Moments of Clarity

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~ by Christopher Kennedy Lawford on February 3, 2009.

20 Responses to “Moments of Clarity”

  1. Mr Lawford,
    I had the pleasure of walking by your side up Broadway to city hall in NYC during our annual Hepatitis C walk for LOLA. And hearing you share your story of recovery was inspirational to hear.Although my lifestyle was the exact opposite of yours with the exception of being part of the revolution of the sixties. The outcome was the same for me in that I spent many years of addiction to drugs and alcohol, struggling to recover(a never ending process) and the shock of learning that I had such a debilitating sickness called Hepatitis C. Through many years of relapses trying to get sober I eventually wound up at Phoenix House in NYC. This was my first step towards becoming sober. But I wasn’t entirely sober. I continued to drink until I realized that with my addictive personality I would never be a social drinker. For me it was like using another drug.Eventually I was able to stop. Learning that I had Hep C was a contributing factor to my sobriety. I now live a productive life but addiction still remains a part of my life since my 23 year old son has followed in his dads steps. I have learned to deal with it with a lot of help from friends, my therapist and by attending alanon as often as I can.This is a source of great strength and spirituality for me. Thank you so much for your courage in sharing your story and by creating a greater awareness of Hep C around the globe. I wish you the best in everything you do in life. You deserve nothing less for your struggle.
    Sincerely
    Dan Rosario

  2. hi,

    I think the premise of the book is excellant,,the ‘aha’ moment of disease awareness! it would be nice to follow up with ‘everyday’ people moments of clarity…pilots, laywers, doctors, sales, etc.

    In addtion, i would like to invite the author to conduct a book signing here in Dallas hosted by the famed stoneleigh hotel website: http://www.stoneleighhotel.com...

    Again, very inspirational and clear! All the best,

    Terri Beckham

  3. Dear Christopher, I thank you for my magical night last night in Exton, PA Withought knowing you personally, I had to investigate –(only last night did I meet you so I don’t know a whole lot about you and was curious) and I do think you are a magical person! I was honored to meet Bill, and his wife as well as yourself! Thank you for all you and Patrick are doing with addiction as well as mental illness. I have been exposed to bipilor disorder with my brother. Exposed is a silly word. My life has been incorporated with this disease. I thank you from my heart that you work so hard for these issues that have been taboo — and medically NEED to be treated as the same as cancer, diabetes etc. I am not quite sure how to word this considering your heritage — BUT your actions and words are just as important as the words we have heard from your uncles, and I thank you for that. It was a priveledge to meet you and Bill last night. Thank you Chris and God Bless. If there is anything I can do for this cause I am available. Thanks again for MY Window MOMENT! P.S. hope you had a nice time with your son.

  4. Mr. Lawford,

    Thank you for speaking at the Association of Student Assistance Professionals Conference in Atlantic City yesterday. I received an autographed copy of your book and have begun reading it today. It was very brave of you to share your story and honstly answer our questions. I appreciated your respect for the work that I have done at Buena Regional High School in New Jersey for 17 years. I would encourage you to write about us “SAC’s”. You get that prevention is where the time and energy needs to continue. You understand that what I do on a daily basis cannot be proven prevention funding. I am what is referred to as the “Non-Specific Factor” in the kids lives that turns up on the statistics. You understand that once the process begins the Moment of Clarity is when you are ready. I can see the book being called “The Non-Specific Factor” I hope you consider it! Thank you for being you and sharing you with me!

  5. Hi Mr. Lawford: Your story is truly amazing and you are a miracle! I’ve been trying to give back to recovery in anyway that I can. I’m of service in a recovery home by secretarying a meeting each week and I’m a “chip-munk” at my homegroup. But there’s something more I can do but I just don’t know how to get it off the ground. My desire and passion is to give back to the fellowship and to help take recovery to the next level ~ 1 out of 5 (or out 10 depending on what you read) is just not good enough for me. I truly believe that we could increase these “odds” with better funding and I want to start a program to help and I say this again – I just don’t know how to get it started. I would greatly appreciate your contacting me so that we could brain-storm and hopefully make something happen. I’ve written you letters and emails and I know you must receive too many to notice mine but I will continue to try.

