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The Real Review: Why Don’t They Just Quit by Joe Herzanek

Review written by Miles Carroll for The Real Edition.

Personally, I wish I’d read this book years ago. The section called “It’s a Family Affair” alone is worth its weight in gold and could have saved me years of pain. That is, if I’d actually taken the advice and done something with it.

As a counselor and case manager who works with dual-diagnosis (mental illness and addiction) and a former co-dependent to an addict, I’ve had an inside view and read a lot on the subject. Why Don’t They Just Quit is unique in that it offers multiple approaches, uses humor, no B.S. talk and intersperses serious material with nuggets like, “Sometimes people will glibly say ‘Everything happens for a reason. It’s all part of God’s will.’ This is a moronic statement. Reminders like “Addiction is a means to escape, and the more you try to escape from reality, the worse reality becomes” hit particularly close to home.


The book is super current, touching on the affects of technology in the modern social landscape, and the implications for the addict. “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity” which is so important in today’s global, fast-paced world as addicts are already prone toward isolation and family and friends are often confused about how and when to communicate, let alone intervene.

Regarding intervention, the advice was invaluable. When I was struggling, along with other friends and family members to help an addict we loved, we were completely at a loss. After hundreds of thousands of dollars and many rehab stays it felt as if we couldn’t spend enough money or find the best expert to help our loved one get clean. Joe demystifies the process and recognizes that the rehab industry is just that, a money making industry with it’s own shadow and complex set of operations. He outlines clear, easy to understand ways to communicate without any of the usual salesy addiction jargon. It’s refreshing and rare.

The case studies were particularly helpful as addiction is so baffling and takes over all kinds of lives, from every demographic known to man. Rich or poor, across cultures, parents, children, lovers, siblings, each with their unique challenges. For example reading about parents who had to watch their child be handcuffed and taken away and taken to juvenile detention is heartbreaking but also reassuring as they recognize that natural consequences are a far better teacher than parents who “rescue” their children, allowing the cycle of addiction to worsen.

I’ll definitely be recommending and gifting Why Don’t They Just Quit to clients, friends and family. Anyone with a loved one suffering from addiction (or if you think you might have a problem with addiction yourself) should read this book. Chaplain Joe Herzanek and his wife Judy are on a mission to help others, their story of hope and inspiration is lived through their own journey out of addiction and into long-term recovery. Sixteen years as a counselor working in the criminal justice system at the Boulder County Jail makes Joe an authority but his lived experience makes him human. Bravo to Joe, Judy and The Changing Lives Foundation. Feel very blessed to have found this treasure. Mine was even hand-signed, “Keeping hope alive.” Truth!  

Why Don’t They Just Quit: What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery can be purchased directly from the book’s website or on Amazon.

Be sure to visit Joe’s website Changing Lives Foundation.

Find Joe and his wife Judy on Facebook and Twitter.