Book Reviews

 The Waterfall Concept; A blueprint for addiction recovery

WaterFall_sliderpic1An Amazon Review–Imagine 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.

Shelli Proffit Howell’s review: I was given the opportunity to read and review this book, and I am so glad I accepted it. This is an excellent book, filled with information and suggestions to help someone as they struggle with addiction recovery.

Roger Stark is not only an addiction counselor, but a recovering addict himself. He approaches this book with the same attitude required of anyone attempting recovery — humility. He offers so many tools in this book and covers all the bases: spiritual, emotional, physical. His suggestions progress from the easiest to follow early recovery techniques to more challenging techniques in later stages and the maintenance phase.

Stark clearly defines what an addict is and describes how they got to their place of addiction. I found it to be a good book for any parent who may have a child that is beginning to use drugs or alcohol as a coping technique for their feelings. I think many of the suggestions could be used as preventative tools, not only as recovery tools.

Stark is positive and encouraging throughout the book. He helps put relapses into perspective so they can become learning experiences rather than stumbling blocks.

What I loved most about his book is that many of his techniques are helpful overall life skills. Anyone can benefit from learning and incorporating the suggestions for coping, self-care, and expressing feelings.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone, those who are currently in addiction recovery, parents, or anyone looking to become healthier emotionally.

Purchase your copy today!

Stephanie Abney from Deseret News and Mormon Roger Stark’s own journey of recovery gave him the desire to become an addiction counselor. Now he 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 from the edge and the imminent danger associated with venturing too close to the falls. He carefully outlines the path to recovery step by step, phase by phase, using case studies of both setbacks and triumphs as people navigate their way to a better and safer place.

Regardless of the type of addiction a person experiences, they will find encouragement, understanding, hope and, indeed, a blueprint for recovery in “The Waterfall Concept.”

Whether the struggle is drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography or any other sexual addiction, it is all covered in this book,” Stark said. “It is written with the understanding that only an addict/clinician can have. It is the book I wish had been given to me the day I realized I was in fact an addict.”

“The Waterfall Concept” is written from an LDS theological standpoint. This perspective, while useful for any individual, holds added value for church members who are addicts, their loved ones, bishops and LDS clinicians. Each will find specific tools that are helpful in achieving peace and progress in a difficult journey. Based on the well-known 12-step program, Stark makes the process even more accessible, offering a “toolbox” filled with skills 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.

Simply abstaining from addictive behavior is not the same as recovery, Stark said. He teaches people to become “ridiculously accountable” and that “humility is the gateway to recovery.” He provides benchmarks that help the addict and their loved ones recognize the progress that is being made. As addicts learn to avoid the pull of the waterfall and enter the waters of recovery, Stark gently reminds them the “Mighty Change of Heart” they seek is found at the feet of the Savior.

“The Waterfall Concept” offers hope to families as they come to understand and make sense of the addictive behaviors of their loved ones. He provides suggestions for regaining trust, coping skills and self-care techniques to help secure results as people move into the maintenance phase and beyond. The author points out that people quit their addictive behaviors again and again but struggle with “staying quit.” The blueprint outlined in his book may provide the exact blend of help and skills that addicts – especially LDS addicts – need to “stay quit.”

M. Gawain Wells, Ph.D. Clinical Child Psychologist writes: “The Waterfall Concept, A blueprint for addiction recovery” is a remarkably practical, well-written book for the LDS counselor working with addictions. Its author, Roger Stark, knows whereof he speaks, with a voice that is seasoned with clinical experience and grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition to a very worthwhile metaphor for addiction treatment, he provides a storehouse of concepts and techniques that have already added measurably to my clinical tools. I am finding in my reading and re-reading of his book therapeutic wisdom for this particular client set; more importantly, I’m finding a deeper understanding of how we must pay the price to come unto the Savior in order to truly be healed.

Powerfully helpful and hopeful for addicts and their families both! By C (MESA, Azerbaijan) This book relates a simple concept, but one that is so powerful. Written to a Latter-day Saint audience, it takes into account the particular struggles that accompany addiction in the LDS world. Because it is written by a person of recovery who is now an addiction counselor, it provides insight that is unique and much more useful than all the theoretical diatribes out there. For anyone struggling with any kind of addiction or compulsive behavior–and for every family member, case worker or Church leader who is wanting to help–this book not only imparts hope, but it provides excellent examples, case studies and how-tos for putting the concepts into practice to achieve true healing through Christ.

Brent Cichoski, LPC, Co-Director, LifeSTAR OR writes: Roger has hit a home run with this blueprint for addiction recovery. This will be a great resource to the LDS members seeking recovery.

Purchase your copy today!

