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WebMD Checkup

Author Christopher Kennedy Lawford answers 10 questions about health, life, and well-being.

WebMD Magazine - Feature

Tell us about your new book, Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said that all of us have one great book in us-Symptoms of Withdrawal is mine. It's a series of the snapshots of my life and explores themes of family, addiction, fatherhood, success, and marriage. Writing it was cathartic for me.

Describe sobriety from the vantage point of someone in recovery.
Being sober after enduring 17 years of addiction to drugs and alcohol is like being born again. In recovery I can feel the gratitude that the man facing the guillotine feels when he is reprieved at the very last moment. It's wonderful to be able to smell the flowers and enjoy life.

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What health advice do you have to offer others struggling with addiction?
The only solution is sobriety. Stay connected to whatever group or healthcare organization that might help.

What is the best health advice anyone has ever given to you?
"One day at a time." Whether wrestling with heroin addiction, smoking, or diet, daily vigilance and commitment are key.

If you were recovering in a hospital and could have any person, from any era, recovering next to you, who would it be?
Albert Einstein or Carl Jung. Both were brilliant thinkers.

What do you do for relaxation?
Yoga. And I meditate, but not nearly enough. It is hard for me to relax. I meditated every day for five years and it transformed my life and brought me peace. You would think that having had that experience I would continue, but I don't.

How has fatherhood changed you?
Fatherhood is a lesson in selflessness. My children have been some of my most profound teachers.

Do you have a personal health philosophy?
Everything starts from within. Health as well as happiness is contingent on a balance between mind, body, and spirit.

What quality do you most desire in a doctor, therapist, or healthcare provider?
Curiosity and willingness to think outside what is normal. Also, a passion fortheir work.

What disease or condition would you most like to see eradicated in your lifetime, and why?
Hunger and malnutrition. We should make a commitment to wiping them out in the same way my uncle President Kennedy made a commitment to put a man on the moon.

Reviewed on November 01, 2005

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