A little of this, a little of that. Perhaps a lot of whining, perhaps a lot of arguing for truth and social justice. It will be what it will be.
Friday, May 8, 2009
What I'm reading this week: Cracked
Pinksy, D with Gold, T. (2003). Cracked: Putting broken lives together again, a doctor's story. New York: Regan Books.
I'll be honest, I liked this book until I realized who wrote it. Not being up on popular culture, I didn't realize that the author Drew Pinsky was the doctor on the shows Celebrity Rehab and Sober House. I find those shows disgusting, as in they disgust me, not that they have gross content. So pretend with me for a moment, that I don't strongly dislike the author's professional image and we'll talk about the book.
Pinksy writes about his time spent working as on a doctor on the chemical dependency unit of a hospital. Unlike the model in my city, the unit seems to function as both detox and addictions treatment, with clients moving directly from hospital to sober living facilities. The book takes us through average days in Pinksy's life following the lives of patients and their efforts to gain and maintain sobriety.
Dr. Pinksy addresses some of the common causes of addiction although he tends to take a somewhat narrow approach. He is a doctor, so perhaps it makes sense that he pays a great deal of attention to the medical model and the theory that addiction is a disease. The book is clear that the way to maintain sobriety is to detox, start the twelve steps, find a sponsor, and stay in a sober living facility. The author acknowledges no other paths and does not discuss other models of addiction. He is clear that all addicts come from extremely dysfunctional families and were abused as children. While I don't have any studies contradicting this on hand, it "irks" me that there is nothing else presented.
Dr. Pinksy shows a great deal of self awareness in his writing, spending time discussing what many would term as "countertransferance" (although he does not use that word) and his reactions to patients. I appreciated that fact that he acknowledged that he had these reactions and they played a part in treatment. It takes confidence to talk about your awareness that a patient is trying to sexually seduce you and your reactions to this situation.
As for whether I would recommend this book, I'm not sure. I might, especially if the person I was recommending it to likes Dr. Drew, but my dislike of his TV shows doesn't make me want to. But, books are what they are. If you're interested in a basic overview of one model of addictions and treatment it might be a good place to start. The patients are interesting, and the story is well told.