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Irene Watson

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Addiction: What's Really Going On? by McCloskey and Sinor: Book Review
by Irene Watson   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, June 26, 2009
Posted: Friday, June 26, 2009

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"Addiction: What's Really Going On?" by author Barabara Sinor contains powerful true- life stories woven together to form a tapestry filled with pain, joy, defeat, and success. The entire book is molded around Deborah McCloskey's heartfelt desire for her clients to be free of drugs. Her counseling methods both endeared her as "the counselor to get" and locked her into a decade of searching for better ways to help those she felt were stuck on the merry- go-round of a methadone system. This book should be read by teachers, hospitals employees, college students, government officials, and our general adult population whether addicted, sober, or straight.

Addiction: What's Really Going On? Inside a Heroin Treatment Program

Deborah McCloskey, CADC & Barbara Sinor, PhD
Loving Healing Press (2009)
ISBN 9781932690934
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (5/09)

In “Addiction: What is Really Going On?,” substance abuse counselor Deborah McCloskey takes us inside a southern California treatment program for heroin addicts.  By reading her story, which was fascinating, we learn about the ins and outs of methadone treatment.  We also learn about the counselors and addicts.  Each person has their own story.  If the addicts don’t deal with their issues, their chances of staying clean are nil.  If the substance abuse counselors don’t deal with their own personal issues as well, then they have a harder time being effective counselors.  It was sad to learn that many of them, who are in recovery themselves, also relapse.

Through her experiences and compassion, Ms. McCloskey learned how to work with addicts.  Even though she didn’t always find success with them, she was able to gain their respect and learn how they might try to trick her.  I learned a lot from her counseling style.  Even though she didn’t let her clients get away with anything, she still was able to gain their respect. Dealing effectively with some of her co-workers and a supervisor also took some skill on her part.
As a graduate of a Master of Science program in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling, part of which involved training in Substance Abuse Counseling, I truly wished that I had had a book like this when I was learning about addictions.  I think that every student in the program would have benefited.  By reading about the clients, their games, their addiction, and what worked, my classmates and I would have benefited hugely.  This in turn would have helped the people with whom we were doing our practicum hours.
Heroin addiction is an insidious problem in our society.  Ms. McCloskey was successful in finding some alternative ways of dealing with treatment.  She didn’t like how the system functioned because it definitely was not working for everyone, and so she made some changes on her own caseload to find out how she could achieve success.  I really think that “Addiction: What's Really Going On? Inside a Heroin Treatment Program” should be read by all people who are involved in some form of substance abuse, whether they are counselors, addicts, or family members of addicts.  Sadly because of her passing, Ms. McCloskey will no longer be able to directly help others in this field; however, by assisting with telling her story, Barbara Sinor, PhD, has stepped in as a co-author on this book and in doing so, allows her work to carry on.

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