Why Do We Become Addicted? BOOK REVIEW of Addicted to the Monkey Mind

The roots of addiction have been theorized in a book written by J.F. Benoist called, “Addicted to the Monkey Mind, Change the Programming that Sabotages Your Life”. Read this review to find out how your thinking relates to how you become addicted to drugs and alcohol.

ARTICLE OVERVIEW: Looking for a book in addiction recovery? This book introduces the concept of the Monkey Mind. Here, we discuss how changing our mindset from the Monkey Mind to the Observing Mind can help us improve our lives in every aspect.


Addicted to the Monkey Mind

Have you ever wondered why some of us started drinking or using drugs in the first place? Who is to blame and where do we look for the cause of our problems?

Here’s a book that can offer you profound answers about addiction.

“Addicted To the Monkey Mind: Change the Programming That Sabotages Your Life” by author Jean-Francois (J.F.) Benoist is written to give you insight into the roots addiction. Plus, the author wants to teach you how to develop a powerful new mindset and finally break the pattern of negative self-talk.

Want to learn more? Continue reading our review of the book and see how it can help people overcome addiction and anxiety. At the end, we invite your questions and feedback.

How Are We Programmed? Understanding the Monkey Mind

So, before we go into the merits of this book, we want to share a little of the author’s main points as related to addiction. He notes that as we grow up, each of us heard thousands of messages repeated over and over to us. Many of these massages conveyed a tone of pressure.

  • “You only got a B on that test?”
  • “You never clean up after yourself! Why are you so lazy?”
  • “If you keep this up, you’ll never amount to anything.”

We each have a head full of these kinds of messages. While the messages are unique, the pattern among us is common. The negative messages from our childhood shaped our “programming”. Our parents and teachers thought they were motivating us to do better by punishments and reprimands.

However, what these negative messages did is teach us the best way to motivate ourselves is through shame.

When the people in your environment expect you to act in certain way, there is huge pressure to meet those expectations. We’ve learned to change our behavior from how we actually feel we should act… to acting just to satisfy those around us. IN other words, Benoist notes that most of our actions are motivated to get approval, or to be liked. So, over the years we’ve learned to look outside ourselves for the cause our problems.

Over time, the beliefs that we’re not good enough transformed into the negative mindset that dictates how we view the world today: The Monkey Mind.

  • “If the road wasn’t closed, I wouldn’t have been late and the meeting would have turned out alright.”
  • “The date went terrible because I look fat in these pants and no one is attracted to me.”

The Monkey Mind is immature and it is what makes us to blame others for our problems. It is the overly critical voice inside our heads. It is the voice that keeps our true selves down. In fact, Benoist thinks that our inner self-criticism makes us so very anxious and lowers our self-confidence that it pushes us to drink, use drugs, isolate ourselves from others, yell at our kids, get divorced, give up on our dreams….on and on.

To move away from the anxiety our Monkey Mind has created, we must listen to a different perspective: The Observing Mind.

How to Reprogram Our Mindset? – Listening to the Observing Mind

This is the main lesson of the book that can be applied to your own addiction recovery. When you get in touch with the Observing Mind, you start to understand that the source of our troubles or happiness is within ourselves.

When you address the roots of your problems- your programming – everything starts to fall into place.

Once you move away from the perspective of the Monkey Mind, you will be able to break the cycle of addiction, resume failed relationships, feel joy and happiness and live life full of passion and propose. The guidance of the Observing mind will help you abandon the programming you received growing up. You will start to feel more connected with others and experience far less anxiety in your everyday life.

The Monkey Mind vs. The Observing Mind

 The Monkey Mind The Observing Mind
 Pushes dramatically  Exudes calmness and clarity
 Focuses responsibility on others  Focuses responsibility inward
 Panics and feeds anxiety  Remains present in the anxiety-inducing situations
 Makes drama and stirs up emotions  States simple facts
 Sees everything as an emergency  Sees everything as a situation that’s unfolding
 Wants things to change, NOW!  Accepts what is and explores possible changes
 Confuses the story with reality  Understands that the story is just a story
 Assumes it knows the truth  Assumes there is something useful to learn here
 Jumps to judgment and immediate opinions  Asks questions and considers other points of view
 Is consumed by nonstop stream of thoughts  Leaves space in its thinking
 Rushes and pushes you to react right away  Allows you to respond at your own pace
 Keeps creating the same result  Creates new possibilities

What Are The Benefits of Reading “Addicted To The Monkey Mind”?

Reading the book “Addicted to the Monkey Mind” will give you practical tools and skills to shift self-sabotaging, programmed ways of thinking. It’s about taking responsibility. “Addicted to The Monkey Mind” will teach you that only you have the power to direct the course of your own life. And you can learn how to overcome addiction, resolve relationship issues, be happy, and transform your life forever.

Sound like a big order?

We think not!

When people understand the source of their addiction and anxiety they start to feel peace. After reading this book, you can apply its principles immediately! The goal is to feel love and appreciation in situations that used to make you feel frustrated. Imagine that you change your focus inward (the 4th Step!) and stop arguing with the world. You, too can start to see the world with clarity and feel more grateful.

You might also be compassionate with others…. because you will have the ability to understand that everyone is struggling with their Monkey Mind. And is the opposite of addiction is connection…what better way to get connected with others than by putting their hurt first? That’s truly a spiritual way of living.

Why We Like “Addicted To The Monkey Mind”

“Addicted to the Monkey Mind- Change the Programming That Sabotages Your Life” can be used as toolbox by everyone: it is practical for those in recovery and those who do not identify as “addicts”. Plus, it can be applicable in all areas of life.

Anyone who wants to create a lasting change in their life should use this book as a guide.

This book address the core of human problems and dysfunction. It teaches you that once you learn where all our dissatisfaction in life comes from, you can start to change how you see the world. Switching your perspective will completely turn your life around and you will begin to notice how everything starts to resolve with a positive outcome. Through the specific practical and useful skills you will find in this book you can finally free yourself from your programming and create the life you deserve.

Got Questions?

Want to learn more?

You can pick up the book on Amazon.

Or, if you have any questions or comments to share about this book, we welcome you to post them in the comments section below. We try to provide a personal response to every real life comment as soon as possible!

About the Author: Jean-Francois (J.F.) Benoist has been counseling people struggling with addiction, mental health, and relationship issues for over twenty years. He co-founded The Exclusive Hawaii, a non-12-step residential addiction treatment center, with his wife, Joyce, in 2011. He is the creator of the therapeutic methodology Experiential Engagement Therapy TM (EET), which focuses on addressing a person’s underlying core beliefs. He is well-known for his authentic, experiential techniques, which maximize long-term change.
Benoist is a Certified Option Process Mentor/Counselor. He is an internationally certified leader in The Mankind Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting men’s personal growth. He began his studies in human development and empowerment with Robert Hargrove and Relationships Inc. in 1980 and has been deeply involved in facilitating change in others ever since.
Benoist offers in-depth workshops, professional training, and speaking engagement to help individuals further learn how to change their self-sabotaging programming.
To find more information about the author, J.F. Benoist, and the residential addiction treatment program he created, please visit the following websites:


About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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