The Abstinence Myth


Non-Fiction - Self Help
123 Pages
Reviewed on 07/19/2018
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

The Abstinence Myth by Adi Jaffe is a refreshing and eye-opening way to look at addiction and how to get on top of it for good! What will surprise readers most, and might be obvious from the title, is that Dr. Jaffe doesn’t necessarily espouse the age-old but unproven mantra that only complete abstinence from your addiction, whether it be alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, food or otherwise, is the solution. So, if you or your family think that your biggest problem is your addiction, coupled with your denial that you even have one or need help, and that complete abstinence is the only fix or cure, you need to pick up The Abstinence Myth and start reading it immediately. What Dr. Jaffe has to share with you is the result of years dealing with and overcoming his own addiction to drugs and alcohol. Just like AA, Dr. Jaffe offers a stepped program, but it’s a far cry from that suggested by AA for one simple reason: AA’s program doesn’t work for everyone. So, you may well ask, will Dr. Jaffe’s program work for me? Well, only you can find that out, but if you are truly concerned about your addiction and want more than anything in the world to conquer it, don’t you owe it to yourself to try?

The Abstinence Myth is a short, easy read that contains stories of others besides Jaffe for whom his program, called IGNTD Recovery, has worked. Dr. Jaffe enhances his arguments for his program by contrasting its focus to that of other programs or “camps” as he calls them e.g. the religious or spiritual camp of AA; the psychological and traumatic camp of therapy; the genetic blueprint of the neuroscientific or biological camp; the external forces of our environmental and social camps. He doesn’t deny that any one or even all of these camps could be affecting one’s ability to overcome addiction. But how will you know which contains the “fix”, if there is one, to your addiction?

Each of these programs has worked for some people, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was one program that worked for everyone? After reading Dr. Jaffe’s book, his explanations, his sample stories, and most importantly the breakdown of his 9-step program, I believe his logical, well-thought out and researched approach is the right one, as it forces those who need it to address the “why” instead of the “what” of your addiction. To help you do that, at the end of each chapter Dr. Jaffe suggests you answer a series of questions to help you move closer and closer to the “why” of your particular addiction. It will mean, of course, that you look deeply inside yourself at various stages of becoming addicted, and then being completely honest with yourself as to what really drove you to drinking, drugs or whatever in the first place…and no more running from the truth, no matter how much it hurts.

Many statements made by Jaffe throughout The Abstinence Myth made such incredible sense, but the one that made the greatest sense was his suggestion that if each addict had one person who took the time and cared enough to ask “Is something wrong?” or “Is something bothering you?” or “Do you want to talk about it?” instead of just dismissing the addict with a blatant “You just need to quit drinking!” or “Your drinking is the problem”, that addict might be just one step closer to recovery and a better future. The Abstinence Myth is wonderful. If you or someone you love needs help, read it and look forward to a brighter tomorrow.

Darin Godby

Author Adi Jaffe, Ph.D. writes a very informative and helpful book in The Abstinence Myth: A New Approach For Overcoming Addiction Without Shame, Guilt or Rules. Bullying and pressure by those in our society cause many to reach out for help. Many times that help comes in the form of something that causes addictions and holds the person in more bondage than what was pressuring them. The material found in this book enables the reader to find a way out of their issue and know they are essential and not beyond hope.

Jaffe shares many stories that are relatable and show the reader their issue isn’t hopeless. There are also questions at the end of the chapters that cause the reader to dig deeper to explore how they are going to overcome the problem that is choking the life from them. Most of the programs offered don’t seem to work long-term. There are many points to consider about things that aren’t working in the recovery programs, and the author introduces “A New Model of Recovery.”

Reaching the bottom allows the reader to look for new answers beyond anything previously sought. Jaffe shares The Nine Steps of IGNTD Recovery and how these can truly impact and change a person’s life. This book isn’t a 'get fixed quick' book; preferably it is a book that will offer the reader a very positive way of getting free and staying free from their addiction. There are additional help tips and resources available at the end of the book. It is a must-read for every recovery program and help group.

