I'm often asked if there are books that I recommend about addiction/recovery. My guess is, the people that are asking are a LOT like me!
When I have a big problem I need to solve, I start researching. I will nerd out when left to my own devices. Not only will I read every book I can find on the subject, but I also read every book that is recommended by every author that I like. I want to know what they've read, so I can understand what they understand.
I use to get so excited. I was always going on and on about whatever book I was reading, and recommending them to my staff. I realized that I was driving everyone in the office crazy, so I've reigned it back about 50 degrees. 😄
Confession: I feel like I'm not honest when I say "I read a book" because I usually listen to books on audible (amazon's version of books on tape). It's like Netflix for audio books. I'm a huge fan. I listen while I'm walking in the neighborhood. I listen in the car. Heck, I even listen in the shower. Here's a link to Amazon's Audible in case you want to try it out. I hope you love it as much as I do! https://amzn.to/329nZ4G (affiliate link)
***books on recovery are a great way to get in your recovery when you've got a busy schedule.
Okay, finally...Here's my (current) list of FAVORITE books about addiction/recovery. I've tried to compile a list of books from different perspectives. In this list, we have books from a journalist, a physician, a comedian, a housewife, and a novel.
#1: Chasing The Scream: The first and last days of the war on drugs
The reason this one is my favorite is that it completely changed my thinking about how we legally and politically handle addiction in this country. It was a total GAME CHANGER for me. I almost felt like I was questioning my recovery religion😲. In this book, Johann Hari goes in-depth about the war on drugs, how it's impacting addiction, and how it goes against all the scientific research we have. This book will completely change your mind about the way we deal with addiction. Here's a link to it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/329pcsK (affiliate link) #2: The next book on my list was referenced in Chasing The Scream. It's a book called, In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate.
Gabor Mate is a physician and addiction researcher. He's responsible for some of the most revolutionary ideas in the field of addiction and recovery.
His theories about what causes addiction are completely different from what you've previously been taught.
This book is a beautiful combination of science and story.
Here's a link to it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2IQvKFc (affiliate link)
I'm currently working on a new YouTube series about attachment and addiction, which is connected to the work of Doctor Mate. Keep your eye out for it!
#3: Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions, written by Russell Brand, has a very different feel than the other two books.
In case you don't already know, Russell Brand is a Brittish comedian who's also in recovery.
This book is like a mixture of poetry, philosophy, profanity, and sarcasm. I think this book is better on audible because Russell narrates it.
Listening to him read this book in his thick accent and sarcastic tone makes it all the better!
Here's a link to it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2q6Wn1T (affiliate link)
I'll admit, the three books above are pretty heavy, so this next one has a little different tone.
#4: Diary of an Alcoholic House Wife by Brenda Wilhelmson.
This book was recommended to me several years ago by one of my clients. I especially enjoyed this book because I think it does a great job of tearing down our stereotypes about alcoholism. The author, Brenda Wilhelmson, talks about her battle with alcoholism as a suburban housewife.
She does a marvelous job of sharing about the inner thoughts of alcoholics as it progresses (the hiding, the denial, and the shame).
Here's a link to it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/32d47gV (affiliate link)
#5: If your the kind of person that loves a good novel, then The Good House by Ann Leary is the book for you.
This is a great read and does an excellent job of describing functional alcoholism. Getting inside the private thoughts of an alcoholic will help you understand the process of how people come out of denial and into recovery.
This is another one that I particularly enjoyed on Audible.
It's perfect for a road trip.
Here's a link to it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MCkKMx (affiliate link)
Of course, there are lots more books on addiction that I like, but that should keep you busy for a while. If you'd like to see a more comprehensive list, check out our recommended readings page.
In case that doesn't completely satisfy your inner RECOVERY NERD, here's a link to a video you may enjoy.
Why 12-Step Meetings Don't Work When Forced
P.S. Next time I'm going to give you my list of favorite books for family members.