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“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity.” – Carl Yung

Are you tired of humorless recovery workbooks?  Do you seek a clinical approach to addiction that balances a need for change with self-acceptance, strengths, optimism, and creativity?  What about something fun, with moving parts and a super soundtrack?  If you’re looking for a paradoxically demanding yet light-hearted workbook chock full of traditional substance abuse handouts and outside-the-box stuff…well, you’ve reached the right place.

Except for the moving parts.  We’re still working on that.

Welcome to the WEIRD AND WACKY WORKBOOK FOR RECOVERY (WW).  This is the book’s website and, despite the super soundtrack playing in the background, the book won’t be available until 2020.  (The author requests you play a super soundtrack now.)

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Sample pages from Weird and Wacky Workbook for Recovery

Substance abuse counselor, creativity guru, brain coach, and humor in one, Dr. Rosenthal’s WEIRD AND WACKY WORKBOOK FOR RECOVERY (WW) balances evidence-based medicine with that right-brained energy needed to survive addiction and create a life worth living.

Think Monty Python, the Far Side, a coloring book, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) pulled together into one space.  Ask them to process their childhood, solve world hunger, and establish a treatment program for addiction, and there you have it. Perhaps that’s aiming too high.  Nobody can top Monty Python, and Gary Larson’s Far Side is oh-so-cool.  But you know what the author’s hoping for, anyway: something Weird and Wacky.

People in recovery are working to stay clean and sober, a priority.  “Clean and sober” needs support, change, and treatment.  But sobriety is so much more than that: you’re starting something new, and new needs silliness and exploration.  It needs creativity.  It needs joy.  It means learning to love life without drugs and alcohol. The workbook takes the reader on a 16-week journey through a world where sobriety and passion walk hand-in-hand.  Featuring traditional recovery handouts and a gaggle of outside-the-box activities, WW is sure to take you places you’ve never been before.  It’s about seizing the moment.  It’s also about creating a positive tomorrow, where a delightful future awaits you, if only you reach for it.

Traditional handouts include subjects like:

  • Emergency urge management
  • Dealing with triggers
  • Mending broken relationships
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Dealing with boredom
  • Coping skills training

Alternative (but evidence-based) worksheets range from art therapy, alter egos, fiction-writing, and poetry to mazes, MENSA tests, idiomatic phrases, ESL-teaching, coloring pages, and infantile puzzles.

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Sample pages from Weird and Wacky Workbook for Recovery

Overview.  WW features 220 pages of illustrated worksheets, including

  • 55+ clinically-oriented recovery and coping skill worksheets.  These vary from traditional treatment approaches, mindfulness, and gratitude lists to the esoteric.
  • 40+ creativity sheets and projects, including artwork, alter egos, fiction & poetry writing, invention, and a Recovery File.
  • A slew of cognitive tasks (puzzles, brain-teasers, mazes, oh my!).  Studies suggest “mental rehab” can jumpstart concentration, thinking, and memory in people with drug-related brain damage.
  • Some Strange Stuff (not addiction-related).  People struggling to distance themselves from drugs and alcohol need a bit of joy, or distraction at least. Strange Stuff is about cow-drawing personality tests, badly humored quizzes, coloring pages, and much more.

Bizarre worksheets, coloring pages, art therapy?  Why include all this stuff?  The nontraditional worksheets are based on the following premises:

  • Therapeutic.  WW’s nontraditional worksheets are based on both narrative and creative art therapies.  Both approaches have been found to be effective as supplements to mainstream substance abuse treatment.  In narrative therapy, the reader steps away from a problem or characteristic and examines it from a distance.  This makes the issue easier to study and understand.  “Creative art therapy” involves expression.  Often it’s enjoyable and circumvents verbal communication, allowing people to heal in a safe place. Creativity includes writing, poetry, journaling, coloring, and art therapy.
  • Help with memory and attention.  Brain trauma from substance abuse and alcoholism can be severe. It typically takes the brain two years of sobriety to return to its prior state of function.  Research shows that brainteasers and other thought-provoking tasks can jumpstart neurological healing.

Information about the author

Stay tuned for Dr. Rosenthal’s other book, Weird and Wacky Workbook for Weird and Wacky Psychiatrists.  Coming eventually.  For more info, please see our “About” page.

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Sample of the Workbook

Sample worksheets (the book has 90+ handouts):

Getting to know yourself after recovery
Missing addiction & moving forward
Addiction, creativity, recovery oh my!
Relapse Prevention Plan
Mindfulness: practice listening

Here’s a little (useless) information about WW.

–We use big vocabulary.  The workbook is littered with big words like “antidisestablishmentarianism,” which is an ongoing theme in addiction, whatever that means.*

–We curse all the time.  No, really, we do.  Damn them words.  All friggin’ cuss words have been removed, except for the occasional “damn” and “hell.” The explicative “Christ” is used twice three four times.

–None of our cartoons are childish.  That’s not true.  The cartoons are childish, but childish cartoons are approved for adults too. If you find children wandering about, please alert the authorities. We don’t want to know about them.  They’re definitely not ours.

–WW is not dumbed-down.  The book digs deep and begs the reader accompany it.  However, there’s no clinical jargon.  If you find vocabulary that doesn’t belong, like references to motivational interviewing or narrative therapy, groan and cross them out.  They really don’t belong.  For the most part.  Really, there’s no need to use the term “dialectical behavioral therapy” and “chain analysis” when one can say “let’s figure out why you relapsed so you can do things differently next time.”

Post-reading quiz

The authors’ goals include which of the following?

(a) to help people quit using, stay clean, and find a future they love
(b) to get a chuckle from time to time
(c) to end all wars, establish world peace, and find a universal language that pulls mankind together, allowing for friendship and kindness and collaboration.  We’ll advance.  There’ll be a new Renaissance.


Correct: (a) and (b).

The third goal (c) will be addressed in the Weird and Wacky Workbook to End All Wars and Other Things.  It will be available in 2178.

Need more? 

If you’re still reading this page after all that, you’re definitely in the right place.  Sign up for the website or shoot Dr. Rosenthal a message with your name and contact information.  You can reserve a copy or get updates.  Thanks so much.


  1. Hi Shyra, I responded to you directly by email, but just in case you didn’t receive it, I’ll post here too. Thanks for reaching out. I’m organizing an electronic form where people can sign up for updates and “reserve” copies of the book. I’d love to hear more about any specific needs you see among your clients. Thanks, KR


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