New Article From Main Speaker at 2010 LifeRing Annual Meeting

Candice Shelby, Ph.D., who gave a much-talked-about and much-appreciated presentation at the LifeRing Annual Meeting last June in Denver, has written an essay that I am very pleased to publish here for the first time. The essay is titled “Addicts are NOT Powerless — the Trick is Knowing Where the Power Is.” The essay explores the role of the mind in recovery from addiction and draws on Dr. Shelby’s studies in neurobiology and the nature of the mind.

Dr. Shelby’s piece focuses on the importance, in recovery, of the role played by the unconscious — but trainable — parts of our mental processes.  Click here to see the article.

Dr. Shelby, an associate professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado Denver campus, earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from Rice University. She served as Chair of the UC Philosophy Dept. for three years and has, in recent years, studied intensively the Philosophy of the Mind. She is currently at work on a book examining addiction from physical and psychological standpoints, focusing in particular on semantic elements in addiction and recovery.


  1. Colin Brown on August 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    This essay is fantastic. Prior to reading it, I would have said that my early days of abstinence gave me the clarity of mind and body to realise that substance use was irrational and that I could then use strong logical arguments to keep temptation at bay. Now I realise that my last, and perhaps most destructive, binge before entering recovery actually altered the emotional connection I had with the substances and this is what has given me power not to use. Without realising it, I then regularly reinforced these new emotions that had been uncovered, building strength as I did so. I will endeavour to learn how to pay more attention to my feelings and inclinations, as related to substances, learning more about myself in the process.