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"The Truth About Addiction And Recovery"
Stanton Peele, with Archie Brodsky and Mary Arnold

Riding high on the success of his previous book, "Diseasing Of America", Stanton Peele decided to provide a solution of his own to the problem of addiction. Unfortunately, instead of relying upon the lessons learned within his previous book, Peele decides to water down the message and fall into the trap of continuing the Big Lie that everyone who is addicted needs a Good Program. And, lookie here, Peele is selling one known as the Life Process Program.

From my Article that details how I quit smoking I provided detail into how Peele is willing to even lie about his own uncle in order to push his Program:

Stanton Peele, Ph.D., author of The Truth About Addiction And Recovery, even gets into the act of contradicting the notion that people do indeed quit smoking cold turkey on their own without the associated nonsense of the RGM/ATI. For example, he cites the story of his uncle Oscar a.k.a. "Uncle Ozzie" as an example of how people take moral action as an affirmation of personal integrity to end an addiction once and for all:

"A man we know affectionately as Uncle Ozzie quit smoking in his early forties after maintaining a three-pack-a-day habit for a quarter-century, from the time he was a teenager. Ozzie worked at a bench, a proud and devoted union man--indeed, he was shop steward. One day, when the price of cigarettes had been raised, Ozzie prepared to put additional coins in a machine to purchase a pack. A co-worker observing Ozzie joked, "Look at Oscar, the sucker! He'd pay any price for a smoke. The tobacco companies have him by the balls!"
Ozzie turned to the man, looked at him for a moment, and said, "You're right. I'm going to quit."
"Then can I have that pack of cigarettes?" his co-worker teased.
"What, and throw away the money I just spent?" Ozzie replied.
Ozzie smoked that pack, but he has never smoked again since that day over thirty years ago. In that moment of awakening, the contradiction between his smoking addiction and the value he placed on independence from management and corporate power loomed so large that he could no longer ignore it. From that point on, to continue smoking--to admit that the "bosses" controlled his life--would have been more painful than to quit.
-- Stanton Peele, Ph.D., "Smoking: The Toughest Habit To Lick?", pp. 107-108 The Truth About Addiction And Recovery

Not really lurid, right? Certainly not the usual overly-dramatic stories of a man desperate for a fix. And Peele knows this. Disappointed, he immediately follows the above anecdote with this paragraph of pure unfounded assertion:

"Uncle Ozzie claims that he never thought about quitting until the day he actually quit. Still, the story a person tells years later may idealize the process, just hitting the high points rather than tracing the evolution of consciousness that went on both before and after the climactic moment. Well before he smoked his last pack, Ozzie may have had glimpses of how he was harming his family and his health by smoking."
-- Stanton Peele, Ph.D., "Smoking: The Toughest Habit To Lick?", pp. 108 The Truth About Addiction And Recovery

Well, if Ozzie did have doubt and guilt outside of his own co-workers' concerns he certainly would have expressed them. Instead, Peele sticks with the stereotype of the typical "addict" who lies and underplays the addiction itself, wanting for some form of internal tormented struggle to spice up the proceedings.

The irony is that this is his same uncle he profiled within his earlier book, Diseasing of America, published in 1989 two years prior to Truth. So here's what Peele left out of his later book's narrative regarding his uncle's motivation in quitting smoking:

"Why did my uncle quit that day? It's hard to say. He claims that in that time and place (he worked on a General Electric assembly line, and all of his coworkers smoked), he had never once thought about quitting. But I think I know something about the underlying values that made him quit. For Ozzie to be told--and more important, to believe--that his behavior meant he was a sucker to American tobacco conglomerates was equivalent to his realizing he was under the control of those he hated most, and that his union activism (indeed, his entire life) was being compromised. Imagine if a Jewish smoker discovered that the Nazis owned the companies that made cigarettes and were trying to addict all Jews! This is something like the reaction my uncle had.
I often jokingly summarize this story for addiction audiences by saying, "This story makes clear that the best way to quit smoking is to become a communist." Of course, the joke is that only for a very strong anticompany, pro-union activist like my uncle could a sense of servitude to the capitalist system serve as the motivation to quit smoking. But my facetious claim is really quite close to the common claim that the best way to get everyone to quit drinking is to force them to join A.A.. A.A. works for those with salient religious values, who place God in the middle of their decisions, and who favor group confessionals. Others often think A.A. rituals are foolish, even offensive--just as they would if we made them join the Communist Party. (Several people have now sued to reverse state regulations requiring them to attend A.A. on the grounds that these violate their religious freedom.)
-- Stanton Peele, Ph.D., "How People Quit Addictions", pp. 189-190 Diseasing Of America

This is proof positive that Peele damn well knows that ending an addiction can be as spontaneous as that, thus making him a liar through omission and a hypocrite by changing the narrative of Uncle Ozzie's story to "idealize" Peele's Life Process Program. After all, as mentioned by McWilliams, 40,000,000 have successfully quit smoking without any nonsense and fanfare. Heck, even true-believer disease theory charlatans acknowledge that fact by euphemistically calling quitting "spontaneous remission".

