It takes a PhD?


Re-posted from Fall 2008:

Well, it seems that we have received an interesting comment (below) regarding our DVD from a clinician in South Carolina that is causing quite a buzz in the recovery community.

I purchased this DVD with the plan that it might be useful with families of individuals in treatment. Well, it is all talk, and so shallow as to be not useful at all with this population. I am not sure what I would use it for at all. Don’t waste your money. –Kathleen M. Gomes (North Carolina)

It didn’t take long for responses to flow in from some of our most passionate readers/viewers. Here is a sampling:

I recently purchased the DVD and book on “Why Don’t They Just Quit” by Joe Herzanek. Having a son with a severe alcohol/drug abuse problem, who has been through more than one treatment program, I was desperately looking for answers, not hype or glitter. I found the “roundtable” format on the DVD to be easy to follow. I consider “Why Don’t They Just Quit” to be my “Bible” on drug abuse issues affecting the addict and the families (I loaned it to my son’s father and it looks like my Bible–yellow hi-lights, post it notes, etc, etc.).  I refer to it over and over. Mr. Herzanek lays it out in a straightforward way, using his and others’ personal experiences to clarify the how and why of addiction and recovery. This is a must have tool for anyone that is impacted by a loved one’s addiction.

Sometimes an individual’s “title” can keep them from seeing outside their little box. I would think that these “professionals” would want to hear from people that have actually been scarred by the war on abuse.  thanks for keeping it simple!  Don’t give up on spreading it around….it’s what’s keeping mom’s like me from going insane. –Mari L. Nelson (Burlington, WA)

There is a tug-of-war going on in the recovery community between those with academic letters behind their names and those who have walked through the tunnel of addiction. For example there are those who believe AA is a positive road to walk on, while others scorn AA for any number of reasons. Joe Herzanek writes and talks about addiction with a warmth and depth of understanding that so many others lack. “Why Don’t They Just Quit” is superbly written, a straight-talking, no frills guide for people to follow. It’s a great resource. Herzanek has walked through the tunnel of addiction and can relate to those who struggle. He understands families and what they go through. The book and DVD make a human connection, beyond the facts of addiction. –Ned Wicker (Host/Recovery Now!)

I recently read the book “Why Don’t They Just Quit” by Joe Herzanek. My son had recently told us that he had an alcohol and Vicodin addiction. I didn’t know where to turn first. I talked to someone who had the book because of her son and she brought it to me right away. I could not put it down. I read it from front to back in one sitting. It was like all the answers I was asking in my head, were all answered in that book. It was literally a life saver for me. I was pretty sure before I read the book, that I couldn’t handle what was coming next for my son. But it helped in so many ways. After I read it, I didn’t feel so lost and hopeless. I would recommend it to anyone dealing with this.

This book is from a real person, (not a Dr.) who actually went through these things with his child. You don’t need a Dr. to tell you how it all should work. You need someone to tell you firsthand, how it works.
— Sandy T. (Marseilles, Ill)

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. . . if you would like to post a comment on or feel free to post one here. We would love to hear your thoughts.


To continue my post from Thursday, Oct 2—regarding a comment (copied below) about our DVD on

I purchased this DVD with the plan that it might be useful with families of individuals in treatment. Well, it is all talk, and so shallow as to be not useful at all with this population. I am not sure what I would use it for at all. Don’t waste your money. –Kathleen M. Gomes (North Carolina)

The responses to Ms. Gomes seem to keep coming in. Scroll to the bottom for info of how to post YOUR comment. Here are the latest:

Ms. Gomes’ review was completely inappropriate for a “Professional” . These materials are geared toward the common everyday person who has been touched by substance abuse with a loved one. “Why Don’t They JUST QUIT?”, DVD and book is spoken and written with genuine compassion and GUIDANCE for those in pain and in need of hope. Mr. Herzanek has experienced addiction, lived through it and now is giving back by sharing his knowledge of what really works with those of us who need it most. My son, is a heroin addict and NO THANKS to those with lots of initials behind their names, (the ‘professionals’) is alive and recovering. THANKS to those ‘professionals’, he was prescribed pain meds, as a result of breaking his hip. The DR. knew full well my son was an addict and that he had been clean for 1 year. That led to a relapse, which led him to another ‘professional’, who prescribed Suboxxone to help get him off of heroin again. The ‘professionals’ told him nothing of the half-life of that miserable drug, nor of any side effects and how addictive it is. Due to the Suboxxone, he checked himself into a detox hospital to rid himself of it. Strongly enough, upon leaving the hospital, the ‘professionals’ prescribed even MORE Suboxxone, which he refused to take. It took months to rid his system of that legally prescribed drug from a ‘professional’. Due to my son reading, “Why Don’t They JUST QUIT?”, it gave him the courage and strength to regain HOPE for a better tomorrow. What kind of ‘professional’ would scorn ANY information, spoken or written that may aid in someone’s recovery and help the family through the toughest period in their lives?????
—Janis G. Parker (Oregon)

“Why Don’t They JUST QUIT?” is written by a person that has been there and done that. He knows first-hand what our loved ones are going through. He is not telling you how to cure it—he is telling you pretty much what to expect, and what not to expect. He knows what the addict is going through. It is easy for a therapist to let you know what you should and shouldn’t do, but the author has lived the life that we are going through. I truly think this is a must read or “watch” for anyone that is going through drug or alcohol addiction or if you are the loved one of that person. I read the book because of my son’s addiction. We didn’t think it was happening. It helped me to realize what my son is going through and some things to expect.
—Carla Elliott

We have also received a few new reviews on the book which I will share with you as well:

I have read quite a bit of books and literature on Alcoholism and I can tell you this is my favorite one. I would recommend it to anyone. Mr. Herzanek speaks from experience and he truly cares about trying to help others with addictions. My husband is an alcoholic and this book has shown me that it is okay not to give up on them, and that there is hope. It also tells of ways you can show “tough love” and “bringing up their bottom” when needed. This book was a real eye opener for me. Again, I would recommend this book to anyone dealing with addictions.
—J. Poirrier (Louisiana)

This is a thoughtful and caring book written for the everyday person with an addicted loved one. It is very helpful when you are alone and desperately hoping your loved one is safe because he isn’t home and you know he is out using again. It was not written with the intention of being used in a professional setting.
—Karon Wold

Thank you, thank you . . . I have been struggling for many years to encourage my husband to stop enabling our youngest son (27) who has been using since he was 13. Last weekend he ended up in jail again (thank God) and I took the firmest stand ever for me and finally convinced my husband to leave him there!!  Man, it was hard, but the neat thing is that while Goggling for info about “enabling” he came across your book, & we ordered it.  And he finally got “it” that we should not bail our son out after reading through several links on enabling!! So, we shall see.  I just wanted to tell you thank you for your wonderful work . . . I love the newsletters & articles . . . I feel so empowered, and not hopeless as before!! God bless from Loveland,
—Pat M. (Loveland, CO)

Just got my books.  I’m previewing it and just hit a, “Thank you, Lord!” moment on page 105 about raising the bottom. I have wondered about that idea for some time now, but couldn’t seem to find professionals nor support groups who I felt were smart enough to answer my questions. I could continue, but to keep it short: Bless you all for putting out these resources!
—Robb Burgie Pineville, NC.

The book is proving to be of great solace. I read all of my Al-Anon books, and attend meetings, and I have a wonderful church family, but this book presents some new thoughts to me. Your book is wonderful! It is as if you have been here in my home, observing.
Thanks again.
—R.L. “Concerned Parent” (Anderson, Indiana)

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