Uncovering Addictions will stand between Dr. Gabor Mate’s In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts and Bruce K. Alexander’s The Globalization of Addiction because it is both a diagnosis of addictions as a response to trauma and an identification of addictions as a consequence of societal disconnection. Like Memoirs of an Addicted Brain, by Marc Lewis, Uncovering Addictions delves deep into the mind and supplants the disease model. It presents a view not just of what’s in the brain, but what the brain is in: a body, in relationships with other people, and in our shared culture. Uncovering Addictions also belongs on a shelf with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance because it offers a hands-on philosophy and manual for living an examined life. And because John is inspired by spiritual awakenings, Uncovering Addictions is an alternative — albeit in a very secular alternative — to The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Uncovering Addictions will also stand alone for how it bears witness, tracking a uniquely long-term trajectory through recoveries based on the best conventional practices of treatment to the realization of lasting freedom.
Bruce K. Alexander has been John’s primary reader. In June 2018 he wrote: “I believe that you have written the master account of the phenomenology of uncovery. St. Augustine wrote the master account of the phenomenology of recovery, but yours is way better, in large part because it is un- rather than re-. Truly.” He told John that he “should be approaching the very best publishers. This is going to be an extraordinary literary event!” (email June 2018). Parts of the manuscript were also shared with Marc Lewis. “You write like an angel,” Marc wrote (in an email after reading Chapter 7, in December 2016). Both said at least two years ago that the manuscript was ready to go to a publisher.
John continues to write because writing is such a significant part of his life, akin to the place of prayer in a religious life. And he has no desire to change subjects. He is, however, ready to consider this part of his memoir finished and fulfilled, and he agrees with his readers and mentors that now is time to introduce a new idea to the field.