The Addict

The Addict

One Patient, One Doctor, One Year

By Michael Stein

William Morrow, Hardcover, 9780061368134, 288pp.

Publication Date: April 1, 2009


The Addict opens a window on the very private world of prescription drug addiction, revealing the harrowing and riveting story of a young woman whose life has been taken over by an impulse that she can't control and a need that she can't extinguish.

Lucy's first appointment with Dr. Michael Stein was on a sunny day in April, and the minute she sat down she said, "I'm here for your program," beginning a series of intimate encounters during the course of a year that took her back to the origins of her addiction and unraveled a life driven by compulsion and the constant pursuit of the next pill. The Addict follows Lucy from the start of her treatment, through relapse, to her eventual long-term recovery, including her breakup with a destructive boyfriend whose own addiction to drugs surpassed hers. This is an unforgettable tale of a young woman living on the edge but determined to take control of her life.

Here also is the deeply personal account of a doctor on the front lines of an epidemic. In this masterful work, Michael Stein brings in other patients whose experiences are like Lucy's but in many ways are completely different. Dr. Stein explains what doctors are thinking and feeling about addiction, and how they make difficult decisions with difficult patients. He also aims to change the way we think about addiction, arguing that it should be treated as we treat diabetes or high blood pressure—as a disease within the medical system.

This affecting and thought-provoking book will resonate with anyone struggling with chemical dependence. In The Addict, Dr. Stein creates a portrait of the intimate bond between one patient and one doctor, a relationship that is profoundly moving and incredibly compelling.

About the Author

Michael Stein is the author of the award-winning The Lonely Patient as well as five novels. He has been treating addiction for more than twenty years and is a professor of medicine and community health at Brown University.

Praise For The Addict

“With a crisp detachment that belies his vulnerability and caring, Stein masterfully records the relentless pain-physical and psychological-that brings a 29-year-old Vicodin addict, to his door … [a] haunting narrative … Stein’s clear-eyed compassion catapults her story from pathetic to sympathetic.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)