifest.” Our brains arrange for dopamine levels to rise in anticipation and spike during a pleasurable activity to make sure we do it again. It helps focus our attention on all the cues that contributed to our exposure to whatever felt good (these eventually become triggers to use, as we explain later). Drugs and alcohol (and certain behaviors) turn on a gushing fire hose of dopamine in the brain, and we feel good, even euphoric. Dopamine produced by these artificial means, however, throws our pleasure and reward systems out of whack immediately. Flooding the brain repeatedly with dopamine has long-term effects and creates what’s known as tolerance—when we lose our ability to produce or absorb our own dopamine and need more and more of it artificially just to feel okay. Specifically, the brain compensates for the flood of dopamine by decreasing its own production of it or by desensitizing itself to the neurotransmitter by reducing the number of dopamine receptors, or both. The brain is just trying to keep a balance. The problem with the brain’s reduction in natural dopamine production is that when you take the substance or behavior out of the picture, there’s not enough dopamine in the brain to make you feel good. Without enough dopamine, there is no interest or pleasure. Then not only does the brain lose the pleasure associated with using, it might not be able to enjoy a sunset or a back rub, either. A lowered level of dopamine, combined with people’s longing for the rush of dopamine they got from using substances, contributes to “craving” states. Cravings are a physiological process associated with the brain’s struggle to regain its normal dopamine balance, and they can influence a decision to keep using a substance even when a person is experiencing negative consequences that matter to him and a strong desire to change. Depending on the length of time and quantities a person has been using, these craving states can be quite uncomfortable and compelling. The dopamine system can and does recover, starting as soon as we stop flooding it. But it takes time, and in the time between shutting off the artificial supply of dopamine and the brain’s rebuilding its natural resources, people tend to feel worse (before they feel better). On a deep, instinctual level, their brains are telling them that by stopping using, something is missing; something is wrong. This is a huge factor in relapse, despite good intentions and effort to change. Knowing this can help you and your loved one make it across this gap in brain reward systems.” 3 likes
“It takes awareness to be proactive instead of reactive, to try something different instead of going back to the same old dysfunctional routine.” 1 likes
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