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28 Empowering Books About Addiction And Recovery

A catalogue of inspirational stories of strong will, challenges and crises. These stories will be one of the most powerful ones you’ll ever read.

You can only properly understand addiction if you’ve experienced it. That’s why we’ve chosen 28 stories about 28 addicts who are relatable, inspirational and whose stories were not a total breeze.
It’s a long journey, but why not start it here, with this article? Read our descriptions of each book, see which story you resonate with the most. It’s a massive step to take, but the only person who can take it is you.

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#1 Recover by Stanton Peele

Recover by Stanton Peele
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Bart Wolbers from Alexfergus.

All theoretical debates about addiction aside – such as whether addiction is a disease or involves a volitional component – practical tips to beat addiction can help almost anyone. Spending lots of time with fellow addicts, for instance, is very dangerous and increases your risk for relapse. And yet, the 12 steps program regularly approach the approach of spending time with fellow (ex) addicts.

Additionally, merely seeing addiction as a disease that is incurable and only manageable may also set you up for long-term failure because you’re presupposing you’re helpless in face of temptation.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#2 When Food Is Your Drug by Kristin Jones

When Food Is Your Drug by Kristin Jones
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Bart Wolbers from Alexfergus.

The relationship most human beings have towards food needs to re-framed: food is a nutrient that keeps you alive but can be abused just like alcohol, cocaine, gambling, or computer gaming. In fact, food may be one of the most frequently abused drugs nowadays that sets you up for long-term health problems.

The obesity that is paired with emotional eating or food addiction, for instance, is frequently just as destructive as the liver problems caused by excessive drinking, or lung problems such as COPD due to smoking cigarettes. The using food as a drug problem is not merely caused by consumers–food companies play a major role as well because they create so-called hyperpalatable foods that are maximally pleasuring to your brain, creating an urge to consume food even in spite of regular hunger.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#3 Unbroken Brain by Maia Szalavitz

Unbroken Brain by Maia Szalavitz
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Bart Wolbers from Alexfergus.

One more reason to believe that addiction is neither a disease nor a completely voluntary choice: addiction has lots in common with learned behavior. Specifically, addiction very frequently develops as a coping strategy when your life doesn’t really go the way you intended or planned. Hence, in other words, addiction is in some sense very rational because it is a way out of circumstances that don’t really feel good. Everyone can get addicted in certain life circumstances, in fact, and everyone can also unlearn addiction. The bright spot is that there’s thus no such thing as an addictive personality.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#4 The Biology of Desire by Mark Lewis

The Biology of Desire by Mark Lewis
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Bart Wolbers from Alexfergus.

The strongest counterargument against the addiction is a disease model is that the widespread belief in addiction as a disease has kept many people relapsing on their earlier intentions. Lewis claims in this book that in addiction, the pursuit of short-term pleasurable (or rather: powerful) experiences takes precedence over choices that are long-term optimal.

Every single day, an addict may assume that gaming now or drinking now or gambling now is justified, because of the short-term perspective, even though the same addict knows very well that such behavior applied consistently over time is very destructive.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#5 I Love You – But Not Your Addiction by Nan Reynolds LMSW

I Love You - But Not Your Addiction by Nan Reynolds LMSW
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Bart Wolbers from Alexfergus.

Addiction cannot be understood as a phenomenon that affects an aggregate of isolated individuals. Instead, addiction has almost always consequences for the community as a whole, whether that’s your immediate family, your living community, colleagues at the workplace, or the city or nation as a whole. Addiction is precisely so destructive because it doesn’t merely affect the addict. If you’re drunk driving, someone else is going to be affected. If you’re gambling, your children might be unable to pay for college in 10 years time.

Hence, a guide on how to balance the love for your close ones together with the painful reality of addiction can be a godsend. This guide is not for addicts per se, but for the close ones of an addict – whether that’s a family member or colleague.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#6 The Sadder Side of Addiction by Rochelle Bourn Guidry

The Sadder Side of Addiction by Rochelle Bourn Guidry
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Rochelle Guidry from N/A.

This book suggestion is a book of poetry. This was written while married to an addict. It is for anyone who is an addict or living, dealing or knows one. The Sadder Side of Addiction, Will lead to the happier side of life byRochelle Bourn Guidry

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#7 Searching for God in the Garbage

Searching for God in the Garbage
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Bracha Goetz from Spiritual Books.

How did this Harvard grad overcome addictions? The same way you can fill your inner emptiness. By joyfully nourishing your hungry soul with lasting pleasure.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#8 Ceremonial Chemistry by Thomas Szasz

Ceremonial Chemistry by Thomas Szasz
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Colin McDonnell from the Other clinic.

This has been the most influential book I’ve ever read. Thomas Szasz was a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who forever pushed the prodded at the fault-lines of what we knew about the mind.

In this book Szasz traces the role of drugs across various societies. While this may seem a little run-of-the-mill at first it quickly blows open an entirely revolutionary way of looking at drugs and addiction.

