Finding Your Best Self

Revised Edition
Recovery from Addiction, Trauma, or Both

Lisa M. Najavits

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
May 10, 2019
ISBN 9781462539901
Price: $57.00
269 Pages
Size: 8" x 10½"
May 15, 2019
ISBN 9781462539895
Price: $16.95
269 Pages
Size: 8" x 10½"
April 17, 2019
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $16.95
269 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub and PDF) ?
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269 Pages
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Addiction and trauma are two of the most common and difficult issues that people face. In this motivating book, leading expert Lisa Najavits explains the link between addiction and trauma and presents science-based self-help strategies that you can use no matter where you are in your recovery. Every chapter features inspiring words from people who have “been there,” plus carefully designed reflection questions, exercises, and other practical tools. Learn how you can:
If you are a family member or friend seeking to support a loved one—or a helping professional—this book is also for you. Now in a convenient large-size format, the revised edition features added materials for professional and peer counselors. First edition title: Recovery from Trauma, Addiction, or Both.

Mental health professionals, see also the author's Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance Abuse, which presents an evidence-based treatment approach developed specifically for PTSD and substance abuse.

“This is a terrific book. Lucid and eminently practical, it summarizes what Dr. Najavits has learned helps patients in over three decades of practice and research. Page upon page, she helps you confront what is going on inside of yourself. It’s a step-by-step road to recovery from the enslavement of trauma and addiction. This is the sort of book you put by your bedside to visit over and over again as a guide to dealing with numbing, addiction, the secrets you try to keep from yourself, and underlying issues. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.”

—Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD, author of The Body Keeps the Score

“In 13 years of recovery in AA, I often heard the refrain 'I never got the instruction manual on life.' Well, this book by Lisa Najavits might just be the only instruction book on recovery you’ll ever need! It shines with a fresh perspective, jargon-free writing, and vivid personal inspiration in an overpopulated field.”

—Frank F., New York City

“Many times in AA (or 'the rooms'), I have heard someone say, 'It’s the language of the heart; what comes from the heart reaches the heart.' This work exemplifies that thought while also staying true to itself with structure and advice for addicts and trauma survivors. But more than going through the steps of recovery, Dr. Najavits shows how to do so with dignity and pride in what you may accomplish. I never felt alone while reading this book.”

—David T., Washington, DC

“In this remarkable book, Dr. Najavits speaks to diverse audiences in a way that is clear, practical, and deeply engaging. She offers an unflinching look at the challenges of working on trauma and addiction, while always conveying a message of hope. People struggling with either or both issues will find a path to improve their life. Professionals too can use this as a companion to therapy, allowing patients to extend their efforts through a flexible but carefully structured process.”

—Joan E. Zweben, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco; staff psychologist, San Francisco VA Medical Center

“A welcome contribution. Dr. Najavits provides a comprehensive framework for recovery. She has woven her extensive clinical experience with the voices of people in recovery to create a rich resource.”

—Stephanie S. Covington, PhD, LCSW, author of A Woman's Way through the Twelve Steps

Table of Contents

1. Moving forward from trauma, addiction, or both

2. Starting out

3. “Things turn out okay”—David’s experience

4. It’s medical—you’re not crazy, lazy, or bad

5. How do people change?

6. The world is your school

7. Listen to your behavior

8. Wish versus reality

9. Find your way sample

10. Possible selves

11. The language of trauma and addiction

12. Safe coping skills

13. Social pain

14. True self-compassion

15. Why trauma and addiction go together

16. Forgiving yourself

17. Body and biology

18. Getting to a calm place: The skill of ??grounding

19. The culture of silence

20. Motivation: Leverage one problem to help another

21. Tip the Scales recovery plan

22. Every child is a detective

23. How to survive a relapse

24. See the link

25. Practice

26. Identity: How you view yourself

27. Perception: How others view you

28. The decision to grow

29. Dark feelings: Rage, hatred, revenge, bitterness

30. Imagination

31. Create a healing image

32. Find a good counselor

33. Two types of trauma counseling

34. What the wounded can give back

35. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”

Appendix A. How others can help—family, friends, partners, sponsors, counselors

Appendix B. How to conduct Finding Your Best Self as a counseling or peer model

Appendix C. Resources

Appendix D. Excessive Behavior Scale

Appendix E. Brief quiz on trauma and addiction: Knowledge is power

About the Author

Lisa M. Najavits, PhD, is currently Adjunct Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and previously was on faculty at Harvard Medical School for 25 years and Boston University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System for 12 years. She is author of over 180 publications, including the books Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance Abuse (for mental health professionals) and Finding Your Best Self, Revised Edition: Recovery from Addiction, Trauma, or Both (for general readers). She is Director of Treatment Innovations, which conducts research and training related to mental health and addiction. Dr. Najavits serves on the boards of numerous journals, including the Journal of Traumatic Stress, Journal of Gambling Studies, Journal of Dual Diagnosis, and Psychological Trauma, and has received awards including the Betty Ford Award from the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse, the Emerging Leadership Award from the Committee on Women in Psychology of the American Psychological Association, the Early Career Contribution Award from the Society for Psychotherapy Research, and the Young Professional Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. She also served as president of the Society of Addiction Psychology of the American Psychological Association. Her major clinical and research interests include addiction, trauma, co-occurring disorders, community-based care, veterans' mental health, development of new counseling models, and clinical trials research. She has a private psychotherapy practice in Massachusetts.


Anyone who is working to recover from trauma, addiction, or both; also of interest to mental health professionals and substance abuse counselors.

Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance Abuse and Finding Your Best Self: Revised Edition: Recovery from Addiction, Trauma, or BothSpecial package offer: Finding Your Best Self, Revised Edition: Recovery from Addiction, Trauma, or Both is a self-help guide ideal for client recommendation. Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance Abuse, written for professionals, presents the author's evidence-based treatment approach developed specifically for PTSD with substance abuse.

Order both items for $59.95, instead of $84.95 if bought separately!

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Previous editions published by Guilford:

First Edition, © 2017
ISBN: 9781462521982