‘Hope in Addiction: Understanding and Helping Those Caught in Its Grip’ by Andy Partington

Andy Partington’s new book, Hope in Addiction: Understanding and Helping Those Caught in Its Grip, is well worth a read. Here are two endorsements I wrote for the book, a long and a short one.

‘Addiction to drugs and alcohol, and to various activities such as gambling, has increased markedly in recent times. These addictions have not only wrecked the lives of individuals, but have also impacted negatively on entire families and even whole communities.

Andy Partington’s insightful and thought-provoking book takes us on a journey of discovery into how we can help people overcome addiction, and also reduce the incidence of addiction. In helping us to understand the nature of addiction and recovery from addiction.

Andy introduces us to moving personal stories of hope and leading research findings that educate and inspire. He describes features of modern life that nourish mass addiction, particularly in modern Western capitalist society—past and present adversities, including childhood traumas (neglect, abuse and household dysfunction); social disconnection; feelings of emptiness, loneliness and dissatisfaction; and a sense of hopelessness and despair about what the future holds.

Most people who end up addicted to drugs and alcohol, initially use their substance(s) of choice to kill psychological distress or pain. Continued drug-taking or drinking can eventually lead to the very psychological state from which the person was originally escaping.

Andy goes on to discuss key factors that facilitate recovery, the process through which a person overcomes their addiction and establishes a meaningful and fulfilled life. The person generally needs to recover from the impact of underlying issues (e.g. trauma) that made them vulnerable to developing an addiction.

Recovery is done by the person, but others (professionals, peer support groups, family and friends) can provide support that facilitates the self-change process. Hope is a key ingredient of recovery. A second key facilitative factor is building up a diverse set of resources known as recovery capital—resources that belong to the individual (physical and personal capital) and those in the external world (social and community capital). Andy cannot emphasise enough the importance of relationships in recovery. Recovery happens in community.

Andy explains that his book was written with two audiences in mind. First, the church—its leaders, members, and educators. Second, family and friends of those caught in the grip of addiction. However, his book is relevant to many more of us.

He describes six ways that churches can respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by the age of addiction. Firstly, they must engage more fully with the addiction issue.

Secondly, they need to understand addiction and recovery better, by listening to the voices of recovering people, family members indirectly affected by addiction, and by practitioners.

Thirdly, they need to establish healthy partnerships with addiction specialists and services in the wider community.

Fourthly, they need to explore how they can directly contribute to individuals’ recovery capital.

Fifthly, they need to sensitively reach out to those ‘looking for life-giving solutions to the problems produced by a world of despair, desolation, adversity, and disconnection.’

Finally, churches need to go deeper with God and one another.

Andy Partington’s work with Novō Communities, which he established in 2015, in Bolivia and now Nicaragua shows what can be achieved in building communities of recovery. Novō exists to bring new life to individuals, peace to families, and hope to communities gripped by addiction. It does that by ‘empowering God’s people in developing nations to create transformational communities that offer healing, wholeness, and hope.’


‘Addiction to drugs and alcohol, and to various activities such as gambling, has increased markedly in recent times, in large part due to the toxic nature of modern Western capitalist society. Andy Partington takes us on a journey of discovery into the nature of addiction and recovery from addiction, introducing us to moving personal stories of hope and leading research findings that educate and inspire.

This insightful and thought-provoking book contains a call to action to the church—its leaders, members, and educators. Six ways forward are proposed. This call to action is relevant to us all, since we can all contribute to the creation of transformational communities that offer hope, healing, and wholeness.’ David Clark, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Psychology, and addiction recovery advocate