20 Popular Recovery Books
In today’s world, there is a self-help book for everything. These books give advice, information, and motivation to improve a specific aspect of one’s life. Addiction recovery is no different. Countless books have been written about how to overcome addiction and how to get one’s life back on track. Below are some of the most popular books available today on the topic of addiction, and a brief description of their content. We chose these books from the many recommended by our Alumni – one is even written by one of our alums.
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1. Being Sober: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting To, Getting Through, and Living in Recovery | 2013 | Harry Haroutounian | 256 Pages
Dr. Harry is the former physician director of The Betty Ford Clinic this classic recovery book reveals a step by step plan to stay sober. With a focus on reclaiming the power that comes from a life free of dependency, Being Sober walks readers through the many phases of addiction and recovery without judgment or the overly “cultish” language of traditional 12-step plans.
2. A Very Fine House: A Mother’s Story of Love, Faith, and Crystal Meth | 2014 | Barbara Cofer Stoefen | 259 Pages
A Very Fine House is an intimate memoir of a mother’s Norman Rockwell family turned upside down by her daughter’s descent into meth addiction and crime. Bright and beautiful, Annie is an unlikely candidate for meth. Living fast and hard on the streets of Bend, Oregon, she commits crimes against herself, the community, and her own family.
3. Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction | 2016 | Elizabeth Vargas | 257 Pages
Elizabeth Vargas bravely chronicles her journey from addiction to recovery. In this book, she chronicles her life from an anxiety cursed childhood, a difficult coming of age and the guilt, struggles and denial of a working mom suffering from alcoholism.
4. Letting Go of the Thief: A Ninety Day Journey Inside the Thoughts of an Alcoholic | 2018 | Pamela D. Pesta | 194 Pages
If You’re Dealing with Alcoholism, this Book is for You. Letting go of the Thief is a ninety-day voyage into alcoholic thinking. Welcome to the chaotic thrashing of a mind, pulsating with intoxication. Spend a few moments in the whirlwind of shame, guilt, and utter desperation. The thief will shrewdly expose the terror of that human soul drenched in remorse and fear. You will never fully understand this harrowing disease until you jump into that circus.
5. Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself | 2009 | Melodie Beattie | 278 Pages
One of the top recovery books according to Amazon sales is Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. This book, first published in 1986, covers addiction from the codependent’s perspective, which also carries over to other areas of life. Filled with case studies and real-life examples, many find this book to be very relatable to their situation and it offers advice for taking control of one’s own life.
“With instructive life stories, personal reflections, exercises, and self-tests, Codependent No More is a simple, straightforward, readable map of the perplexing world of codependency–charting the path to freedom and a lifetime of healing, hope, and happiness.”
6. The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations for Codependents | 2009 | Melodie Beattie | 402 Pages
Another book by the same author, The Language of Letting Go, has been a staple in the recovery world since its publication in 1990. In this book, the author incorporates her own life experiences and recovery reflections in a daily meditation book. This collection also deals with codependency and how we struggle with it.
“Problems are made to be solved, Melody reminds us, and the best thing we can do is take responsibility for our own pain and self-care. In this daily inspirational book, Melody provides us with a thought to guide us through the day and she encourages us to remember that each day is an opportunity for growth and renewal.”
7. Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America | 2018 |Beth Macy | 385 Pages
Dopesick by Beth Macy is another big seller in America today. A brand new book, Dopesick covers the opioid crisis from its very beginning to current times.
“In this masterful work, Beth Macy takes us into the epicenter of America’s twenty-plus year struggle with opioid addiction. From distressed small communities in Central Appalachia to wealthy suburbs; from disparate cities to once-idyllic farm towns; it’s a heartbreaking trajectory that illustrates how this national crisis has persisted for so long and become so firmly entrenched.”
8. Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions | 2018 | Russel Brand | 260 Pages
Another self-help style book is Freedom from Our Addictions by Russell Brand. This well-known comedian, writer, and actor gives his personal testimony of addiction and recovery, giving real world advice to those entrenched in the same journey.
“With a rare mix of honesty, humor, and compassion, comedian and movie star Russell Brand mines his own wild story and shares the advice and wisdom he has gained through his 14 years of recovery. Brand speaks to those suffering along the full spectrum of addiction – from drugs, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar addictions to addictions to work, stress, bad relationships, digital media, and fame. He believes that the question is not ‘why are you addicted?’ but ‘what pain is your addiction masking? Why are you running – into the wrong job, the wrong life, the wrong person’s arms?'”
9. Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction | 2009 | David Sheff | 352 Pages
Beautiful Boy by David Sheff is a heart-wrenching memoir about his son’s addiction to meth and the impact it had on the entire family. This author does not merely talk of the struggles, but of the hope that can be found in 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 calls—is 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.”
10. Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy | 2014 | David Sheff | 400 Pages
Also by David Sheff, Clean promotes the idea that addiction is a disease and not a moral failing. This book is a guide for those struggling with addiction but also works to create awareness for the overall goal of combating addiction in America and incorporating treatment that is effective.
“The existing addiction treatments, including Twelve Step programs and rehabs, have helped some, but they have failed to help many more. To discover why, David Sheff spent time with scores of scientists, doctors, counselors, and addicts and their families, and explored the latest research in psychology, neuroscience, and medicine. In Clean, he reveals how addiction really works, and how we can combat it.”
11. Save Me from Myself: How I Found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs, and Lived to Tell My Story | 2008 | Brian Head | 240 Pages
Brian “Head” Welch’s book Save Me from Myself is an honest recounting of this out-of-control musician’s struggle through addiction and recovery. Welch credits his faith in God for saving him from his destructive lifestyle.
