As a psychologist specializing in the treatment of alcoholism and other substance abuse disorders, Bill McCausland has much to say in his insightful support book, Successful Recovery and Relapse Prevention.
The author points out the three levels of recovery: “physical,” “feeling” and “thinking,” which, he notes, require complete honesty with one’s self and others. His warning signs about relapses vs. “slips” are particularly powerful, as are the profound statements that occasionally punctuate the pages: “Addiction is like an organism that lives within us, but we are not victims to it as long as we are actively in recovery”; “When a warning sign comes up, do the next right thing, not the next wrong thing.”
McCausland minces no words about the seriousness of his message. “Either you are working on recovery,” he writes, “or you are working on a relapse.” He also delves deeply into emotional issues—including shame, depression and frustration—and triggers, such as a spouse who still uses or one who no longer trusts that you’ll stop. Each chapter ends with questions, checklists and references.
This is a well-written book, but it lacks a Table of Contents, chapter numbers, and other markers that signal the start of new chapters. In addition, the beginning of the book (and the book as a whole) is mostly an outline. A stronger narrative to give readers more context for the material would have enhanced the reading experience. Also, a later section titled “The Disease Concept,” which explains how substance abuse can be inherited or acquired through brain changes brought on by use, might have been better suited as background information near the beginning.
Despite its disorganized layout, Successful Recovery and Relapse Prevention delivers a professional and engaging message, one that will help not only recovering addicts but the people around them. After reading this book, even non-addicts may better understand the intensity of the struggle to fight this gripping disease.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.