Struggle Well: Thriving in the Aftermath of Trauma

Struggle Well: Thriving in the Aftermath of Trauma by Ken Falke and Josh Goldberg (Lioncrest Publishing, March 28, 2018, 348 pages)

Your struggle may come in different forms, and be given one of many different names, such as anxiety, depression, addiction, and/or PTSD. No matter how much you or a loved one is struggling, or what it is called, one thing is almost certainly clear: you aren’t living the life you desire or deserve. Still, there is hope. By embracing the struggle, rather than fighting it, you can stop surviving and start thriving. Ken Falke and Josh Goldberg train combat veterans battling PTSD to understand and achieve Posttraumatic Growth (PTG). PTG helps you discover opportunities from times of struggle, and this book provides actionable strategies for making peace with past experiences, living in the present, and planning for a great future. Through Ken and Josh’s work, thousands have transformed struggle into profound strength and lifelong growth. Now it is your turn. It’s time to learn to Struggle Well.

Everyone struggles and can use those opportunities for personal growth and service by learning how to struggle well. The main idea of the authentic and earnest book is simple and deep—post-traumatic growth is both possible and teachable (learnable). This is an easy read, but not a light subject. This book inspires thought, reflection, and change.

This self-published book draws the reader in with honesty and compassion, instilling a desire to work through the process of disclosure, healing, growth, and service. The authors are the “expert guides” they claim to be – without condescension, deception, or hubris. Only a safe and healthy person can guide others to a safe and healthy place. The authors also pull no punches, addressing useless medical interventions and practitioners that do either no good or worse.

The first impression is that the authors go through a lot of trouble to prove that they have a credible and necessary approach. This makes sense given the prevalence of ineffective alternatives available and the grave consequences of missteps. The authors acknowledge and explain their natural skepticism of conventional psychological techniques in trauma recovery. There are no dramatic or ridiculous promises. There is a genuine desire to help, from a place of experience and understanding.

This is a guidebook to living better, based on real and tested methods. The authors explain how to achieve “Post Traumatic Growth” in a hopeful and practical way that gets results. Key techniques include unpacking the emotional rucksack, deprogramming unhealthy habits, and removing bad influences. These tools can reprogram habits with wellness practices while using support networks and mentors. Key outcomes will be a congruent life with the capacity and desire to serve others while avoiding common traps, shortcuts, and serious mistakes.

The intended audience is combat veterans dealing with the effects of trauma, especially serious injuries. However, the author’s experience is that combat trauma rarely puts the worst hurts on people – the worst damage happened before enlistment. That makes the audience everyone and anyone. The authors boil down the healing and growth processes, explaining what one can contribute while staying well. There are simple expectations and goals, with no frills. Anyone can learn to struggle well and achieve post-traumatic growth—there is hope, a clear path, and you are not alone.

Complementary titles focused on struggle, growth, and triumph include: “In Love and War: The Story of a Family’s Ordeal and Sacrifice During the Vietnam Years” by Jim Stockdale and Sybil Stockdale; “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand, and “Alcoholics Anonymous;” by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services.

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