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Moments of Clarity: Voices from the Front Lines of Addiction and Recovery Paperback – Bargain Price, February 9, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The epiphanies in these engrossing oral histories, gathered by Lawford (Symptoms of Withdrawal), of addiction and recovery run the gamut, from bouts of raving trauma and degradation to subtle promptings from a still, small voice. Drummer Dallas Taylor's moment of clarity came when he stabbed himself in the stomach after freebasing with a homeless guy. For memoirist Susan Cheever, it was watching her daughter drink milk. For actor Richard Dreyfuss, it was realizing that the little girl who appeared to him in a vision at a cocaine-fueled orgy was his unborn daughter. Lawford (who is Peter Lawford's son and a Kennedy cousin) weights the selection of these confessionals toward entertainment-industry acquaintances who speak with a thick Hollywood accent (one of Jamie Lee Curtis's moments came when her Brazilian shaman called her on her pill-popping). For them, the 12-step recovery movement is more religion than therapy. The addicts' journeys uniformly proceed through a surrender of the will, prayer on bended knee and entry into the loving congregation of the meeting; their struggle is really a spiritual one to purge themselves of selfishness and egotism and connect with God, or whatever. Well, religions spread for a reason: these laceratingly honest stories of depravity and redemption show how the 12-step creed addresses human failings. (Jan. 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

On February 17, 1986, after years of addiction and self-destruction, Christopher Kennedy Lawford reached a turning point in his life, one that would mark the beginning of his long road to recovery. In his New York Times bestselling memoir, Symptoms of Withdrawal, he chronicled his deep descent into near-fatal drug and alcohol addiction, and his subsequent hard-won journey back to sobriety, which he has maintained for more than twenty years. The Before and the After. But before and after what? What happened at that point in time to trigger the understanding within himself that he had to change? What finally forces any person to choose life over death?

The overwhelming response he received to his book impressed upon Lawford the number of people struggling to find their own way back from addiction and the need to share their stories. There was no easy way out for any of them. They all had to go through a moment of humility, vulnerability, and transformation and choose to take that first step of the journey. And each had their own intensely personal moment that signaled a Before and an After. The histories gathered here are the recollections of lives snatched back from the brink of a precipice so wide and deep it threatened to engulf them.

Every segment of society has been touched by addiction and its aftermath. Moments of Clarity collects stories from men and women, young and old, and across all barriers of celebrity, color, and class. Represented in these pages are the singer and the actress, the writer and the anchorman, the man from the movie screen and the woman who lives down the street. A myriad of different moments but all with the common understanding of where these men and women have been and where they must go. As they bravely share their stories, they shed light not only on their own experiences but also on the journey we all take as human beings, looking to make sense of our world.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061456225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061456220
  • ASIN: B004IK9EZ0
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,187,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Taylored on January 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"You don't understand, no one understands," an addict's mantra, which until Moments of Clarity, was very true.

Mr. Lawford and the contributors in this book fearlessly break the validity of this mantra through the strength of sharing their stories, bringing to life the realness of the disease of addiction and the holds it has on the mother, husband, teenager, employee, and celebrity, forcing them to go against what they know is the "right thing to do."

Each story truly reached deep within and touched my soul, as they not only share their hardships, but proclaim their moment of clarity, and the astonishing changes made in their lives because of that moment. They are all great examples of willingness, and almost anyone can find identification with the feelings, thoughts, adversities, and subsequent moments of clarity as we all face some form of them during our lives on a daily basis.

I would recommend this book to those who have family members suffering with this disease and need to understand the pain and hopelessness felt by those they love. To the addict who is still suffering as they will find the hope they are so desperately seeking and to those who are in recovery as they will be able to experience renewed epiphanies as I did.

Thank you to everyone who courageously contributed to these pages as I know many people will find salvation and peace of mind through your strength.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Rick Shaq Goldstein on January 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is a collection of proclamations from forty-three people who had hit the bottom of the pitch-black-unforgiving-hideous-abyss... known as addiction. Some are recovering drug addicts... some are recovering alcoholics... some have eating disorders... some have a combination of addictions. Many who bare the dark side of their soul on these pages are famous... but I don't think that's worth mentioning... because that isn't the reason to read this book. Addiction strikes everyone (according to statistics there are over TWENTY-TWO-MILLION ADDICTS JUST IN AMERICA) and most of them are just ordinary people like you and me... and to be frank... people like you and me... are more important to me... than multi-multi-millionaire celebrities. I have been personally affected in my life by the humbling-non-prejudicial-monster known as addiction... when I lost for ten years... the greatest and best friend I ever had in my lifetime... to addiction. To have seen what addiction did to him... is to witness first hand... the strongest of the strong... the proudest... of the proud... a self-made street-fighting success story... not be merely knocked to his knees... but to be laid out... flat on his stomach... on a dirty hotel floor... with a gun in his hand... hiding from the world... a world... that he had dominated. What the author rightly calls "MOMENTS OF CLARITY"... I call "LYING FACE DOWN ON THE STREET OF LIFE... WITH YOUR FACE ENGULFED BY MUD AND BILE... AND BY SUMMONING EVERY LAST OUNCE OF STRENGTH AND DESIRE... TO SOMEHOW... FORCE YOUR UPPER TORSO... UP OUT OF THE MIRE... ON ONE ARM... AND THEN BY UTILIZING EVERY BIT OF FIBER... AND MORAL FORTITUDE... THAT G-D HAS LEFT IN YOUR BODY... YOU REACH UP WITH YOUR OTHER ARM... TOWARD THE SKY... TOWARD THE SUNSHINE... CRYING...Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Moss on January 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
MOMENTS of CLARITY is one of the most powerful compendiums I have ever had the privilege of reading. And, I say that because I truly feel Chris Lawford's most recent work is a generous gift of its contributors sharing experiential knowledge, humility and honesty meant to help each and every reader.
When reading about the "A-Ha" moments via the trials and tribulations of the famous and not-so-famous -- from Oscar-winner Richard Dreyfuss, Jamie Lee Curtis and Katey Sagal to former federal inmate DeJuan Verrett and Safe Harbor sober homes founder Velvet Mangan -- hope, courage and willingness are the threads that tie all the stories together. The reader is left with renewed focus and energy to move forward in life and embrace change.
We are all on a path for a better tomorrow. Moments of Clarity is that comprehensive manual that if we put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward, we will get there with dignity, grace and clarity.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Sullivan on December 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Growing up Kennedy didn't spare Christopher the anguish of addiction. Nor has celebrity spared the contributors to this book.

"Moments of Clarity" are those moments when an addict or alcoholic finally comes to terms with the fact that the disease that grips them isn't going to just go away, and is a problem. This book is a collections of memories of their own moment, or moments, of clarity for 43 (mostly) celebrities. The stories are touching, frightening, sad, aggravating and ultimately hopeful and inspiring memoirs. What I appreciated about the book was that I didn't think I needed to suffer from addiction to find personal relevance here. I took notes of such little gems as "self-centeredness was the basis of psychological suffering" from page 94, or "Resentment is such a poisonous emotion ..." on page 194. The anecdotes can inspire even a sober person to their own moment of clarity in other areas of life.

I wondered who would be the market for this book. Based on the stories, I doubt it would inspire many addicts/alcoholics to a moment of clarity. I'd recommend the book to anyone interested in general in the subject of addition and recovery, or anyone with an interest in inspiring stories of personal triumph or of celebrities struggles and victories.
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