Gabor Maté is a deep thinker and draws together ideas, research and practise from many disciplines winding them into a cogent and simply described telling of the various ways we can be affected as emotional beings.
He is a very readable prolific and lucid writer – and a living example of how we can be the change: working as he does from a deep, deep well of compassion.
There is nothing judgemental in Gabor Matté’s work – he always offers up his own vulnerability and shortcomings as into the darkest human situations, sharing his understanding with us. He does not position himself as some expert observing from the outside but steps inside the distress and says “this is me too, I do this”. The way he does this allows us to join him – lets us stand with him, humble and vulnerable, non-judging and compassionate.
His language is simple, his voice is soft but the ideas will ring around and resonate inside your skull like giant thunderclaps. Reading his books helped me understand my own life, how I’d got to where I was – and helped me to start making the changes I wanted.
The central theme of his work seems to be how stress , and particularly our inability to deal with the kind of unrelenting stress that results from our modern, hectic lifestyles – has on our body, our brain, our mind, our relationships, our communities – and our kids.
Gabor Maté is a quiet, gentle speaker and his writing makes you want to keep turning pages to check that you still have lot’s more pages left. He is open about his own shortcomings and describes them in a way that helps us share in his deep insights into who we are and the dark places we can find ourselves when life overwhelms us.
In Mate`s own words…
`combines my own personal experience as an adult with ADD, as the parent of ADD children, and as a physician frequently asked to deal with the condition, with the latest findings of neuroscience and brain developmental research, along with the insights of developmental psychology, family systems theory and family therapy, medical science, psychology, and much else. It is not an academic work-witness its success on the Canadian bestsellers lists-but it respects the readers’ intelligence and curiosity. It provides a of synthesis of many different disciplines to give what I believe to be the most comprehensive-and most hopeful-view of this much-misunderstood condition.`
This volume focuses on the physical effects on our body of long tern stress – exhaustion, disrupted sleep, osteoprosis, diabetes, autoimune. When we spend our lives stressed, anxious, overly devoted to looking after others and neglecting our own health and wellness – the body says “no” .
This volume focuses on addictive behaviours. Gabe describes his work in Vancouver at the Portland Hotel and the safe injection site Insight. He recants stories of a handful of the people he works with and intertwines these with his own experiences. I am the same – he regards himself lucky that his own addictive behaviours focus on more socially acceptable miscreations like working too long hours and too much money on classical music CDs.
I dare you to read this book and not recognise that you too have addictive behaviours and maybe even you too will count yourself lucky that if you get your dopamine hits from shopping, driving too fast, eating junk food or workin to long hours, video games or constantly checking for messages, then you will do not be criminalised and outcast.
Without yelling or angry fist-waving this book sets out a powerful foundation case for harm reduction approaches to supporting people whose addictive patterns of behaviour led them into the path of substances that society deems criminal.
- Rehab needs a fix (independent.co.uk)