Joel R. Dennstedt

For those of an historical age, experience teaches daily a familiar lesson: the absolute truths of prior generations become the entrenched obstacles to further progress encountered by contemporary progressives. And though Galileo and Copernicus are familiar rebel names, every age needs new pioneers to break through barriers once thought of as progressive. Which is what The Abstinence Myth by Adi Jaffe, PhD is all about. So entrenched are popular beliefs about addiction and its victims, we all believe we know the truth necessary for effective treatment. Only complete abstinence is the answer to such “disease.” What we all do not realize is how unsuccessful such a requirement has been. The numbers Dr. Jaffe shares regarding such prescriptive and therapeutic failure are truly daunting and revolutionary. The rationale he provides as explanation is so obvious as to be shaming: “The shocking truth is: a single explanation can never fully illuminate a problem as complex as addiction, and there is rarely a single method for recovery—or even a single definition of recovery, as we’ll see.”

The Abstinence Myth by Adi Jaffe, PhD is a clear-headed, deeply researched, and highly experience-based summary of addiction, previous treatment protocols, and an alternative, much more inclusive therapeutic approach to helping individuals regain their productive and successful lives – an approach significantly NOT demanding complete abstinence as a pre-qualification for getting help. That element alone should ring the bell of truth for those who know such a commitment is a non-starter; a fundamental fact preventing most addicts from ever seeking help in the first place. As I said, so obvious as to be shaming. In place of shame, Dr. Jaffe offers hope. This enlightening book is just the start.

Ruffina Oserio

The Abstinence Myth by Adi Jaffe is a very useful tool for anyone dealing with any form of addiction. In this book, the author shares a lot of wisdom and helpful tips from his experiences. Jaffe debunks the abstinence myth when it comes to quitting an addiction while providing helpful tips and methods readers can use to create a personalized approach to change. The author demonstrates with great clarity how abstinence can become a hindrance to change, and how it doesn’t necessarily work for everyone and all the time. The book gives readers a new, scientifically proven model of recovery and offers everything readers need to find the recovery path that fits them.

The part I enjoyed most is about the IGNTD principles, a discovery that revolutionizes the reader’s way of dealing with addiction. Adi Jaffe comes across as a very learned and gifted writer, weaving personal stories into the book and offering examples that readers can relate to. The use of a conversational, popular style of writing makes the message accessible. Here is a book that combines research with experience to deliver a message that can transform lives. The writing is filled with insights about life and the author helps readers see themselves in a fresh light. Here is one of the truths I picked from this book: “Addiction, the daily grind, the pressure and judgment we face, from both inside and out, wear us down and make us forget that it’s possible to truly love our life.” While The Abstinence Myth is written for people struggling with addictions, it has powerful lessons for readers who want to deepen their sense of inner freedom, reach deeper levels of self-care, and embrace their purpose. A must-read, indeed.

K.C. Finn

The Abstinence Myth is a work of non-fiction by author Adi Jaffe, PhD, which focuses on how to overcome addiction. Dr Jaffe speaks from personal experience, having overcome his own addictive behaviors regarding alcohol, and his approach is more fluid and less focused on rigid rules and steps that sufferers should follow. This self-help volume discusses the concept of the mythology surrounding addiction, for example what people think they ‘know’ about it and the associated shame that is cast upon those labelled as ‘addicts’. Through his IGNTD Method for recovery, Dr Jaffe uses his own story and a few other examples to present a hopeful new philosophy, and a set of thinking points to change your mindset to one of hope and success. Rather than focusing specifically on the addictive behavior, this book roots out its cause and changes the reader’s outlook on life in general.

I read this book through for review, but I’ll be reading it again more deeply for myself. We all have addictive vices and behaviors that we find hard to give up in time of personal distress, and the way Adi Jaffe connects self esteem problems to addiction is really poignant. I found the formation of a unique recovery path to be a really interesting aspect of the book and it looks like it’s a system that could really work for those who are willing to put the work in. Although it’s definitely a book for those who are willing to try, The Abstinence Myth presents a practical and personal approach to addiction.