    Thanks for all you do,
    A greatful recovering addict,
    Debbie “DeeJay” Palaruan

  6. I just read the article about you in tofday’s Palm Beach Post. Havent’t read the book yet but am on my way to Barnes & Noble. My hat’s off to you. My first moment of clarity was Jan. 2, 1995 whrn my wife walked up and said “Do something about your drinking or I’m gone.” Eleven years later, I found my self abusing pain pills and chose a new birthday (May 1, 2007). I hardly ever have an urge to drink but the urge to feel differently occurs periodically. But, as we say, “This too shall pass.” and always does.

  7. I have yet to read Moments of Clarity, however, I picked up Symptoms of Withdrawals at a Value Village store 2 days ago, and I have read most of it….then I got curious and started googling for more info and now have your recent updates etc. I do not know if you are aware of a Dr. Gabor Mate, who authored In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts, A Close Encounter with Addictions…..as well as many other very fine books…I understand the need to have as many books and efforts to destigmatize the human face of addictions. We also need to look at the systemic barriers and legislative directives that do more harm to an already fragile population…we can NEVER think we are above anyone with addictions…we are all human and we ALL have addictions. It is my hope that we as a society move beyond criminalizing and move towards a more humane treatment of people with addictions….we have lost too many good people to suicides and other tragic ends.
    It is my hope that as I find more out about your involvements with addictions and recovery, that you will also provide info as to what efforts are being made to see legislative change to ensure appropriate treatments for an already disenfranchised mass of people. I am truly happy to hear that your Moment of Clarity was spiritual in nature, and allowed you to be able to move forward in your recovery….I applaud what you have done to put a human face to suffering inherent in addictions. All the best to you.

  8. Dear Mr. Lawford,
    I had the entire “horseman” on me the last two week’s, going to the rooms but disconnected, dumping and running. Saturday night my mind was racing and I jumped into the car and just started driving then I saw a book store and decided this is a good distraction for a little while. I ’m perusing the shelf’s and see this title “Moment’s in Clarity” and said to myself I need some Clarity and picked it up. I have to thank you and everyone that shared their moment’s I was so close to a drink because I had forgotten why I had to stop drinking and the gifts you receive it recovery. So, after two years I am back to step one which is fine with me. Thank you again, Nancy

  9. Hello! I recieved a flier about your book from DeJuan Verrett who spoke recently at a class my husband attends at UCLA for Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counseling. He was very impressed with the young man’s testimony. Your book has had a great impact upon him. We look forward to reading it. 20 years ago, my husband and I both were delivered from cocaine use and other related substances. While the initial desire to use was immediately miraculously gone, there was much inner work to be done. There continue to be many ‘Aha’ moments in our lives! God bless you and keep you as you continue on the path toward wholeness, and helping others live better, be better.

    Cheers!
    Dr. Charlo Crossley Fortier
    myspace.com/charlocrossley

  10. Hitting-Bottom(The same for all of US,not different)or ‘Moment’ is not often understood by the majority of Alcoholics & Addicts.
    H.I.T.B.O.T.T.O.M.= Hurting Inside Totally Burnt Out Turn To Our Master.
    Its no good asking for help,(From PGTS?)then doing what ‘I’ want to do.
    I didn’t know that this Powerful disease had gotten me to turn away from and abandon The Source or Power in my life,so that It(the disease)could become the power that dictated and dominated everything about my life.
    Hitting Bottom is the process that enables me to re-connect(Even tho I didn’t know I had disconnected)to whatever I believe is a PGTS.Hence,tho the disease had gotten me to abandon ‘The Power’,
    IT hadn’t abandoned Me.When I turned to the ‘PGTS’ it came back into my life,and directs me in some way to a 12 step fellowship.Me + You is a Power Greater Than Self,and following The Program
    (People Relying On God Relaying A Message)and giving up MY way enables me to not have to ‘Use’ ODAAT….Pretty Simple !!!

  11. I had the pleasure of hearing you share at a Gala in Vancouver BC
    Canada , your passion for addiction , mental illness , has inspired me to join the fight and bring awareness to tthose whom need to op[en thier eyes to the facts and support fincially the need for services.
    thank you for signing my tow books
    Kim patrick
    House Director
    Turning Point Richmond BC

  12. Chris,

    Great story of experience strength and hope.(Healing Hep C) I have been clean and sober 27 yrs and am 3.5 months into treatment..I apprecaite your insight and sharing your story…Hep C is not picky…I just was never tested until late in my sobriety…I have shared information w/all my freinds in recovery and a few of them have tested and came back postive…so now they may choose waht action of treament.