“Discussing the chaotic end to his time in Korn and how his newfound faith has influenced his relationship with his daughter, his life, and his music, Head describes the challenging but rewarding events of the last two years, exposing the truth about how his moments of doubt and his hardships have only deepened his faith.”
12. Drop the Rock: Removing Character Defects – Steps Six and Seven | 2005 | Multiple Authors | 132 Pages
In this self-help book, Drop the Rock is a guide to adjusting character defects that keep many from recovering. Written by authors Bill P., Todd W., and Sara S., this 2005 book speaks in detail of applying the 12-steps to our lives of recovery.
“Resentment. Fear. Self-Pity. Intolerance. Anger. As Bill P. explains, these are the rocks that can sink recovery–or at the least, block further progress. Based on the principles behind Steps Six and Seven, Drop the Rock combines personal stories, practical advice, and powerful insights to help readers move forward in recovery.”
13. Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps | 2011 | Richard Rohr | 176 Pages
Richard Rohr connects the idea of surrender to God with healing from addiction in Breathing Under Water. Based on the 12-steps, this book addresses the brokenness people feel in all different areas of life.
“When we learn to identify our addiction, embrace our brokenness, and surrender to God, we begin to bring healing to ourselves and our world. In Breathing Under Water, Richard Rohr shows how the gospel principles in the Twelve Steps can free anyone from any addiction—from an obvious dependence on alcohol or drugs to the more common but less visible addiction that we all have to sin.”
14. Rewired: A Bold New Approach To Addiction and Recovery | 2015 | Erica Spiegelman | 144 Pages
Written by Erica Spiegelman, Rewired is described as a breakthrough approach to fighting addiction. Incorporating the concept of self-actualization, this book encourages the reader to look within themselves for the power for healing.
“Rewired addresses the whole self; just as addiction affects every part of one’s life, so too must its treatment. By helping us to build a healthy space to support our own recovery, we can rewrite the negative behaviors that result in addiction. Usable in conjunction with or in place of 12-step programs, Rewired allows for a more holistic approach, helping to create a personalized treatment plan that is right for you.”
15. Impaired: A Nurse’s Story of Addiction and Recovery | 2009 | Patricia Holloran
This book was written by a nurse named Patricia Holloran who found herself in the midst of the prescription opioid crisis. Caught for stealing narcotics from the hospital where she worked to feed her addiction, this author wrote this book to provide inspiration to all those who have unintentionally earned for themselves the label “addict.”
“Putting a face on addiction and recovery, and the taboo subject of healthcare worker abuse, Impaired takes readers on Holloran’s journey to fight for her sobriety, her nursing license, her marriage, and ultimately, to help other nurses and healthcare workers who suffer from addiction.”
16. Integral Recovery: A Revolutionary Approach to the Treatment of Alcoholism and Addiction | 2013 | John Dupuy | 312 Pages
Written by John Dupuy, Integral Recovery works to modernize drug and alcohol treatment using the latest research, techniques, and information. Promoting a holistic recovery, this author provides an informative and researched-based book about why treatment works.
“In addition to providing an illuminating and inspiring map to the path of recovery, Integral Recovery teaches life-changing practices that initiate the addict on a journey of healing, transformation, and awakening, offering the possibility of a lifetime of health, joy, and sobriety.”
17. Alcohol Lied to Me: The Intelligent Way to Escape Alcohol Addiction | 2012 | Craig Beck | 216 Pages
Craig Beck writes about his own journey to sobriety in Alcohol Lied to Me. This successful businessman spent 20 years being controlled by his problem drinking, even after trying countless methods to stop. Beck finally discovered his own successful method and promotes it in this book.
“Slowly Beck discovered the truth about alcohol addiction & one by one all the lies he had previously believed started to fall apart. For the first time, he noticed that he genuinely didn’t want to drink anymore. In this book, he will lead you through the same amazing process. The Craig Beck method is unique… – No need to declare yourself an alcoholic. – A permanent cure, not a lifetime struggle. – No group meetings or expensive rehab. – No humiliation, no pain and 100% no ‘willpower’ required. – Treats the source of the problem, not the symptoms.”
18. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction | 2010 | Gabor Mate | 520 Pages
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts was written by Gabor Mate and is based on his experience working as a physician of addicted individuals. This author described addiction as a complex interplay between a person’s history, development, chemistry, and the drugs the person uses.
“Simplifying a wide array of brain and addiction research findings from around the globe, the book avoids glib self-help remedies, instead it promotes a thorough and compassionate self-understanding as the first key to healing and wellness. The mix of personal stories—including the author’s candid discussion of his own ‘high-status’ addictive tendencies—and science with positive solutions makes the book equally useful for lay readers and professionals.”
19. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are | 2010 | Brené Brown | 160 Pages
The Gifts of Imperfection, written by Brené Brown, is a motivational guide to finding one’s true self in order to achieve true beauty. By cultivating feelings of self-worth, this author promotes whole-person wellness and personal growth.
“With original research and plenty of encouragement, Brown explores the psychology of releasing our definitions of an imperfect life and embracing living authentically. Brown’s ten guideposts are benchmarks for authenticity that can help anyone establish a practice for a life of honest beauty—a perfectly imperfect life.”
20. Recovery from Trauma, Addiction, or Both: Strategies for Finding Your Best Self | 2017 | Lisa Najavits | 277 Pages
In Recovery from Trauma, Addiction, or Both, author Lisa Najavits focuses on the impact of past trauma on a person’s current addiction. This inspirational book gives real-life examples of how to build coping methods skills and set realistic goals for a healthy life.
“In this motivating book, leading expert Lisa Najavits explains the link between trauma and addiction and presents science-based self-help strategies that you can use no matter where you are in your recovery. Every chapter features inspiring words from people who have ‘been there,’ plus carefully designed reflection questions, exercises, and other practical tools.”