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Stanton Peele, Ph.D. (Author) See More
Zach Rhoads (Author) See More

$16.95 USD
Upper Access
6 X 9 in
240 pg

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Drug overdoses continue to rise at an alarming rate throughout the U.S., resulting in 72,000 deaths last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The response, tragically, has been to charge full-speed ahead with “solutions” that have already, and consistently, failed.

In Overcoming Addiction, Stanton Peele, a prominent addiction expert, and Zach Rhoads, a child behavior interventionist and counselor, show that defining addiction as a “disease” makes recovery much more difficult, and that twelve-step programs fail for most participants. But they don’t just criticize. They provide a solid, research-and-experience-based alternative approach that has proven to be successful in overcoming the scourges of suicide, depression, addiction, and drug-related deaths.

The authors show that maturing out of addiction and childhood behavioral problems is a normal process—unless people are sidetracked by the widespread and commonplace therapies that undercut natural growth and self-confidence.

They present extensive research data about natural recovery and case studies of fully recovered adults and of children with various conditions, for a developmental model of addiction that has been proven to help those who are suffering. Much of the focus is on childhood addiction, but their conclusions and methods are helpful for people of all ages. Their work forms the basis for the Life Process Program, a worldwide online parenting and addiction coaching service.

Stanton Peele, Ph.D. Zach Rhoads
Author Bio

Stanton Peele, PhD, JD, is an addiction expert who has investigated, written about, and treated addiction over five decades. Based on this work, he was recognized in The Atlantic as one of “10 people who are revolutionizing how we study addiction and recovery.”

In the course of his life’s work, Stanton has identified that addiction isn’t limited to drugs, leading to the concept of process addictions. He was among the first to describe natural recovery and its anchorings in life through work, marriage, and family. Along with his 12 previous books and 250 academic and popular articles, he has created the Life Process Program, developed for a successful residential rehab center, the online version of which is now used around the world. Zach works with the online LPP and has expanded it into the family realm.

Stanton Peele’s main website is at:

Zach Rhoads is a consultant for families and children. In this role, Zach has demonstrated a gift for communicating with kids who are having difficulties—along with families and teachers who are stymied by their failures to reach these children. Zach developed this empathy through his own problems as a child who wasn’t successful at school and for whom standard diagnoses and
treatment weren’t helpful. Moreover, in his twenties he developed a heroin addiction, which—after several years and a near-death experience—he left behind.

Zach is a Life Process Program coach and developer. Stanton has three adult children, all of whom are engaged in meaningful, creative professional passions and strong intimate relationships. He spends creative time with his three grandchildren, including taking them on trips and other adventures. Zach (who is 40 years younger than Stanton) is married and is part of a highly supportive family network, to which he and his wife have recently added another member, a daughter, as this book was completed.

Table of contents



Introduction: Why we are writing this book

• It’s Not a Disease
• Overcoming the Effects of Trauma
• The Developmental Model of Addiction

1. Addiction as a Developmental Process

• Vietnam Veterans’ Natural Recovery from Heroin Addiction
• Changing the Addict Narrative
• Developing Resilience

2. Addictive Experiences

• American Painkiller Hysteria
• The Campaign against Painkillers
• Normal Drug Use
• Fear Itself
• A Note about Psychedelics
• Vulnerability to Addiction
• The “Non-Addictive Analgesic”
• The Definition and Natural History of Addiction

3. Expanding Life Experience

• The Path to Recovery—embrace life and the opportunities and joy it presents
• The Life Process Program

4. The Life Process of Children

• Doing the Best They Can
• Counterwill
• The Consequences of Commanding Children
• The Childhood Acting-Out Cycle—understanding the rewards of contrariness
• Learning Zones vs Mental Disorders

5. Children and Addiction

• The Teenage “Addict”
• A Case of Childhood Addiction

6. Diseases, Disorders and Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

• Positive Psychology

7. Beyond Labeling

• Children and Mental Disorders
• Zach’s Alternative Story
• A Note on Accessing Special Resources
• Children’s Strengths, Grit, and Perseverance

8. Behavioral Addictions and What They Show Us

• Evolving Definitions
• On Childhood Addictions

9. Abstinence and Harm Reduction, in Adolescence and Recovery

• Harm Reduction and Youthful Drinking
• Harm Reduction in Treating Substance Use Problems
• Mindfulness Harm Reduction Therapy for Smoking
• Harm Reduction for Opioids
• Harm Reduction and Childhood-Youthful Drug Problems

10. The Limits of the 12-Step Approach

• Why People Refuse—or Drop Out of—AA
• Our World Demands Something Better

11. Recovery in the Real World

• We Already Know the Truths in This Book but Ignore Them, Part I: Suicide
• Answers to Suicide are Complex and Unworkable in America
• We Already Know the Truths in This Book but Ignore Them, Part II: Addiction
• A Note about Developmental Psychology
• SAMHSA’s Redefinition of Recovery