    The day before Robert Kennedy was shot he spoke in Portland Or. in a hay wagon 41st and Hawtrone the store and parking lot are still there..back in the day it was a Piggly Wiggly store…the neighborhood was full of large catholics families and I will never forget that monent in history and also we not forget the moment of clarity death or sobriety…I am glad I chose sobriety…of my 9 children 3 are sober and I keep walking in recovery and Let God do the rest!

    Gods Speed to you!

    Jeff Barron
    cpmedjb@yahoo.com

  13. I have had the Great Pleasure of reading many books on recovery, hope and starting over but this is my second round of re-reading both , “Moments of Clarity” and “Symptoms of Withdrawal”. I share my passion of reading with my twin Sister and she is the one who made sure that these were the first two books to replace my “library” after losing my home and everything in it in January. That is, after I replaced my 12 Step Revised Bible. I am a artist and between my art and my books I can begin again. I have not lost my sobriety nor my Faith but at times, I am at a loss when it comes to how to start over. The hardest times comes when I reach for a book or a paint brush and there is nothing there and I have to say ” Oh, I remember thats gone” But your honesty and the honesty of others that have shared their souls is a “Aha Moment” for me.
    Thank You and everyone else who has overcomes life’s challenges!
    401 n friday
    green city mo 63545

  14. Mr Lawford,
    I am not “normally” a blogger however I believe there are reasons that we go step out of “our comfort zone”. You are and have been my comfort zone since I lost my home and all my physical material things due to a fire that took it all. A reminder to everyone please have house insurance even when you think you have nothing that is worth insuring! It’s the little things you will find valuable. I have been in the program for most of my life as has my twin sister. I have remained clean and sober with the help of both of yours books, those around me in the program as well as my Higher Power and my sister. She is the one who first introduced me to, “Moments of Clarity” The stories brought together by those same people who have been at Hell’s Edge and came through it all gave me strengh before the fire. So, when the time came to try to replace part of my readings, there were three books I started with. My 12 Step Bible and both of your books. I have to Thank my Sister once again for this. I lost the house, all my art supplies, paintings, books, and it seemed most of what I had fought so hard to finally have. You know “that material” stuff that we all think is so important to us but I never lost my faith. The house was burned out but on the morning after the fire I walked through the burned remains and ashes I found found a little paper cutout of my hand, cutout by my Grandmother and had been put away somewhere. But there it was laying on top of it all. I sat down and just cried because I knew I was not alone. The single little hand is now protected in a protective sleeve that I keep with me as a reminder. My only regrets are that I cant rely on going to my bookcase and bring out something that will lift me up and out of “myself” and the brushes and watercolors that I can not go to now. My Father, also in recovery held me and told me, “That he was so proud of me because,I was the strongest person he has ever known because of what I have overcome over the years.” At the time I really thought he was crazy! hehe But it made me stronger and for once I really felt it!
    I have myself, a small apartment now, a few books and an ole camera so I can start recapturing my art.
    It is people like you and around those tables and stories that keep ordinary people like myself sane and continue to show me the way.
    Again Thank You for being so honest and for giving those of us how thought they had lost everything something else to hold onto!!
    S Gomel
    Green City, MO

  15. Dear Mr Lawford,

    Thank you for writting both of your books; “Moments of Clarity” and “Symptoms of Withdrawal”, I found them extremely helpful in breaking thru the denial of addiction and seeing how the principals of AA can be applied in real life. I have shared them in my family recovery group at my husband’s rehab and with many of my friends who love addicts and are in denial.

    My husband suffers from the same double addiction, and our lives were in chaos for many years, until June of 2008 when I (the endabler) finally hit bottom. They say that the addict has to hit bottom before he changes, but I truely feel the same holds true for the enabler.

    I was a broken woman. How I got there,,,,,I have no idea.

    But for some reason on May 19, 2008, I was finally able to see thru all the manipulation and lies, and realize that the lifestyle I was living was not “normal” or “acceptable”.

