Successful Recovery and Relapse Prevention
by Bill McCausland, Ph.D.

"Recovery is actively working on resolving the unmanageable aspects of your life, whether they are related or not to substance abuse."

The author, who has a Ph.D. in psychology, has created a highly focused manual for those engaged in recovery from substance abuse. Recovery, he states, has three parts: physical recovery requires absolute non-use of mood-altering substances; thinking recovery means being truthful with oneself and others; feeling recovery means recouping emotional maturity that is sabotaged when one begins using mood-altering substances. McCausland offers warning signs of potential relapse—deceptive thoughts, for example, like “I owe this one to me” or “Sobriety is boring.” The author states that addiction is known as a primary, chronic, progressive, and fatal disease. He presents the concept of “unmanageability” to prompt the addict to acknowledge that substance abuse has endangered physical and emotional health, destroyed self-respect, damaged family relationships, and imperiled work or school prospects. He suggests healthy ways to deal with anger, anxiety, and self-pity that arise in the recovery process and advises developing a positive social network.

McCausland, certified in the treatment of alcoholism and other psychoactive disorders, has thoughtfully organized this workbook utilizing text boxes, bullet points, and numerical lists. He uses forceful language and realistic scenarios to show addicts how their habit negatively affects their physical, mental, and emotional functionality. He has amplified the well-known Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous as a model for recovery. At the end of each section, he offers useful checklists, questions, and exercises with space for responding, such as “How I could strengthen my support system.” Though his book would benefit from a table of contents and an introduction, the salience is evident throughout, as McCausland communicates a clear grasp of how addicts think, feel, and act and also expresses his determination to guide those trapped in the disease towards positive outcomes. In addition, the book could be a revelatory resource for the friends and family of those undertaking the recovery process.

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