Christopher Kennedy  Lawford

Christopher Kennedy Lawford

(Topic: Substance Abuse, Mental Health,) As the first born child of famous Rat Pack actor Peter Lawford and Patricia Kennedy, Lawford grew up with presidents and movie stars as close relatives and personal friends. Lawford offers a poignantly honest portrayal of his life as a Kennedy, the lessons learned from the legacy of coming from wealth, and a heartbreaking account of his near fatal addictions to alcohol and narcotics and ultimately, the redemption he found by asserting his own independence. He also addresses the "quiet crisis" of substance abuse affecting the aging population, and the latest research on addiction & co-dependency.

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Born into enormous privilege as well as burdened by gut-wrenching family tragedy, Christopher Kennedy Lawford 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.

As the firstborn child of famed Rat Pack actor Peter Lawford and Patricia Kennedy, sister to John F. Kennedy, Lawford grew up with presidents and movie stars as close relatives and personal friends. 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, Lawford now shares his 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. In his memoir, Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption, Lawford offers a poignantly honest portrayal of his life as a Kennedy, a journey overflowing with hilarious insider anecdotes, heartbreaking accounts of his addictions to narcotics as well as to celebrity and, ultimately, the redemption he found by asserting his own independence. His new book, out in 2016 When Your Partner Has an Addiction" shares the most recent research on addiction and co-dependency.

Lawford has worked extensively in politics, government and the non-profit sector, holding executive staff positions with The Democratic National Committee, The Community Action for Legal Services Agency, and in the Washington office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. He has held staff positions on numerous national, state and local political campaigns, as well as with The Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, Special Olympics, and The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Lawford holds a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University, a Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School and a Masters Certification in Clinical Psychology from Harvard Medical School, where he gained an academic appointment as a Lecturer on Psychiatry.

In addition to his political career, Lawford has spent over fifteen years in the film and television business as an actor, lawyer, executive, and producer. He merged his interest and experience in the two worlds of Hollywood and Washington to create weekly segments on political and social stories within the entertainment community for CNN's "American Morning" and the entertainment news program, "Extra." He has also traveled extensively to the Island of Cuba where he has acted as a consulting producer to the Film Directorate of The Cuban Government and a European film company for a documentary on the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    "Chris is a master of words and uses them in an eloquent and humorous fashion allowing the audience to feel the pain and enjoy his successes with him. He is among the very best speakers we have had."

    - Vista Hill

    "We hit a "home run" when we decided to have Christopher join us as our guest speaker at our annual Banquet. He was phenomenal - his message on point and heartfelt. He made a powerful presentation that touched so many."

    -Missouri Mental Health Foundation

    Chris was outstanding and awesome. He was very engaging, respectful and thoughtful and provided NAMI with more than we even dreamed of. His message was profound. He has been the best speaker that we have ever brought before our membership."

    - NAMI of Franklin County, OH

    "The best speaker ever! A very gracious guest and totally down-to-earth in meeting everyone."

    -O'Brien House, Baton Rouge, LA