The author's research explains in simple language the nature of this disease, and dissolves some of its myths. Although the author says that "Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud" isn't a crusade to cure people, this book can be life changing. Just being aware of people, places or things that trigger relapse is not enough. One has to be aware also of the inner stressors that contribute to the secretion of excess cortisol, the major factor in relapse. Several ideas and solutions are mentioned as a way to ease or prevent the symptoms brought out by stressors like guilt, shame, forgiveness, and grief. These thoughts and ideas - the author's way of dealing with problems common to himself and others - are extremely psychologically sound and empowering! (Chapters 4-7).
The author goes through the secrets to succeeding in sobriety. Chapter 8 provides valuable suggestions for anyone who struggles with communication skills or assertiveness. A lot can go wrong in group self-help, group therapy, counseling, therapy programs, or AA and Chapters 9-10 provide information on what works and what doesn't. Chapter 10, in particular, focuses on the success characteristics of group therapy and group self-help. Some of the stories included there would be hilarious if they were fiction, but are disturbing when they demonstrate the obscurity and stupidity of social programs that ignore these characteristics for success. That is why it is cleverer for one to shop around for help before one is forced into something that is not working. The book shows what to look for.
Relapse is not a deliberate, willful decision. Inner stressors, alcoholism and cortisol are all knitted together. The understanding gained from reading this book has the ability to restore bruised self-esteem, dignity, and confidence, which the system and uninformed people can strip from a fellow human being born into some biochemical imbalance. How can a system be so harsh over an alcoholic's "choice", when like "Sophie's Choice", it may not be a choice at all? Such clouds can lead a relapsed alcoholic into an (unnecessarily) miserable life, much as they led Sophie. The naïve judgments and stigma attached are unfair and counterproductive.
Alcoholism, the author explains, is not a moral shortcoming due to lack of self control. More than anything, it is due to chemical imbalance. The chemical imbalance contributing to alcoholism is different from the one contributing to relapse. However, life does not have to return to chaos. When one recognizes the sobriety symptoms and does not react by drinking, life becomes better! It would be interesting to also read "What the Early Worm Gets", because an imbalance of neurochemicals like serotonin and dopamine can be responsible not only for alcoholism but also for the unhappy lives that a lot of us live in silent desperation, but we do not even know it!
The author has superb writing skills I envy. He has lived up to his journalistic background. Anyone in search of valuable statistics pertinent to alcoholism will find the final chapter a valuable resource. As a reporter, the author also clarified terms that many are inclined by mistake to use interchangeably; for example, shame vs. guilt, sobriety vs. recovery vs. abstinence, alcoholism vs. alcohol abuse. The book "Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud" is the product of obvious intelligence and understanding.