Alcoholism and Addiction
The Meaning of Addiction: Compulsive Experience and Its Interpretation
Social psychologist Peele has written the most comprehensive work on addiction available. He gives a detailed and thoroughly documented account of the broadest range of addictions. Lexington Books, Lexington, Massachusetts:1985.
Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease
Philosopher and former consultant to the World Health Organization on alcoholism Fingarette is simple, direct and to the point. University of California Press, Berkeley:1988
Stanton Peele and Archie Brodsky
The Truth About Addiction and Recovery
This book is scientifically grounded do-it-yourself book on how people can overcome a wide range of addictions. Simon & Schuster, New York:1991
Rational Recovery: The New Cure for Substance Addiction
Trimpey explains Rational Recovery’s Addictive Voice Recognition Technique for controlling addictive behavior. Simon & Schuster, New York:1996
Robert J Lifton
Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in China
This is the most-often cited work on thought-reform and totalitarianism. First published in 1961, this book has become more relevant with time. It has been used by both those founding totalitarian groups and those working to understand them. The techniques used and the environment and internal experiences of those who escaped the Chinese Communists are familiar to all who have a brush with modern American cults. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel hill, 1989
Edgar Schein (with Inge Schneier and Curtis H. Barker)
Coercive Persuasion: A Socio-psychological Analysis of the “Brainwashing” of American Civilian Prisoners by the Chinese CommunistsW.W. Norton & Company, New York:1961
Combatting Cult Mind Control
In writing of groups he describes as “destructive cults,” Steve Hassan builds on his experience as a Moonie. The groups he writes about are predominately communal cults. The methods used by these groups are more sophisticated than those of the Chinese Communists and more directly parallel twelve step “treatment.” Also covered in detail is how to assist someone involved in a cult. Park Street Press, Rochester, VT.:1988
Obedience to Authority: An Experimental ViewHarper & Row, New York:1969
Solomon E. Ashe
Studies of Independence and Conformity:I. A Minority of One Against a Unanimous Majority inPsychological Monographs: General and Applied, 70(1956):1 70
Peter T. Furst
Hallucinogens and Culture.
Although the discussion centers around the use of hallucinogens in primitive religion, it lends a context for understanding the Oxford Group conversion techniques and the 1950s use of LSD (until outlawed) by Bill Wilson and others for “spiritual experiences” for both himself and hospitalized patients. Chandler & Sharp, Novato, California:1976
The Oxford Group
H. A. Walter
In the 1920s and 30s, a new convert to the Oxford Group could buy this do-it-yourself manual for a few pennies and immediately set to work winning new converts. Supposedly a Christian document, the essence of the book has nothing to do with Christianity but with Buchmanism and the details of their “scientific” program of “soul surgery” or cult indoctrination techniques. The basic fundamental “scientific” principles are greatly refined and still used in modern-day Step groups. The Oxford Group, Oxford:1932
A. J. Russell
For Sinners Only
Oxford Group’s “Big Book.” Extremely tame in comparison to much of their other literature, its primary purpose was to attract new members. Hodder and Stoughton, London:1937
Anonymous—“Layman With a Notebook”
What is the Oxford Group
Written in the early 30s, this book shows where much of A.A. came from a few years before modern-day A.A.s claim A.A. began. In the first few words, one will see A.A.'s "the spiritual principle of Anonymity" before there was an A.A. ("Layman with a notebook") and a description of the Oxford Group not much different from the way modern-day A.A. describes itself.
Saints Run Mad
First published in 1934, “Saints Run Mad” is a criticism of the Oxford Group written by an Episcopal Church lady that reads very well as a criticism of the 12-Step groups of today. While “Frank” (Frank Buchman) is gone and not a word is said any more of the Absolutes, the madness carries on today. Written from a decidedly Christian perspective, it exposes the arrogance, hypocrisy, and harm done, not only of 70 years ago but in AA and the other Step groups today. You hardly need be Christian to appreciate her honesty, candor and wit. But if you are, perhaps even better. John Lane the Bodley Head Ltd., London:1934
In The Mystery of Moral Re Armament: A Study of Frank Buchman and His Movement
Tom Driberg traces Frank Buchman and his movement from the earliest days to the 1960s. The pro Nazi sympathies of the movement and political association with some of this centuries worst despots is discussed. Secker & Warburg, London: 1964
While the bulk of the recommended reading is written by psychiatrists, these are all particularly outstanding people in the field. The following works by Thomas Szasz and Thou Shalt Not Be Aware by Alice Miller in “The Self” category offer blistering criticism of vast segments of the profession. With all due respect to the remarkable people in the field, I must state that I do not hold a member of the profession with one of the highest suicide rates as particularly competent to help others with emotional issues by virtue of that membership. Traditional psychoanalysis has lost its credibility but, unfortunately, the ideas that have supplanted it are no better.
