Finding Your Best Self
Recovery from Addiction, Trauma, or Both
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Addiction and trauma are two of the most common and difficult issues that people face. In this motivating book, leading expert Lisa Najavits explains the link between addiction and trauma and presents science-based self-help strategies that you can use no matter where you are in your recovery. Every chapter features inspiring words from people who have "been there," plus carefully designed reflection questions, exercises, and other practical tools. Learn how you can:
*Build coping skills so that the future is better than the past.
*Keep yourself safe and find support.
*Set your own goals and make a plan to achieve them at your own pace.
*Choose compassion over self-blame and shame.
*Move toward your best self--the person you want to be.
If you are a family member or friend seeking to support a loved one--or a helping professional--this book is also for you. Now in a convenient large-size format, the revised edition features added materials for professional and peer counselors. First edition title: Recovery from Trauma, Addiction, or Both.
Mental health professionals, see also the author's Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance Abuse, which presents an evidence-based treatment approach developed specifically for PTSD and substance abuse.
Table of Contents
1. Moving forward from trauma, addiction, or both
2. Starting out
3. “Things turn out okay”--David’s experience
4. It’s medical--you’re not crazy, lazy, or bad
5. How do people change?
6. The world is your school
7. Listen to your behavior
8. Wish versus reality
9. Find your way
10. Possible selves
11. The language of trauma and addiction
12. Safe coping skills
13. Social pain
14. True self-compassion
15. Why trauma and addiction go together
16. Forgiving yourself
17. Body and biology
18. Getting to a calm place: The skill of ??grounding
19. The culture of silence
20. Motivation: Leverage one problem to help another
21. Tip the Scales recovery plan
22. Every child is a detective
23. How to survive a relapse
24. See the link
26. Identity: How you view yourself
27. Perception: How others view you
28. The decision to grow
29. Dark feelings: Rage, hatred, revenge, bitterness
31. Create a healing image
32. Find a good counselor
33. Two types of trauma counseling
34. What the wounded can give back
35. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”
Appendix A. How others can help--family, friends, partners, sponsors, counselors
Appendix B. How to conduct Finding Your Best Self as a counseling or peer model
Appendix C. Resources
Appendix D. Excessive Behavior Scale
Appendix E. Brief quiz on trauma and addiction: Knowledge is power
Lisa M. Najavits, PhD, is currently Adjunct Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and previously was on faculty at Harvard Medical School for 25 years and Boston University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System for 12 years. She is author of over 180 publications, including the books Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance Abuse (for mental health professionals) and Finding Your Best Self, Revised Edition: Recovery from Addiction, Trauma, or Both (for general readers). She is Director of Treatment Innovations, which conducts research and training related to mental health and addiction. Dr. Najavits serves on the boards of numerous journals, including the Journal of Traumatic Stress, Journal of Gambling Studies, Journal of Dual Diagnosis, and Psychological Trauma, and has received awards including the Betty Ford Award from the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse, the Emerging Leadership Award from the Committee on Women in Psychology of the American Psychological Association, the Early Career Contribution Award from the Society for Psychotherapy Research, and the Young Professional Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. She also served as president of the Society of Addiction Psychology of the American Psychological Association. Her major clinical and research interests include addiction, trauma, co-occurring disorders, community-based care, veterans' mental health, development of new counseling models, and clinical trials research. She has a private psychotherapy practice in Massachusetts.
"This is a terrific book. Lucid and eminently practical, it summarizes what Dr. Najavits has learned helps patients in over three decades of practice and research. Page upon page, she helps you confront what is going on inside of yourself. It’s a step-by-step road to recovery from the enslavement of trauma and addiction. This is the sort of book you put by your bedside to visit over and over again as a guide to dealing with numbing, addiction, the secrets you try to keep from yourself, and underlying issues. I cannot recommend this book highly enough."--Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD, author of The Body Keeps the Score
"In 13 years of recovery in AA, I often heard the refrain 'I never got the instruction manual on life.' Well, this book by Lisa Najavits might just be the only instruction book on recovery you’ll ever need! It shines with a fresh perspective, jargon-free writing, and vivid personal inspiration in an overpopulated field."--Frank F., New York City
"Many times in AA (or 'the rooms'), I have heard someone say, 'It’s the language of the heart; what comes from the heart reaches the heart.' This work exemplifies that thought while also staying true to itself with structure and advice for addicts and trauma survivors. But more than going through the steps of recovery, Dr. Najavits shows how to do so with dignity and pride in what you may accomplish. I never felt alone while reading this book."--David T., Washington, DC
"In this remarkable book, Dr. Najavits speaks to diverse audiences in a way that is clear, practical, and deeply engaging. She offers an unflinching look at the challenges of working on trauma and addiction, while always conveying a message of hope. People struggling with either or both issues will find a path to improve their life. Professionals too can use this as a companion to therapy, allowing patients to extend their efforts through a flexible but carefully structured process."--Joan E. Zweben, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco; staff psychologist, San Francisco VA Medical Center
"A welcome contribution. Dr. Najavits provides a comprehensive framework for recovery. She has woven her extensive clinical experience with the voices of people in recovery to create a rich resource."--Stephanie S. Covington, PhD, LCSW, author of A Woman's Way through the Twelve Steps