In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate
Ages ago, Michaela at Wired In recommended this book to me and it has been a revelation on a number of levels: professionally it is a good overview of current research to date; societally it has an explanation for what psychologically drives the war on drugs; and personally it is a reminder that we all share the same humanity and ultimately the same journey and that there are many parallels between the behaviour of a recognisable drug addicted person and the behaviours that we all partake of to a greater or lesser degree.
It is a heavy and long read (at least for me), and I have been dipping in and out of it as sometimes the stuff about brain biochemicals and the research on how these are effected by our upbringing and our circumstances is just too much. It is also a slightly uncomfortable read for me as a doctor with a similar career history and I find his revelations about his thought processes a bit close to my own, so that they make me annoyed with him, but really with myself.
It also took slightly longer as I took his lead and went on a bit of a diversion to find out more about twelve step.
In the end though there was real hope and the steps towards mindfulness that he is taking do feel compassionate. I certainly forget as a professional how much of my own behaviour is driven by my own wish to feel fulfilled and wanted and there is something truly liberating about giving up on the strive for perfection and just letting things be. If I could somehow deliver that during my interaction with patients I am sure this would be a step in the right direction.
So, I recommend this book to you.