Customer Reviews: Recover to Live: Kick Any Habit, Manage Any Addiction: Your Self-Treatment Guide to Alcohol, Drugs, Eating Disorders, Gambling, Hoarding, Smoking, Sex and Porn
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on January 17, 2013
Lawford's latest book stands as one of the best mass market books on addiction and recovery to come out in the last few years. Several features make this a strong read.

For starters, he makes it a point to bring in a variety of top experts in the field such as Tom McLellan (former director of the ONDCP and a very respected authority), Dr. Andrea Barthwell, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Dr. Howard Shafer, Dr. Nora Volkow (director of NIDA), Dr. Bob DuPont (first director of NIDA) among many, many others. He quotes these experts directly as he reviews the statistics and the evidence behind what we know about addictions and their treatments. As expert on addictions myself, I've reviewed many books on addiction and recovery. This book stands out in that (for a mass market book) it's heavily referenced with solid citations and credible sources. There are so many books on addiction and recovery that it can be hard to know what to believe. This book's citations, quotes and expert insights lend significant gravitas.

He connects various "toxic compulsions" (his term) such as alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, gambling and porn and explores their similarities and differences. Although his proposed/reviewed solutions for these conditions are weighted towards 12-step approaches, he reviews other methods as well. To be fair, since those approaches are more widely available and utilized, I don't begrudge him for that. He also takes to task non-evidence-based methods (such as the "scientifically decorated shamanism" often practiced in less developed nations) and provides a sound rejection of the view that addiction is a moral failing.(disclaimers: I am an addiction psychiatrist and former medical director of Hazelden, a 12-step oriented treatment center that is listed in the resources appendix, author of  and I know many of the experts cited in this book).

The first half of the book reviews the various addictions, and the second half focuses on what works to help the sufferers. I'm pleased that he also reviews the affected, not just the afflicted (families, loved ones, etc). He is thorough in his treatment of this topic, even looking at cultural issues and barriers (for example, he writes about the particular challenges for Hispanic families).

One of the most valuable suggestions of the book, if not the most valuable, are the "seven self-care tools with proven benefits." These are cognitive-behavioral therapy (or CBT), 12-step programs/other groups, Mindfulness, Meditation, Nutrition and Exercise, Body Work and Journaling. Although there are other evidence-supported tools that are useful, he covers many of the major ones and even reviews the evidence behind them, again, citing many experts with whom he communicated directly.

Given the author's background/family, I think you would expect an exploration of the public policy implications of the findings that are reviewed in the book. His discussion of the "Global Recovery Initiative" advocates for policy changes that make sense and are scientifically supported (integrate addiction services into primary care, eliminate barriers to recovery that are created by legacy/discriminatory policies and advocate for evidence-based strategies that support access to and maintenance of recovery).

Finally, the appendices are essentially a reference guide to drugs, treatments and recovery resources, and are fairly comprehensive.

The book is worth it for the preface, foreword, introduction and appendices alone. It's very accessible/readable, avoids technical jargon, and provides a really excellent review of what we know about addictions and recovery from them. I strongly recommend it as one of the best books on this topic to come out in several years.

Omar S. Manejwala, M.D.
Author of 
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on January 16, 2013
I bought this book for my best friend because her boyfriend is a sex addict and I thought this book would give her an insight about the addiction and how she can help him. SO I decided to read the book to get a prospective about addiction ,and how it affect people on an every day basis and how they can help themselves recover. I really enjoy the book and it was a great read and open up my eyes about things I did not know. This book is about kicking the habits of the seven most deadly addictions for good that is facing our nation today. The Author of the book Christopher Kennedy Lawford has battled drug and alcohol addictions in his early life. He has been in recovery for more then 25 years. He raise global awareness of addiction in nonprofit, private, and government circles, serving as the goodwill ambassador for drug dependence treatment and care for the United Nations. SO this man has 25 years of recovery under his belt and knows exactly what he is talking about.

Recovery brings together all of the most effective self care treatments for the seven most toxic complusions affecting every culture on the planet today which are alcohol dependence, drug dependence, eating disorders, gambling, hoarding, smoking,sex and porn. Most people becomes addicts because they are depress,stress, self medicate,escape from promblems they are facing in live,low self esteem, sexual abuse, childhood traumas and many more other reasons. In order to start healing yourself you have to regonize you have a promblem. You have to reprogram your brain and mind to break these addictions. You have to take it one day at a time because the chance of relapsing is very high. Your environment has to change and you can't be around people who would be a bad influncent on you and not support you in time of sobriety. Depends on how bad your addiction is or even if you don't know you have an addiction, the book will help you figure it out. The book will tell you what treatments will work best for you and how best to help yourself get over your addiction. Environment and genetics have alot to do with addiction. In the book he also has the best science and knowlegede to date on dealing with addiction.

