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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.