Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions (Plus)

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Addiction and Grace offers an inspiring and hope–filled vision for those who desire to explore the mystery of who and what they really are. May examines the "processes of attachment" that lead to addiction and describes the relationship between addiction and spiritual awareness. He also details the various addictions from which we can suffer, not only to substances like alcohol and drugs, but to work, sex, performance, responsibility, and intimacy.
Drawing on his experience as a psychiatrist working with the chemically dependent, May emphasizes that addiction represents an attempt to assert complete control over our lives. Addiction and Grace is a compassionate and wise treatment of a topic of major concern in these most addictive of times, one that can provide a critical yet hopeful guide to a place of freedom based on contemplative spirituality.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reissue edition (January 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061122432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061122439
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces

Customer Reviews


16 people found this helpful.
 on April 17, 2012
By ilove2decor8
I will preface this review by saying that there is no “magic” cure to drug addiction, IMHO. However, I ordered this book and had Amazon send it directly to my brother who is in a drug-treatment program housed at our county jail facility. He has always been very resistant to help until he got in trouble with the law and hit rock bottom. My middle-class family has had a tendency to be enablers to his behavior over the years. I was the first to say “no” and provide support in the form of “tough love”. It was a pivotal moment and one of the toughest things I ever had to do in my life (report my brother’s crime leading to his arrest), the result of which was this court-ordered drug treatment program. That said, it was THIS book that really got his attention. Having been raised in a Christian home, the values and principles of the Bible were inherently important to his recovery. After reading this book, my brother has had so much clarity in his thinking. I’ve literally watched the anger, resentment, and bitterness melt off of his face these past 2 months. I cannot attribute it all to this book, but I will say that it has gained quite a bit of popularity in the jail. Other inmates shared this copy and some have even asked their family members to order it for them because they’ve read pages or heard from others how wonderful it is. My brother has actually been able to discuss parts of the book and reference his own struggles and what it meant to him. His addiction counselors have taken an interest in the book as well. They see the difference in him, too. I recognize the changes are due to a combination of things: the book, the program, his surroundings (you obviously can’t ‘use’ in jail), and, most importantly, his desire/willingness to get better. I’ve felt so good about what this book has done for my brother, I’m ordering a copy for myself. Other reviews have stated that this is helpful for loved ones of an addicted family member. I plan to share with my mother, father, and teenage daughter. I’m also purchasing a copy to donate to the jail facility/treatment program to have on hand in the library. One of the best purchases ever made!!

Humbling but so powerful…

4 people found this helpful.
 on October 11, 2011
By Ian Acheson
This book has a wonderful gentle spirit discussing a topic that is increasingly prevalent in society. This spirit made the book so enjoyable to read.

Things everyone needs to conside

2 people found this helpful.
 on April 18, 2013
By Joseph C. Waters
The author makes no pretext that he knows everything, but looks at what works and does not work. He analyses results and speculates as to cause. He is factual but humble in expressing what he knows. The springboard for the book came from his frustrating results in treating addictions. He states on page 6, “With all the energy that might be expected of a young doctor, I applied my best psychiatric methods to the treatment of addictions. None of them worked.” With regard to that frustration later on that page he refers to a factual statement a faith healer made to him at a conference, “I wouldn’t take my dog to you, because you think you are the one that has to do the healing.” He recognized that could use psychiatry to cure social problems and emotional problems but that addictions required a different set of forces. The book explores the functioning of the whole person in reference to the “human condition” as an addictive process controlled by subtle negative forces we cannot completely comprehend. The reverse process is the subtle positive influence of grace — not will — not benign chemicals — and not only enlightened science — but the humility to accept what works.

The good news is that this book offers hope for those …

One person found this helpful.
 on May 19, 2015
By Matthew S. Merten
Having just comes to terms with my addiction, deciding to begin my recovery, someone suggested I read this book. There is so much valuable information in this work that, for the first time since college, I wandered through a book with a highlighter and a pen, marking up almost half the pages. With each new chapter I found the author’s explanations of addiction and recovery backing what I’m learning from my 12-step program. The good news is that this book offers hope for those in recovery for ANY addiction. I just finished it two weeks ago and I’m currently reading a second time. I want this information to sink into my brain.

A Classic in Understanding Addictions, their Components, and the Road Back from Them

9 people found this helpful.
 on September 25, 2010
By Book Glutton
In just over two decades this book has become a classic in understanding what addiction is, how it works, why addictions occur, the ingredients of an addiction, and what must be done in overcoming one. Dr. May talks about addictions from coffee to the other end of the spectrum. He shows us that we all have them. They do not have to be life-threatening, although many are.

A Good Understanding

One person found this helpful.
 on December 7, 2012
By 💝 Alex S
This was one of the books that was required by my Theology Class in the understanding of Evil. I found myself intrigued by the nature of addiction in all of our lives and the tendency to move from one addiction to another.

Compassionate & Very Readable Understanding of Addiction

One person found this helpful.
 on December 22, 2015
By William Corsair
The late Gerald May was a psychiatrist who dealt extensively with his patients’ (and his own) addictions. I’m not sure what he died from, but he admits in the book that he’s a heavy smoker. He uses some of his own physical and psychological addictions to say, in effect, “I’ve got my own addictions, and just about every human being walking the planet does. Until we recognize that fact, and allow ourselves the grace to be in that recognition, we’ll never be able to wrestle with our addictions.”

For everyone, and probably not entirely what you expect

4 people found this helpful.
 on December 3, 2009
By J. Kerr
Drugs, sex, and drinking come immediately to mind when we hear the word addiction, and often times properly so. While the author does a great job of shedding new light on these types of addictions he also takes the reader to a broader perspective that includes all of the addictions in our lives, whether we have ever thought of them in that light or not. Further he helps gain a better understanding of the nature and origin of addiction and how attached we can become to things of this world, loosing site of our Creator and His love. More importantly the author makes smooth transitions to discussions of how God’s grace coupled with our faith can free us from the addictions that harm us and open us up to fully participate in God’s grace. Once you start this book it will be hard to put down.

Break the Cycle Once and for All

One person found this helpful.
 on August 10, 2015
By Keith Wallace
The deepest journey into understanding both addiction and grace I have ever experienced, Gerald May unlocks mysteries that liberates the soul and motivates one to continue on their personal journey toward an intimate relationship with Father God that is unparalleled in our lives today. This is not just a one-time read – it is a reference that should be read and re-read as one continues on his or her personal ‘hero’s journey’.

A substantial contribution to personal insight and growth

One person found this helpful.
 on January 17, 2014
By Peter Griffin
I find this book instructive because of insights drawn from at least four directions: Gerald May speaks from a base of a career spent in counselling people with addictions ;He includes himself as a wounded healer and talks honestly of his own journey of failure, growth and understanding ; There is a good deal of technical – both biological and psychological-information on the nature of addiction. It is a more comprehensive human reality than one might think ; May is unapologetic about speaking from a position of faith and theological reflection and uses biblical text as a springboard for explaining his insights. I use this book a basis for personal reflection daily.My view is that if a creative work is the fruit of many years of study, experience and reflection, then a few minutes each day is an appropriate strategy for the sage’s dream of the open ear.

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