5.0 out of 5 stars
Sometimes ‘The Obvious’ Isn’t Always So Obvious
What can I say? Berger breaks the cycle of overly complicated thinking that has become a way of life for addicts (and allows us to hide from the truth of our addictions) into bite-size chunks. I highly recommend his books and the journey to keeping it real and uncluttered. No more excuses. APG

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12 Essential Insights for Emotional Sobriety is a must read for anyone wishing to master the art of living and loving. Dr. Berger’s practical wisdom and love shine through his clear and engaging prose, made all the more compelling by his moving stories and clinical vignettes. While this book is especially invaluable for those recovering from addiction and trauma, the key life lessons Dr. Berger illuminates in this gem are applicable to us all. This book is destined to heal suffering, nurture joy, and make the world a better place for us all.

Michael McGee, M.D., DLFAPA

In 12 Essential Insights for Emotional Sobriety, Allen Berger once again provides practical and highly useful concepts and practices for those on the road to continuous recovery.  Whether a person is “stuck” in their path and wondering what’s next, or someone 40 years in like me and already well along the road of emotional balance and sobriety, Berger’s thoughtful insights provide more tools and “road signs” along the path.  Emotional sobriety is not so much a destination as an ongoing process that can yield ever greater rewards of freedom and mature interdependence.  For the secular or religious, those in a twelve step process or not, for the humanist, Buddhist, atheist, or “apatheist,” this book is a valuable contribution to the literature of growth and development of a conscious and purposeful life.

John Runnion, Co-founder of the Freethinkers Living Sober Group

12 Essential Insights for Emotional Sobriety is Dr. Berger’s best book yet. Within these pages he makes his stand in support of what Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, predicted would be the next frontier of the 12-step movement. This book is everything Dr. Berger’s readers have come to expect in terms of easy-to-digest, practical information, along with crystal clear direction by way of fascinating case examples and direct instruction to the reader. This is a book you will want to keep handy for some time to come. I am pretty sure that Dr. Berger and Bill Wilson have been collaborating in a realm just beyond this one. This book is the evidence.

Thom Rutledge, LCSW, Author of Embracing Fear: How to Turn What Scares Us into Our Greatest Gift


Be honest. Few days go by where you don’t find your sense of balance thrown off by what someone said about you, how a meeting went, what your social media contacts are doing, how your fortune changed during the day, or your fears about coming events.

Most of us face this kind of anxiety, sadness, worry—call it what you will—every day of the week. Most of the times, these things seem minor, but they nibble at us, like so many paper cuts, building up and diminishing our lives.

There is a solution, uncovered 70 years ago by Bill Wilson, known around the world as Bill W., a founder of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program of recovery. The solution is a practice called emotional sobriety.

The thing is, Bill W.’s discovery is NOT just for people who are recovering from addiction. It’s for everyone. Bill W., long in recovery from alcoholism sought a solution for his continued chronic bouts of deep depression. He realized that his long-term problems occurred, in part, because his sense of self, wholeness, and well-being was completely dependent on external events. Yes, his personal value was determined by what happened to him, by how others treated him, and by what others thought of him. If people liked Bill, great. If not, he was knocked out of whack.

Bill W. found his solution in the concept of emotional sobriety, essentially the practice of learning not to try to control your emotions but rather to understand and moderate your reactions to them. In 12 Essential Insights for Emotional Sobriety, psychotherapist Dr. Allen Berger writes simply to explain and expand on this concept, combining wisdom from 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous with long-accepted psychological principles. Through heart-rending stories of profound change, careful explanation, and thoughtful exercises, Dr. Berger guides you to a calmer place—and a better life.

Allen Berger, PhD, a popular public speaker and nationally recognized expert on the science of recovery, is the author of 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery, 12 More Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery, 12 Smart Things to Do When the Booze and Drugs Are Gone, 12 Hidden Rewards of Making Amends, Love Secrets Revealed: What Happy Couples Know About Having Great Sex, Deep Intimacy, and a Lasting Connection, and How to Get the Most Out of Group Therapy. Dr. Berger co-hosts a weekly podcast focusing on mental and emotional well-being, and moderates a new virtual support group for people interested in practicing emotional sobriety, a pathway to a calmer life and gentler relationships. Dr. Berger is a psychotherapist with a unique gift for blending and explaining the practice of psychology with the wisdom of 12-Step recovery programs. Dr. Berger, a long-time resident of Los Angeles, California, has recently moved to Philadelphia, where he looks forward to reclaiming the snowy winters of his childhood.


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