Posted by: HAT | November 21, 2014

Feeling Air From Other Planets

An image of the cover of the book The Chemical Carousel by Dirk Hanson

The Chemical Carousel, by Dirk Hanson

Hi, Gang!

I stumbled across a book that looks promising: The Chemical Carousel, by Dirk Hanson. (Hanson is the author of the blog Addiction Inbox.) I read with great interest Hanson’s description of the brain chemistry associated with various addictive substances – including carbohydrates! – as well as his discussion of the impact of 12-Step programs, and the possible role of dissociation in the dynamics of addictive behavior.

Science is another world for some of us, even though it is about this one. A fantastic one.

Although it can and finally must be argued that “the reasons for the disease are unimportant” when it comes to doing what it takes to recover from addiction, it helps to have good information and a better understanding of what’s going on. It makes a powerful difference, at least to me, to be able to put a name to a process, or to have a clearer idea of what I am up against. It’s empowering to be able to say, “look, this is a matter of changes in the brain, permanent or at least long-lasting changes in neurochemical response to stimuli, this is not trivial stuff.” The science documents, explains, the seriousness and the stringency of the demands made on the addict who’s working towards recovery.

A better map of the situation the addict is up against is one of those maps that includes utopia.

This science helps dispel the illusion that a little more willpower would be a remedy, or that things will magically be different tomorrow. Real recovery depends on a whole different approach. Knowing that is already a step towards it.

Truth feeds hope.

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