Posted on Deseret Book: Looking for help and picking up the book has to be the first step. Once you begin reading, you know that Brother Stark “gets it”. This book is easy to read and digest, both for a person struggling with addiction, and for the people who love them. The concepts are attainable and realistic, gleaning from scripture, 12-step principles and personal experiences of other addicts. This book acts as a guidebook to a sober life. Everyone deserves sobriety and health. This book is a good first step in that direction.

Rachelle Call writes: Just wanted to let you know that I got your book. I have read it entirely and it is so great! Especially for the LDS population! I love how you bring Eckhart Tolle into the mix, learning about natural laws and everything that goes along with that was the key for me in my recovery…so I really appreciate your perspective. I have learned some great things by reading it and I would love to recommend it.

Another reader says, “This book is a powerful tool for those struggling with addictive behaviors or those who work with those who struggle. It’s power comes from the fact that the author does not teach theory, but teaches principles that work as they have been “field tested” in his own experience as a recovering addict. I highly recommend it to anyone wrestling with any kind of addictive behaviors.”

A review by Cecily Markland: Drugs, pornography, alcohol and sexual addictions are dangerous and destructive for any individual. Yet, for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, those addictions and even compulsive behaviors—overeating, over-working, even over-scrapbooking—bring with them unique perplexities—challenges that social scientists, many Church leaders, family members and even the addict themselves struggle to understand and to deal with.

Roger Stark has been there. Having wrestled with demons of his own, he now reaches out to others, through his work as a licensed addiction counselor and with his recently released book. His one primary message is this: “Recovery is possible,” says Roger, “and not only is it possible, but it’s probable—when principles of the restored gospel become real in a person’s life and when the Savior is looked to as the source of healing.”

And, yet, he quickly adds, “This is part of the challenge. Many members of the Church understand this intellectually, but they don’t always have the understanding or the tools and skills to put it into practice.”

Compounding this is the fact that families often don’t have experience with addictive behaviors, so they have little knowledge and experience in knowing how to respond.

From his own experience and from his work with countless others, Roger has put together a process and plan that helps others with addictions and compulsive behaviors of any kind to find recovery through what he calls The Waterfall Concept. That concept forms the basis for his work as an addiction counselor; it also is the subject of his recently released book.

His book, The Waterfall Concept: A Blueprint for Recovery “goes beyond the standard answers of how to recover and provides the specific skills you need to develop and the tools you need to find” to make recovery possible.

He says that while other sources may offer the recommendation to “turn your life over to Christ, The Waterfall Concept explains how to do that. It offers the rules, the helps you need manage life without addiction.”

Roger acknowledges that healing is not a “one-time” adjustment or a “quick fix” proposition.

Instead, he says, it must become an ongoing effort, a new lifestyle and way of observing and regulating one’s behavior.

“We must develop an intense level of mindfulness or emotional awareness to walk out of the minefield of our addiction. We must constantly be aware of whether we are ‘in our addiction’ or ‘out of our addiction.’ Any time we find ourselves moving into our addiction we must take avoidance action,” he says. “We must become the observer or watcher that warns us of the telltale signs announcing our addictive behaviors are near. We must become expert at recognizing them.”

“Recovery from addiction requires that we establish a new emotional management system. … Some have been medicating pain, some escaping from life, some relieving stress, whatever our dysfunction has been, whatever the dysfunction that brought us to our addictive behaviors, the path away from them is in developing new ways to manage our emotional lives.”

The ways he proposes are akin to the 12-Step program process, but looked at from and LDS perspective and refined with the incorporation of gospel principles.

Thus, The Waterfall Concept includes scriptures and quotes from General Authorities. It also relates examples and case studies. The author says these case studies are “almost magical” in the way they resonate with other addicts, helping them to see that they are not alone, that others have been there and have made it through.

According to Greg, a recovering pornography addict, “I have read a lot of recovery books, but this one has me making progress I have never been able to make before,” says Greg, a recovering pornography addict.

From Valerie Steimle’s blog “The Blessings of Family Life.”

For those who are stuck in their addictions this book is a godsend. The Waterfall Concept was written by a recovering addict himself who became an addiction counselor wanting to help addicts and their families.

Roger Stark explains in simple language the process in which anyone struggling with any kind of addiction can return to recovery.

From three basic phases, discovery, recovery and maintenance, addicts learn to heal themselves to a life of happiness and fulfillment.

With the idea of water flowing over a falls and the understanding that the pull of an addiction is as powerful as a waterfall, those dealing with addictions can learn to move safely up stream. This book also includes the 12-step process from the LDS Recovery Program workbook and a checklist of mental, emotional, physical, behavioral and spiritual aspects of a recovering addiction.

The Waterfall Concept would be very helpful for all involved in an addict’s life and can give new insight on a life without addiction.

Purchase your copy today!