cover image Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change

Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change

Jeffrey Foote, Carrie Wilkens, and Nicole Kosanke, with Stephanie Higgs. Scribner, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4767-0947-5

This guidebook for families from senior staff in the addiction treatment programs at New York City’s Center for Motivation and Change challenges popular philosophies for dealing with addiction like tough love, dramatic interventions, waiting to “hit bottom,” and aggressive pushing towards inpatient rehab. Instead, their behavioral CRAFT (Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training) methods focus on “respectful, collaborative” strategies that are both kinder and empirically more effective and sustainable; seeing users not as crazy, bad, or persons to be labeled, but as individuals who perceive the benefits of using as more compelling than the costs. Affirming that change can happen at any stage, that relapses and ambivalence are normal, and that the social environment is critical to individuals’ motivation for change, the authors teach self-care and skills for substantively engaging without enabling unwanted behavior: using “positive communication,” offering reinforcement and rewards for constructive activities, and favoring natural consequences over punishment. This gentle, optimistic, and explanatory approach offers hope by giving family members outlets besides fighting, feeling stress, or idly waiting for motivation to happen. The book helpfully offers reminders that although no one can make another person change, there is much that can be done to make change seem appealing and possible. (Feb.)