    Hence, the reason for my reaching out to you. While my husband entered Rahab for the third time, and finally concentrated on his Recovery. I did the same, and in return found very little literature about the family’s recovery or the enabler’s ” Moment of Clarity”. It is all about the Addict, but very little about the collaterial damage he/she leaves behind. Those people deserve a voice and a chance to recover as well. And by them “changing” as much as the addict, will only help the whole family heal.

    I think a book which concentrates on the Enabler/Family finally finding their “Moment of Clarity”, when they finally woke up, and “smelled the coffee” as they say, would be a wonderful addition to your series, and would help families and addicts alike. It takes courage on both sides of the table to face the illness of addcition, and I think it is about time someone finally addressed the family in a contemprory and reachable way.

    I think you are the person who could do it.
    I would be happy to help, it really needs to be done.

    Warments Regards

    Jennifer Ryan

    The one thing I found central to my Recovery, is that as much as I ask the addict to “change”, I have to ask the same of myself.

    I think a very similar book

  16. I stopped abusing drugs almost 30 years ago after beginning my Buddhist practice. I cleared the hep C virus in 2003, after 3 months of treatment–I had to stop due to a possible stroke–my doctor called it a miracle but has since found this is possible for more people than previously recognized. I had lowered my viral count with herbs and oxygenation therapy prior to starting the Pegysus combo and that contributed to clearing the virus–for good–in such a short time.

    I applaud you for what I know of your work but am interested in seeing the essential role of addressing biochemical and nutritional imbalances in addiction and mental health recovery. I believe this is tragically under-pursued and that by ignoring the realities of these central factors–which seems to be common in recovery circles–we condemn millions to suffer needlessly now and in the future. I’d like to share a paper I wrote on this and am curious what your stance is on the subject.

  17. Hi Linda,

    Thank you for writing.
    Please forward your paper as I would be interested in reading it.

    Best,
    Chris

  18. Mr Kennedy,
    A simple thank-you for your books. I’m 26 years old and have been sober for 1 year. I must say your book helped me understand this illness and stay sober. I am working up the courage to attend an AA meeting as I am finding it more and more difficult to stay off the drink and do it alone. My parents are both functioning alcoholics so I’m finding this difficult to cope with aswell. Your books have been a big help to me, more than you will ever know.

    Sian (Ireland)

  19. Dear Mr. Lawford,

    I came upon your book whilst at the library researching Malachy McCourt, who is coming to the school I teach at to speak to my kids. I read his excerpt from “Moments of Clarity” but didn’t stop there. I am 3/4 of the way done reading it — what a treasure! I am not an alcholic or drug dependent person, but the messages in this book ring true for all of us. We all have our demons, our experiences we wish never happened, our behaviors we are not proud of. Perhaps mine are not of the addictive mode, but I can still relate to all the things that are spoken in this book. Truth is truth. Clarity is clarity and pride is pride. And miracles are miracles. Thank you for compiling this book for us all — I don’t think it was just a coincidence to have come upon it.

    Sincerely,

    Susan

  20. Dear Mr. Lawford,
    I am a 66 year old “child” of a family that had an alcoholic father and brother with an enabling mother. I use neither alcohol nor drugs, but have an acute understanding of the disease and its’ recovery, having witnessed the destruction of life and family, but also from attending meetings during my father’s 11 years of sobriety. (He and my brother are both deceased, Dad 64 and my brother 61, due to illnesses complicated by their alcoholism. My brother was never in recovery.)
    I have read both Symptoms of Withdrawal and Moments of Clarity within the last month, not really remembering how I came to seek them out. You see, I am going through a particularly difficult time caring for my 90 year old mother who has dementia and I’m struggling to approach this from a point of love and not resentment for how she related to me in the past.
    In Moments of Clarity, one word keeps popping out – surrender. It’s something I know I have to do. To approach each moment/situation open to the direction God has in store for her and not try to “fix” everything as I always did as the female child growing up in this alcoholic family.
    Addiction changes people forever – the abusers and their loved ones. We have fears, anger, resentment and arrange and rearrange our lives because of our experience. Some of us roll the memories around in our heads daily and it becomes a lifelong burden (perhaps an addiction itself).
    Thank you for these works and sharing your struggles and those of others so that anyone, abusers and non-abusers, fortunate enough to read your words and the words of others, can perhaps find comfort in knowing that we all struggle with something. And maybe just one word will start them in a direction toward healing.

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