3 out of 4 stars
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James Slobodzien’s book Spontaneous Addiction Recovery: We Have the Mind of Christ is an exploration of the relationship between addiction and spiritual awakening. As the title suggests, it is rooted in a firmly Biblical perspective, and is laced with direct quotes from the Bible and other Christian writings throughout.
The premise of the book is based in the author’s assertion that many studies show that large numbers of people suffering from addiction recover spontaneously (without outside help), typically by the age of 30. As the author discusses trends and historical backgrounds of a variety of addictions, he simultaneously urges the reader to collaborate with God regarding his or her personal addictions and issues, through the mechanism of a personal connection established through prayer. Topics covered include opioids, sex addiction, alcoholism, marijuana use, gambling, religious addiction, diet/eating disorders and food addiction.
The key to this spontaneous recovery, as argued by James Slobodzien, lies in the process of spiritual conversion. The nature of this process is discussed at length, with examples provided both from Biblical characters, as well as the modern day. The author challenges the current models of addiction, which describe it either as a brain disease or as a moral failure, and instead presents a spiritual model for conceptualizing bad habits and dependence on substances. Coping strategies, personal appraisal, motivation, identity formation, and the role of cultural values are all discussed in their relation to addiction formation. Ultimately, the author urges the reader to adopt the Mind of Christ and to re-orient his or her life to one that looks forward to the bodily resurrection we will receive at Christ’s return.
One element that struck me as I was reading was the heavy focus on Christian belief. I had expected the majority of the text to be focused on substance abuse and recovery, yet it seemed at many different points like I was reading a prepared sermon that urged the reader to re-evaluate their relationship with God, with addiction being only a secondary topic. Though I was not personally bothered by this, I can see how some readers would be blindsided by the contents of the book, as it appeared at times that addiction was simply an example of one of the issues that would be improved by God’s presence in our lives, but that any other personal struggle would have worked just as well to get the point across.
This is an extremely Christian book, and I would not expect that atheist readers or those who are passionate about other religions would connect strongly with its contents. On the other hand, Christian readers are likely to find many of the passages both uplifting and informative, and readers who do not subscribe to a particular religion, but who read with an open mind, may find this text enlightening. Most of the claims and research mentioned by the author was cited with direct links embedded in the text, allowing for further exploration of sub-topics that pique the reader’s interest.
Unfortunately, I found quite a number of grammatical and typographical errors, which were somewhat distracting from the message. Also, the author tended to overuse capitalization, typically emphasizing words by having the first letter capitalized (mid-sentence) or sometimes writing out whole phrases or sentences in all caps, as if he was shouting the message. Though this made it easy to spot the important concepts, it was a bit heavy-handed. Despite the challenges, this was a well-researched and unique book, with a passionate appeal to the reader. I rate this work 3 out of 4 stars and recommend it to readers who appreciate a Christian perspective on mental health, addiction, and self-help topics.
Spontaneous Addiction Recovery
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