I think the book is a great read with good insight on how to break the addictions in your life. It covers all seven addictions and give you the proper tools in coping and beating your particular addiction. Eevn if you don't have an addiction and you know someone who does, you will have an insight on what they go through on a every day basis. This is a good book to share with with family, friends or anybody you know who is trying to seek help with an addiction. I recommend this book for anybody who want to get over an addiction or who want to learn about addiction. It is a great read, lots of good information inside this book.
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on January 16, 2013
Given the best-selling author and the long list of celebrity endorsers, providing a balanced review of this book is a challenge.

Lawford's book has much to recommend it. The book is a small encyclopedia about recovery. Many experts are quoted on specific issues that will be meaningful to specific readers. The major categories of addiction, plus a few related issues, are covered (alcohol, other drugs, eating disorders, gambling, hoarding, sex/porn, and nicotine). The "Seven Self-care Tools" are worth knowing (cognitive-behavioral therapy, 12-step and other groups, mindfulness, meditation, nutrition and exercise, body work, and journaling).

The book includes information not easily available elsewhere. For instance, several non-12-step self-help groups, including SMART Recovery, Moderation Management and Women for Sobriety, are listed. Natural recovery--recovery without treatment or attending a self-help group--is acknowledged. However, some of the major evidence supporting natural recovery is not reported. (To learn more about natural recovery do a web search for "alcoholism isn't what it used to be.")

From my perspective the major shortcoming of this book is that, without thoroughly knowing the scientific literature, the reader (and the author) can't know which experts are (significantly) straying from it. In my opinion some do. The scientific literature should be the foundation for recommending recovery activities. Apparently in an effort to get many experts quoted, the book provides unclear, unscientific or even contradictory information about many issues. For instance, how likely is a moderation outcome for drinking problems? How important is it to make the yes/no distinction between addict/not-an-addict? What is the role of genetics? How important for recovery is believing addiction as a disease? How sound is the science supporting suggested nutritional interventions in recovery?

Please note that I am one of the individuals quoted in this book (pg. 247). I am grateful to have been included. One error about my topic is that SMART Recovery meetings do not focus on controlled use, but on how to abstain. However, SMART Recovery invites individuals who are considering abstinence to participate in its abstinence-oriented discussions.

In the Introduction, page xxxv, the author states "this book...builds on the foundation of the 12-step fellowships to guide you to solutions." If you accept the 12-step foundation as the context for this book, then this book has much to offer, and it can also expand your thinking about recovery. However, the 12 steps are not a helpful foundation for many, if not most, individuals seeking recovery. Most people who recover do not attend 12 step meetings at all, or quit participating in them quickly.

For someone looking for an approach to recovery without a 12-step foundation, Stanton Peele's 7 Tools to Beat Addiction is an excellent choice. To read about how others have overcome alcohol problems, Anne Fletcher's Sober for Good examines the science of recovery and gleans guidance from 222 individuals with at least 5 years success by a wide range of methods. Her next book, due out Feb, 2013, Inside Rehab (for which I was extensively interviewed), promises to reveal what actually happens in addiction treatment, and how to find good treatment. For a critique of the 12-step approach, try You've Been Lied To by Hank Hayes.

If you follow a 12-step approach to recovery, this book can start to expand your understanding of just how different other recovery approaches might be. Unfortunately in the US (perhaps less strongly elsewhere) 12-step language and concepts dominate the recovery discussion so much that other approaches, much needed for most, are stifled. This book begins to offers a broader view of what recovery might consist of.

A. Tom Horvath, Ph.D.
President, Practical Recovery
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on January 15, 2013
Another one of Chris's great books! Chris has written a book which covers many addictions, so there's something for every addict under the sun. With his holistic and integrative approach to solving the addiction puzzle, people now have a more comprehensive picture of what you can do to identify addictions in your life and how to finally address them responsibly. I was grateful to be a contributing voice in this book (regarding emotional eating and eating disorders), and to be among so many great people who are working hard to help rid the world of the destruction of addiction.
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Early on in the probing and almost self-effacing introduction to this book Christopher Kennedy Lawford offers such thoughts as the following: `Although this book begins with the experience of dealing with dependency, it becomes a self-help guide for a wide range of human behaviors, from eating and sex to managing money and smoking cigarettes. It builds on the foundation of the 12-Step fellowships to guide you to solutions to the many distortions in human behavior caused by the hijacking of your brain's reward system.' While that pretty much condenses what the reader may gain from the first reading of this book, there is so very much more here that the information will touch just about everyone who picks up this both scholarly and warmly user friendly book.

