This mindfulness-themed picture book, published by Parallax Press and illustrated by Sara Woolley, has won several awards:
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Deborah is available to present workshops at addiction treatment centers and outpatient programs. Details here.
Addiction to drugs and alcohol is one of the most serious medical, psychological, and social problems facing Americans today. But, with help, recovery is possible. When people struggling with problem drug or alcohol use feel less alone and more empowered with tools that work and a supportive community, they can begin to build a happier, healthier life—the life they’ve always wanted.
Grounded in mindfulness concepts, cognitive-behavioral theory, and the wisdom of self-help movements, this workbook offers forty-two therapeutic exercises to help people learn about their problem substance use, make healthy choices, practice new skills, and try strategies to prevent relapse. The book is divided into nine sections: Start on the Path to Recovery, Get Ready, Know Your Triggers, Take Action, Build a Safety Net, Know Your Feelings, Know Your Thoughts, The Mind-Body Connection, and Look Back and Look Ahead. Each exercise includes an objective, a brief discussion, and an illustrative vignette, followed by the activity. Readers are invited to reflect on their process throughout and offer feedback. Daily worksheets and a relapse prevention checklist are included.
SAMPLE EXERCISES INCLUDE:
Weighing Your Pros and Cons
What Are Your Triggers?
The Stages of Change Model
Noticing Your Urges and Cravings
Your P.L.A.N. for Social Events
Reasons Not to Use
Alternatives to Using
Creating a Safe Network
Asking for Help
Stretching Out of Your Comfort Zone
Feelings 101—It’s OK to Be a Beginner
Responding, Not Reacting, to Feelings
Connecting Your Thoughts and Feelings
Revising Your Inner Dialogue
Mindful Meditation 101
What Are Your Passions?
Reexamining Your Relationships
H.O.P.E. Is in the Air
PRAISE FOR BREAKING FREE OF ADDICTION
“If you are willing to face and release yourself from the prison of addiction, this brilliantly constructed guide will provide an ideal companion and support. Grounded in the transformative practices of mindfulness and the best of Western psychological wisdom, Breaking Free of Addiction offers a practical and powerful pathway of self-awareness and healing.”
—Tara Brach, PhD, author, Radical Acceptance and True Refuge
“A valuable companion for anyone who wants to stop using drugs or alcohol. The whole book is inspired by mindfulness—the power to change your life through self-awareness and self-kindness. It gives readers a chance to explore every corner of their lives at their own pace. Written with smarts and clarity, but never preachy, this workbook will guide you into a more meaningful life and teach you important skills to make it stick.”
—Christopher Germer, PhD, Lecturer, Harvard Medical School; author, The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion
“Addiction, whether it manifests as an unwholesome habit or dependence on a substance, touches all human beings and is a particularly urgent issue amid the current opioid crisis. In her beautifully written and organized book, Breaking Free of Addiction, Deborah Sosin has addressed the subject of addiction treatment in a way that is direct, pragmatic, and inspiring. Her artful linking of the practice of mindfulness with recovery engages simultaneously the understanding of a problem and the empowerment to approach it with curiosity and confidence.
The workbook format at the same time orients and educates as the reader is challenged to coauthor both the book and his or her own life by completing thoughtful exercises and practicing embodied awareness.
Who surrenders to and succeeds in recovery continues to be a mystery. In the dual diagnosis partial hospital program where I work, we are always looking for creative resources and I find Breaking Free of Addiction to be a remarkably thorough and effective guide for both practitioners and those aspiring to heal.”
—Lawrence Peltz, MD, author, The Mindful Path to Addiction Recovery: A Practical Guide to Regaining Control Over Your Life
“A beautiful and wise collection of resources for recovering and rebuilding your life from addiction.”
—Christopher Willard, PsyD, Lecturer, Harvard Medical School; author Growing Up Mindful and Raising Resilience
"Debbie Sosin's book is a welcome addition to the growing resource literature for leveraging mindfulness skills to address one's challenges with addiction. Her book is very accessible and provides a wide range of tools for deepening awareness of one's addictive patterns, as well as effective methods for changing them."
—Mitch Abblett, PhD, author, The Heat of the Moment in Treatment: Mindful Management of Difficult Clients; and the upcoming Five Hurdles to Happiness and the Mindful Path to Overcoming Them
"Unlike many self-help books, this one is actually based on the science of addiction. It attempts to destigmatize addictive disorders by using supportive, nonjudgmental language. It incorporates the latest in addiction treatment, such as the Stages of Change Model and client-centered interventions. The book is well organized, with each activity building upon the next. The exercises are holistic, comprehensive yet readily approachable and achievable.
Each exercise has a similar structure and format, which should assist clients in successfully completing each step. I particularly liked the “Does this sound like you?” sections, which give clients concrete and realistic scenarios in which to compare their current situation. Although the book is designed for clients, it is also a great tool for clinicians who are doing individual and/or group work with clients struggling with substance use disorders."
—Patrick Griswold, MSN, MEd, RN, LMHC, LAC, Assistant Professor, Department of Human Services, Addiction Studies, Metropolitan State University of Denver; Adjunct Faculty/Instructor, Department of Nursing, UMass Medical School, Worcester, Mass., MCPHS University, Worcester, Mass.
"You're Not Imagining It: Empathy Hurts," Cognoscenti, February 23, 2018
"When Breaking News Breaks Your Spirit, Is It OK to Tune Out?", Cognoscenti, July 15, 2016
Link to "News Fatigue," an interview in response to the July 15 Cognoscenti essay, aired on WCBS Radio's podcast "News on the Rocks," July 25, 2016, with Wayne Cabot and Patty Steele
"The Self as Antihero in the Essays of David Sedaris, Nora Ephron, and Steve Almond," The Writer's Chronicle (Oct/Nov 2015)
"Four Tips for a More Mindful Mealtime," guest blog for the Family Dinner Project, March 6, 2015
"How to Calm a Skittish Cat," Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What? (Simon & Schuster, 2014). Available on Amazon.
"November 22, 1963: A Child's-Eye View," an essay posted on Salon, sparked the interest of Wayne Cabot, longtime WCBS Newsradio 880 (NYC) host, who produced a fascinating JFK retrospective that aired on November 22, 2013. Listen here to the podcast.
"Freewriting with a Purpose: Get Started and Keep Going," GrubStreet Daily, October 7, 2013
"Where Are the Women on the 'Jeopardy!' Board?" appeared in Salon's entertainment column on September 29, 2013, under a different, rather sensationalistic title.
"Outside Traditional Bounds: A Row of One's Own," interview with Amy Wright, in The Review Review, October 26, 2012
"The Game Changer," Zone 3, Fall 2011
"Moon Fever: An Apollo 11 Flashback," published July 19, 2009 on Salon and chosen for inclusion in Perspectives on Modern World History: The Apollo 11 Moon Landing (Greenhaven Press, 2011)
"A Mattress Built for Two," Boston Globe Magazine, February 22, 2009
"Innocence Flickered and Dimmed," Journal News, November 22, 2003
"A Tangible Tragedy," Boston Globe op-ed page, August 26, 1987