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on July 18, 2011
In research supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, tests using PET scans of addict's brains demonstrate that once addiction has been established, the addict's brain physically changes, possibly forever. These changes make it difficult for an addict to learn from their experiences. Psychological processes, such as denial, and neuro-psychological processes, such as state-dependent learning, interfere with the addict's ability to retain the needed information necessary to break the bonds of addiction. This is one key trait that all addicts share - they don't "learn their lesson." This is why it's also said in twelve step groups that there is no mental defense against addiction; a fit spiritual condition is our only hope. Allen Berger has written "12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery" to help us stay in fit spiritual condition.

The 12 stupid things are:

1) Believing addiction to one substance is the only problem.
2) Believing sobriety will fix everything.
3) Pursuing recovery with less energy than pursuing addiction.
4) Being selectively honest.
5) Feeling special and unique.
6) Not making amends.
7) Using the program to become perfect.
8) Confusing self-concern with selfishness.
9) Playing futile self-improvement games.
10) Not getting help for relationship troubles.
11) Believing that life should be easy.
12) Using the program to handle everything.

Once we get the monkey off our backs, emotional sobriety is the next step in recovery. Because drugs and alcohol suppress emotions, addicts don't develop the emotional maturity necessary to learn from life experiences. Once the drugs and alcohol are removed, we still have to face the problems we've been running from: severe and incapacitating depression or anxiety, chronic relationship problems, underachievement, unprocessed traumas, insomnia, anger and rage, self-hate, fear of social interactions, inability to pursue dreams, thoughts of suicide, feeling lost and alone, and constantly thinking about using. Many of these problems are what caused us to become addicted in the first place, so if we don't learn how to deal with them, just simply not using is not going to work. These problems are not going to go away on their own.

"12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery" is one of the best relapse prevention books I've read. As every addict will tell you, quitting is easy, it's staying quit that is hard. If you are serious about recovery, and really want to quit, but just can't seem to, you may be making one or more of these mistakes, so read this book and give it another try.

David Allan Reeves
Author of "Running Away From Me"
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on March 24, 2009
Relapse prevention is an often overlooked aspect of recovery. The alcoholic /addict in early sobriety is excited to be clean and sober, often riding the so-called 'pink cloud'. This almost euphoric feeling can instill an over confidence and exuberance that may cause the addict to fail to recognize early signs of relapse. Without such awareness and hence preventative measures, relapse can creep up on the individual. By the time the signs are clearly evident, the relapse is in full effect. Relapse happens long before the drug, drink or behavior is picked up or acted upon.
Regardless of what stage of recovery you are in, this book can give you an awareness that might just save your life.

John Derry,
Director,A Home Away, Addiction Recovery Retreat
Kelowna, BC, Canada
[...]
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on June 20, 2011
I have been in a Twelve Step Program for more than thirty years and this is one of the best books I have read about relapse...It has answered many unanswered questions in a direct and easy to understand manner...It is very enjoyable reading...not like a textbook. I have learned some valuable things about this addict.
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on February 1, 2011
Hope you enjoy the review...but I really hope you enjoy the book! It was a joy to read! You can learn more about me at addicted-to-recovery.com
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on May 4, 2008
A well-written, user friendly book that allows both individuals who are new in recovery or who have been in recovery for years to focus on the issues that are truly important in recovery. Dr. Berger interlaces his own personal recovery experiences with the wisdom that he has gained as a clinician over many years and created a book that is sure to provide hope to many in recovery. Overall, an excellent book for individuals in recovery and for clinicians who seek to understand their clients more fully.
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on January 3, 2010
I tried for years to go-it-alone. Getting sober is easy, to stay sober, support is key. Read all the books you can get your hands on - this is a good one!

Get to a 12-step support group. 12 years ago, that is what finally helped me to get clean and sober...and stay clean and sober.

Blessings on your journey!
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on March 25, 2008
This is a very helpful book for anyone at any stage in their recovery. It is easy to understand. It gives another way to look at an old problem "How to maintain recovery". As someone who has worked in the field of addiction medicine for over 30 years I would recommend this book.
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on July 24, 2013
Sad to say, my Son is in jail because of drugs, and I sent him this book, and he loves it.

Says it's the first thing he's read that he thinks may well help him.

Oh, and being in jail doesn't hurt either. Jus' sayin'.... :)
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on December 12, 2008
To grow in recovery, emotional growth is key - which means facing up to defeatist attitudes and understanding how sobriety is placed at risk. Common beliefs can easily sabotage recovery: Allen Berger provides tools with insights on how change happens and how a daily program can help tailor and direct change to avoid messing up the recovery process. Any library catering to addicts needs this.
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on January 28, 2011
I bought this book for my son who has been in recovery for over 9 months, he is a grateful member of NA and says that this book is excellent in the different perspectives and examples and he believes it is an asset to anyone in recovery, it is simple to understand and as well to apply. HE LOVES IT and is sharing it with others in his support group.
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