Looking at the interconnectedness of addiction, relapse, and 12-step programs, Bevacqua (a personal coach, practicing psychologist, and teacher of psychology) offers an excellent explanation of why 12-step programs often fail their participants. Drawing from his own experience, the author rejects the ‘reductionist’ ideals of powerlessness that underlie the ubiquitous 12-step programs and treatment centers, providing articulate, needed criticism of the pathologizing nature of 12-step programs and the high rates of relapse among participants. He advocates for individualized, integrative treatment rooted in humanistic principles and cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness interventions. In providing this accessible, long-overdue examination of the etiology and treatment of addictive behaviors, the author provides readers—including individuals who struggle with addictive behaviors—with a compassionate framework for understanding what drives these problematic behaviors. Students will find here a critical argument against the disease model; clinicians working with addiction will find both a path away from the one-size-fits-all approach to addiction and support for offering clients lasting change. In sum, this is a thoughtful, readable argument for modernizing society’s conceptualization and treatment of addiction. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers.
— Choice Reviews
The author makes an at times impassioned case regarding the American healthcare system’s inability to provide individual support to patients, instead relying on a ‘one-size-fits-all approach’. Included is a helpful summary of addictions support in the USA, dating back to the American Temperance movement of the 1830s to the post-Prohibition establishment of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) movement in the 1930s.... Bevacqua utilizes motivational interviewing techniques within his clinical work and highlights the importance of mindfulness strategies within the field of addictions. He advocates for autonomous thinking to best support his patients’ progress towards self-directed and lasting change.
— Alcohol and Alcoholism
Tony Bevacqua's highly readable book blasts through the fog of confused and rigid thinking about addiction to present a humane, informed, and common-sense approach to understanding and taming uncontrolled behavior.
— Sally Satel, M.D., practicing psychiatrist and lecturer at the Yale University School of Medicine
Tony Bevacqua, a successful life coach and therapist, has added his voice to the growing chorus of those discontented with traditional 12-step and disease treatment in his book, Rethinking Excessive Habits and Addictive Behaviors. Tony brings to this task an engaging writing style, a wide knowledge of psychology and of modern treatment practices, and a grasp of the human condition steeped in his own long career working with people with relationship, addictive and substance problems.
— Stanton Peele, Ph.D., pioneer of non-12-step approaches to addictive problems, author (with Ilse Thompson) of Recover! Stop Thinking Like an Addict
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