Lifechanging Books On Addiction & Recovery
I started reading addiction memoirs in college, well before I admitted to having an alcohol use disorder. I think I subconsciously knew it, but was in total denial. Why else would I have been mesmerized by When a Man Loves a Woman or 28 Days in my early 20s? These movies and books let me know I was not alone, that there were other people walking around who drank like I did.
I distinctly remember reading my most favorite addiction memoir ever, Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp, at age 22. I would only read the book secretly in my room, out of fear that someone would see me reading it. I spent hours in the self-help section at Barnes & Noble in Georgetown, D.C., seeking the solutions to my problems. Little did I know that there was an answer, and it involved finally getting away from alcohol.
Having been in recovery for many years, and working here at Shatterproof, I often get asked to recommend books about addiction. So heres a list of my all-time favorite reads about substance use disorders. Maybe these stories can help another young woman out there.
Unwifeable: A Memoirby Mandy Stadtmiller
Mandys honesty touched me deeply. I did many things I am deeply ashamed of, and reading her book taught me that I am not alone. I want to meet her and give her a big hug.
Party Girl: A Novel by Anna David
Terry: My Daughters Life-and-Death Struggle with Alcoholismby George McGovern
Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man and 90 Days by Bill Clegg
Codependent No More: How To Stop Controlling Others And Start Caring For Yourself By Melody Beattie
Codependency happens when another persons problem becomes your own. You lose sight of your own life as you take more and more responsibility for someone elses. Unfortunately, this happens a lot with people who take care of their addicted family members.
In this book, Melody Beattie talks about how you can break old behavioral patterns, maintain the boundaries youve set, and say no to unhealthy relationships. Mixed in are exercises and self-tests to help you out in your journey to freedom, healing, and hope.
The Best Science Fiction Books Out In 2023
CERN-inspired stories, a feminist retelling of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and a new deep future from Annalee Newitz: sci-fi fans have a lot to look forward to in 2023
In The Lies of the Ajungo, a boy journeys into the desert to save his mother
Timothy Allen/The Image Bank/Getty Images, NASA
This deep future from New Scientist columnist Annalee Newitz stars a Lone Ranger type and her partner, a telepathic moose. The mission: to keep interlopers off a planet under construction. Things go awry.
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Scar Tissue By Anthony Kiedis And Larry Sloman
A lot of people in the entertainment industry succumb to drugs due to the high-pressure nature of their careers. Musicians are no exception. When the Red Hot Chili Peppers burst into the music scene, they quickly became one of the most successful bands in the world.
But success always has a price. To Anthony Kiedis, the bands frontman, that price was heroin. In this raw telling of his life and career, he talks about falling all the way down and climbing all the way back to having a productive and successful life.
Drinking: A Love Story By Caroline Knapp
Each year, fifteen million Americans are plagued with alcoholism. Five million of those are women. Similar to author Caroline Knapp, many begin consuming alcohol in their teens and see it as a way to protect themselves against the difficulties of life.
In this candid and revealing memoir, Caroline Knapp highlights the important relationship between alcoholism, the difficulties of life, and how we can cope. Her love affair with alcohol had begun at the age of 14. Although she grew up with an award-winning career and stellar education, she had stumbled through her life drinking herself into oblivion.
This memoir sheds light on the destructive relationships and family myths that go hand in hand with drinking.
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Best 10 Books For Addiction Recovery
The following are books for addiction recovery to help you embark on your recovery journey.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.
In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction
Based on Gabor Matés two decades of experience as a medical doctor and his groundbreaking work with the severely addicted on Vancouvers skid row, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts radically reenvisions this much misunderstood field by taking a holistic approach. Dr. Maté presents addiction not as a discrete phenomenon confined to an unfortunate or weak-willed few, but as a continuum that runs throughout our society not a medical condition distinct from the lives it affects, rather the result of a complex interplay among personal history, emotional, and neurological development, brain chemistry, and the drugs of addiction.
Simplifying a wide array of brain and addiction research findings from around the globe, the book avoids glib self-help remedies, instead promoting a thorough and compassionate self-understanding as the first key to healing and wellness. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts argues persuasively against contemporary health, social, and criminal justice policies toward addiction and those impacted by it. The mix of personal storiesincluding the authors candid discussion of his own high-status addictive tendenciesand science with positive solutions makes the book equally useful for lay readers and professionals.
