By Michael J. Surdyka
“Imagine yourself as a warrior,” urges author Michael J. Surdyka in this frank, no-nonsense book on conquering addiction, both alcohol and drug. “If you want to keep your sobriety, you are required to fight for your life every single day.”
The author shows you how in this practical hands-on guide to lifelong sobriety.
Indeed, Fully Alive offers a powerhouse of perspective, support, understanding and practical advice for anyone battling an addiction or those who know someone battling same. What sets this book apart from many other resources on the topic is its emphasis on developing a Sobriety Blueprint and recovery plan specially and specifically tailored to each unique individual.
As explained in the Introduction, Fully Alive is:
“In an attempt to put recovery in oversimplified terms: if you want to beat an addiction, you need an overwhelming DESIRE for a new way of life, and then immediately implement some foundational lifestyle changes. This allows your recovery to start off with a bang. You will also need to create a personal Sobriety Blueprint and follow it on a daily basis.”
No Cookie Cutters
The “Sobriety Blueprint” outlined by Surdyka is “a compilation of the techniques, tools, and strategies that work best for you as a unique individual.” There are no “cookie cutter” recovery plans or approaches here.
The book is laid out in two parts. Part I is Building a Rock-Solid Recovery Foundation. Part II is Sobriety Preservation & Relapse Defense.
Part I starts with the current state of addiction – its destructive force, detrimental effects, and adverse ramifications. It discusses why traditional treatment program have such high relapse rates.
It goes on to include an action guide to help people stay sober. The guide’s “principle (sic) mission” is to “instruct you in formulating a plan of action for breaking the addiction cycle.” It includes a Desire to Change worksheet where one can write out why s/he is quitting for good. No half measures here. This requires a full and complete commitment, 100%.
The text includes many practical helps and a step-by-step method with clear instructions toward gaining and keeping a healthy, productive life. Included are:
- An Ultimate List of Relapse Triggers
- Zeroing in on the root cause(s) of addiction
- Listing everything your addiction has taken from your life
- A proper diet for recovering drug addicts and alcoholics
- A list of exercises you can do anywhere
- 10 self-help tips to cultivate a spiritual you and why Christian faith-based recovery programs are so successful.
- The need for and how to get and keep new friends, habits, healthy hobbies. Also a “New Friend Checklist” of personality traits to look for when choosing new friends in recovery.
- Tips for finding an accountability partner
- Tips for surviving the volatile first year of sobriety
- Self help techniques for improved mental health
- Top 10 benefits of rehab and how to find and pay for a treatment program
- Major causes of relapse and red flags
Later chapters provide a framework for creating and implementing an individual action plan.
The format and layout of this book are easy to read and aesthetically pleasing. It includes lots of numbered lists, worksheets, infographics, and charts. Key concepts and reminders are bolded for easy reference.
This isn’t a monologue or a dusty lecture of the blackboard theory type. Fully Alive is more of a “coaching/team” approach. This down-to-earth, where-the-rubber-meets-the-road kind of stuff is a collaborative effort.
Speaking from experience, the author is direct and candid. He pulls no punches as he guides readers through a thorough, thoughtful and non-judgmental book providing practical help to conquer addiction.
We will not be rating this book because we have zero background in this topic and thus no adequate metric or frame of reference from which to measure.
Suffice it to say that the uniquely individualized approach to combatting and conquering addiction set forth in this book appears very promising. It could well be an invaluable lifeline of hope and help for those in desperate need, and for those who love them.
We hope it helps a lot of people.
Find out more about Fully Alive and Michael Surdyka’s Sobriety Blueprint at: