In 2008, Alan Rinzler, the legendary editor for the Wiley publishing house, contacted me out of the blue and asked me to write a book about LifeRing. I had been CEO of LifeRing Secular Recovery for a dozen years and had written and spoken about it to audiences in the addiction recovery subculture many times. But, Alan felt, there needed to be a book for the general public. About a year later, Empowering Your Sober Self went to press under Wiley’s Jossey-Bass imprint.
Like so many other recovery books, this one begins with a personal story, mine. But unlike the run of the mill of this genre, my turnaround had nothing to do with a vision of God or any similar spiritual experience. From the first day of entering treatment, I enjoyed the privilege of attending secular support groups. In this setting, people’s personal religious beliefs or disbeliefs remained their private business, and the focus was on mutual support for getting free of the bonds that bound us to alcohol and other addictive drugs.
This environment worked for me, and for most of my companions in recovery, and after I found my land legs, as it were, I began to try to understand how and why it worked. Empowering Your Sober Self is one man’s effort to raise the experience of sixteen years of personal sobriety work up to a theoretical level. This meant sifting through my exposure in literally thousands of LifeRing meetings and focusing on the illuminating, vibrant, pulsating threads that gave the whole process its life. It meant rising from the anecdotal level to the level of verifiable generalities, and this in turn required checking my impressions against a considerable body of published research in the chemical dependency literature. This also led me on side trips into theology and genetics. Writing this book was an intellectual adventure, and, although the research involved many hours of sheer drudgery, the project on the whole was great fun and left me exhilarated.
Although the publisher did next to nothing to promote the book — a complaint that nearly every author lodges nowadays against nearly every commercial publisher — the initial press run sold out, with sales accelerating. I owe a debt of gratitude to the publisher for granting my request to revert the publishing rights to me as author in time for a second edition. I in turn have granted the rights to LifeRing Press.
This second edition is completely reset with new typography and updated graphics, as well as a new index. It corrects several typographical errors and cleans up one or two formatting glitches. The text has otherwise been left alone. In view of the considerable amount of new material published in the previous five years, I’ve added a Supplement that updates the sixth chapter, dealing with addiction treatment, and the seventh chapter, on genetics.
Because the book has a new and different ISBN, it has a new and different listing on amazon.com. The new listing is here, and amazon.com, after considerable pleading on my part, has managed to copy the reader comments from its listing for the first edition to the new listing. However, grateful as I am, I wouldn’t suggest that you order it from amazon.com. Amazon doesn’t stock the book. Only LifeRing Press has inventory. Amazon has to forward your order to LifeRing Press, who will ship it to you, and this forwarding causes delay. The fastest way is to order the book directly from the publisher, LifeRing Press, here. LifeRing Press ships very quickly, often the same day. The people in charge there are themselves in recovery and understand about instant gratification.
However, if you really need it Right Away, there’s the Kindle version of the second edition. With a few clicks you can be reading it in less than a minute.
An audiobook version of the second edition is also now available, click this link.
Quite a few people have told me that the first edition has been a force for good in their lives. There is no greater reward for an author than this.