Addiction is a complex disease that can impact an individual, as well as their family and loved ones. Overcoming addiction is a long and difficult process, so it can help to have some extra perspective on the topic. Whether you’re looking for information on the science of addiction or personal stories of triumph over it, there’s something for you on this list.
1. Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy
A myth-shattering look at drug abuse and addiction treatment, based on cutting-edge research. Addiction is a preventable, treatable disease, not a moral failing. As with other illnesses, the approaches most likely to work are based on science — not on faith, tradition, contrition, or wishful thinking. These facts are the foundation of Clean. 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.
2. The Science of Addiction: From Neurobiology to Treatment (2nd edition)
Over the past 10 years, neurobiologic and genetic research has provided an increased understanding of what causes drug addiction in the brain’s reward pathway. Knowing this leads to a better understanding of how it may be treated and even reversed in those who successfully overcome the disease. This is especially true with addiction’s possible precursors of mild to moderate substance use disorders.
These latter disorders can usually be treated more easily by less intensive models of “treatment” that do not require actual brain chemistry re-regulation over time. In this new edition, there are updated scientific references to support addiction as a medical brain disease, using the prevailing neurobiology, genetics, and psychological scientific literature.
Here, readers will find a fully-updated glossary of terms, additional abbreviations, and updated appendices. These will aid in clarifying the somewhat lengthy and science-based upgrades in our knowledge of neuroscience and genetics research that are so critical in understanding why addiction is such a serious and tough-to-treat disease. Erickson keeps the science understandable yet comprehensive―appropriate for health professionals as well as lay readers who need and want this critical information.
3. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction
Based on Gabor Maté’s two decades of experience as a medical doctor and his groundbreaking work with the severely addicted on Vancouver’s 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 (and perhaps underpins) 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 (and behaviors) 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 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.
4. Nothing Good Can Come from This: Essays
Overview: When Kristi stopped drinking, she started noticing things. Like when you give up a debilitating habit, it leaves a space, one that can’t easily be filled by mocktails or ice cream or sex or crafting. And when you cancel Rosé Season for yourself, you’re left with just Summer, and that’s when you notice that the women around you are tanked—that alcohol is the oil in the motors that keeps them purring when they could be making other kinds of noise.
In her sharp, incisive debut essay collection, Coulter reveals a portrait of a life in transition. By turns hilarious and heartrending, Nothing Good Can Come from This introduces a fierce new voice to fans of Sloane Crosley, David Sedaris, and Cheryl Strayed—perfect for anyone who has ever stood in the middle of a so-called perfect life and looked for an escape hatch.
5. 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, porn, 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 addict’s “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 Szalavitz’s 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.
6. Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction
What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong? Those are the wrenching questions that haunted David Sheff’s journey through his son Nic’s 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 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.
7. Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic
In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of the community. Now, opioid addiction has devastated Portsmouth, as it has hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across America–addiction like no other the country has ever faced. How that happened is the riveting story of Dreamland.
With a great reporter’s narrative skill and the storytelling ability of a novelist, acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of capitalism run amok whose unintentional collision has been catastrophic. The unfettered prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue Pharma’s campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive–extremely addictive–miracle painkiller. Introducing a memorable cast of characters–pharma pioneers, young Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics investigators, survivors, and parents–Quinones shows how these tales fit together. Dreamland is a revelatory account of the corrosive threat facing America and its heartland.
8. Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions
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 fourteen years of recovery. Brand speaks to those suffering along the full spectrum of addiction―from drugs, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar addictions to addictions to digital media, work, stress, bad relationships, and fame. Brand understands that addiction can take many shapes and sizes and how the process of staying clean, sane, and unhooked is a daily activity. 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?”
Russell has been in all the twelve-step fellowships going, he’s started his own men’s group, he’s a therapy regular and a practiced yogi―and while he’s worked on this material as part of his comedy and previous bestsellers, he’s never before shared the tools that really took him out of it, that keep him clean and clear. Here he provides not only a recovery plan, but an attempt to make sense of the ailing world.
9. I Love You, More: Short Stories of Addiction, Recovery, and Loss From the Family’s 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 bachelor’s degree in psychology, is a Certified Addictions Professional, and is currently earning his Master’s degree in the field of Leadership. He currently works in the field of substance abuse treatment as an Interventionist and Recovery/Family Coach. Blake’s 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.
10. Addicted to the Monkey Mind: Change the Programming That Sabotages Your Life
In his book, J.F. Benoist—a visionary thought leader in the fields of addiction treatment and personal development—uses the journeys of two relatable characters to teach you how to develop a powerful new mindset and finally break the pattern of negative self-talk.
Addicted to the Monkey Mind offers a toolbox of practical skills to shift self-sabotaging, programmed ways of thinking and learn actionable steps to:
- Overcome addiction & debilitating habits
- Resolve relationship issues
- Replace burnout with passion
- Sustain an abiding joy
11. The Addiction Recovery Workbook: Powerful Skills for Preventing Relapse Every Day
Get the tools you need to recover from alcoholism and other forms of addiction, and create an effective relapse prevention plan. This substance abuse workbook equips you with actionable strategies and coping techniques to succeed in recovery when faced with daily challenges, stressors, and triggers.
From navigating intimate relationships to handling high-risk situations and environments, this addiction workbook offers practical tools and hands-on exercises that you can use in your home, work, and personal life.
Develop addiction recovery skills through:
- A comprehensive introduction that helps you understand your addiction and outlines the path to recovery.
- Coping skills to deal with thoughts, emotions, relationships, and high-risk situations and environments.
- Prevention tactics that help you succeed in lifelong recovery by setting new, addiction-free lifestyle habits and routines.
