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Relapse Prevention
with John Leadem, LCSW & Shawn Leadem, LCSW

Staying Stopped

If you have struggled with your powerlessness over your drug of choice, then the relief that you will have derived from abstinence in the past may have led you to believe that the hard part, stopping, was over.

In time, you will most likely discover that stopping was the easiest part of the recovery process. If you have not been introduced to the concept of the disease model for understanding addiction, it might be new information for you that we suffer with a disease of the body, mind, and spirit. Abstinence from your addiction will begin to address some of the physical aspects of recovery but the emotional and spiritual recovery that is required for long-term sobriety does not flow directly from just abstinence alone.

Seasoned recovery members are quick to note that while they might have “come for their drinking” they ended up “staying for their thinking.” And so it is with most of us. We come to recovery wanting to quell the storm of active addiction, stop the insanity of our drugs of choice, and establish abstinence. In time however, we discover that we were emotionally and spiritually ill. We will need to address those confusing aspects of our disease if we are to benefit from the bottom that we hit.

If you have been sober for a while, do not be too alarmed if the honeymoon of early recovery has begun to fade. You are discovering that the easy part of the recovery process is stopping and the challenging parts of recovery are found in the lessons you will learn about getting comfortable in your own skin.

Staying Stopped

John Leadem, MSW, LCSW and Shawn Leadem, MSW, LCSW

Both John and Shawn Leadem are Licensed Clinical Social Workers in private practice in Toms River, New Jersey.

John has recently celebrated his 45th year in recovery and believes that “service to others is the cornerstone of spiritual maturity.” His professional service to addicted individuals and their families has included the development and direction of addiction treatment services in a full array of modalities from half-way houses to large residential treatment facilities over the past 44 years.

Shawn's lifelong exposure to the recovery culture and his personal recovery experience has left him with a deep personal empathy for the social and emotional suffering endured by others and a strong faith in a person’s ability to change. He has received his certification as a Sexual Addiction Therapist and as a Multiple Addictions Therapist by the International Institute for Trauma & Addiction Professionals.

Together, John and Shawn have co-authored and brought their unique treatment model of relapse prevention, An Ounce of Prevention: A Course in Relapse Prevention, to residential treatment centers across the United States, they have trained therapists at numerous national and international conferences, and most recently have trained many EAP programs associated with many State Unions.

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APA Reference
Shawn Leadem, J. (2017). Staying Stopped. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 22, 2019, from


Last updated: 18 May 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 May 2017
Published on All rights reserved.