Over breakfast yesterday morning we discussed the fascinating NYTimes book review of David Sheff’s new book, “Clean”. The review had been published Monday night in the Times, by Abigail Zuger, M.D.
Dr. Zuger’s review, in the New York Times’ Science/Books section, helps any reader “catch-up” with Mr. Scheff’s progression of works (his previous publications have included “Beautiful Boy,” “All We Are Saying,” “The Last Interview,” and “Game Over: How Nintendo Zapped an American Industry” — the last work obviously concerning the now-pandemic of video game addiction, as Scheff had predicted in 1993).
Dr. Zuger eloquently writes:
“Now comes Clean, less memoir than guide for those just entering the terrain Mr. Sheff knows so well. If the book represents a certain redundancy of subject, its likely audience — those who must watch as friends and family spiral away — cannot hear too many sympathetic reiterations of the same truths.
“In “Clean,” Mr. Sheff changes perspective, writing as advocate and journalist rather than distraught father. Still, his story line recreates that of “Beautiful Boy,” tracing the trajectory of addiction from cradle to rehab and beyond with the same question in mind: How does a promising cleareyed kid from a good family wind up in an inconceivable sea of trouble?
“His answer, bludgeoned home with the repetitive eloquence of the missionary, is entirely straightforward: The child is ill. Addiction must be considered a disease, as devoid of moral overtones as diabetes or coronary artery disease, just as amenable as they are to scientific analysis, and just as treatable with data-supported interventions, not hope, prayer or hocus-pocus.”
This review of Sheff’s new book certainly led our breakfast discussion to further explore one of our core beliefs here, at Morningside Recovery — that of “evidence-based” practices in our recovery and addiction programs. We also read the review of Sheff’s Clean in Psychology Today by Glenn C. Altschuler, Ph.D., the Professor of American Studies at Cornell University.