Christopher Kennedy Lawford is not only an actor and the son of actor Peter Lawford and Pat Kennedy of the famous Kennedy clan, but he is also a recovering drug addict.
“People ask me all the time why I was an addict. And I tell them I think that I was a product of an addictive perfect storm,” says Lawford, who appears on this week's Shaping Families radio program. His parents' divorce, constant family relocation, and the brutal public assassinations of his uncles drove him into a life of drugs and alcohol.
For a while, he says, “Drugs and alcohol actually [help you cope]. If you’re terrified or you’re sad for a little while, that stuff works. If it didn’t work, I wouldn’t have done it. Problem is, it stops working, and for one in 10 of us, even when it stops working, we keep doing it.” Lawford was one of the many who found himself unable to quit and spent years struggling to find a way out.
Today, Lawford lives in recovery, sharing a message for other addicts that recovery is possible. “I had been beaten down to a point where I was open enough and surrendered enough to allow grace to come into my life … the greatest gift in my life has been the ability to surrender … because out of that comes unbelievable gifts, understanding and compassion.”
He has used his experience and his connections in Hollywood to make a positive impact in the lives of alcoholics and drug addicts through his work with Caron Treatment Centers, two best-selling books on recovery, and speaking to people around the country. Lawford has previously appeared in Third Way Media's documentary Finding Hope in Recovery: Families Living With Addiction.
Shaping Families radio program airs each weekend on 17 local radio stations and online at www.ShapingFamilies.com. Also featured at the website is a weekly blog by host Burton Buller, a weekly recipe from Shaping Families staff and contributors, a study guide for small groups and Sunday school classes, and many additional resources. Shaping Families is produced by Third Way Media through Mennonite Mission Network.