Dear David: Dealing with My Son’s Addiction One Letter at a Time

By Martha Wegner After seven weeks of in-patient treatment, David walked away from treatment for the third time. He was homeless due to his addiction, again. Wegner dealt with the pain of his disappearance by writing letters to him (all ending with Love, Mom). She describes the pain of having a loved one living on the streets, unable to be contacted. Since her letters couldn’t be mailed to him she posted her journal on a blog. In one letter, she lists all of the events he missed due to his drug use. In another, she describes the experiences his drug … Continue reading

Behind the Wall: The True Story of Mental Illness as Told by Parents

By Mary Widdifield and Elin Widdifield Langdon Street Press  This collection includes candid stories from parents who have loved and lived with a family member who has a mental illness. They report their experiences with heartbreaking honesty and provide important information and resources for other families in similar circumstances. The book is divided into three parts so readers can experience the process of seeking treatment, recovery, and coping with life. Included is a Parent Questionnaire to help understand and guide the journey. Some of their advice includes suggestions to help alleviate the pain of integrating mental illness into our daily … Continue reading

Living Long, Living Passionately, 75 (and Counting) Ways to Bring Peace and Purpose to Your Life

By Karen Casey Conari Press Casey reveals she’s “been on the planet writing books and facilitating workshops for nearly half of my seventy- five years.” She is recognized as a long-time recovery expert and shares her personal story and experience of recovery in a 12 Step program. She provides meditative essays and insights with follow-up questions for journaling. For example, “What have you passed on to a loved one that he or she may cherish?” In the section on Remembrances, Casey asks, “Whom do you remember clearly? And why? And whom do you hope will keep your spirit alive. And … Continue reading

Swimming Upstream: Parenting Girls for Resilience in a Toxic Culture

By Laura H. Choate Oxford University Press Readers will appreciate this guidebook of encouragement and useful information. Choate’s decades of experience as a counselor educator and licensed professional counselor is evident in this resource of research on popular culture and the pressures facing our young girls and their parents. The first part of the book provides an explanation and description of the world we live in; it identifies the cultural standards and messages girls are surrounded by, such as your worth is based on your appearance, on getting attention and approval from others, or on your accomplishments. The second part … Continue reading

Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow

By Karen Casey The long-awaited paperback edition from a beloved pioneer of the recovery movement.  “This book is a must-read for anyone who cares about the quality of his thoughts and how being aware of them can bring positive change.”  Mary Porter, Science of Mind Organized around 12 very simple steps, Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow gives readers the tools to find within them the positive, peaceful response to every curve ball life throws at them. Available wherever books and ebooks are sold.  

Synchronicity: Empower Your Life with the Gift of Coincidence

By Chris Mackey Watkins Publishing A clinical psychologist with 35 years’ experience, Mackey includes personal and clinical experiences of coincidences and synchronicity. These include case studies and anecdotal reports from people who stated that they were “in synch” with life and Gallup poll results of people who self-identify as “spiritual but not religious.” He discusses the brain science behind their perceptions. Readers who are interested in positive psychology in treating mental illness, which was developed by Martin Seligman, will find extensive information on Mackey’s website. What gift of coincidence or synchronicity have you received lately?

Living with Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace, and Joy

By Mallika Chopra Harmony Books Are you ready to move from thought to action to outcome? Mallika Chopra tells her journey of a year spent “living with intent” and shares her hope and wisdom. As the busy founder of INTENT.com (a website and app), author, mother and wife, she learned firsthand how overwhelming stress can be. And she developed workable strategies and actions that can help inspire, motivate, and rebalance a busy life. “The journey really is the destination — if we slow down enough to pay attention. When we slow down to notice, the universe gives us the signs … Continue reading

The Gratitude Element: A New Look at the Serenity Prayer

By Mark T. Scannell Gasscann Publishers Although Scannell is no longer a Catholic priest, his interest in spirituality is clear. He describes the history and evolution of The Serenity Prayer, a prayer of petition, which has been used for years by religious and Twelve Step groups. He identifies the prayer’s different versions and the authors attributed to it. Scannell indicates his intent to add to the prayer by including gratitude in the last sentence: “I am grateful for the serenity, courage, and wisdom you have given me.” He discusses how resentments and feelings of entitlement can hold one back from … Continue reading

Straight Talk from Claudia Black: What Recovering Parents Should Tell Their Kids about Drugs and Alcohol

