Monday, March 11, 2013

Book Review of "The Codependency Conspiracy"

I was glad to find a book that I could align my thoughts with regarding the self help movement. For friends who benefitted from active participation in the self help tradition, I respect their experiences.

However, I have not always agreed with all the tenants of the traditions but never felt that I could discuss the topic in order to avoid arguments. In "The Codependency Conspiracy", Dr. Stan Katz and Aimee Liu thoroughly compare the positive and negative thought processes of step programs.

One example of practicality is this: if you were having marriage problems, would you want to be counseled by someone with years in a healthy marriage or by someone who's been divorced five times? The idea of associating with others who can understand your experiences because they've been there is understandable but should not be replaced by the counsel of someone trained and licensed in the field.

Another area for thought is that initially, the sell help groups were to be voluntary. In my prior work in the criminal justice field, offenders were court ordered to attend AA and submit signed slips for verification of attendance. Religious versions were not always accepted. If this was a first offense or experience with drugs or alcohol, does that automatically make a person an addict or alcoholic. If an individual is court ordered to attend meetings, will they benefit from it if they don't want to be there?

As for assigning the disease label to crimes such as sex offenses, I believe that is very dangerous. There has to be accountability and consequences for actions.

I have never agreed with the concept of Codependency. Just because you have a family member who has addiction problems, that does not make your family dysfunctional by association. You may be an upstanding citizen, active in church, volunteering in the community and reaching goals and not be able to live someone else's life for them.

Dr. Katz presents eight points to assist those seeking recovery to let go of the past and take control of their choices so they can have a brighter future.

When in a position to consider both positions of the self help/Codependency topic, I would refer others to this book. It is well written. I strongly recommend it as an educational supplement in the counseling or addictions field.

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