BOOK REVIEW: ‘Alive Again’: A Primer on What to Do — And What Your Family Should Do — If You’re Suffering from Addictions

  • Reviewed by David M. Kinchen 
BOOK REVIEW: 'Alive Again': A Primer on What to Do -- And What Your Family Should Do -- If You're Suffering from Addictions

Opposite the title page of “Alive Again: Recovering from Alcoholism and Drug Addiction” (John Wiley & Sons Inc., 288 pages, $24.95, resources, index) is a reproduction of the front page of the Sunday Daily News for Oct. 31, 1971 with a photo of the then teen-aged author on a drug arrest perp walk in Queens, NYC. The long-haired Howard C. Samuels Jr. rated Page one of “New York’s Picture Newspaper” because he was the son of Howard C. Samuels, a former gubernatorial candidate in the Empire State and a wealthy and prominent New Yorker.

Both a memoir from a man who was addicted from age 16 to age 32 and at the same time a book of  instructions for the alcohol and drug addled, “Alive Again” — written with Jane O’Boyle — is simply the best single volume guide to the perplexed about addiction that I’ve come across.

 Samuels is a man of strong opinions, like one of my favorite celebrity shrinks, Dr.  Keith Ablow, who often appears on FOX and is a best-selling mystery writer. Samuels is a firm believer in time-tested and proven 12-steps programs like AA. He also believes that if at all possible you should get a recovering addict — like himself —   to lead you on the road to recovery.

As such, the founder of The Hills Treatment Center  program in Los Angeles seems to be at odds with another program in Los Angeles that I’ve seen advertised on TV, Passages Malibu, which emphatically states it’s not a 12-steps  program. Although I’ve personally never had to need a 12-steps program (I have attended meetings with addicted friends) I would lean toward the approach of Samuels, favoring a modified 12-steps program (with the religious aspects of Bill W’s original modified for secular addicts). Throughout the easy to comprehend book he stresses that recovering from addiction is doomed to failure without a 12-steps  program as part of the treatment.

Howard C. Samuels Jr. Psy. D. (I had to look that one up, it’s a recognized doctorate that’s more practice oriented than a Ph.D, see: is one of the world’s leading drug and alcohol addiction experts  and had his own intense 16-year struggle with addiction to cocaine and heroin.

Using his own compelling story as inspiration as well as case studies of his patients from all walks of life, including the late Roger Ebert and Robert Downey Jr.,  Samuels shows how readers can recover from alcoholism and drug addiction by following this 12-step program to happiness and fulfillment in sobriety.

This self-help book provides hope, inspiration, and prescriptive advice for those who want to recover as well as guidance for friends and family members seeking help for someone they love.

“Alive Again”:

> Is written from the unique perspective of a recovering addict who has helped thousands of people overcome addiction to alcohol and drugs

> Shares with readers for the first time in book form The Hills’ world-renowned treatment program

> Tells Samuels’ personal recovery story as the son of a prominent politician and businessman among the rich and famous in New York and Washington

> Contains a groundbreaking prescriptive program showing how to work each of the 12 steps

> Examines the cause of addictions, relapses, and fallback addictions

> Contains important information for family and friends of those struggling with addiction, including steps for intervention and healing

To get an idea of what’s inside, here’s the Table of Contents for “Alive Again”:


A Note to Readers ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

Part One Identify the Problem

1 The Story of My Addiction 13

2 The Facts behind Alcoholism and Other Addictions 35

3 Dealing with the Demon 48

4 The Role of the Brain in Addiction 61

Part Two Recovery Solutions

5 The Hills Recovery Program 77

6 Fallback Addictions 90

7 Shedding the Shame and Guilt 97

8 The Value of Support Groups 105

9 Working the 12 Steps 121

10 The Reality of Relapse 161

Part Three For Family and Friends

11 Taking Steps to Intervene 177

12 Healing the Whole Family 203

13 Advice for Parents 216

Part Four Your Life Is a Gift

14 Service to Others and Yourself 231

15 The Grateful Life 241

Resources 250

Index 259


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