Life on the Rocks: Finding Meaning in Addiction and Recovery

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Product Details

$16.95  $15.76
Central Recovery Press
Publish Date
5.9 X 0.6 X 8.9 inches | 0.5 pounds
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About the Author

is Professor of Philosophy and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College, Minnesota. She is the author of the popular Psychology Today blog "Philosophy Stirred, Not Shaken" and contributor to the Pro Talk series at In her writing, which has appeared in the New York Times and the Huffington Post, she uses philosophy to illuminate the complexities of addiction as a lived experience. As an A.A. Heckman Fellow at the Hazelden Foundation she explored the influence of philosopher/psychologist/physician William James on the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous. Peg has given talks to treatment professionals domestically and abroad, and is the author of Morality and Our Complicated Form of Life (2008) and Oppression and Responsibility (2002), as well as coeditor of Feminist Interpretations of Ludwig Wittgenstein with Naomi Scheman (2002) and Oppression, Privilege, and Resistance with Lisa Heldke (2004). A recovering alcoholic for more than 27 years and a philosophy professor for 19, philosophy helped the author get and stay sober. She lives in St. Peter, Minnesota.


"O'Connor is a gifted writer who has a most unique take on addiction and recovery. She makes Life on the Rocks accessible and fascinating, using practical insights--not only from the wisdom of philosophers but also from personal experience--to put a new spin on old clichés about what it takes to live a rich, meaningful, and joyful life beyond addiction."--Anne M. Fletcher, Author of Inside Rehab and Sober for Good

"A wonderful, personal, lyrical book, reflecting on O'Connor's own alcoholism and what it has taught her about honesty, integrity, escapism, self-deception, trauma, and the meaning of life. O'Connor accomplishes the feat of revealing the particulars of her own fascinating life [while creating] a conversation with Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Kierkegaard, Wittgenstein and others. The book is a down to earth, non-dogmatic meditation on addiction, recovery, and the daunting project of living a good life without numbing one's mind."--Owen Flanagan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy at Duke University

"Peg O'Connor brings her training in philosophy--and her passion for it--to bear on the nature of addiction and, more importantly, recovery from it. Both addicts and philosophers will learn much from her book, as will those who are neither. Her creative use of Nietzsche's notion of the "Will to Power," which she distinguishes from "willpower," points the way to a life not just lived, but lived well, which she, like Socrates, regards as the universal human goal."--Francis Seeburger, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Denver and Author of Addiction and Responsibility

"Part philosophical exploration of addiction and recovery, part personal sharing, and part search for suffering's deeper meaning, Life on the Rocks is a timely contribution to addiction studies. By emphasizing that addiction not only leads to suffering but is also caused by it, O'Connor reveals just how transformative recovery from addiction truly is."--Dr. Nicholas Plants,
Professor of Philosophy at Prince George's Community College and Co-editor of Sobering Wisdom: Philosophical Explorations of Twelve-Step Spirituality

"While science, psychology, and sociology have dominated discussion of recovery, philosophy has been largely silent. Now it finally has its say, as O'Connor takes us back to the ancient Greek roots of philosophy as care for the soul. She not only illuminates the recovery process but also shows that philosophy is more than an academic subject--it is a way of life. Life in recovery is a quest for meaning, and philosophy is the ideal guide for the quest."--William Irwin, PhD, Herve A. LeBlanc Distinguished Service Professor of Philosophy at King's College Wilkes-Barre, PA

"Addiction treatment and academic philosophy are not glamorous fields, but O'Connor puts them together effectively, generating new and fascinating therapeutic tools which address basic questions, such as "Why live?" O'Connor demonstrates through personal experience and philosophical reasoning how what she teaches in the classroom can help the addict build a positive lifestyle in which psychoactive substances are no longer attractive."--John E. Burns, PhD, Founder of Vila Serena Treatment Centers, Brazil

"Through a series of short reflections that draw upon the work of our great philosophers, Life on the Rocks offers helpful, illuminating insights into the experience of addiction and recovery. Peg O'Connor explores the moral import of addiction without ever "moralizing." She keeps her thinking close to life and far away from pretension, using accessible language to convey truths that our rationalizations keep hidden from us. She's a philosopher with whom Socrates would have enjoyed conversing."--Jerome A. Miller, Co-editor of Sobering Wisdom: Philosophical Explorations of Twelve-Step Spirituality