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Moyers' new book offers families practical guidance

September 25, 2012
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Despite all the public awareness around the subject of addiction for many years now, efforts by addicts and their families to identify a suitable treatment option for their specific needs remain marred by “noise” and “confusion,” in words used in the introduction to William Cope Moyers’ newest book. Moyers, vice president of public affairs and community relations at Hazelden, says he wrote Now What? An Insider’s Guide to Addiction and Recovery as a straightforward, quick-read guide to starting a recovery journey.

The book, published by Hazelden with an official release date of Nov. 1, is dedicated by its author “To people ready to change, and those ready to help them.” Moyers sees treatment professionals as a conduit to getting this concise guide into the hands of clients and families.

“I wrote it because this is what I do every day, as a public advocate for Hazelden,” says Moyers, whose riveting 2006 memoir Broken led to an outpouring of requests for help. “I get many appeals and pleas because I am public about my own story. About 50 people a week reach out to me, and maybe only 10 to 15% end up at Hazelden. Most either stay closer to home or go to a location that is more appropriate for their situation.”

Moyers has worked a great deal on advocacy efforts around major public policy initiatives in addiction, but says that as time passes he comes to realize more and more that the most important public advocacy involves getting people the direct help they need. In his research for this book he found little in the way of accessible resources for families in identifying treatment options and navigating the process.

He offers hand-on advice throughout, in areas ranging from how to select a treatment center to the words to use when expressing concerns to a loved one who needs treatment. He mentions the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Facility Locator as an important resource for information on treatment centers, but adds, “The best way to find what kinds of programs are available is to ask for a recommendation from a mental health or addictions counselor or a medical professional whom you trust.”

Moyers emphasizes that his book takes the reader from recognition of a problem toward a solution, but not the solution. He says he hesitatingly included the 12 Steps of AA and NA in the book’s appendix because he didn’t want the book to come across as biased in favor of only one approach, but he decided to cite them because the 12 Steps have helped so many people—himself included.

Some of the book’s most powerful words are found in the foreword written by Moyers’ parents, Bill and Judith Moyers. Bill Moyers recalls the frustrations he experienced at the height of his son’s addiction: “It seemed to me that every other time I put my foot down, I stumbled.” This conveys the message that if someone as knowledgeable and well-connected as Bill Moyers can be stymied by a loved one’s addiction, is it any wonder that this is what most families experience?

“It’s OK to be baffled by this illness,” says William Cope Moyers. “I would hope that after reading that [comment], everybody would have permission.”

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