By Claudia Black, Ph.D. Hazelden Publishing Before you begin a discussion with your children on addiction, it may be helpful to clarify your motives and expectations, especially if you are talking about your drug/alcohol history and subsequent recovery. Black is known for her work with family systems and addictive disorders. She uses five recovering parents and their different stories in this book. She takes the reader through the process of discussing addiction and recovery, new ways of relating, and creating healthy family traditions. The last chapter describes how to speak to specific age groups. Remember, discussion is a process; not … Continue reading

The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion

By Elle Luna Workman Publishing In this colorful book, Luna describes the process she went through to get to her must, which is painting. Accented by her drawings and sketches, Luna provides her personal journey. This book is intended for artists; fortunately, all of us have an artist within. She describes the differences between should, what we feel we ought to do, and must, what we dream of doing. Mark Twain stated, “The two most important days in our life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Luna provides techniques to help the reader … Continue reading

A Sober Mom’s Guide to Recovery: Taking Care of Yourself to Take Care of Your Kids

By Rosemary O’Connor Hazelden Publishing O’Connor describes the many challenges of recovering from addiction while upholding the responsibilities of motherhood. She describes her own and others’ stories of use and abuse, and the guilt it brought. This is a guidebook for recovering women who have struggled with balancing their recovery and parenting. Included at the end of each chapter are “Sober Mom’s Tools” which include honest insights into her experiences and may be helpful to others. Some of her best takeaways include self-care, forgive yourself and others, and remembering, “My sobriety comes first.” Besides praying to your Higher Power, O’Connor … Continue reading

The Little Book of Love: Heart and Soul and The Little Book of Mindfulness: Focus. Slow Down. De-stress.

By Tiddy Rowan Quadrille These are really tiny books of knowledge, full of interesting thoughts and quotes. Both of these small books would make wonderful gifts for oneself or someone else.The Little Book of Mindfulness is a collection of over 150 mindful techniques and exercises to help one achieve calmness, joy, and happiness. Rowan suggests, “Be non-judgmental in your thoughts, feelings and beliefs. It is important sometimes to let things be, just as they are, and allow them to breathe without questioning or fixing.” The Little Book of Love is a collection about the topic of love, and the many … Continue reading

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

By Brene Brown Hazelden Publishing Although this book was published several years ago, it is still valuable today. Brown shares stories from her own life as well as from the more than 10,000 stories she has collected over the years. She states, “I’m basically a story teller.” And a researcher. And a professor. And a mother of two. All of which helped define her interest in how people develop and deal with shame and guilt. The book is broken into 10 Guideposts, such as #3 Cultivating a Resilient Spirit and #9 Cultivating Meaningful Work. These are not just action items; … Continue reading

Awakening Leadership: Embracing Mindfulness, Your Life’s Purpose, and the Leader You Were Born to Be

By Christine Horner In The Garden Publishing Are you a leader? Not just in your home or with friends and family, but in the work place? Horner believes that everyone has an “essential role to play in leading humanity toward a new era of true equality and prosperity.” She introduces readers to the New Leadership Blueprint which is a move from the traditional approach of leadership to a framework that supports living on purpose. There are 30 points to it, such as, “Joy uplifts surrounding energy levels” and “Cultivating mindfulness creates non-judgmental spaciousness.” She experienced this paradigm shift of character-based … Continue reading

Unwelcome Inheritance: Break Your Family’s Cycle of Addictive Behaviors

By Lisa Sue Woititz and Dr. Janet G. Woititz Hazelden Publishing Readers may recognize Dr. Janet Woititz’s name. She is the author of Adult Children of Alcoholics, a book written in the 1980’s, which started the ACoA recovery movement. Although she passed away in 1994, her daughter Lisa, using her mother’s previous and unpublished work including lecture notes and other written material, provides additional information about the cycle of addiction and addictive behaviors as well as insights and strategies to stop repeating the destructive cycle. The book describes the common characteristics of individuals who grew up with alcoholic/addicted parents and … Continue reading

Fly-Fishing – The Sacred Art: Casting a Fly as a Spiritual Practice

By Rabbi Eric Eisenkramer and Rev. Michael Attas, MD SkyLight Paths Publishing The book provide paired essays from Rabbi Eric: Stream and Spirit and Reverend Mike: Fishing into the Mystery, which reflect the authors’ diverse backgrounds; one is a Rabbi and the other is an Episcopal priest and physician. Their common ground is identified in the topics they write about which include fly-fishing, and fly-tying, and fishing rods, and the various fish and rivers they fished, as well as nature and the spirituality of experiencing life on the trout streams. They both fill their reflective stories with historical facts. Folks … Continue reading