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Murrow, H. (2012). Addenbrooke, Mary. Survivors of Addiction, Narratives of Recovery. East Sussex: Routledge, 2011. Pp. 206. Pbk. £21.99. J. Anal. Psychol., 57(3):393-395.

(2012). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 57(3):393-395

Addenbrooke, Mary. Survivors of Addiction, Narratives of Recovery. East Sussex: Routledge, 2011. Pp. 206. Pbk. £21.99

Review by:
Hope Murrow

This is an important book, crafted with great care, which builds much needed bridges between psychoanalysts, addiction counsellors and people in recovery from substance abuse. It is based on interviews and statements from fifteen men and women in treatment for alcohol or heroin addiction and followed over many years by the Substance Misuse Project at Crawley Hospital in England. Dr. Raj Rathod, a psychiatrist to whom the book is dedicated, saw many of these patients over time. The tenor of the book is captured in the preface: ‘We were all trainees at the hands of our patients as well as therapists to them’. The stories told by the recovering patients are linked together by succinct and valuable explanations of the processes of addiction and recovery by the author, a Jungian analyst. The inclusion of both alcohol and heroin misuse allows for a broad perspective on addictions.

This is a book about survivors. Only one of the subjects was still using drugs when interviewed, and his anger and defensiveness are in stark contrast to the tone of the other narratives. Some may think that the focus on long-term recovery is unrealistic, as many are unable to achieve this, but I find it a useful antidote to stereotypic assumptions that addicts are hopeless, and unsuitable candidates for therapies.

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