This blog is dedicated to books that I have read and reviewed (sometimes at the request of the author and/or publisher) OR that I have read on my own and want to share with you. Author interviews are also included. Enjoy!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Book Review - The Waterfall Concept: A Blueprint for Addiction Recovery

I recently read and reviewed a remarkable book by Roger Stark called The Waterfall Concept: A Blueprint for Addiction Recovery

Here is the review I wrote that was published by (which is now part of "Deseret News" so you can't find the original article online anymore, but I give it to you here):

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.”

More information can be found at 

Stephanie Abney is a retired teacher and freelance writer. She and her husband, Jim, live in Mesa, Ariz. They have five children and 17 grandchildren.