This was a very human, very sad story about the origins and the outcomes of addictive behavior told through the first person perspectives of Gabor Mate's drug addicted clients and through his own personal experience with workaholism and shopaholism. Arguments are backed up with experience, scientific research and a thoughtful narrative which makes a very strong case against the benefits to society of criminalizing the behavior of addicts.
The section on the psychological and physical origins of addiction was harrowing but also tremendously logical and compelling. I will never again think of these destructive behaviors simply through the lens of choice.
It was slightly weird to have the son reading the father's confession. While I was sympathetic to Gabor's personal challenges and to his addiction's origin story, there were very real consequences to his family that were an outgrowth of those addictions and it felt strange to hear the voice of the son reading that section...it was too clean, too much of an absolution.
Hearing the first person stories is hands down the best way to understand why drug policy should change from punitive to therapeutic. Gabor backs everything up with science which makes for strong arguments but does make it a bit of slog in some of the more technical chapters. Over all it could have been a smidge shorter but I enjoyed almost every section of the book and have recommended it to many friends. There are few among us who have not been touched by the pain of addiction to food, work, substance, whether the pain is experienced personally or though our connections to friends and lovers. This book is a great companion in approaching these very difficult questions and very tough experiences with hope, pragmatism, and respect for human weakness and human strength.
Really appreciated that his critique rose beyond the personal to the structural and gave strong arguments for the damage that punitive drug policies inflict on communities already decimated by violence, poverty and powerlessness. His focus on first people's experience was particularly haunting.
The chapter on Ayn Rand was worth the cost of admission.
The book has important insights about how the public has allowed wealth distribution to get so out of whack while doing nothing substantive in order to protect the public.
It's great to hear the author read the book when the author has the charisma that TF has.No one sneers at hyporcrisy so well.
As with all TF books I found myself simultaneously laughing out loud and wanting to wash my eyeballs.
A very nice book to listen to.
I would recommend it to folks who are also thinking of getting married.
There is a moment in the book where Elizabeth details to her betrothed all of her neurotic faults and failings. He accepts her. If you can do the same thing and get over her fraught tone and neurotic over-thinking then you will also love this thoughtful book about the benefits and liabilities of conventional and unconventional marriage.
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