WaterFall05loImagine hiring a tour guide who had no experience and, like you, was finding his way to your desired destination for the very first time. Surely, the best guide is one who has been over that terrain numerous times, one who knows the pitfalls to avoid and the proven paths to follow. People who are fighting their way out of their addiction and into the light of recovery will find such a guide in Roger Stark. His own journey of recovery gave him the desire to become an addiction counselor. He now shows others the way to healing through one-on-one counseling, at recovery retreats and in his new book, “The Waterfall Concept: A Blueprint for Addiction Recovery.”

Stark uses the analogy of a waterfall and the safety assured when one is far upstream, away the imminent danger of venturing too close to the falls. He offers a step by step pathway to recovery, using case studies illustrating both setbacks and triumphs as people navigate their way from addiction to a healthier and safer place.

I found many truths in this book that can help basically anyone in their daily lives. Most people consider only “serious” addictions like drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography or other sexual addictions to be in need of overcoming. But how many of us find ourselves caught up in all kinds of time-wasters? Anything we do to excess robs us of the life we might be enjoying with our loved ones. Even scrapbooking, Sudoku, FaceBook, exercise and otherwise benign pursuits can interfere with our lives if they consume our days.

Based on the well-known 12-step program, Stark offers a “toolbox” filled with skills that are useful for anyone. Even those who don’t see their behaviors as addictive can use his techniques of looking away, healthy self talk, mood changers, jump-back behaviors, and more to guide them to a happier, more productive life.

According to Stark, simply abstaining from addictive behavior is not the same as recovery. He suggests addicts need to be “ridiculously accountable” and that “humility is the gateway to recovery.”

“The Waterfall Concept” is a message of hope to those who are caught in addictive behaviors and for their families as they come to understand and make sense their loved ones. It provides suggestions for regaining trust, coping skills and self-care techniques to take a person into the maintenance phase and beyond. It’s a prescription for success. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and gleaned tools that help me stay focused in my work and my life. I highly recommend it.