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Folks recently inquired about how I went from crafting a memoir to writing a textbook. As I thought about it, I realized that is a very large question with lots of miles in between.

So I guess, I will start at the very beginning when I was a young social worker lecturer at San Diego State. Here I was given the opportunity to develop the first graduate school substance-abuse course in the history of the school. At the time, there was not a plethora of knowledge. Research on alcohol and other drugs was just starting and the course was an add on to the curriculum.

Louise Stanger college

From my school days


The course was developed by tapping into current knowledge bases as well as recruiting folks who were working in the field to share their experience, knowledge and strategies. A good friend and gentleman by the name of Ed Lacy who was well known in San Diego Recovery circles helped me bring “working experts” into my classroom.

One day a tall stately gentleman, Dr. Frank Picard entered SDSU’s Hepner Hall. As short as I was, Dr. Picard was tall. He had a commanding presence and spoke with the power of a minister’s voice who knew how to not only attract an audience but to transform his listeners into believers. At the time I had the privilege of meeting him, he was he Director of Springbrook Treatment Center in Oregon.

Dr. Frank, as I liked to call him, was good friends with Dr. Vern Johnson who was known as the grandfather of intervention and wrote the seminal book in the addiction space, I’ll Quit Tomorrow.” Dr. Johnson resided in Minnesota, which at the time had been considered one of the leading geographic centers in the treatment of alcohol and other drug abuse. Because Minnesota is known as the home of “10,000 lakes,” the presence of leading treatment centers led to it getting the nickname the home of “10,000 treatment centers.” As such, Hazelden Center City was looked to as a treatment mecca, espousing what was then known as the “Minnesota Model.”

Likewise, The Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage was just beginning. Many people from Minnesota and beyond would pass through my fair city on their way out to help launch or consult with Mrs. Ford.

Dr. Picard was such a persona. He had a had a slightly different idea about how Interventions should be done as opposed to his good friend Dr. Johnson. He believed families must be more involved in the Intervention process and authored, “Family Intervention – Ending The Cycle of Addiction and Co-dependence (1991).

In truth, the first time I heard Dr. Picard speak I was speechless. His thoughtful analysis of family dynamics was so acute, so exacting that it felt like he was personally speaking about the intricacies of my family. It all clicked into place for me and made perfect sense. I knew that this was something that I could do, must do, and he was kind enough to teach me how to do interventions.

With my training in interventions underway, my love for writing began to bubble up to the surface.

As you know, I spent many years on a college campus teaching, authoring grants, doing scholarly writing, and of course, performing interventions. As such, I was no stranger to the written word. Through these more academic writing experiences, I found that writing for public consumption, with an eye for crafting narrative, became more to my liking than the scholarly pieces I had been doing. I began authoring shorter pieces for mass consumption all the while honing my clinical skills.

Through years of practice, many people asked me to write a book about interventions and family. I believed the only thing I could bite was my personal narrative because I thought that through my story – and by interspersing case studies – I could help people rise strong, hence the birth of Falling Up: A Memoir of Renewal.

Then with the help of my trusty editor I started writing, writing and more public writing, crafting content that went on to be published in the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addiction Blog, Recovery Campus, The Sober World and various other blogs and publications.

Simultaneously, I maintained that it is important for the future generations of social workers, psychologists, marriage and family counselors, alcohol and other the drug counselors, doctors, nurses, etc. to not just read one book about one person’s methodology, but to be able to learn a variety of different strategies. Questions like where they came from, what is the evidence behind intervention strategies, how have these strategies developed and changed, etc. to inform the reader and open their eyes to the broader scope of intervention and its modalities. As such, I like to think of these strategies as “invitations to change.” In other words, the idea is to provide a textbook at your disposal to learn and teach from.

At that point, two things occurred. Lee Weber, the editor of Addiction Blog, came to me and said that Routledge, the world’s leading academic publisher in the Humanities & Social Sciences, was interested in a textbook on intervention. Within nanoseconds I said, “of course we could do that.” That is how The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions – Collective Strategies was born. Our plan was to create not only a textbook and have an e-platform that allowed for worksheets and changes in our industry.

If you had asked me back in 1991 when Dr. Picard walked into my classroom if I would have authored the first textbook in this arena, I would have not imagined that. I remember thru the words of Napoleon O Hill, “anything the mind can believe it can achieve”. Hard work, determination and perseverance are key ingredients.

I trust this book will teach professionals new ways of understanding intervention allowing them to continue to inspire change in clients and their friends and family. As a living document my hope is that as an e-resource I add to this knowledge as new evidence emerges.

Be sure to check out the Definitive Guide here and enter the code to receive a 20% discount.

Keep doing What you are Doing, Keep Falling Up!

Dr. Louise




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