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Fully Alive: Using Your Individuality to Conquer Addiction

Fully Alive: Using Your Individuality to Conquer Addiction

By: Michael J. Surdyka
Publication Date: April 2021
ISBN: 978-1-7338109-0-6
Reviewed by: Lynette Latzko
Review Date: February 28, 2021

The health crisis of addiction has slithered and spread its way into all aspects of society. Whether poor or well-to-do, and regardless of what race or ethnicity, it affects not only the individual with the addiction issue, but those around him/her too. It can lead to broken families and lost friendships, as well as have an adverse effect on society. Therefore, substance addiction should no longer be talked about in secret, or thought of as somebody else’s problem; it is a serious health issue that has negative consequences for everyone if not dealt with openly and seriously. Beyond that fact, and the proven dire need for addiction treatment, is the dismal and often frustrating truth of addiction; many seek treatment but are unable to maintain sobriety for any length of time.

But why is it that those in the throes of addiction have such an extremely difficult time maintaining their sobriety? Author Michael Surdyka strongly believes there are two reasons for continued relapses. One, the addict doesn’t have any solid recovery plan they can implement and adhere to from the beginning, and two, if the person seeking addiction treatment happens to get a treatment plan, it’s most likely not tailored to their individual needs. This often occurs in addiction treatment programs when they implement a "cookie cutter" approach, forcing everyone into one type of treatment method without taking into consideration the uniqueness of each individual. In other words, what works for one person, may not be the solution to the issues of another. This lack of an individualized treatment plan is the primary reason the author extensively researched and interviewed former addicts and penned, Fully Alive: Using Your Individuality to Conquer Addiction.

Fully Alive is a well-researched, smartly organized, addiction self-help book that offers a realistic step-by-step approach to maintaining sobriety and avoiding relapse, first by encouraging individuals to discover the reasons behind their addiction. Once that is established, moving on to create a unique treatment plan, or what author Surdyka refers to as a 'Sobriety Blueprint,' will pave a path to continued recovery from addiction. Part of this structured plan first includes the four critical components of Self Reflection, Diet and Exercise, Spirituality and New Friends and Hobbies. Fully Alive also contains visually appealing charts that are quite useful (particularly if you’re a visual learner) in explaining such extensive concepts as ‘The roadmap to lasting sobriety,' and worksheets such as ‘The desire to change,' that will encourage people to take an active role in their recovery by self-reflecting and completing written exercises. The author refers readers to his website, in order to get printable versions of all charts and worksheets, which is a helpful bonus that will afford readers plenty of room to write and possibly rewrite their answers, and perhaps even hang a chart up in a prominent area where it can be seen often. Finally, an appendix is included at the end of the book that is also extensively filled with information such as ‘Tips for increasing your chances of early sobriety success.'

Although Fully Alive: Using Your Individuality to Conquer Addiction, contains a lot of essential sobriety and relapse prevention information to read, it is written in a way that is not only easy to understand, but it is presented in an attractive manner that highlights essential parts, and keeps the reader’s attention throughout. While a few personal stories of addicts in recovery are sprinkled throughout the book, this reviewer would have appreciated more clear examples of people in recovery specifically implementing the author’s Sobriety Blueprint. While continued sobriety often seems like an insurmountable problem for many individuals attempting recovery, the author presents a clear and motivational path through the first stages of sobriety and well into the future that is a must-read for anyone battling with addiction.

Quill says: Fully Alive: Using Your Individuality to Conquer Addiction offers a realistic and concrete approach to not only getting clean, but remaining sober through the use of clear and manageable steps tailored to your unique recovery needs.

For more information on Fully Alive: Using Your Individuality to Conquer Addiction, please visit the publisher's website at

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