10 Aug Book Review – The Happy Addict: How to Be Happy in Recovery from Alcoholism or Drug Addiction, by Beth Burgess
It sounds like an oxymoron, The Happy Addict. How can an addict be happy, right? Leave it to a clever marketer to come up with a catchy title like this, one that literally draws the reader in. That is, if the reader has an interest in learning how it is humanly possible to be “happy” in recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction.
But, wait, that’s the rest of the title of this no-nonsense, witty and well-written book by Beth Burgess: The Happy Addict: How to Be Happy in Recovery from Alcoholism or Drug Addiction.
What does the author have in mind? Don’t be put off by the introduction, unless you go in for that sort of thing. Instead, dive right into chapter one to find yourself turning the pages almost as fast as your eyes can devour the contents.
It’s that good. Or, to be more precise, the author not only knows what she is talking about, she also makes it crystal clear to the reader who seriously wants to get on with life in recovery – and to have a fighting chance at making that life as happy and productive as possible.
There are some personal bits of information interspersed with the practical advice and suggestions, enough that you’ll never find yourself wondering where this person is coming from. Here’s a brief overview of her life: “…seven overdoses, ended up in two mental hospitals, got raped twice, had an abortion and worked as a semi-prostitute just for somewhere to live.”
And this is the cleaned-up version, at that.
Burgess started drinking everyday at the age of eighteen. She says it was after developing and being diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder. That is something she reveals in chapter two. But perhaps the best parts about the book, along with its imminently readable style are the exercises and takeaways at the end of each chapter. For chapter two, it’s “Be responsible for turning your life around.” Think that’s too simplistic? You’ll have to read the book to find out how she arrives at this succinct transition from one chapter to the next.
This won’t be a chapter summary. Suffice to say that the book’s fifteen chapters are more than enough to give anyone with half an intention to live an enjoyable life in sobriety will find more than his or her money’s worth.
How about this thought-provoker – neuroplasticity? That’s part of the title of another chapter. In the Afterword, Burgess refers to it again by reminding the reader that “the more you train your brain to be happy, the happier you become.”
Since values are critically important (to discover, develop and adhere to), be sure to visit and revisit the list contained at the end of the book.
One last point about the author – she’s British. So, for those who are unfamiliar with the way English is spoken and written across the pond, be forewarned. While some of the places mentioned may be unfamiliar, Burgess explains what and where clearly enough so that it’s not off-putting. And, after you see the spelling differences in a few of the words, you’ll easily get past that, too.
All in all, this is a fine book by a really happy addict in recovery. Burgess has a wealth of good suggestions, common-sense and practical exercises and should be an inspiration to many who are now or will be in recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction (or both).
Find relief in recovery. Life gets better with addiction treatment.
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