12. Raising Our Non-Addicted Next Generation

• How to Raise a Child without Your Addiction
• Recovery Nation
• 12 Values that Prevent Addiction

13. Developing Purpose, Efficacy, and Independence

• Purpose, Purpose, Purpose
• The Nearly Century-Long Terman Study
• Assisting People to Find Purpose
• Efficacy and Empowerment
• On Being a Parent—Inspiring Independence
• Overselling Trauma—The Fearful Society
• Fostering Purpose, Self-Empowerment, and Joy

14. Overcoming Addiction

• Relapse and Purposelessness
• Meaning, Purpose, and Joy in Adulthood

15. Conclusion: The American Delusion
• Community, Community, Community
• Truth Seeking

Appendix A: Readers’ Exercises by Chapter
Appendix B: Parents’ Addiction and Development Manual
Appendix C: The Life Process Program/Family Program
Appendix D: Additional Resources

Review Quote - Steven Slate, co-author of The Freedom Model for Addictions: Escape The Treatment and Recovery Trap

“Countless people have found solutions to their substance use problems in Stanton Peele’s books after many years of painful struggle in treatment, and thought ‘I wish I’d read this before I went to my first rehab.’ Your child needn’t have this bittersweet experience. Outgrowing Addiction is a meditation for parents on how to avoid the trap of medicalizing their children’s normal life struggles. You instinctively seek to cultivate your child’s full potential. Yet you face mounting pressure from institutions to label and limit your child, going directly against your better instincts. With Stanton and Zach Rhoads on your side as voices of reason, you’ll be able to resist the pressure from institutions to label and limit your children—and instead rely on your common sense and unique bond to help them grow beyond and benefit from any struggles they may encounter.”

Review Quote - Marc Lewis, PhD, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto; author of Memoirs of an Addicted Brain and The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is Not a Disease

“The idea that addiction develops isn’t new. What is unique and remarkable about this book is the authors’ attention to the complexity of that process. Their nuanced model, backed up by rich biographical vignettes as well as clear, reliable data, is especially sensitive to the interplay of developmental timing (stages of development) and the massive impacts of the social environment—both spawning addiction and ultimately helping to overcome it. Peele and Rhoads skillfully refute the faulty (but fashionable) conclusion that addiction is a brain disease. Instead, their view of addiction as a turbulent but natural stage of need fulfillment allows us to replace the bogey man of chronic illness with an emphasis on empowerment, determination, and personal growth. A truly comprehensive and masterful piece of work.”

Review Quote - Carl Hart, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology, Chair of Department of Psychology, Columbia University; author, High Price

“The evidence keeps pouring in that, over four decades ago when he published Love and Addiction, Stanton Peele was fundamentally correct about addiction and how to outgrow it. In this latest work Peele and Rhoads incorporate recent scientific and cultural evidence showing that viewing addiction as a disease is actually harmful, that addiction involves the whole person (not just the brain), that most people will outgrow addiction (and there are ways to accelerate that process), and that pursuing a valued and constructive new life path can move one entirely beyond addiction.”

—From the Foreword by Tom Horvath, PhD, ABPP, founding president, SMART Recovery

“For decades, Stanton Peele has been one of the leading voices in revising our views of addiction, drug education and drug policy. His new book with Zach Rhoads, Outgrowing Addiction, continues and extends this pioneering work to children and stakeholders in child well-being. It is a godsend for anyone seeking a solution to the opioids crisis.”

Review Quote - Nick Heather, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Alcohol & Other Drug Studies, Northumbria University, UK; former director, Australian National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre

“Stanton Peele is a true pioneer of attempts to reveal the inadequacies of the disease view of addiction. His latest book with Zach Rhoads articulates, in clear and accessible language, a rational and evidence-based alternative to the disease view—the developmental model of addiction. Of particular importance here is the understanding the authors provide about the growing minds of adolescents and their chances of becoming and staying addicted. Though aimed at an American readership, the book’s topical relevance and its accumulated wisdom apply far beyond the boundaries of the USA.”

Review Quote - Sally Satel, MD, coauthor, Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience; Lecturer, Yale University School of Medicine

“Stanton Peele and Zach Rhoads help us think more deeply about the nature of addiction and the canned rhetoric that we hear every day. Their book explores the vulnerabilities to addiction, the dynamics of self-destructive drug use, and the pathways out. Most critically for users and their families, the book shows how to accelerate the processes that lead users to relinquish drugs. Outgrowing Addiction is smart, compassionate, and, most important, optimistic.”

Review Quote - Pippa Abston, MD, PhD, FAAP, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Alabama School of Medicine, Huntsville

“In my clinical work, I often encounter teens and parents who have been misled to believe addiction is a life-long condition they can never hope to escape. Stanton Peele and Zach Rhoads combat that mistaken and dangerous message with research evidence, clear explanations, and above all, the compelling stories of success families need. Outgrowing Addiction will have a prominent place on my lending bookshelf for families in my practice.”

