Drunks, Drugs & Debits
How To recognize Addicts and Avoid Financial Abuse

By G. Douglas Talbott, M.D.

While there have been numerous books written on alcoholism and substance abuse, this one, Drunks, Drugs & Debits, is extraordinary and unique.

Financial expert Doug Thorburn looks at the devastating effects of substance addiction from the viewpoint of a non-alcoholic, codependent individual. He emphasizes the financial chaos wrought by this destructive disease.

This is a book that examines the catastrophic penalties that alcoholism and other drug addiction extract from individuals. It opens to many people a new way to recognize, diagnose and deal with the many faces of substance addiction.

Being a son of an alcoholic father and having been in a long-term romantic relationship with an addict, the author approaches the disease from a personal, painful and intimate viewpoint. He also utilizes multiple case studies and personal histories that helps one recognize the signs of alcoholism and other drug addiction. This allows the reader to view such situations in his or her own life from an entirely new perspective. The Addiction Recognition Indicator is a particularly helpful tool.

Written by a layman for the layman, this book nevertheless has a very sound scientific basis. The connection of the genetic foundation to the disease and the altered neurochemistry of the brain resulting in a predisposition to addiction in certain people, is spelled out in refreshingly simple terms. Recognizing signs of addiction allows contemplation of one's own roles and relationships in connection with possible addicts.

The perspective of addiction and the media is fascinating and references to possible addiction in major historic figures who have caused untold misery captures the imagination. The comparisons of denial versus ignorance are powerful and nicely illustrated with case reviews. The need for accountability through the process of experiencing pain and consequences is emphasized in profound ways. He also gives entirely new approaches and insight into recovery methods for the non-addict.

Only superficially described in other books, the idea and method for separating one's finances with the goal of avoiding further financial abuse is yet another excellent tool. Yes, the author presents concepts and ideas that currently are, at the very least, controversial from an addiction medicine standpoint. He nevertheless demonstrates knowledge of a variety of therapeutic approaches to this primary, psychosocial, biogenetic disease. Sir William Osler described syphilis as the great imposter of the last century, mimicking many of the symptoms of numerous other diseases. Such could be said for the disease of addiction today.

Although I believe not every statement, theory, or observation made by the author is uncontroversial, his views and new approaches are substantial contributions. The field of addiction needs this book and will benefit greatly from this thoroughly researched and documented work.

G. Douglas Talbott, M.D., FASAM, FACP
Medical Director, Talbott Recovery Campus, Charter Behavioral Health Systems
Past-President, American Society of Addiction Medicine
Vice President, International Society of Addiction Medicine
Team Physician, Atlanta Braves
Consultant, National Football League
Consultant, National Basketball Association

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