The purpose of The Gift of Fulfillment: Living the Principles of Healthy Recovery is to create a new, broadly applicable self-help method for mainstream society based on the combined wisdom of the time-honored approach known as Twelve-Steps recovery.
The Gift of Fulfillment focuses on the spiritual principles and actions that produce a healthy change in an individual’s attitude and lifestyle. Its teachings are based on my longtime work in addiction recovery field as well as my own experiences as a person in recovery for twenty-two years. The book blends personal and clinical stories to illustrate the main concepts.
The Gift of Fulfillment is based on the notion that a human being is born with – or, over time, develops a “hole” within, one characterized by feelings of emptiness, dissatisfaction and even sadness. Some of us try to fill this hole with food, money, power, prestige, alcohol, drugs, entertainment, religion, work, physical fitness, material consumption, people, sex, TV, fantasy, and so forth. Some of these “fillers” maybe good in moderation, but they fail to fully satisfy us. They do not bring the peace, happiness, intimacy, and connection for which we are created. After trying for years to fill such holes, people become unhappy and to a certain degree depressed about their circumstances. They cling to the belief that, if things were different on the “outside,” they would feel differently on the “inside.”
It offers tools to readers who seek to address the void within in a very practical and satisfying way. I recommend an approach based on the spiritual tools the Twelve-Steps Fellowships use to overcome addiction. With these tools, it’s possible to gain a sense of direction, serenity, and purpose. It is “Life 101.” The Twelve-Steps tenets apply to anyone with a serious personal problem. The first step, after all, is identifying the problem and admitting to it. After that, the Twelve-Steps approach involves becoming part of a community, mentorship, honesty, open-mindedness, willingness, surrender, creating a personal inventory, living a life of transparency, making restitution for harms done, assembling daily tools for living, prayer & meditation, and service work.
The Gift of Fulfillment presents a simple plan. But it is not easy. People need inspiration to get the process started and fully implemented. As we say in the 12-Steps world, “Quitting (substances/behaviors) is not our problem; it is staying quit that is the issue.” Similarly, starting a life of fulfillment is not the problem; it is sticking with it that is the issue. The book makes clear that you cannot think yourself in to right living, but you can live yourself into right thinking. This involves the painful – and joyful –process of moving from a self-centered life to a life of service.
My approach to happiness is a belief that it is a by-product of right living. Adhering to the tenets of my book bring about profoundly positive life changes. To be clear, some with more severe issues will still require therapy and medication but these concepts will still help that population.
M. Scott Peck, the psychiatrist and author of The Road Less Traveled, has said that the revolutionary 12-Step program “is going to be the salvation…not only for alcoholics but…for us all.” The Gift of Fulfillment will bring the principles embodied in the recovery movement to a great many people who find themselves hurting and dissatisfied from fruitless attempts to fill their spiritual voids from without rather than from within.
We live in an era of uncertainty spanning the economic, the political, and the interpersonal. Financial distress, political polarization, and a weakening of social bonds are percolating down to every individual’s sense of well-being. Among the symptoms: heightening levels of fear and anxiety; eroding trust in others; and a diluted sense of self confidence and self-worth. As many disillusioned individuals “hit bottom” in their own personal, emotional, spiritual, psychological processes, they seek answers.