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David A. Stewart.

Toronto. Empathy Books, c1984.
Distributed by Empathy Books, 316-33 Orchard View Blvd., Toronto, ON,M4R 2E9.
181pp, cloth, $12.95.

Reviewed by Glenn DiPasquale.

Volume 12 Number 5
1984 September

If you are intrigued by the peculiarity of this book's title, just wait until you actually try to read it. The author, with a PhD in psychology and impressive credentials, is apparently a former alcoholic. But he has not produced an autobiography or a treatise on the etiology and/or treatment of addiction. This book is, if anything, a philosophy text and, like most books of that ilk, it could be called esoteric, obscure, and just plain difficult to fathom.

The main problem is that the author writes in jargon, inventing terminology at a dizzying clip, often in an unfortunately confusing manner. My personal favourite is the use of the word, "habit," to refer to something quite positive. Our habit is our constant search to satisfy our "personal thirst" for freedom and "at-one-ness" or "organic unity". . .or is it "personal unity"? At any rate, a "broken habit" is the negative state where the search for organic unity has been sidetracked into addiction or "sodden unity." This Stewart calls our "happy accident." The book is loaded with similar jargon and so bombards the reader with it that by the third chapter, most will be thoroughly confused.

It must be stated that the author has. many conceptual gems and creative insights to reward any reader persistent enough to wade through the word salad. The integration of other writers' insights, particularly Maslow's, into his own framework yields a unique and sometimes exciting view of the social and interpersonal underpinnings of addiction. But alas, most of the time the book resembles the ramblings of a California philosopher caught in a time warp and stranded in 1968. It is not at all suitable for a blue collar-alcoholic living in Hamilton, nor a junkie sleeping in the street on Toronto's Yonge St. strip. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to be of any help to those who work with such addicts either.

Glenn DiPasquale, York County Board of Education, Newmarket, ON.
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