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January 8th, 2013
10:30 AM ET

Christopher Kennedy Lawford and cousin Patrick Kennedy on battling and overcoming addiction

Like many Americans, Christopher Kennedy Lawford suffered from addiction for many years. He began abusing alcohol when he was only 12 years old, later turning to hard drugs like cocaine and heroin.

While the bestselling author has been sober for 26 years, Lawford has come to understand how addiction develops and ways to overcome it. The author joins "Starting Point" on Tuesday alongside cousin Patrick Kennedy to discuss his new book, "Recover to Live: Kick Any Habit, Manage Any Addiction."

“We really understand these illnesses are in the brain. People need to know that. I'm about reducing stigma and shame and giving people the opportunity and the empowerment to do something about this illness if they want to,” Lawford explains. He says he interviewed over 150 “neuroscientists, behaviorists, psychologists, (and) treaters” to gain a better perspective on how addiction develops in the brain and how to combat it.

Kennedy, a former Rhode Island congressman, has also grappled with addiction and will be two years sober next month.

“Just like being pre-disposed to cancer or diabetes you also are for depression, anxiety and addiction and many of the genetics overlap so you might have a higher propensity for addiction but also anxiety, depression,” Kennedy explains.

Filed under: Addiction • Author
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