This section presents positive and negative reactions to Stanton and his work, including this website.
My Zinc Bed
My Zinc Bed, a new play by one of Britain’s most notable stage directors, David Hare (who directed Nicole Kidman to such good effect in The Blue Room), examines capitalism and addiction in the Internet age. The Playbill for this production at London’s Royal Court Theatre features a long quote from Diseasing of America.
The Stanton Peele Addiction Lecture
“This lecture will in time come to symbolize all that is special about Stanton: the pursuit of knowledge in the face of considerable opposition; an obdurate mission to advance the care of addicted people; and a great skill in communicating to all kinds of audiences some of the most difficult and contentious scientific ideas.”
—Stephen Wallace, introduction to the Stanton Peele Addiction Lecture
Jeffrey Moss, one of the hosts for Stanton during the inauguration of the Stanton Peele Addiction Lecture at Deakin University in Melbourne, interviewed Stanton about the genesis of his ideas and his exploration of the addiction concept through several decades: A provocative outsider: Dr. Stanton Peele in Australia
What are the most negative adjectives you have ever seen strung together in a book review?
However, not everybody was as negative about Diseasing of America as John Wallace. Here are the views of Neil Kurtzman, Alan Marlatt, Ellen Langer, Peter Nathan, and Herbert Fingarette.
“Stanton Peele is a liar. He’s in total denial of science and has been completely shut out of the scientific community.”
—James Milam, author of Under the Influence, Washington Times, March 3, 1997.
James Milam’s paranoid view of Stanton and the addictions field, couched as biological theory, is best caught at ”An Open Letter To All Concerned With the Drug-Crime Epidemic.”
The Meaning of Addiction
“But this book worried me. Dr. Peele is widely read outside the scientific community. The distortions are subtle, the writing is slick, and to a person unfamiliar with the literature, the arguments are very seductive.”
— Margaret Bean-Bayog, New England Journal of Medicine, 314:189-190, 1986.
On the other hand, here are some positive views of The Meaning of Addiction.
Love and Addiction
The Department of Addiction Studies of Stirling (Scotland) newsletter began a new feature in 2010 in which department faculty members listed “the five books which most tellingly affected their work; to which they most often return; which they are most likely to recommend to colleagues.” The first such list, by Rowdy Yates, included Love and Addiction, which Yates described as follows:
Peele, S. and Brodsky, A. (1975) Love and Addiction, New York: Taplinger Publishing. This book I read as soon as it was published. A friend had recommended it and she wasn’t wrong. Peele and Brodsky view addiction as a normal behaviour that has veered out of control and they compare it with dysfunctional human relationships. I think it was probably the first book I ever read which analysed addiction in a way that made sense to me and echoed what I knew from my work. Years later, after I came to Stirling, I undertook a study looking at recovered addicts who had been sexually abused as children. One of the researchers we used was a psychotherapist to trade and remarked to me that the relationship they described with their drug(s) of choice sounded exactly like their relationship with their perpetrator. I remembered Peele and Brodsky and pulled it off the shelf. It still reads absolutely true as an understanding of addictive behaviour all these years later.
Awards and Commendations
- Addiction Research Foundation, Canada
- Alcohol Research Group, Berkeley
- Center of Alcohol Studies, Rutgers
- Drug Policy Foundation, Washington DC
- The creation of the Stanton Peele Addiction Lecture series, 1998, by the Addiction Studies Program, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia
- Praise from important figures in the field of addiction research and practice
Appreciative Notes from Counselors
- A doctor speaks out about the 12 steps
- Heretic in a 12 step treatment system
- This web site helped me set up a valuable non-AA program
- How can I perform the Stanton Peele act in front of treatment personnel?
- Other appreciative notes
Appreciative Notes from Alcoholics/Addicts
- Thanks for helping me to drink moderately
- Cult-like tactics
- Maybe one day my voice will join yours
- Thanks for working so hard on our behalf
- I recently discovered your site and read The Addiction Experience which is the best description of addiction I have seen.
- Overcoming disease treatment for addiction: A first person account
- My whole family is in AA
- I am not an alcoholic!
- You helped me escape both AA and alcoholism
- It was like a lightbulb that suddenly flickered on
- The rest of the pile of appreciative notes that Stanton received since this website came on-line…
Lives Saved. Letters from alcoholics and addicts who put their life back together after reading Stanton’s books.
- Reading your book saved my life
- I read your book and quit drinking, then became a social drinker
- After reading you book, I set new goals
Not everyone agrees with Stanton…
Reactions to Stanton’s Work in General
Stanton Peele’s books have been instrumental in helping me to understand my own underlying causes of addiction and how, however well-intentioned, the 12-step model is, it led me to focus on the wrong aspects of addiction.
—Marianne Gilliam, author, How Alcoholics Anonymous Failed Me
“I’ve been a big fan of yours for many years. It must have been terribly lonely for you 10 or 15 years ago being just about the only voice of sanity in regard to addictions on the national scene. All of us who have come after you owe you a debt of gratitude.”
— Charles Bufe, author of AA: Cult or Cure?
“Dear Stanton: Thank you for posting so much of your written work on the web. I have been seeking insights into my own life for quite some time, and have been surprised at how meager the array of non-AA materials is. I have slowly been coming to an awareness that I want to change and make my life better, and I had not realized fully the possibility that the explanation for my unsatisfying relationships in love and work could be my own version of my dad’s addiction to alcohol. I am hopeful that I can discuss these issues this very evening with my boyfriend, possibly to identify what remains of our relationship to be repaired, or possibly to move on. Regardless, for the first time in a very long time, I feel that my own understanding of myself is worth enough to stand up for, and for that, I thank you and your lucid writing on addictive love. Take care-”
Praise for this Website
“Excellent site with lots of facts about addictions of all kinds.”
“Thanks so much for your web site which was a blessing to find during my early days of ‘recovery from recovery’. Keep up the good work.”
“Your web site has the appearance and credibility of the ‘National Enquirer’…”
“The Stanton Peele Addiction Website: This is a definite ‘must see’! The visitor is literally ‘greeted with a smile’ as Stanton Peele himself appears on the screen wearing (to put it kindly) a very distinctive shirt (I assume it’s Peele; I can’t imagine why you would put some random person wearing such a shirt on your webpage). Anyway, after the laughter subsides, this really is a quality site. Many full-text articles are available, as well as essays on the history of addiction, information on how to order his books and even Peele’s vitae.”
—J. Aaron Johnson, review of web site in American Sociological Association Alcohol and Drug Section Newsletter, April (1997), in the column “Alcohol and Drugs on the Web”
“Hello from Tallinn Estonia. I first read your Love and Addiction back in the early 70s-summer of 74? I have followed your writings over the years. To me you make a lot of sense with good supporting data. I am writing a manual on Addictions and Harm Reduction: Promoting Pro-Social Competencies. It will be translated into the Estonian Language and maybe if we can find some money into Russian next year. I want to refer to your work in large sections along with Peter Cohen and others. You have put together a great Web Site.”
—Jim Hilborn, Cognitive Centre for Healthy and Safe Communities, Tallinn, Estonia.
“What is the objective of this web site? Are you trying to aid people in recovery? If so, why do you have articles saying misleading things written by non addicted persons?”