The following is an excerpt from psychiatrist Kim Rosenthal’s Weird and Wacky Workbook for Recovery (WW). WW is written for people in recovery, especially those who feel something is missing from their lives. Here relapse prevention and coping skills meets art, cartoons, personality tests, puzzles, creativity, role play, and search for meaning.
From page 32, the Weird and Wacky Workbook for Recovery (www.weirdandwackyworkbook.com)
True/false question #1. Is there really a German reality TV-show that show-cases a person battling addiction, with the public cheering them on for sobriety?
Weird and Wacky hasn’t hit the market yet, so Appendix C isn’t commercially available. No worries. We won’t leave you hanging. You have a question, at least the one, and we promised an answer.
A crew of TV-show producers, film-makers, prompt-writers, and the make-up artists shadow 63-year-old Adelbert, a gentleman with yellow eyes and a kind smile. Adelbert has stopped at the bar. He pulls aside a stool. He sits with nobility and reflects on life. It is early. He is still sober. “Do I quit? Do I not quit? Perhaps it’s time to quit. Why, yes, thank you, I will.”
He says this is German, of course, but the statement is momentous, and a roar of delight is heard from1,324,000 living rooms from all over the country. That same roar is matched in 2263 living rooms in Spain and a dozen sofas in the United States, Italy, and South Africa.
Why does Adelbert quit drinking? Is it the public support that drives him to save his own life, knowing the world cheers each time he makes a good decision? (What if he relapses? Does this German reality show have a take two?) Whatever the case, the episode ends with Adelbert stepping into rehab. He waves good bye, his skin icteric in the light and his smile a gracious thing of beauty. The camera zooms out. Then “cut!” and it’s over.
True or false?
Is this reality TV show real? A google search for Adelbert — or a German reality TV-show centered around people with alcoholism — reveals nothing. This statement is false.
We like Adelbert’s tale, though. Although he never existed, in our book he never drinks again. He becomes the Face of Recovery, a powerful force in the universe, and he earns millions of dollars by his smile alone. He devotes his life to helping other alcoholics, talking them through the most important decision in their lives: “Do you quit? Do you not quit? Perhaps it’s time to quit. Why, yes, thank you… you will?”
Are you curious about the other questions? About the CIA, laced cocaine, and infested tobacco? Appendix A will eventually be available, we promise.
The following is Handout 87 from the Weird and Wacky Workbook for Recovery. Remember that inner kid, the one who loves life and imagines a brilliant future? Okay, now imagine that same child in school learning consonants & vowels, and have a go at the following homework.
* The Weird and Wacky Workbook for Recovery has more than 40 activity pages, some more cerebral than others. Why have activities like this in a manual for recovery?
As mentioned, recovery is more than quitting drugs and alcohol. It’s about surviving cravings, painful emotion, broken bridges, scattered thoughts, and stress. It also marks the start of a new life narrative as a person in recovery. The painful and the amazing. Weird and Wacky‘s activity section offers mindless tasks and distraction for the bad times, plus a conduit for creativity, playfulness, and (hopefully) joy for the “new.”
For those of you just joining us: you’ve reached the Journey into Recovery: a Weird and Wacky Addiction Workbook for Recovery, or the book’s website at least. Welcome, and hang out a while. You don’t have to have an addiction to laugh at our bad jokes. Below is a sample worksheet.
Based on narrative therapy, this worksheet gives the reader a chance to stand back and observe their relationship with addiction from a distance