Written by Oliver J. Morgan
Reviewed by: Lily Wu
Morgan’s book, Addiction, Attachment, Trauma, And Recovery presents a progressive paradigm for the understanding of addiction and clinical practice of its treatment. Embodied firmly within the book and in Morgan’s own practice, is the principle of “consilience”. This is defined as the convergence of insights across a multitude of disciplines to form comprehensive knowledge. Thus, in Addiction, Attachment, Trauma, And Recovery, Morgan links together interpersonal neurobiology, attachment psychology, social ecology and trauma science into an articulate, humanistic analysis of addiction. Consilience is paramount: as we live in a world that is increasingly complex, we require a mode of thinking or framework that is both dynamic and integrative.
The strength of the book is shown in its structure. The language is jargon free and the content is structured in a way that allows for a diverse audience of readers, from family members to practicing clinicians. As per the title, Morgan focuses on specific attachment styles and trauma and presents their relationship as a central path or prelude to later addiction. This thesis is introduced through the case study of an individual with addiction named “Joe”. By tracing back through Joe’s childhood, trauma is unearthed and his later addictions or “chemical comforters” are analyzed as a substitute and “futile search(..) for connection” (xxx). While Morgan does not claim that trauma informs every addict’s experience, he believes that it holds a prominent space within addiction and should be acknowledged as such. Furthermore, through an examination of Joe’s attachment style to others, Morgan emphasizes the importance of belonging and human connection. He quotes Johann Hari, “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety; the opposite of addiction is connection” and discusses this sentiment within the treatment section (1).
Finally, especially as America is confronted with the growing opioid crisis, Morgan’s work will remain particularly relevant. Treatment and strategies that consider “consilience” within their framework will enable addicted persons to have a viable and sustainable recovery.
Morgan, Oliver. J. (2019). Addiction, Attachment, Trauma, And Recovery: The Power of Connection. New York City, NY: W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-71317-6. Available in hardcover and eBook.
Hardcover. 384 pages. Includes bibliographical references and index.
Oliver J. Morgan is a Professor of Counseling & Human Services at the University of Scranton. He has spent thirty years researching, teaching, and writing about mental health and addiction.
Lily Wu is a psychology graduate from New York University and has interned at NYU’s ROSES Program. In addition to working for IJP, she writes reviews for Somatic Psychotherapy Today.