So we’ve slept on the review by Gabor Maté of Wasted in the Globe and Mail, and while we’re, of course, delighted to get attention from the Globe & Mail and from Gabor Maté, we feel that Dr. Maté has himself wasted an opportunity.
He used fully half of the review of our book to expound on his own theory about the roots of addiction – childhood trauma – leaving the reader to essentially guess at what the book’s science exploration was about. Yes, we could certainly have made mention that much addiction involves childhood trauma. As a psychotherapist, Mike knows all too well how childhood trauma destroys the soul and sends so many to seek relief in substances. But we didn’t choose to focus on the roots of the problem.
We wanted to write about solutions, solutions that haven’t received a lot of ink – like medications, motivational interviewing, and CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training). We don’t necessarily buy into the disease model, but as long as the Canadian Medical Association calls addiction an illness, it is a duty of doctors to treat it. And that is largely not happening in this country.
We’re all for a substance user who has suffered childhood trauma taking on the difficult work to heal, but wouldn’t it be great if doctors helped treat their symptoms in the meantime? We only wish the esteemed Dr. Maté had taken the opportunity to make readers aware that there is now a broader toolkit to treat our number 1 health problem.
– Mike and Maureen