Dr. John A. MacDougall, author of “Being Sober and Becoming Happy”, Director of Spiritual Guidance at Hazelden.

Welcome to my website. I’ll be discussing my new book, and listing retreats and speaking engagements. 0001_JMacD_6-28-2013 copy

Book information:

My new book “Being Sober and Becoming Happy” is now available on Amazon.com. Here’s the information on the book, from the Amazon website:

William Griffith Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, once said “we are not cured of alcoholism. What we have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.”

In this hopeful and useful guide, Dr. John MacDougall explains how to maintain our spiritual condition so that we can remain reliably sober, and come to restore our relationships with God, ourselves, and those we love. By practicing the spiritual principles of the Twelve Step programs, and making a daily commitment to our program of recovery, we reliably become happy.

With the wisdom that comes from firsthand experience, Dr. MacDougall understands that all alcoholics and addicts are essentially the same–each drug is different. Some addictive drugs are uppers, some are downers, some make us numb, some make us romantic, some make us argumentative, some make us dreamy, some make us lack initiative, some make us obsessively busy, but what all the addictive drugs have in common is that they gradually take over our lives, crowding out every other loyalty: God, other people, work, patriotism, avocations, and love, until our lives focus more and more on obtaining our drugs, using them, rebounding from our use of them, and planning how to do them again.

But there is always hope. As Dr. MacDougall explains, “It makes no difference how many times we relapse. The alcoholic who has never relapsed and the alcoholic who has relapsed many times wake up absolutely equal. We all wake up as alcoholics, and we all need to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand God, every day. What we did yesterday does not count. What we might do tomorrow is a fantasy. We all need to take the first step and re-commit to sobriety right now. Right now is all we have.”

Being Sober and Becoming Happy is an easy-to-read, accessible, and helpful guide to maintaining sobriety over a lifetime—and enjoying the happiness that comes along with it. For anyone in recovery who is looking for a way to grow their spirituality, or curious about the benefits of a Twelve Step program, Dr. MacDougall shines a light on an uncertain path in an open, honest discussion of his own experiences with addiction and recovery.

Dr. John MacDougall is the Director of Spiritual Guidance at the Hazelden Foundation, a world-famous addiction treatment center in Minnesota where he has worked since 1994. He is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and the Theological School of Drew University, from which he earned a Doctor of Ministry degree with a focus in family therapy. John is a United Methodist minister, having served as a parish pastor for seventeen years in New Jersey and New England. He was the co-author, with Bowen White, MD, of Clinician’s Guide to Spirituality, published by McGraw-Hill and Hazelden. He has been clean and sober since July 4, 1989. He has been married to his wife Priscilla since 1976, and lives with her in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have two daughters and three grandchildren.

Advance Reviews for “Being Sober and Becoming Happy”:

THIS BOOK IS WRITTEN BY A BRILLIANT MIND WITH A GIFT FOR HUMOR, CLARITY, ORIGINALITY, AND MOST IMPORTANT –SIMPLICITY. IN MY OPINION, NO BETTER BOOK HAS BEEN WRITTEN ON RELAPSE PREVENTION AND THE 12 STEPS SINCE THE BIG BOOK.

THE AUTHOR HAS SPENT 30 YEARS IN AL-ANON, NA AND AA AND KNOW WHAT HELPS – AND WHAT DOESN’T – BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS. OF EQUAL IMPORTANCE, THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT POSITIVE TRANSFORMATION FOR US ALL, ESPECIALLY THOSE IN RECOVERY FROM ANY SORT OF SUFFERING.
George E, Vaillant MD
Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Author of Spiritual Evolution

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“As we realize we have a God, rather than we are gods, we get to stop trying to control life, and we get to simply live life instead. I’ve decided that my life is unmanageable only when I am trying to manage it. My life isn’t meant to be managed, it is meant to be lived.”

This quote is one of the hundreds of pithy ideas from John MacDougall’s new book, the book you are soon to be engrossed in.  His insights, and they materialize with ease on every page, are amazing and I’ve loved hearing him share them in meetings and on the “circuit” for years.  But having all that wisdom, told with humor at times, but with clarity always, in one place is what makes this book invaluable.  John simply gets to the core of any issue with such ease, and he makes himself understood with little work on the reader’s part.  He writes, or speaks, and we listen and learn with our hearts.  And minds.

John MacDougall has been instrumental in the lives of so many people, those in the fellowship and those who have simply been lucky enough to share a few moments of his time while passing through some stage of life.  He doesn’t reserve his gift of understanding how life works, life without alcohol or pills but always with a God of one’s understanding, for any one group of people.  John is simply “the whole package,” wherever you meet him; on the pages of a book or in a meeting or an auditorium.  You get him whole, unfiltered and erupting always with knowledge, wisdom, humor and a loving heart.  Every time you are in his presence, you come away knowing more about the 12 Steps and how to live them, and with the backdrop of humor that helps to make the information even more significant.

I love this book!   Even after 37 years in Alcoholics Anonymous and a few more than that in Al-Anon, I found myself jotting down insights for my own edification, and to share with others.  That’s what spending any time with John is like.  You come away better than you were before. You come away with new thoughts about the program that’s at the core of your life, and just possibly you will even be surprised.  We are never too old to take on a new idea, one that not only benefits us but every single person who is crossing our path quite by divine appointment, today or any tomorrow.

John has gotten better with age, with his commitment to the work of helping others, and his passion for passing on that which he has learned.  Every one who chooses to gather even an inkling of the wisdom in these pages will bring benefit to the world we all share.  Thank you, John.  Thank you for helping every one of us make a difference in this life through the application of the principles you so completely embody.

Karen Casey, Ph.D., author of Each Day A New Beginning. See www.womens-spirituality.com

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RECOVERY RETREATS AT HAZELDEN’S DAN ANDERSON RENEWAL CENTER IN CENTER CITY, MINNESOTA

Being Together, Staying Committed, a retreat for couples with John and Priscilla MacDougall, March 14-16 and August 8-10, 2014

March 14: http://www.hazelden.org/web/public/event.view?eventId=4234023

August 8: http://www.hazelden.org/web/public/event.view?eventId=4234256

Relationships with a Higher Power November 14-16, 2014

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RECOVERY CHURCH LECTURE SERIES

2nd Thursday of each month, at 7:00 pm through July of 2014, on chapters from the book.

at “The Recovery Church”

253 State Street, Saint Paul, MN 55117

February 13th @ 7:00 p.m. “Practice What Principles”

March 13th @ 7:00 p.m. “Spiritual Healing from Trauma and Abuse”