The art of reading is in great part that of acquiring a better understanding of life from one’s encounter with it in a book.~André Maurois
Reading is an extremely beneficial habit for all who want to invest in their personal growth, but for those who are recovering from addictions, reading can be an even more important part of the healing and sobriety process. There is a wealth of knowledge and encouragement out there – books written by professional counselors and addiction experts, books written by those who have overcome addiction themselves, books written by those whose family members struggled with addiction, and more.
The pandemic that has defined much of 2020 and is continuing into 2021 has left many people in isolation. Many people who would ordinarily be spending time at social gatherings or seeing family and friends are finding themselves with more time on their hands than they know what to do with, or finding themselves alone. Spending large portions of time isolated from others is not healthy for those in recovery (or for anyone, for that matter). We all need community, even if it is just achieved by connecting with others virtually. However, solitude isn’t entirely negative, especially if used wisely.
Reading can be a way to use some of that solitude for a powerful purpose. Diving into other people’s stories about their own addiction and recovery journeys can help people recovering from addictions feel less alone, and even identify some of their own thoughts and feelings and struggles more accurately. Learning about different coping strategies and getting advice from professionals can help people recovering from addictions see their journey in new ways and resolve to stay sober.
If you are in recovery and are looking for books to keep you occupied and to grow you this year, here are our 7 book recommendations for recovery.
Our Top 7 Book Recommendations for Recovery
Codependent No More: How To Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melodie Beattie
This pick is the #1 best seller on Amazon in the substance abuse category, and is featured on nearly all of the other blogs you will find about recommended reading for recovery.
If, like many struggling with addiction, you have put someone else’s needs and well-being above your own, or you are constantly doing that in your relationships, you may be codependent. One of America’s most inspirational authors unpacks what codependency is and how to navigate the journey to freedom, healing, and happiness. The book is a mix of her personal life stories and reflections as well as exercises and tests for the reader.
The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison
This pick is an extremely relevant one for this year. An Editor’s Pick, The Recovering deals with issues such as race and class (which have been hot button topics in 2020) in its discussion of recovery on a personal, societal, and historical level. Many books on lists like these focus on the addiction story – this book focuses on the recovery part of the narrative, and shows that it can be just as interesting and electrifying as the addiction stories
The Last Addiction: Own Your Desire, Live Beyond Recovery, Find Lasting Freedom by Sharon A. Hersh, MA, LPC
Sharon Hersh is a licensed professional counselor, the director of Women’s Recovery & Renewal (a ministry for struggling women), an adjunct professor at several higher education institutions, and the author of several books. In The Last Addiction, she explores the idea that everyone suffers from the same condition and explains why we are addiction-prone.
Rather than being like the other books on this list, that are either memoirs or self-help resources, this book is about the reality that we are all worse off than we believe, and we need more than ourselves to be saved from addiction. Sharon Hersh gets to the heart of our collective addiction problems and presents the answer that is a beautiful path to redemption, healing, and freedom that we could never attain on our own.
Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff
At the Better Tomorrow Treatment Center, we involve the whole family in the addiction and recovery journey when possible. That’s why this book is one of our top picks: it’s about family, and how our deepest hurts and deepest healings can come from the same place. It chronicles the story of a father whose son becomes addicted to crystal meth, and his journey to save his son’s life and restore their family. This book was also recently made into a major motion picture starring Steve Carell, Timothee Chalamet, and Amy Ryan. One review described the book as a “brilliant, harrowing, heartbreaking, fascinating story, full of beautiful moments and hard-won wisdom.”
Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
Cited by many avid readers as their personal favorite on this list, this memoir from Caroline Knapp is an extraordinarily honest look at how people abuse alcohol to cope with life, sharing her journey from when she started drinking as a teen to when she finally found freedom from her love affair with alcohol. One-third of the number of Americans each year that are plagued with alcoholism are women, so this eloquent and moving story will appeal to many female readers in recovery.
Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedes
Rock fans may appreciate this book the most on this list – written by the frontman of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Scar Tissue recounts Anthony Kiedes’s life story and the price he paid for fame – a destructive addiction to heroin that led him down a dark path. This book is in our top picks because readers have pointed out how the author doesn’t glorify addiction like the celebrity world sometimes tends to do, but rather is honest about the devastating effects it had on his life.
A Happier Hour by Rebecca Weller
Rebecca Walker knew her dysfunctional relationship with alcohol had to stop, but she had enjoyed social drinking for decades, and was terrified of stopping. This book, rather than giving transformational advice, is more about her realization that it is possible to live a joyful existence and celebrate life’s best moments without alcohol. If you are in recovery and struggling with the social pressure that comes with consumption around the holidays (or all the time), this may be for you!
Are you struggling with addiction and recovery? Have a friend or family member who is struggling with addiction and recovery? Books are helpful, but they are not the entire solution. Call Better Tomorrow Treatment Center today to get more resources, seek treatment, and break free from addiction forever!