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Welcome! This website is designed to introduce the new understanding and treatment of addiction I've developed over the past 20-plus years, starting in academic journals then in two books, "Breaking Addiction: A 7-Step Handbook for Ending Any Addiction" and my earlier book, "The Heart of Addiction", both from HarperCollins. Breaking Addiction describes a step-by-step approach to treating addiction based on the ideas I desribe in my first book. Many people have written to let me know of their success using these ideas both to help themselves and, in the case of therapists, to help others. Since this new approach is quite different from traditional efforts to help people suffering with addictions, I've been encouraged to try to make it as widely known as possible. I hope this site is useful for you. Since October 2010 I have been writing a blog about addiction which appears on this website as well as others on the Internet.
In 2014, I co-authored The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry. We looked at all the major studies about the effectiveness of 12-step programs over the past 50 years and found that those that claimed these programs were effective are deeply scientifically flawed. The overall success rate for AA turns out to be between 5 and 10%, and the major rehabilitation programs have essentially zero data to support thier claims.
Praise for The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry
“As always, Dr. Dodes offers a humane, science-based, global view of addiction. The Sober Truth is an essential, bracing critique of the rehab industry and its ideological foundations that we have much to learn from.”
—Gabor Maté M.D., author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction
“Like Breaking Addiction and The Heart of Addiction, The Sober Truth makes an important contribution to the field by raising central questions about how treatment and self-help programs operate and whether commonly used treatments for addiction are effective. Dodes and Dodes thoughtfully and rigorously trace the history of alcohol treatment and the role of such treatment within the “rehab” setting. Perhaps most importantly, The Sober Truth examines the failure of science to provide answers to fundamental questions about addiction treatment. People struggling with addiction deserve more than science has provided, and The Sober Truth should stimulate a fundamental dialogue that can move the field forward. Finally, and not to be missed, this book also serves as a treatment guide for anyone seeking help with their own or a loved one’s alcohol use.”
—Howard J. Shaffer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School; Director, Division on Addiction, The Cambridge Health Alliance
“Lance Dodes and Zachary Dodes have the guts to take on clearly, perceptively, and with solid scientific grounding the nude king of American addiction treatment: AA and the 12 steps. Not only do these shibboleths yield no benefit for the mass of alcoholics and addicts in America, they leave cold—even harm—far more people than they help. Read this book!”
—Stanton Peele, Ph.D., author of Recover!
“Provocative, illuminating, persuasive, and lucid, The Sober Truth will enrage some, reassure others, but inform all. The Dodes's write beautifully (so rare in this field), and they also hold fast to common sense (also rare) while backing up their contrarian statements with utterly convincing evidence. Read this book before committing to any 12-step course of treatment, then decide for yourself.”
—Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of Answers to Distraction and Superparenting for ADD
Praise for "Breaking Addiction: A 7-Step Handbook for Ending Any Addiction"
"In Breaking Addiction, Dr. Dodes looks beneath the surface behaviors of addiction to root them out at their source. Without denying the difficulty of the terrain, Dodes's program is a call to a clear-eyed, coherent approach. This groundbreaking work should become the 'go to' handbook for anyone suffering with addiction. Its easy-to-read style takes sophisticated ideas and turns them into memorable examples. I highly recommend it."
—Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of Answers to Distraction and Superparenting for ADD
“Lance Dodes has written a brave, wise, and humane book. Defying the incessant, ubiquitous message that “addiction is a disease," Dr. Dodes makes clear this is nonsense both neurochemically and psychologically—and most importantly, in the very practical sense of helping people get better. Breaking Addiction empowers addicts to take responsibility and reclaim their own agency so that they can overcome their addictions. His approach runs directly counter to the paralyzing, but standard, message of “powerlessness”—a message that reinforces the sense of helplessness which is at the root of addicts' life predicaments! Many psychiatrists recognize that this is where we must head, but Dr. Dodes is one with the guts to shine a beacon in the right direction.”
—Stanton Peele, Ph.D., author of 7 Tools to Beat Addiction and The Life Process Program of Treatment
“Breaking Addiction is destined to become a self-help classic for understanding repetitive, excessive and self-destructive behavior patterns. Like The Heart of Addiction, this book is revolutionary—it provides a map for both understanding and changing seemingly intractable patterns of behavior. Dr. Dodes transforms helplessness into helpfulness; he changes the narrow view of addiction as a brain disease into a rich and useful mindful view of addiction. With case illustrations and cutting edge insight, this book changes how we understand and react to that panoply of issues that surround addiction. Not only a self-help guide,Breaking Addiction belongs on the shelf of every treatment professional because it will improve professional treatment strategies and tactics.”
—Howard J. Shaffer, Ph.D. , C.A.S., Director, Division on Addictions, Harvard Medical School
“Dr. Dodes combines his insight as one of our most experienced clinicians with many compelling tales of recovery among patients he has successfully treated. You could not ask for a more thoughtful and readable book on ways to deal with the complex and disheartening problem of addiction.”
—Marc Galanter, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, NYU School of Medicine
“Breaking Addiction explains why people turn to addictions despite the high price their behavior exacts. Through vivid examples and keen insights Dodes shows why addictions are so compelling, and advances fresh and practical pathways to understand and deal with addictive behavior. By improving our understanding of the very nature of addiction, Dodes helps people with addictive problems overcome stigma and regain their dignity.”
—Edward J. Khantzian, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Past President, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
Breaking Addiction was honored in its category as a Library Journal Best Book of 2011.
Praise for “The Heart of Addiction”
“This book is a revolutionary advance in understanding how addictions work, and how people can master their own addictive behaviors. In a highly readable way, with compelling real-life examples, Dr. Dodes guides the reader toward a new way to understand and control the very behaviors which can seem uncontrollable. I have no doubt readers will be able to apply these new and unique ideas to their own lives.”
—Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of Driven to Distraction; Worry; and Connect
“The Heart of Addiction is a masterful analysis of addiction that is destined to become a classic guide to understanding repetitive, excessive and self-destructive behavior patterns. This book marks a revolution in self-help. In fact, this book belongs on the shelf of every treatment professional facing patients with addictive behaviors.”
—Howard J. Shaffer, Ph.D., C.A.S., Director, Division on Addictions, Harvard Medical School
“In this courageous and pioneering text, Dr. Dodes has produced a new way of understanding addictions for patients and clinicians alike. The Heart of Addiction will significantly serve readers in what they need to know in understanding and relinquishing their addictions, whatever form they take.”
—Edward J. Khantzian, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Past President, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
“In a field rife with misinformation, obfuscation, intimidation, and exploitation, this book represents a bright beacon of light that can pierce the fog and help save lives. … chapters are informative, heuristically stimulating, and quite practical. ... I recommend it wholeheartedly."
—The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 2005