Patient to psychiatrist, “I have been really sad this week.”
Psychiatrist, “Let’s try a change in your medication and see if that helps.”
Thomas S. Szasz
The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement.
The comparison is chillingly detailed and documented. Harper & Row, New York:1977
The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct
Noted psychiatrist Szasz debunks the dogma of “brain disease” as an explanation for socially unacceptable behavior. Harper & Row, New York:1974
The following authors present different perspectives on “the self.” While there is great divergence in their views and the models used, all are removed from the “because I (you) are 'bad/sinful/sick'“ as an indepth explanation of personality and behavior. Rather than being a list of books to help someone find out what is wrong with them, either directly or indirectly, they can be used to find one’s inner strength and wisdom.
For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child Rearing and the Roots of Violence
Dr. Miller clearly documents the damage done, not only to individuals, but to society at large by commonly accepted methods of child rearing. Using the three main examples of Adolf Hitler, a child murderer and a drug addict, Alice Miller makes the origins of their behavior and what we must do to stop making destructive and self-destructive people abundantly clear.
Thou Shalt not be Aware: Society’s Betrayal of the Child
Miller notes many of her discoveries in her years as a psychoanalyst. One of the most important points is that when people come to terms with childhood trauma they get well remarkably fast and don't need decades on the couch. Especially recommended for those who have had limited or no success with therapy. This book is difficult to categorize because not only is it a classic criticism of psychoanalysis but serves equally as well as providing the necessary information and intellectual framework to be able to recognize, and overcome, one’s own internal barriers to awareness, independence and competence. Penguin, New York:1986
The Untouched Key
The effects of childhood experience on later life for a number of well-know people including Kafka, Nietzche, and Buster Keaton are documented.
Martin E. P. Seligman
Helplessness: On Depression, Development, and Death
Helplessness is a detailed account of research on learned helplessness. W. H. Freeman and Company, New York:1975
The Disowned SelfBantam, New York:1973
How to Raise Your Self-Esteem
This a “do it yourself” book. Mr. Brandon’s concept of self esteem is far removed from today’s “self-esteem movement.” He does not suggest standing in front of a mirror trying to convince oneself, “I am handsome,” “I have a relationship” or “I am tall.” His concept of self-esteem has to do with learning the value of what is real within oneself. Bantam, New York:1987
Narcissism: Denial of the True Self
This title may be misleading. When we think of Narcissism, we think of someone who is obsessed with his good looks. Remember, Narcissus was so taken by his image in a pool of water that he starved to death looking at it. He obviously wasn't a pretty sight as he approached starvation. The reflected image, not his own substance, was what was important. In Lowen’s model of Narcissism, “good” images share the stage with “bad“ images. Excellent in delineating what is image and what is substance. The development and price paid for the valuation of image over substance is detailed. MacMillan, New York:1985
The Betrayal of the BodyMacMillan, New York:1967
Eric Berne is the founder of Transactional Analysis, the most popular school of pop psychology of the 1970s. Berne intended to break down barriers between therapist and client by developing a language of therapy that facilitated communication and replace the language therapists used to talk about clients among themselves. Many forms of therapy in use today are based upon the TA concept of three main ego states, parent, child and adult. Codependents Anonymous, blending the language of psychology with twelve step doctrine, acknowledges two of them, parent and child. The “adult” ego state is not acknowledged; the individual must look to the group and elder authority.
Games Alcoholics Play
looks at alcoholism from the TA perspective. Ballantine Books, 1974
Frederick Perls (Ralph F. Hefferline and Paul Goodman)
Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality
It is now almost 60 years old and still on the market. The exercises presented, particularly the first few, are excellent for increasing one’s awareness of emotions and feelings. This not only directly counteracts cult indoctrination but also opens the door to understanding many of the earlier influences which left one vulnerable to addiction and mind control techniques in the first place. Highly recommended. Dell, New York:1951
Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin
is a detailed account of human development from the perspective of the importance of the skin and touch. A revolutionary account of what it is to be human. Harper & Row, New York:1986
Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics and Creative Lives
Sulloway describes his findings from 26 years of research on how childhood environment influences who we grow up to be.