A Philosophical and Spiritual Approach to Recovery from Addiction

The therapeutic approach discussed in the attached article, which has been called ‘self illusion therapy,’ draws on both Eastern and Western insights including but not limited to the teachings of Buddhism and the work of the English neurologist John Hughlings Jackson, the Swiss developmental psychologist Jean Piaget, the Australian addiction psychologist Jim Maclaine, and the philosophers David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein and P F Strawson. As respects the philosophical concept of the ‘person,’ as well as ‘personality,’ the ideas of Strawson and Wittgenstein (on self, mind, body, and person), together with the ‘Boston personalism’ of the American philosopher and theologian Borden Parker Bowne, are perhaps most directly relevant to the approach and its paradigm.

Note. This article is based on a paper entitled ‘From “Inebriation” to “Severe Substance Dependence” … or Long Day’s Journey into Light,’ which was presented by the author at the 4th New South Wales Addiction Medicine Training Day (‘Involuntary Treatment for Substance Disorders in NSW’), which took place at Northern Sydney Education Centre, Macquarie Hospital, North Ryde, New South Wales, Australia, on 4 December 2012. A copy of the original paper can be found online on the website SlideShare.