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Beyond Addiction: How Science And Kindness Help People Change By Jeffrey Foote Carrie Wilkens Nicole Kosanke And Stephanie Higgs
Families of those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction often have questions that are difficult to answer. The age-old question of how to support an addict without enabling them is especially tough. Learning from someone elses expertise can help. Beyond Addiction answers the impossible-seeming questions about how to love someone with an addiction. This book contains material specific for the family , as well as information on what addiction is and what motivates people to change. There arent many books out there specifically for family members, making this an invaluable resource.
It Didnt Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are And How To End The Cycle
- Who its best for: anyone looking to dig into generational trauma and how to break the cycle
- Key message: Your family has an enormous impact on why you are the way you are, but with some practice, you can become anyone you want to be.
The highly reviewed book has shared therapy tactics and scientific research that therapists within the industry have applied with their own clients. Alexanndra Kreps, MD, was one professional who contributed a blurb on the informative work where she writes, I found myself immediately able to apply Mark Wolynns techniques with my patients and saw incredible results, in a shorter time than with traditional psychotherapeutic techniques.
When approaching trauma, it is best to consult a mental health professional before diving into work that could be triggering. One Amazon reviewer cautioned, I would say you have to be ready to face these things and it is most definitely not a light read.
- Who its best for: those looking to improve their personal relationships and form deeper connections
- Key message: There are three main attachment styles and understanding yours can deepen your relationships and help you connect with your partner.
Attached is a sigh of relief for anyone who struggles with anxiety and navigating conflict, says Danielle Friedman, LMHC, Free Space Counseling. She finds that the book serves a deeper purpose by teaching the reader that emotions are deeply rooted in ones upbringing.
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Blackout: Remembering The Things I Drank To Forget By Sarah Hepola
Praised by The New York Times, Blackout tells the story of a woman stumbling into the sober life that she had never wanted. For Sarah Hepola, drinking felt like freedom and enlightened her entire personality. However, she paid a price. Each time she woke up after blacking out, she had to become a detective on what had happened the night before.
Alcohol may have been the fuel she thought she needed, but it was draining her more than anything else. As she enters sobriety, she discovers the person she tried to bury, and figures out that the creativity she thought alcohol brought her had truly been in her all along.
Y Girl: A Novel By Anna David
Celebrity journalist Amelia Stone goes to star-studded events, stays out until the early hours of the morning, and has everything that a party girl needs: the looks, the job, the lifestyle. She also has a cocaine addiction.
After losing her job and friends, Amelia Stone wakes up in the hospital after overdosing on a complex cocktail of various drugs. Then and there, she makes the drastic decision to end her drug abuse.
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Beautiful Boy: A Fathers Journey Through His Sons Addiction
What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong? Those are the wrenching questions that haunted David Sheffs journey through his son Nics addiction to drugs and tentative steps toward recovery. Before Nic became addicted to crystal meth, he was a charming boy, joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his two younger siblings.
After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole, and lived on the streets. David Sheff traces the first warning signs: the denial, the three a.m. phone callsis it Nic? the police? the hospital? His preoccupation with Nic became an addiction in itself. But as a journalist, he instinctively researched every treatment that might save his son. And he refused to give up on Nic.
Which Book Will Help Me Learn The Most About My Mental Illness
Theres not a single book that will teach you the most about your mental health condition. It depends on what mental condition youre dealing with and what you hope to get out of the book.
That being said, if youre dealing with anxiety, we recommend starting with Hope and Help For Your Nerves: End Anxiety Now by Dr. Claire Weekes. If you want to explore how trauma affects your body, The Body Keeps the Score is almost universally loved and highly rated.
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High On Arrival By Mackenzie Phillips
Born into a life of fame and royalty, Mackenzie Phillips grew up smoking pot at 11 and finding heroin to be the norm. Her father was John Phillips from The Mamas & the Papas, and as a teenager, Hollywood quickly recognized her charm. Yet, when she stepped into LAX one day, she was being taken out in handcuffs due to possession of cocaine and heroin.
Before this, she took pleasure in the nonstop party and pleasure dome that her father had created for her. Yet, as an adult, she has had to pay dearly for this lifetime of excess and the power of addiction.
When To See A Mental Health Professional
Mental health books can be a great way to learn techniques and tools that can help you improve your life. But if youre dealing with problems that are interfering with your daily life, limiting your ability to function, or are feeling overwhelmed on most days, its best to see a mental health professional.
A qualified mental health professional can talk you through your main concerns and recommend the proper treatments, which may include books, that can get you closer to your goals.