Likewise, the case against coerced recovery group attendance is made yet again. I agree that no one should be coerced into a religious organization such as A.A. to quit drinking just as no one should be coerced into joining a political party to quit smoking, much less any bad habit. Having to adopt a foreign philosophy only complicates the simple matter of never using again. One is more likely to quit based upon their own personal values and beliefs rather than those of others, thus internalizing that decision to quit and making that decision stick on moral grounds. Your life is your own and no one elses. You don't need other peoples' religion or politics for that.

As for the heroin-nicotine connection, Peele cites a study of self-recovered former heroin addicts within Truth which also undermines the credibility of the addictiveness of tobacco via the analogy to heroin. And, when read with Uncle Ozzie's story in mind, these facts contradict the myth that there's any drama to be found in quitting a heroin, nicotine or any other addiction for that matter:

"The common belief that no one can overcome heroin addiction except through treatment has been conclusively disproved by sociologists Dan Waldorf and Patrick Biernacki, who interviewed hundreds of untreated ex-addicts in California. In his 1986 book, Pathways From Heroin Addiction: Recovery Without Treatment, Biernacki lists the following among his findings, each of which attacks a key inaccuracy in our conceptions of narcotics use:(9)

  • Addicts can and do recover "naturally"--on their own without the aid of any therapeutic intervention.

  • Naturally recovered former addicts are relatively easy to find and interview.

  • Addicts are not alike in character or lifestyle.

  • All addicts do not undergo the same social careers or become equally affected by their addiction.

  • Some addicts lead basically "straight" lives, that is, they are not criminals.

  • Some people drift in and out of their addiction without much conscious thought or consideration.

  • Some addicts can and do overcome cravings to use opiates when they are abstinent and thereby avoiding relapsing.

  • Addict folklore and professional understandings do not adequately explain those addicts who have quit on their own.

  • Some people who have stopped their addiction to opiates do not continue to think of themselves as addicted."

-- Stanton Peele, Ph.D., "Which Is The Most Addictive Drug Of All?", pp. 80-81 The Truth About Addiction And Recovery

These are eye-opening facts in regards to an actual study of a self-recovered population. But why does Peele contradict himself, even going as far as lying about his uncle's motivations? I'll guess that just like any other capitalist he wouldn't be able to sell his Life Process Program if people knew how easy it is to just KNOCK IT OFF once and for all and were informed that it isn't as awe-inspiring or as frightening as it's often hyped within the state/corporate-owned and subsidised mass media. This contradiction also renders nearly a third of Truth's text irrelevant. Diseasing of America does a far superior job of performing that duty and I recommend it over Truth. Therefore, Truth winds up being redundant and inferior when compared to its predecessor.

I'll go even further: If I can write within a few paragraphs what "quitting" is, a definition which also includes what addiction is as well (after all, if you don't know the obvious details of what the problem is then you'll be at a disadvantage in defeating it), then what's his excuse?

I don't hold a doctorate and my day job is completely unrelated to my unpaid hobby of liberating newcomers from the grip of addiction while being a hardcore critic of the social services system. I'm simply a Ph.D. (Phormer.Drunk.) who has been inside of it all and knows that the system is the one perpetuating this nonsense that addiction is hard to beat.

It's not. It's very easy! And, when one who is addicted realizes that truth firsthand it's going to be very difficult for that person to hold back any ill will towards a deceptive and harmful system. The apologists are fully aware of the fact and have pathologized resentment from the start. So, by the charlatans' standards, if the person who was lied to gets angry, "that's only their disease talking". To these "therapists" there's no such thing as justified anger, especially concerning someone who was lied to and harmed by those lies.

Unfortunately, with social cultism being the norm within AAmerican society, people would rather waste their time and money looking as though they're working a Good Program. It's not the addict's fault that they have to jump through those unnecessary hoops. Society demands it and, inadvertently, causing more problems by overcomplicating the problem. And, with the likes of people like Stanton Peele, are more than willing to sell one while distorting the facts of their own family for the sake of profiting through overcomplication.

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Last updated 2006/11/26

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