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Dave

July 01, 2008

IT’S NOT OKAY TO BE A CANNIBAL

Cannibal   

   

   

    

by Andrew Wainwright and Robert Poznanovich

Published by Hazelden (www.eurospanbookstore.com/hazelden) at £8.95. 166+ pages. ISBN 978-159285-370-0.

This book by two interventions promises to liberate families from the grip of addiction – the authors emphasise the family first and the addict second. This is apparent through their use of the word “cannibal” to denote the behaviour of the family member living in advanced addiction, eating away at family members’ peace of mind and more. Readers need to make a conscious effort to remember the authors refer throughout to the behaviour, rather than the person “who occupies the same body as the cannibal”.

The term “addiction intervention” is only about 40 years old. Before then, people imagined that addicts had to hit “rock bottom” before change could occur – but for many, rock bottom is death. Vernon Johnson changed this philospohy. He intervened on Betty Ford, who went on to set up the treatment centre which bears her name. His discovery was that a person who is talked into seeking help has the same success rate as someone who actively seeks recovery on his or her own. But that intervention must be very carefully handled.

This book is a useful tool for people already trained as interventionists, for counsellors and families. It lists specific questions, responses and phrases to use with the ‘cannibal’ to limit damage and work towards recovery. And it places them in context with some case histories. At only £9.50, this is a book you will reach for time and again.

DEE KENWIN trained with Bobby Bonds of Amtrak as an interventionist.

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