Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption

Front Cover
Harper Collins, Sep 27, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 389 pages
21 Reviews

Born into enormous privilege as well as burdened by gut-wrenching family tragedy, Christopher Kennedy Lawford now shares his life story, offering a rare glimpse into the private worlds of the rich and famous of both Washington politics and the Hollywood elite. A triumphantly inspiring memoir, the first from a Kennedy family member since Rose Kennedy's 1974 autobiography, Lawford's Symptoms of Withdrawal tells the bittersweet truth about life inside America's greatest family legacy.

As the firstborn child of famed Rat Pack actor Peter Lawford and Patricia Kennedy, sister to John F. Kennedy, Christopher Kennedy Lawford grew up with presidents and movie stars as close relatives and personal friends.

Lawford recalls Marilyn Monroe teaching him to dance the twist in his living room when he was still a toddler, being awakened late at night by his uncle Jack to hear him announce his candidacy for president, being perched atop a high-roller craps table in Las Vegas while Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack swapped jokes and threw dice, and other treasured memories of his youth as part of America's royal family.

In spite of this seemingly idyllic childhood, Lawford's early life was marked by the traumatic assassinations of his beloved uncles Jack and Bobby, and he soon succumbed to the burgeoning drug scene of the 1970s during his teen years. With compelling realism mixed with equal doses of self-deprecating wit, youthful bravado, and hard-earned humility, Symptoms of Withdrawal chronicles Lawford's deep and long descent into near-fatal drug and alcohol addiction, and his subsequent formidable path back to the sobriety he has preserved for the past twenty years.

Symptoms of Withdrawal is a poignantly honest portrayal of Lawford's life as a Kennedy, a journey overflowing with hilarious insider anecdotes, heartbreaking accounts of Lawford's addictions to narcoticsas well as to celebrity and, ultimately, the redemption he found by asserting his own independence.

In this groundbreakingly courageous and exceptionally well-written memoir, Lawford steps forward to rise above the buried pain that first led to his addiction, and today lives mindfully by his time-tested mantra: "We are only as sick as the secrets we keep." Symptoms of Withdrawal keeps no secrets and is a compelling testament to the power of truth.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - olegalCA - LibraryThing

I thought the first 200 pages or so were well-written and engaging. Unfortunately, the author decided to skate over his marriage and divorce issues in a way that made him seem arrogant and unfeeling and I lost my respect for him. Read full review

Review: Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption

User Review  - Carol Waters - Goodreads

OK, page 300. i have plowed through this ridiculousness a page or two a day. Why? I don't know. Maybe that desire to hold out the hand of responsibility to a suffering addict. But in this book Lawford ... Read full review

Contents

Chapter 1
1
Chapter 2
18
Chapter 3
25
Chapter 4
32
Chapter 5
51
Chapter 6
57
Chapter 7
62
Chapter 8
68
Chapter 23
225
Chapter 24
233
Chapter 25
245
Chapter 26
250
Chapter 27
261
Chapter 28
280
Chapter 29
289
Chapter 30
296

Chapter 9
78
Chapter 10
85
Chapter 11
99
Chapter 12
109
Chapter 13
117
Chapter 14
126
Chapter 15
134
Chapter 16
142
Chapter 17
159
Chapter 18
166
Chapter 19
170
Chapter 20
192
Chapter 21
208
Chapter 22
216
Chapter 31
303
Chapter 32
309
Chapter 33
314
Chapter 34
318
Chapter 35
328
Chapter 36
333
Chapter 37
341
Chapter 38
360
Chapter 39
364
Chapter 40
373
Chapter 41
377
Chapter 42
380
Conclusion
384
Copyright

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Popular passages

Page 78 - Little remains : but every hour is saved From that eternal silence, something more, A bringer of new things ; and vile it were For some three suns to store and hoard myself...
Page vii - We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world.
Page 103 - My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.
Page 134 - Good judgment is usually the result of experience. And experience is frequently the result of bad judgment.
Page 170 - Anna Karenina: Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Page 18 - No, we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
Page xv - Our Destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today.
Page 294 - Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live" — Norman Cousins "Life's most persistent and urgent question is 'What are we doing for others?

References to this book

About the author (2005)

Christopher Kennedy Lawford is the New York Times bestselling author of Symptoms of Withdrawal. He has worked extensively in Hollywood as an actor, lawyer, executive, and producer. He has three children and lives in Marina Del Rey, California.

Bibliographic information