Wednesday, January 11, 2006

More on James Frey

One really important reason to be unhappy that this man's book is taken to be nonfiction is that he claims to have beaten several different addictions with essentially willpower alone.

I am a long way from AA's biggest fan. But it really does seem to work for some people and claiming that the disease model of addiction is "garbage" as Frey calls it, is not a good thing coming from a man who has not fought addiction to really nasty drugs like he says he has.

(e.g. If I were to write my bestselling book "How I beat breast cancer with a vegan diet" wherein I said chemotherapy was garbage and giving up animal products got rid of cancer just fine, when none of that was true, then what I would be doing would be somewhere between irresponsible and homicidal. What it wouldn't be is excuseable.)


1 comment:

LaReinaCobre said...

It is hard for me to comment on this, never having been a drug addict.

I don't think there's an either/or scenario here, however. Theories about addiction are, I think, intended to help people overcome them. If the notion that addiction is a disease helps you to cope with it, and beat it, hooray! If the idea that addiction is a choice helps you to find power within yourself, great!

Hopefully people will keep their eyes open and look for the model that works for them.

For my part, my biological father (now a born again Christian) was an addict, and I am mindful of this. I also take into account that one of my grandmothers was a gambling addict. I keep on the lookout for obsessive or avoiding behavior within myself, not because I view addiction as a genetic disease, but because I think our natural defense mechanisms may be partly inherited.

People need to know themselves better, and be honest with themselves. They need to be okay with saying, "That's not for me."