Clark explores the idea of addiction as an American affliction, one that each of us must be aware of in order to recover.
In Clark’s debut, the sex therapist and addictions counselor presents the broad premise that nearly all Americans are addicts of one kind or another. According to the author, our addictions aren’t just to substances but to behaviors like shopping, texting, eating, sex and, most uniquely perhaps, to stress and obsessive thought patterns. She grounds her argument in a struggle between the limbic system (the “Caveman Brain”) and the prefrontal cortex (the “Enlightened Brain”), a similar duality to one that emerges later in the text—the pairing of “Adult” behavior and “Child” behavior as the two main forms of emotional communication. Clark provides personal stories as well as general anecdotes as she explains the way addiction works. The author offers communication and relaxation techniques, as well as a curious section at the end of the book in which she details the ways that her dog is the ideal model for “Connection.” While the book may serve as a good introduction to addiction and finding inner peace, its bibliography—which includes books such as The Celestine Prophecy—feels flimsy, and the overall approach lacks substance. At times Clark’s tone feels pseudospiritual, referring to the “many meanings” of God and intoning the author’s place as a sort of prophet by calling this book her gift to the world. Readers who can look past such moments are likely to find some gems of wisdom here. Clark underscores her message by capitalizing the words “Connection” and “Disconnection” whenever they appear in the text, the idea being that genuine connection with others is a constant struggle and the only way to move away from addictive behaviors.
Though the book’s message isn’t new, patient readers may find new ways of thinking and relating to themselves and others.