by Josh Brolin
I don’t know what a good book on sobriety is but I know that sobriety is good and I know that reading is good. And if the two can come together on a personal level and help one to achieve a less self-destructive and more spiritual life, then I’m all for it. This book was written by my friend David, who is achieving what all of us in insobriety attempt: recovery. Recovery is a very personal thing, as is the God concept. We must feel on our own what that very powerful energy—that ultimately protective energy—means for each of us. This book for some may shed a light on that aspect of recovery, and as with everything in sobriety, take what works and discard the rest to use at some other milestone or junction in your recovery. But take what works and use it as if your life depended on it. I’m excited to comment on what has not only worked for him but for all the people he’s impacted in the recovery community. David has helped thousands of people attain a life of contentment and relative peace. I’m very proud of my friend. I hope this book gives you the elements that you may be looking for to further ensconce yourself in this way of life. David has affected me through his sobriety and my hope is that I may help spread his valuable experiences to you who may be looking for this perspective on what is to me the greatest gift we alcoholics have been given: a way to live freely without the insanity of a dehydrated spiritual life.
Thirty years ago, David Vartabedian was an alcoholic, drug addict and criminal who was in and out of the California prison and parole system from ages 13 to 33. After several false starts at sobriety, he embraced 12-Step programs in the last year of a three-year sentence for armed robbery. He has been clean and sober since 1989. After his release, he studied psychology at Santa Barbara City College and worked as a laborer. From there, he became the assistant manager and then manager at the sober living house where he had transitioned back into the community. His career as a youth substance abuse counselor included running a program for high-risk teenagers in Santa Barbara. Then the County Sheriff’s Department hired him to design and implement a treatment education program for county inmates, working with California’s Drug Court diversion program. Though he first believed that his record as a felon would bar him from working in the county correctional system, its officials became his advocates. His innovative recovery treatment program was so successful, he became a board member of the Santa Barbara County Criminal Justice Advisory Board and the National Council on Alcoholism. Currently, he is board vice president of Newhouse Sober Living in Santa Barbara, as well as president of the city’s Alano Club for those in recovery. He is also certified in Smart Recovery, a non-profit recovery program. David is a state-licensed real estate broker, former owner of two day spas, and once co-owned a vegan hair care line inspired by his daughter, Maya. A rock music aficionado since childhood, he still plays guitar in classic rock and roll bands. In his three-plus decades of sobriety, David has helped tens of thousands of alcoholics and addicts in theirs. A featured speaker at 12-Step conventions, David has also carried the message to alcoholics and addicts at hospitals and institutions, as his first sponsors carried it to him, including giving the commencement address to graduates of the Lompoc, California federal facility’s treatment program. He has blogged excerpts from his book at the popular sobriety website www.thefix.com. David lives in Santa Barbara, CA.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Vartabedian's personal journey from criminal and convict to a mentor and inspiration for thousands provides the background to this guide written for those suffering from addiction but who are often reluctant to embark on a recovery couched in terms of religion.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
Brian O'Dea, Author
“When I first got sober, I had a hard time with the God thing in AA. As far as I was concerned, the whole idea of God was great in theory, but in practice, a complete let-down. In the rooms, there was so much talk about God, I thought I could not do this simple program. Then some wise person pointed out to me
that there was certainly a power greater than I (because if not, we’re all fucked), but it didn’t have to look like the God of my youth; it didn’t even have to be called
“God”. What a relief. David Vartabedian has taken this understanding and elucidated it so that through his words, even the hardened, God denying alcoholic can find her or his way to the most liberating condition available to human being: sobriety.”
"This book was beyond helpful for me, and I’m so grateful it exists. I’m currently less than 30 days sober, and thanks to this book helping me to learn that I don’t have to a have a “god” in order to do the 12 steps, I was able to thoroughly and honestly work the steps with a sponsor, and my personal choice was to use “the program of AA” as my higher power. I now have zero temptation or desire to use or drink. I’ve recently tried to get sober a few times, and have been for over a month, but the obsession to drink and use was never removed, even though I was attending meetings. Today I’m happy and have fun with friends while I’m sober, I love being sober now and I never thought that was possible..."
Samantha Matern, Counselor
“Twelve Steps Without God is a great alternative for accessing the source of power necessary for a psychic change necessary to overcome the disease of addiction. David’s personal story and history of living the life of an active addict and his miraculous transformation will open the door for so many who are desperately seeking freedom from addiction. His many years of experience working in the field of recovery provide a powerful, effective, and long-lasting solution for long-term recovery.”
GET REAL SOBRIETY
When we are finally free from addiction how do we deal with our demons in daily sobriety? Join David Vartabedian for lively, thought-provoking and sometimes controversial interviews with guests ranging from recovery professionals to sober celebrities to actively recovered alcoholics and addicts.
*Book Interview Episode 5 (STEPS 4-5) Interview Episode 5 (STEPS 4-5)