The Gift of Addiction

Christopher Kennedy Lawford has spent a significant portion of his career lecturing and writing books on the subject of substance abuse, himself in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction for now more than 25 years. His first book and memoir, Symptoms of Withdrawal, was released in 2006. It immediately became a New York Times Best Seller, as did his second book, Moments of Clarity. In that work, he shares the histories of numerous celebrities who have struggled with addiction. Given the immense success of these prior works, we are deeply honored to be publishing his latest exploration of the subject. In Recover To Live: Kick Any Habit, Manage Any Addiction, available this January, Lawford speaks with 100 top experts to investigate every facet of addiction and the most effective self-help treatments for it.

Having completed work on Recover to Live, Lawford reached out to us and confessed that his research left him with one lingering, unanswered question: what lessons can the addiction and recovery process offer to those of us who haven’t battled addiction in the conventional sense? Most people wouldn’t label themselves addicts, but it’s undeniable that we’ve all experienced cravings, gratified ones that we shouldn’t have, denied the truth about behaviors that are destructive to ourselves or others, and so on. Those are all traits shared by addicts, so it stands to reason that we have a lot to learn from addicts who’ve successfully overcome them.

Lawford links the universality of these tendencies with the fact that we live in a “gimme, gimme” culture obsessed with consumption. Much of the time, the impulse to consume is an unhealthy response to boredom or stress, or some other emotion that we’re uncomfortable exploring. Intoxicating substances and behaviors like gambling lead the pack in terms of unhealthy coping mechanisms, but as Lawford rightly points out, there are plenty of others that “normal” people engage in every day. Things that many of us are unhealthily fixated on having or “consuming” range from clothes to junk food to relationships with other people.

I’m pleased to announce that this subject will be the focus of our second collaboration with Christopher Kennedy Lawford, tentatively titled The Gift of Addiction: 10 Lessons from Recovery to Benefit Anyone. In this book, Lawford will recount the inspiring stories and wisdom of recovering addicts he has known, along with several accounts from people whose lives were affected by a loved one’s addiction. Through these personal stories, Lawford will illustrate practical techniques for recognizing unhealthy impulses and managing them in a constructive way. I hope you look forward to reading it as much as I do.

See below for a video of Lawford speaking on his own journey from addiction to recovery.

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