Hungry Hearts

Joseph Nowinski

Millions of men in this country are addicted: to alcohol or drugs, to sex, work, food, or gambling. A poor substitute for comfort, self-confidence, and spirituality, all addictions have the power to destroy lives, relationships, and families. Although women, too, may suffer from addictions, the ratio of men to women enrolled in treatment programs for alcohol or drug abuse is roughly three to one. And in a survey of the population at large, men were five times as likely as women to be diagnosed as alcohol dependent. Why are men so much more vulnerable to addiction? What do addictions as different as sex, alcohol, cocaine, and work have in common? What can men do to escape from the throes of addiction and the addictive tendencies within themselves? In Hungry Hearts, Joseph Nowinski reveals that addiction is the result of emotional desperation which, as much as any craving, is responsible for addicts relapsing or trading one addiction for another. Venturing beyond the common theory that men's greater susceptibility to addiction is genetic, he points instead to society's long held belief in and exaggeration of men's resilience and toughness, at the expense of their sensitivity. It is an accident of history that men are often viewed as insensitive and emotionally tough, Nowinski asserts, and that myth has contributed to the insecurity and isolation that drive men toward addiction. Through an in-depth examination of the social, psychological, and historical perspectives on men and addiction, Nowinski offers a new model for men to rebuild their self-esteem and truly open themselves to intimacy. For men who suffer from an addiction, and for those who care for them both personally and professionally, Hungry Hearts is an essential book.

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