Foster the skills you’ll need to persevere with this addiction recovery workbook as your guide.
12. Alcoholism: How to Deal With an Alcoholic Partner
Did you realize that your partner drinks a little too much and you don’t know how to behave? Does your partner deny this problem and is it always starting arguments at home?
Dealing with an alcoholic partner can be very traumatic and depressing, not only because it causes substantial emotional damage and physical problems: living with an alcohol-dependent partner can make you lose your sense of self.
There luckily are simple and practical things you can do to regain your sense of self without constant struggles and help your partner win their battle against alcoholism. This book is a definitive guide written for partners of individuals who struggle with alcoholism. Sustain your alcoholic loved one (finding solutions through the most effective and sustainable ways possible) without giving up yourself.
In the pages of this practical survival guide, you will discover:
- How to recognize the signs of alcoholism in your loved one
- Alcoholism: is it genetic?
- Depression and alcoholism
- Anxiety and alcoholism
- Effects of alcoholism on the human body
- The couple and alcohol – how alcoholism affects families
- How to deal with a partner in denial
- To stay or to leave your alcoholic partner?
- Strategies to cope with an alcoholic and how to help them find sobriety
- Alcohol Rehabilitation Center; what to expect?
- How to rebuild strength after a relapse
13. Mastering the Addicted Brain: Building a Sane and Meaningful Life to Stay Clean
As most drug and alcohol addicts eventually realize, good intentions alone aren’t enough to break destructive habits. However, addiction can be managed once its true nature is understood. This simple yet profound guidebook takes you step-by-step through the process of building a life after addiction by adopting new behaviors that create lasting change.
An internationally renowned psychiatrist, neurologist, and addiction specialist, Dr. Walter Ling has worked with thousands of addicts, their loved ones, and fellow clinicians. His no-nonsense, no-judgment approach, which he calls the “neuroscience of common sense,” advocates holistic methods to prevent relapse and establish new patterns to create a sustainable, meaningful life.
14. Refuge Recovery: A Buddhist Path to Recovering From Addiction
Bestselling author and renowned Buddhist teacher Noah Levine adapts the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths and Eight Fold Path into a proven and systematic approach to recovery from alcohol and drug addiction—an indispensable alternative to the 12-step program.
While many desperately need the help of the 12-step recovery program, the traditional AA model’s focus on an external higher power can alienate people who don’t connect with its religious tenets. Refuge Recovery is a systematic method based on Buddhist principles, which integrates scientific, non-theistic, and psychological insight.
Viewing addiction as cravings in the mind and body, Levine shows how a path of meditative awareness can alleviate those desires and ease suffering. Refuge Recovery includes daily meditation practices, written investigations that explore the causes and conditions of our addictions, and advice and inspiration for finding or creating a community to help you heal and awaken.
Practical yet compassionate, Levine’s successful Refuge Recovery system is designed for anyone interested in a non-theistic approach to recovery and requires no previous experience or knowledge of Buddhism or meditation.
15. My Fair Junkie: A Memoir of Getting Dirty and Staying Clean
In her debut memoir, Amy Desner describes her twenty-year struggle with sex, drugs, and alcohol addictions. She grew up privileged, with access to comfort, support, and money, but as a young woman she started experimenting with meth and subsequently developed a full-blown addiction. In her unique situation with money to fall back on, she was able to downplay the seriousness of her disease until a violent outbreak in 2011.
After attacking her husband, she wound up broke, divorced, in a psych ward, and ultimately, with 240 hours of court-ordered community service. This shameless, darkly humorous memoir is all about Dresner’s journey from rock bottom to sobriety and fulfillment – with many points of progress and regression in between.
16. Drinking: A Love Story
Of the fifteen million Americans who annually struggle with alcoholism, five million are women. Like author Caroline Knapp, many of their addictions start in their early teenage years when they begin using alcohol as a numbing agent to avoid difficult emotions. In this book, Knapp talks not only about addiction and her twenty-year affair with alcohol, but also discusses how to cope with life and all its painful, beautiful complexities. She provides insights into secrecy, family myths, and destructive relationships, all of which go hand in hand with problematic drinking.
17. Girl Walks Out of a Bar: A Memoir
In this painfully honest memoir, Lisa Smith details her formative years when she learned to rely on alcohol and drugs. Decades and a divorce later, her road to recovery began. She also covers her history of depression and how she used substances to self-medicate, at least until things spiraled out of control. Readers can consider this book a “candid portrait of alcoholism through the lens of gritty New York realism,” where beneath a facade of cool, calm success, there may lie a darker reality of addiction.
18. How to Murder Your Life: A Memoir
New York Times bestseller Cat Marnell sets a vivid scene in How to Murder Your Life. This memoir begins at a posh New England prep school with a prescription for Ritalin to manage ADHD symptoms. It follows Marnell’s amphetamine-fueled rise to big city success – from intern to editor – and the chaotic fight between ambition and addiction. New York Times Book Review says Marnell successfully captures what it is like to live in the wild, often sinister of a young female addict, “doctor shopper,” and hallucination-prone insomniac who can’t say “no.”
19. Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself
Sometimes, problems with addiction and alcoholism can stem from other, deeper problems, including depression, burnout, codependency, or anxiety. And where do those issues come from? Well, the answer is complex, but one likely culprit is an inability to set boundaries or say “no.” In this book, licensed counselor and relationship expert Nedra Glover Tawwab explains how we can successfully express our needs and be assertive without burning bridges.
This guide from Tawwab demystifies the complexities of setting healthy boundaries in a highly relatable way. She presents simple ways to say “no” in all areas of your life. Her methods are rooted in research and best practices used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Start unraveling the issues that could be contributing to substance use disorder.