Survivors of Addiction: Narratives of Recovery

Survivors of Addiction: Narratives of Recovery

Survivors of Addiction: Narratives of Recovery

Survivors of Addiction: Narratives of Recovery


Addiction is something that affects many different people from all walks of life and can be difficult for a therapist to treat, and the client to conquer. In this book fifteen people who have formerly had serious addictions speak about their experiences.

Survivors of Addictiondraws on first-hand narratives to provide an overview of how and why people become addicted, and explores what happens after the addiction is left behind. Divided into four sections it covers:

  • being caught up in addiction
  • how and why users stop being addicted
  • the early days after surviving addiction
  • long-term outcomes.

By considering psychodynamic and Jungian perspectives as well as the clinical vignettes, this book examines the process of recovery from addiction. It will be key reading for therapists, clinicians and healthcare workers who encounter addictions in their day to day professions and will also be of great interest to those who are, or have been addicted, and their families.


This book is a tribute to the work of an eminent consultant psychiatrist, Dr. Raj Rathod, who died in 2007. The book started as a joint project with him and would not exist without him. I shall forever be grateful to him as an esteemed colleague and friend. His contribution as a psychiatrist was immense. He also initiated the gathering of the case studies upon which the book is based. Raj spent his professional life treating addicted people and conducting research in many aspects of the subject. He grew up in India and recalls his mother giving him and his brother and sisters opium pills to keep them quiet. He was also exposed to celebratory LC-bhang drinks in his late teens and he had been addicted to tobacco. As a young medical student, he was saddened by the death of his first landlord from alcoholrelated problems. After coming to the UK, he had a Freudian analysis. Not only was he an inspirational teacher for the World Health Organization, but he also challenged his own staff to go the extra mile in terms of learning about addiction and gaining an understanding of the people who fall under its sway. His approach was to wait to get in touch with the emotional experiences of his patients; he was genuinely interested in what these experiences meant for the patient. He was not caught up in the everyday experiences they had, but could look beyond that. He had the analytic attitude of not responding in kind, yet he was present for the person he was with.

I am a Jungian analyst, coming from a Scottish family in which one set of grandparents signed the Temperance Pledge, having observed at first hand the havoc caused by alcohol binge drinking among sailors on shore leave. My father was a lifelong heavy smoker who died of lung cancer. In my teens, I was introduced to alcohol rather in the French fashion, as a part of family dinners on a Saturday evening, learning to appreciate how wellchosen wines enhanced the enjoyment of the various stages of the meal. Since then I have always enjoyed alcohol.

I worked as part of a team of therapists in the Substance Misuse Project at Crawley Hospital. We were all trainees at the hands of our patients, as well as therapists to them. Over the years they have taught us much about . . .

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