Review Quote - Robin Ploof, PhD, Professor and Program Director, Early Childhood Division of Education and Human Studies, Champlain College, Burlington, VT

“The research behind this book is fascinating. Peele and Rhoads’ analysis, interpretation, and out of the box thinking about it offers a unique and hopeful perspective of a better future for people struggling with addiction. This book is upbeat, honest and offers realistic and practical strategies for those in addiction. In this work addiction is examined through a lens of care and respect. One of the most powerful aspects of this book is the coaching model used to support children. Having these tools enables adults to have difficult and important conversations with children of any and all ages—conversations that could help prevent them from becoming addicted in the first place.”

Review Quote - Jeanine K. Fitzgerald, creator of The Fitzgerald Institute of Lifelong Learning, author of The Dance of Interaction: A Guide to Managing Children’sChallening Behaviors

“Things work until they don’t, whether it’s an educational system so obsessed with how children perform and what each must become that it has lost sight of who they are and what each is experiencing each day. Could it be what has been highlighted in Outgrowing Addiction—a mindset anchored in disease, disorder, and labels that treats symptoms, rather than doing the hard work of adjusting the conditions of children’s environments? Whatever the cause, when things don’t work, it is time to adjust. Throughout the pages of this book, Zach Rhoads and Stanton Peele present what adjustment requires—ordinary people willing to see differently, think differently, and act differently to achieve extraordinary results.”

Review Quote - Barry Lessin, CAADC, family therapist, co-founder of Families for Sensible Drug Policy

“Based on compassion, science and good old-fashioned family values, this book empowers us by tapping into our resilience and reinforcing our innate strengths and resources. It embraces person-centered harm-reduction approaches that have been the foundation of successful public health policies and programs for decades, thereby offering optimism and hope for people using substances problematically and their loved ones to move forward with their lives in healthy and constructive ways.”

Review Quote - Travis Lupick, author of Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle of Addiction

Outgrowing Addiction is not afraid to challenge long-held beliefs about drug use, no matter how widespread and entrenched they might be. In the midst of America’s opioid epidemic, it has never been more important to raise the questions that Stanton Peele and Zach Rhoads have here.”

Review Quote - Robert J. Meyers, PhD, Emeritus Professor, University of New Mexico, architect of Community Reinforcement and Family Therapy (CRAFT)

“Congratulations to Stanton Peele and Zach Rhoads on an eye-opening book, a state-of-the-art guide to scientifically sound information that can help the addiction field move into the twenty-first century. Stanton Peele and Zach Rhoads have written a book that challenges the dominant disease concept of addiction and its treatment. Evidence based treatments are moving past old concepts and should be viewed as new technology for addiction misuse therapy and help. Outgrowing Addiction goes step by step to show how the concept of the disease of addiction is not helping recovery programs become successful, and to offer alternative ways of helping people, starting with children.”

Review Quote - Hara Estroff Marano, Editor, Psychology Today; author of A Nation of Wimps

“Stanton Peele is a bold and original thinker with a wide-angle view of the human psyche and spot-on vision. He is a champion of the power people have to change, and has long been a pioneer in rejecting the deterministic belief that addiction is a disease that one has forever and that addicts are powerless in the face of their cravings. He has shown instead that cognitive and life skills are keys to kicking addictions.”

Review Quote - Ethan Nadelmann, PhD, JD, founding Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance

Outgrowing Addiction is a book of hope, and of the liberation that awaits those willing to abandon powerful but bankrupt ideologies in favor of reason, science and clear-eyed self-reflection.”

Review Quote - Aaron T. Beck, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, originator of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and winner of 2006 Lasker Award

“Dr. Peele and Zach Rhoads offer a smart, readable, common-sense guide for parents concerned about their children’s drug and alcohol use. Persuasively rebutting the alarmist view advanced by the ‘experts,’ they show the importance of reinforcing children’s independence, promoting constructive values, and fostering the ability to learn from mistakes. They also show how to teach youth to recognize the risks in overusing substances and suggest safeguards for the small minority who are at greatest risk for addiction.”

Review Quote - Adi Jaffe, PhD, author, The Abstinence Myth; TEDx speaker

“Stanton Peele has been a groundbreaking pioneer in the addiction field since the days of Love and Addiction. In this newest book, Peele and Zach Rhoads continue this breakthrough in our view of addiction, and how it is created and solved, both challenging the status quo and delivering actionable steps in an evidence-based and practical way. Their developmental model of addiction, which traces struggles to early experiences and correctly recognizes addiction as a solvable issue, will be a must-read for anyone struggling with the outdated and insufficient models used in our failing treatment system.”