Lawford is a recovering drug and alcohol addict and has been substance free for twenty five years. To his credit he has turned his life experiences into a channel for assisting those who are at various stages of dependency: he has been through it all and has climbed out of the hole and now is a world-class speaker and motivator. One reason his book makes such an impact is that It contains input from about one hundred experts on addiction - medical, psychological, scientific, social worker, theorist and writers - and instead of simply piling up the fine contributions of these experts, he instead uses their input to add credence to his beliefs he has gained because of his journey.

He lists the seven toxic compulsions (one is reminded of the Seven Deadly Sins!) - alcohol abuse, drug abuse, eating disorders, gambling dependence, hoarding, sex and pornography, and nicotine dependence. If that sounds like he is stretching the limits of the concept of addiction, then read on, because the manner in which these each become dependencies and progress towards life threatening problems is similar. There are many books written about drug and alcohol addiction, but how many about the remainder of the seven toxic compulsions? Very few if any.

Lawford postulates (and proves) that addiction is a brain illness that alters neurotransmitters to change behavior and thinking. And if the brain can be trained to follow addictive pathways, then it can be trained by everyone who has an addiction to erase or alter those pathways and cure addiction. `There are proven tools such as mindfulness and meditation that can vanquish the cravings and enable those who want to change their lives to make different choices in the moment.' `For all of the Seven Toxic Compulsions, it's going to be more or less the same prescription. You need the same support systems. You are going to need to develop techniques like mindfulness, meditation, journaling, cognitive behavioral therapy, exercise and nutrition, and body work to deal with the symptoms.' And from there Lawford proceeds to outline all of his thoughts and reasons for his approaches and the result is a book that will inform even the most resistant reader. This is a valuable book written with a sense of dedication that in itself is magnetic. Highly Recommended for everyone. Grady Harp, April 13
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on February 8, 2013
As a psychologist working in private practice, I highly recommend this book not only for those struggling with or affected by addiction, but also for those of us working in the field. The author has clearly done his research; and seems to have pulled together the most current findings and practices and presented them in an unusually readable way. I was suprised to hear myself telling someone how much I "enjoyed" reading a book about addictions - but it really is that engaging. Besides providing digestible summaries of the latest science, research, and practical knowledge, they also, in my opinion, managed to humanize the subject and the people who live it. I applaud the author for a very unique and real contribution both to the mass market and to the field.
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on July 10, 2014
This book is really fantastic. If you or a family member is struggling with an addiction, this is a great book to read. It's not a way on how to fix it per say, but it just has a lot of good information and facts and how to get into the mindset you need to get on the road to get help or help someone else.
Highly recommend it.
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on May 21, 2013
I have recently finished reading Christopher Lawford's new book Recover to Live. He is a thoughtful and excellent writer. He presents a wealth of experience about what constitutes successful recovery giving hope and encouragement to every addict. Recover to Live will share powerful information to families and help guide the addicted individual on a solid path of health and recovery. I appreciated reading the perspectives and experiences of the various experts and practitioners he brought in to the discussion. Many of them I know and respect. As an addiction professional for over thirty years I see Christopher Lawford's book as a first hand account of the many challenges and solutions that exists in recovery. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to understand more about addiction and recovery, including those professionals who don't work directly with addiction but need to know more to better serve their clients and patients. My clients, colleagues and counselors have some extra reading to do.
Dr. Michael J. De Vito, Program Director, NewStart Treatment Center, Henderson, NV.
Author-Addiction: The Master Keys to Recovery
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on January 28, 2013
This book is really practical. It is easy-to-read/understand, but most importantly it presents information from a wide variety of care-providers. When you hear the same information presented in different ways, it becomes all the more 'real'. I'm still reading this book, but am truly gaining great insights from it. If you're curious, have some addiction issues, or just want to understand others better, this is a superb read.
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on April 7, 2013
This is an excellent book and a must read for anyone dealing with dysfunctional family members. Offers clear instructional information and answers a number of questions about the extent and prevalence of addictions and their causes.
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