An authentic, revealing and deeply human story of addiction - a phenomenon that remains puzzling and misunderstood despite affecting many lives - from an addiction psychiatrist who struggles to understand himself and his own family... Even after a decades-long opioid overdose crisis, there is still intense controversy about the fundamental nature of addiction and how best to treat it. With uncommon empathy and erudition, Carl Erik Fisher draws on his own experience as a physician, researcher, and recovering alcoholic to trace the history of a phenomenon that, centuries later, we hardly seem to understand much better, let alone deal with. As a trainee psychiatrist fresh out of medical school, Fisher soon came face to face with his own addiction crisis, one that almost cost him his life. Desperate to make sense of the problem that had plagued his family for generations, he turned to the history of addiction and learned that the current situation is just the latest repeat of a centuries-old story: human beings have struggled to define, treat and control addictions for most of recorded history, even long before the advent of modern science and medicine. This is a rich and extensive account that investigates not only medicine and science, but also literature, religion, philosophy, and public policy. A history of addictions illustrates the extent to which the history of addiction has exposed broader questions about what it means to be human and to care for others. Fisher introduces us to the people who have struggled to address this complex condition over time: doctors and politicians, activists and artists, researchers and writers, and, of course, the legions of people who have battled their own addictions. He also examines the treatments and strategies that have brought hope and relief to many people with addictions, including himself. Furthermore, he argues that by keeping in mind our history of addiction, with our successes and failures, we can illuminate the way forward for those whose lives continue to be threatened by its control. This is an insightful book, a fascinating personal account of addiction and recovery, and an urgent call for a broader, more nuanced, and compassionate view of one of society's most complex challenges.