Thursday, June 9, 2011

Book Review: Staying Sober by Terence T. Gorski

A relapse is a return to addictive use of a substance following a period of sobriety.   Relapse Prevention is a cognitive-behavioral approach to the identification and prevention of high-risk situations such as substance abuse.  Put simply, Relapse Prevention focuses on changing our beliefs, images, and thoughts to prevent a return to self-destructive behavior.  It encourages us to be active participants in our recovery and has been shown to be highly effective.

One of the biggest myths in recovery is that thinking about a relapse will bring one on.  It is the failure to learn the warning signs and to preplan ways of handling them that causes relapse.  If we approach the idea of relapse as “forbidden thinking”, we block ourselves from taking action to prevent a relapse from happening and may in fact hasten the occurrence of one.

Terence T. Gorski is an internationally recognized expert in the Relapse Prevention field.  His years of research, much with Merlene Miller, has resulted in a greater understanding of what causes relapse and what ways work best to prevent it.  His findings are available in an easy to understand book, Staying Sober, with an accompanying workbook.  I cannot recommend these two books highly enough for those who are serious about preventing a relapse in their own recovery.

Staying Sober Workbook: A Serious Solution for the Problems of RelapseStaying Sober: A Guide for Relapse Prevention

The book itself is 227 pages, divided into ten sections.  It covers topics such as addictive disease and relapse, PAWS, stages of recovery, and relapse prevention planning.

The workbook, hefty at 291 pages, offers 37 exercises (many with up to five parts) designed to help the user create a detailed understand of their particular dangers and to come up with a plan to combat relapse symptoms.

An excerpt from the book is as follows:

Recovery from addiction is like walking up a down an escalator.  It is impossible to stand still.  When you stop moving forward, you find yourself moving backwards.  You do not have to do anything in particular to develop symptoms that lead to relapse.  All you need to do is fail to take appropriate recovery steps.  The symptoms develop spontaneously in the absence of o strong recovery program. (p. 129)

This book/workbook combination is a great tool and I use these books as reference in many of my writings.  They are a very helpful addition to any library.

Staying Sober: A Guide for Relapse Prevention
Staying Sober Workbook: A Serious Solution for the Problems of Relapse

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