A NEW BOOK BY LISA NAJAVITS
Lisa's newest book, published in 2019, is Finding Your Best Self. Recovery from Addiction, Trauma, or Both.
It can be used as self-help or delivered by a counselor, peer specialist, sponsor, friend, or family member. This model is entirely new, with content that is completely different than Seeking Safety and A Woman's Addiction Workbook (her other books). See the table of contents below to get a sense of its content. It has 35 short chapters, each just a few pages, with exercises and "Recovery Voices"-- a feature highlighting different people who address how the chapter relates to their recovery.
It is available via our web store as an e-book (PDF) or paperback or from amazon as ebook, paperback or or hard cover. Scroll below for reviews, table of contents, training, translations, and a fidelity measure.
"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
"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, Executive Director, East Bay Community Recovery Project, Oakland, California; staff psychologist, San Francisco VA Medical Center
"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
"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
Review by Professor J.Richard Romaniuk (2018), Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions
Review by Lee Weber (2018), Addiction Blog; see also the Interview of Lisa Najavits and Trauma Research and Recovery
Table of contents
Each chapter is short and can be read in any order-- it is a flexible approach that encourages pacing and honors each person's unique recovery path.
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 the other
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: Resources
Appendix C: Excessive Behavior Scale
Appendix D: Brief Quiz on Trauma and Addiction
Training on the model is available and can be any length (e.g., 1 hour, half day, 1 day) and can also be combined with any other training that we offer. See our training topics page for the outline and objectives; and our Fact Sheet on Training for practical details and costs.
Translations are available in various languages:
A Brief Fidelity Form is available.