Book Review – The Addiction Inoculation

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

If you have children, you need to read The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence by Jessica Lahey. It doesn’t matter whether your children are in pre-school or college (or older), this book has the information that you need to arm yourself and to be able to talk to your kids about a subject that causes so many parents worry.

The Addiction Inoculation is part memoir and part deeply researched information about the history, chemistry, biology, and popular attitudes toward alcohol and drugs. Jessica Lahey has been there – as both an alcoholic herself and as a parent worried about how her sons will deal with the substances available to kids in today’s world.

Lahey understands the dangers and the fears, and more importantly, she understands that knowledge and communication can be two of the best antidotes to addiction. The Addiction Inoculation gives parents the knowledge they need and the scripts they can use to talk to their kids in ways that are non-threatening, encouraging, and will fortify them to face our culture of dependence.

This book provides parents with a wealth of information, but it doesn’t feel overwhelming. Jessica Lahey weaves the information together with her personal narrative and the stories of many of the teens she knew and taught in her work as a teacher in a rehab program. The book is real, compelling, and convincing.

Read this book if you are a parent. Give a copy of the book to someone you know who is a parent. This book forces us to think critically about an essential topic – and to feel more empowered when we finish reading. We know that we can make a difference and affect the outcome for our children.

About the author:

Jessica Lahey writes about education, parenting and child welfare for the Atlantic, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. She is a New York Times bestselling author for her book The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. Jess is a member of the Amazon Studios Thought Leader Board and wrote the curriculum for Amazon Kids’ The Stinky and Dirty Show. She has been an English, Latin, and writing teacher in middle and high school and she has a J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a concentration in juvenile and education law. Jess lives in Vermont with her husband and two sons.

What the author has to say about the book:

”I can’t wait for this book to be out in the world. This is the story I was born to write, the work that renders my alcoholism, my family history of substance abuse, and the past six and a half years since my last drink worthwhile and of some use to others.”

“Before I got sober, I read addiction memoirs to give me hope and show me a way forward. Now that I’m sober, I continue to read them because they remind me of all I stand to lose if I start drinking again. But the one book I wanted most was the one I could not find, a memoir of substance use disorder and long-term recovery paired with researched-backed parenting and teaching advice.

Once I’d faced my own addictions, I was desperate to learn more about my children’s risk and understand the steps I could take to inoculate them against substance use disorder. I am so very, very lucky; I got sober before my life imploded, and I’d do just about anything to protect my children from the pain, anxiety, and sadness that come with this disorder. All kids are at some level of risk for substance abuse, but research shows that we can not only predict which kids are at higher risk due to biological or environmental factors, we can also prevent those kids from taking their first drink or drug.

So let’s get to work.”

What others have to say about the book:

The Addiction Inoculationis a vital look into best practices parenting. Writing as a teacher, a mother, and, as it happens, a recovering alcoholic, Lahey’s stance is so compassionate, her advice so smart, any and all parents will benefit from her hard-won wisdom.”

Peggy Orenstein, author of Girls & Sex and Boys & Sex

“Substance abuse is a complex topic, but Lahey separates myth from reality in this deeply researched resource for parents and educators. As a therapist, I know I will be recommending her book to many families for years to come.”

—Lori GottliebNew York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk To Someone

“This book combines expertise with humble personal experience to show how modeling, believing in our children, and valuing learning instead of accolades will go a long way toward preventing addiction.”

—Library Journal

“Take your blinders off and let the wise and beloved Jessica Lahey show you precisely how to protect your kids from the allure of substance abuse. Rich with dialogue drawn from her personal and professional experience, Lahey demonstrates that constant communication on this difficult subject fosters the strong trusting connections that will keep our kids safe. Compelling, compassionate, and comprehensive, this is the definitive how-to on a topic we ignore at our peril.’’

—Julie Lythcott-Haims, New York Times bestselling author of How to Raise an Adult


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