Omar Manejwala, M.D.I read this book by as the monthly selection of the 12 Books Group with the expectation that I will write a review and post it in several places. The book deals with cravings and addiction and presents methods for dealing with them.
This is the first book that I have read that deals with overcoming or coping with addiction. I found it interesting, easy to read and understand, and well documented. I like the fact that he often refers to a later chapter to give greater detail about a point that is briefly addressed in an earlier chapter.
The author defines craving as intense desires that produce unpleasant mental and physical symptoms if not satisfied. He is clear that not all craving is addiction. There is a difference between an urge and an absolute need for something. In the second chapter Omar describes the reaction in the brain to craving and decision making. He talks about how our brains lie, reward and punish us. He uses this to explain that addiction is a disease of choice.
One of the concepts in this book that I found very interesting was that he does not claim to have the one size fits all cure all for addiction or cravings. He discusses how rigidly held are the beliefs of different groups that deal with addiction such as the 12 Step or SMART programs. What works for one individual may not necessarily work for everyone. Some of these programs appear to be substituting one type of addiction, alcohol as an example, with another type that is less invasive or debilitating, regular meetings for group sharing and support.
The key takeaway for me is that no one can do it alone. You need a partner, whether it is an individual or a group, in order to have long term success. He ends the book with the following statement: “what stands between you and freedom from cravings is mostly related to what you think, but that to change what you think you must change what you do.”
To assist with this I would recommend that you read “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. It provides insightful advice for changing your habits.
I recommend “Craving” to anyone who wants to learn more about addiction and methods for dealing with it.