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The Outrun Amy Liptrot
The first 50 pages of Amy Liptrots memoir The Outrun are full of the familiar excesses and self-immolation of addiction memoirs: the precocious teenage drinking, the parties, the late-night runs to the liquor store, the accumulating losses . But The Outrun soars to new heights when Liptrot returns to her island home of Orkney, straight from rehab, and sets about healing herself through nature. She swims in the icy sea, travels to uninhabited islands, and learns lambing, snorkeling, and bird watching. Liptrots memoir is a testament to finding an individual path to recovery and that you dont have to give up the questing, thrill-seeking side of yourself when you get sober.
Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way Of Understanding Addiction
More people than ever before see themselves as addicted to, or recovering from, addiction, whether it be alcohol or drugs, prescription meds, sex, gambling, , or the internet. But despite the unprecedented attention, our understanding of addiction is trapped in unfounded 20th century ideas, addiction as a crime or as brain disease, and in equally outdated treatment.
Challenging both the idea of the addicts broken brain and the notion of a simple addictive personality, Unbroken Brain offers a radical and groundbreaking new perspective, arguing that addictions are learning disorders and shows how seeing the condition this way can untangle our current debates over treatment, prevention and policy. Like autistic traits, addictive behaviors fall on a spectrum and they can be a normal response to an extreme situation. By illustrating what addiction is, and is not, the book illustrates how timing, history, family, peers, culture and chemicals come together to create both illness and recovery- and why there is no addictive personality or single treatment that works for all.Combining Maia Szalavitzs personal story with a distillation of more than 25 years of science and research, Unbroken Brain provides a paradigm-shifting approach to thinking about addiction.
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The Routledge Handbook Of Philosophy And Science Of Addiction
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Wishful Drinking Carrie Fisher
Behind the infamous hairdo and metal bikini, Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher was leveling out the mood swings of bipolar disorder with a cocktail of cocaine, prescription medication, LSD, and alcohol. In this memoir, equal parts hilarious and lacerating, she documents decades of drug use, overdoses, stints in rehab, relapses, electroconvulsive therapy, broken marriages, and the friend who died beside her in bed.
Wishful Drinking has more than a sprinkle of Hollywood stardust and uproarious one-liners on every page. But under the bon-mots and Star Wars anecdotes, theres a well of deep sadness in this book, made even more poignant by Fishers 2016 death, attributed to a relapse.
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Junkie: Confessions Of An Unredeemed Drug Addict By William S Burroughs
A popular writer from the Beat Generation, William S. Burroughs published his first novel, Junkie, in 1953. The semi-autobiographical story follows a young man who develops addiction after trying morphine, which is an opiate .
He later becomes a drug dealer, moving from New York City to Mexico City to New Orleans. Overall, Junkie gives readers an honest, detailed look at life with addiction.
Clean: Overcoming Addiction And Ending Americas Greatest Tragedy By David Sheff
If this author sounds familiar, its probably because youve heard of his other well-received book about addiction: Beautiful Boy: A Fathers Journey Through His Sons Addiction. In Clean, Sheff digs into why people use drugs and alcohol to begin with. He explains how addiction progresses and details methods for getting and staying clean. In doing so, Sheff explores specific issues like:
- Co-occurring disorders
- 12-step programs
The result is a well-informed, comprehensive look at individualized and program interventions. Sheff walks the reader through the problem of addiction and the solutions.
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I Love You More: Short Stories Of Addiction Recovery And Loss From The Familys Perspective
Most family members do not know where to turn for support and guidance when a child, parent or spouse becomes ill. Society offers little to educate the public or de-stigmatize the problem of addiction. I Love You More is distinct and unique from other books on the market on addiction as it is meant to be an emotional education on the family systems affected by addiction using three, fictional short stories, all with very different endings. These three powerful stories have common threads of hope, pain, mistrust, grief, worry, change, acceptance, belief, and the constant presence of varying levels of sanity across a broad spectrum.
The author, Blake Cohen, is currently in recovery from a substance use disorder himself for multiple years. He has a bachelors degree in psychology, is a Certified Addictions Professional, and is currently earning his Masters degree in the field of Leadership. He currently works in the field of substance abuse treatment as an Interventionist and Recovery/Family Coach. Blakes role allows him to be of assistance to families, and their loved ones, as they begin their journey into recovery. Blake is also a public speaker using his experience and education to help bring understanding to the public regarding the disease of addiction.