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The Next Happy by Tracey Cleantis

The Next Happy by Tracey Cleantis


“A bold, brave and incredibly relevant book.”
—Lee Woodruff, New York Times best-selling author of Perfectly Imperfect—A Life in Progress, with her husband, Bob Woodruff, and CBS “This Morning” contributor

We all have dreams that drive us, and our passion propels us toward them. For some, it’s playing in the NFL or hitting number one on the Billboard charts, while others dream of a successful marriage and to have children. We all imagine this life while sacrificing and sometimes suffering to make it a reality. But what do we do when the dream is actually holding us back or causing us pain? In today’s society, we are told to “Never, ever give up,” but what happens when it’s time to let it go? What do we do next?

THE NEXT HAPPY: Let Go of the Life You Planned and Find a New Way Forward (Hazelden; March 2015; $14.95; Original Trade Paperback) by Tracey Cleantis, a licensed psychotherapist, is the counterpoint to the adage, “Hang in there; it will happen if you just follow your dreams.” In THE NEXT HAPPY, Cleantis teaches us how to move onward when the life we planned does not come to fruition.

“Just as the day before, and for years before that, no one could have told me that my dream wasn’t going to come true; on that day, no one could tell me that it was.” After many unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant and over $100,000 later, Cleantis moved on with her life. She explains that when a dream dies, the grief process must begin. An individual will often experience sadness, anger, and shame during this time. A strong support system, and being able to look inward for the reasons why the dream didn’t happen, are just some of the tools needed for the healing process to take place so we can proceed in a new direction.

Perhaps just as important as letting go is recognizing the causes of holding on to the dream in the first place, as this can be unhealthy to the individual. “There was something in me that just wanted the literal interpretation and was a bit afraid of the why,” she says of her dream to have children. Holding onto a dream for too long not only impedes us from gravitating toward something that will make us happy but has physical, psychological, and financial costs as well.

THE NEXT HAPPY provides the guidance and support to explain:

  • Why giving up on a dream does not make us a quitter
  • The reasons we hold onto dreams and refuse to let them go
  • How to identify when to let go of a dream
  • The differences between acceptance and closure
  • How getting to the next happy works

With down-to-earth wisdom from Tracey Cleantis, who has worked with hundreds of patients who have dealt with the loss of a dream, THE NEXT HAPPY is the key to letting go of the life you may have wanted for yourself and finding a new path forward. A world of possibilities is waiting . . . Will you take the first step?

Tracey Cleantis holds a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling and has built a national reputation as an expert on healing losses through her popular blog, La Belette Rouge, Freudian Sips on, and her writings for the Huffington Post. She also has had interviews and advice featured in articles in Psychologies Magazine, Redbook, and on Fox News Boston, among others. Check out more about Tracey at

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs.  It is the nation’s largest nonprofit treatment provider, with a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center. With 15 sites in California, Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado and Texas, the Foundation offers prevention and recovery solutions nationwide and across the entire continuum of care for youth and adults.

The Next Happy:
Let Go of the Life You Planned and Find a New Way Forward
By Tracey Cleantis
Hazelden Publishing
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1616495725
eBook: 978-1-61649-576-3
Original Trade Paperback/eBook
Price: $14.95
Pages: 200 pp.