Superior Book Productions

April 8, 2010


Rewriting Life Scripts:
Transformational Recovery for Families of Addicts
Liliane Desjardins, Nancy Oelklaus, and Irene Watson
Life Scripts Press (2010)
ISBN:  9781932690972

A Vital Resource for How to Recover During a Loved One’s Recovery

“Rewriting Life Scripts” is a long overdue book. While addictions have become better understood and treatments have been developed for addicts, the addict’s family has been left in the shadows, wondering “What comes next?” Families have struggled with their loved ones who are addicted; they have tried to help them, tried to control them, and basically expended their energy while developing unhealthy codependent behaviors of their own. Now, when the addict is finally entering recovery, many families are left in a situation that can only be described as post-traumatic. What do families do in this state—how do they make sense of how their loved one became addicted, of the often crazy way they reacted to that addiction, and how do they put their lives back together so everyone in the family unit can again feel stable, healthy, and safe?

It’s about time families of addicts had their own book to show them how to deal with their loved one’s recovery. “Rewriting Life Scripts” is illuminating in the way it uncovers the roots of dysfunctional behaviors in a family and teaches how to let go of those behaviors now that they are no longer needed. As I read this book, I was stunned by the analysis of family behaviors, the roles played by different family members from being the rebel to the overachiever or the family clown, and how addiction and codependency create, shape, and enable those roles.

Once the addict enters recovery, it is natural the family still wants to help him or her. This book helps the family to cope and to understand what the addict is undergoing, but more importantly, “Rewriting Life Scripts” is a resource for the family members to look inside themselves, to see the toll the addict’s behavior has taken upon them, and to put their own lives back in order as well as to be prepared to have a relationship with the recovering addict.

The authors have all experienced their own issues with codependency and dysfunctional families. They are each authors in their own right, having told their own stories and worked in the field counseling people and researching addiction. Now their vast and insightful experiences are joined together to create multiple perspectives on dysfunction and addiction, viewing it from every angle. In addition, many stories are included here from people who have experienced living with addicts; they share how they coped and continue to cope with a loved one’s addiction and recovery.

The subtitle of this book includes “Transformational Recovery.” I love that term because this book offers so much more than simply “hope” for families. No matter what a person’s past has been or the future will be, this book offers a “transformation” for the reader, the family member, that he or she can feel better, can live a happier life, can let go of the pain of the past and be transformed, renewed, and be prepared to re-experience what it is to be a family. “Rewriting Life Scripts” is the most cathartic book I have read in a long time. I imagine people will feel hope and joy and also shed some tears while reading it, but ultimately, they will come away truly feeling transformed and prepared for the good life that awaits them.

For more information about “Rewriting Life Scripts:  Transformational Recovery for Families of Addicts,” visit

            — Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. and author of the award-winning Narrow Lives

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