Life on the Rocks: Finding Meaning in Addiction and Recovery
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Addiction and recovery are, at their core, about the meaning of life. Life on the Rocks is the first book to address addiction and recovery from a Western philosophical perspective, offering a powerful set of tools sharpened over millennia. It introduces some of the core concepts and vexing questions of philosophy to help addicts and those affected by their addiction examine and perhaps transform the meaning they make of their lives.
Without assuming any familiarity with philosophy, Dr. O’Connor illuminates issues all addicts and their loved ones face: self-identity, moral responsibility, self-knowledge and self-deception, free will and determinism, fatalism, the nature of God, and their relations to others. Life on the Rocks is an indispensable guide to the deeply philosophical concerns at the heart of every addict’s struggle.
Peg O’Connor, PhD, is professor of philosophy and gender, women, and sexuality studies at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota. She is the author of the popular Psychology Today blog “Philosophy Stirred, Not Shaken” and contributor to the Pro Talk series at Rehabs.com.
about public exposure of our addictive behaviors. This is particularly true of people who manage to hide their use for a long time. We might lose a job or our status in a community. We want to be “normal” like everyone else. If we can just somehow pass as normal, for instance if we can drink socially or perhaps not at all with social drinkers, they will have no clue. In fact, they may be shocked when we later tell them about our addiction. Sometimes they try to convince us that we can’t be a real
breaking the law. If everyone broke the law, there really would no longer be a law. That’s the contradiction. Kant would also say that a person who uses illegal drugs is using herself merely as a means to an end to her enjoyment from an illegal activity. She is using herself much like she might use another person to get access to her drugs. Therefore, Kant would conclude, she has a duty to never use these drugs, so she should stop. The harder cases are those involving legal substances and
Goodwill can devolve into resentment when expectations change or are unmet. If you ask addicted people about their friends when they were using, some common refrains emerge. As addictions progressed, people cut ties with friends. Long-term friends who predated our increasingly heavy use present a threat to us; they know us and what we used to be like. When we look into the eyes of people who knew us so well, we often recoil. We see what we used to be like. We might look at them and see what our
demonstrating what we’ve already known: certain substances really do light up our pleasure circuitry; they trip the light fantastic like nothing else. We like to surround ourselves with people who are vibrantly alive. Some of us want to be the center of the party while others are happy just being in the presence of those who burn so brightly. Drinking and drugging can be a lot of fun at first and may be for a good long while. It does no good to deny that. But for many of us, in seeking that rush
his life. Carton does bear an uncanny resemblance to a French aristocrat, Charles Darnay, who has been sentenced to death at the guillotine. Carton loves Darnay’s wife, Lucie. Out of this love, Carton tricks Darnay and trades places with him so that he may be executed. It isn’t until he sacrifices himself for love that he finds meaning and peace. His last words are some of the most famous in English literature. He says, “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far,