Monday, August 13, 2018

Book Review: 'The Joy of Recovery: A Comprehensive Guide to Healing from Addiction' by Michael McGee

California author Michael McGee earned his bachelor’s degree and medical degree Stanford University, completed his residency in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School where he spent his last year serving as Chief Resident of Inpatient Psychiatry at The Cambridge Hospital in Cambridge, MA. He is Board Certified in General Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry, and Psychosomatic Medicine and has directed several treatment programs, conducted government-funded outcomes research, and has published in the areas of spirituality, clinical treatment, performance management, care management and health information technology. He has extensive experience in addictions treatment, consultation liaison psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, and general adult psychiatry, and practices a combination of psychotherapy and psychopharmacology, blending science with spirituality to provide truly comprehensive, evidence-based, integrated care.

In his Preface Dr McGee shares his view of the subject of addiction and recovery – ‘This is a book about transformation. Within this book, you’ll learn how to transform your suffering from addiction into your joy of life. This is a book about hope. Unlike with most other illnesses, recovery from addiction gives you more than you had before your addiction began. Recovery helps to heal the wounds that drove you to addiction in the first place, and you resurface as a better version of yourself. If you address your addiction, your addiction yields a spiritual gift in return. You’ll eventually discover a happiness and peace through recovery that you might have never known before. Addiction varies in severity. Addiction can come in the form of reliance upon substances like alcohol or drugs, or even addictive behaviors. Potentially addictive behaviors might include sexing (harmful and compulsive sexual behavior), gambling, “teching” (compulsive use of the Internet, smartphones, and other technology), overeating, overworking, or overspending (addictive materialism and consumerism). Addiction is a “solution that almost works,” yet makes things far worse in the long run. For many, addiction starts with relieving pain with a pleasurable substance or activity. While natural in practice, sometimes feeling better conflicts with what is true, right, and good. Addiction is a mental illness that compels people to act to feel better now without regard for what is best in their futures. True recovery entails renouncing addictive substances and behaviors and learning to do what is best regardless of cravings and compulsions to do otherwise. True recovery involves learning to savor and nurture Life on Life’s terms. People do this by skillfully living life to minimize distress, learning to accept and let go, and implementing more skillful solutions to manage pain. Recovery entails developing a new way of living. Recovery is a way of Being, Seeing, and Doing. In recovery, you experience wholeness, goodness, and connectedness both internally and externally. This leads to a positive philosophy of life based on experience. You can then begin to live with love and integrity rather than out of fear. Recovery is a spiritual matter at its foundation. It is waking up to Reality in a way that changes everything so that at last you know pure joy, peace, and fulfillment. ‘

His twelve Touchstones of Recovery are Work on recovery, Create a positive recovery environment, Renounce addicting, Act with integrity, Heal, Love, Respect Reality, Grow, Persevere, Develop healthy relationships, Take accountability, and Cultivate your spirituality. Each of these touchstones he explains thoroughly and for any one with an addiction – even a mild one – this book is a warmly supportive path back to health and happiness. Highly recommended for every reader. Grady Harp, August 18
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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