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by Robert Holman Coombs (editor)
Sage Publications, 2001
Review by Fred Ashmore on Nov 4th 2002

Addiction Recovery Tools

This is a large heavy book just packed with information.  There are 22 heavyweight articles written by professionals in the field of addiction – and those 410 pages must average 500 words a page.  As an interested amateur I hadn’t realised just how many different flavours there are to treating addiction or addictive behaviours.  Here’s a list of the articles by heading and author.



Motivational Interventions – The Only Failure Is the Failure to Act         Edward Storti

Motivational Interviewing: Dancing, Not Wrestling         David B Rosengren, Christopher C Wagner

Computer Assisted Interventions: Mouse as Cotherapist            Christopher P Rice



Detoxification: Opening the Window of Opportunity to Recovery           David E Smith, Richard B Seymour

Medications: One Tool in the Toolbox   Douglas Ziedonis, Jonathan Krejci

Disease Orientation: Taking away Blame and Shame     Norman S Miller

Drug Testing: A Review of Drug Test in Clinical Settings            Tom Mieczowski



Recovery Contracts: Seven Key Elements         G Douglas Talbott, Linda R Crosby

Contingency Management: Using Science to Motivate Change   Alan J Budney, Stacey C Sigmon, Stephen T Higgins

Cue Exposure Treatment: New Thoughts About an Old Therapy           Cynthia A Conklin, Stephen T Tiffany

Affect Regulation Coping Skills Training:  Managing Mood Without Drugs         Raymond L Scott, Marc F Kern, Robert H Coombs



Lifestyle Planning and Monitoring:  Readiness, Guidance and Growth     Fred Zackon

Individual Therapy: Accomplishing the Tasks of Recovery         Joan E Zweben

Group Therapy: A Clinicians Guide to Doing What Works        Arnold M Washton

Peer Support: Key to Maintaining Recovery      Linda Farris Kurtz

Family Treatment: Stage Appropriate Psychotherapy     Joyce Schmid, Stephanie Brown



Nutritional Counselling: How to Get the Big High           Joseph D Beasley

Meditation: The Path to Recovery through Inner Wisdom          Carol A Snarr, Patricia A Norris, Steven L Fahrion

Spirituality Enhancement: From Distilled Spirits to Instilled Spirit            Robert J Kus

Acupuncture: A Venerable Nonverbal Therapy Michael O Smith, Kathryn P White



Harm Reduction Programs: Progress Rather Than Perfection     Arthur W Blume, Britt K Anderson, Jonathan S Fader, G Alan Marlatt

Matching Clients with Recovery Tools: Finding the Right Keys to Unlock the Door        Reid Hester, Theresa Moyers


Confession:  I haven’t read every chapter but I’ve read the vast majority of them.  Overall impression, what a lot of smart interesting people there are working in this field; what a lot of different approaches there are; what a dearth there seems to be of demonstration that any one of them is more effective than any other. 

One or other of these authors will back up pretty much any approach you favour, I suspect.  You can find helpful advice, worksheets, statements of medical practice and suggestions for methods rather outside the normal run such as acupuncture.  I wouldn’t be so bold as to discount any of them.  Oh, I’ll make an exception.  I found the very first of these articles “Motivational Interventions – The Only Failure Is the Failure to Act” full of an infuriating arrogance.  Thank goodness it’s the exception.  Most of the other articles had more a flavour of “This is what I have found works pretty well, you could try it.”  And the final pair of articles seems to serve to pull it all together, which is a help.

Who’s this book for?  I think that anyone working with addiction would find something to stimulate, provoke or intrigue him or her in this.  Someone who was trying to recover from addiction or trying to help someone close to them to recover would, I think, end up seriously confused about what to do next.  This seems very definitely a book for a person who already has substantial awareness of addiction treatment methods or is a professional in the field.  


© 2002 Fred Ashmore

Fred Ashmore is a member of the public with a strong interest in drugs, drink and addiction and how people recover from them. He is active as a meeting host for the SMART Recovery® program, which offers help for people who seek to modify harmful and addictive behavior.