There’s lots to take away from his his deeply insightful research. Above all it becomes obvious that addiction is not about chemicals. It’s about society. The clue is in the word ‘a-diction’ itself. Against-diction. Against-speaking. Against-society.

Trust me on this book. It’ll change how you view addiction forever.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#9 Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions by Russell Brand

Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions by Russell Brand
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Adina Mahalli from EnlightenedReality.

Among celebrity Russell Brand’s struggles have been heroin, alcohol, sex, fame, and food. Brand’s approach in this book is “My qualification is not that I am better than you but I am worse.” This book is honest and funny, using Brand’s advice and experience from his fourteen years of recovery. It is understanding the struggles related to addiction as well as the struggles of staying clean. Brand addresses tough questions such as what purpose a person’s addiction is serving, and the book will relate to both addicts and non-addicts alike.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#10 Lost in Ghost Town by Dr. Carder Stout PhD

Lost in Ghost Town by Dr. Carder Stout PhD
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Tracy Minsky from Meryl Moss Media.

LOST IN GHOST TOWN: A Memoir of Addiction, Redemption and Hope in Unlikely Places isn’t just Carder Stout’s story. It’s a raw look at the power of self-medicating, addiction, and hope in the unlikeliest places against the painful backdrop of the substance abuse epidemic currently consuming America and the continued escalation of racial tension in its urban centers.

Now sober for more than fourteen years and free of his gang-days, Carder’s memoir leaves no stone unturned in the making of a man who Hollywood relies on to keep their sanity. From a youth of abandonment and loneliness to the contract the Shoreline Crips put on his life, Carder delves deep into the streets of Ghost Town, and the family who saved him from his own murder.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#11 Childhood Abuse, Body Shame, and Addictive Plastic Surgery by Mark B. Constantian

Childhood Abuse, Body Shame, and Addictive Plastic Surgery by Mark B. Constantian
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Tracy Minsky from Meryl Moss Media.

Body image expert and world-renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Mark B. Constantian has emotionally invested in his patients who demand repeated plastic surgery they do not need. These patients have an unrealistic preoccupation with the body or its parts -Body Dysmorphic Disorder. In these patients, BDD, when researched, is typically deeply rooted from a huge childhood trauma and/or neglect, including abuse and creating toxic shame.

Body image and demanding unneeded surgeries (even excessive tattoos, piercings) as in many addictions, becomes a temporary pleasure mechanism for a patient to fill a void to feel more perfect, loved, accepted, able to fit-in, validated, appreciated and valued. They do not fix the deeper-psychological issues. Dr. Constantian has done meta-analysis on this topic and has been studying this for decades – and hopes the book educates so that childhood becomes a regular part of every patient’s history, and so that patients with body image disorders will get the right treatment instead of having more operations.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#12 I Married A Junkie by Dr. Cali Estes

I Married A Junkie by Dr. Cali Estes
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Cali Estes from TheAddictionsCoach.

In a world where we are bombarded with drugs and the focus is on our ‘kids’ overdosing, what happens if your spouse is using drugs and flatlines? What happens if you are an addictions therapist and clinical counselor helping others get off of drugs and your husband falls into the death spiral of heroin addiction? Read a compelling and unique story of how Dr. Cali Estes (known as the female Dr Drew) and her husband battled his addiction, and won, together. I Married a Junkie will make you laugh, cry and sit on the edge of your seat as you read it.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#13 A Piece of Cake: A Memoir by Cupcake Brown

A Piece of Cake: A Memoir by Cupcake Brown
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Nahamani Yisrael from Nahamani.

The reason I am recommending this book is reading about her journey into a life of drugs and her descriptive narrative about her recovery from drug addiction gave me the courage I needed to stop using drugs. Prior to reading this memoire of the author’s life I had been using marijuana for 38 of my 37 years of life (including conception and inuteral). Her tale of detoxing from hard drugs including cocaine showed me that my own recovery was possible. Many don’t think that you get dope sick when you stop using marijuana, but if you have used every day for over 20 years you do. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat or handle the overwhelming wave of emotions, which I had numbed for decades. For anyone who is wanting to learn about the horrors of addiction without actually ruining their life, body and relationships should read this book.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#14 Bringing Yoga to Life by Donna Farhi

Bringing Yoga to Life by Donna Farhi
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Hope Zvara from HopeZvara.

This was my first book I read as I began my journey into recovery. I had been practicing yoga and already knew yoga was going to play a huge role in my quest to fully recovery from an eating disorder. This book opened my eyes to feeling, forgiving and allowing myself (for the first time) to embrace self expression. All the other books were directly talking to addiction. But Donna, she spoke softly to the person inside me that I knew had a deep desire to be free. Instead of reminding me I was an addict, she reminded me of what it was like to be me. his book opened me up to the right next steps and how mindful practices like yoga are a must when stepping into recovery.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#15 Let Go of Emotional Overeating and Love Your Food: A Five-Point Plan for Success by Arlene B. Englander

Let Go of Emotional Overeating and Love Your Food: A Five-Point Plan for Success by Arlene B. Englander
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Arlene B. Englander from ArleneB.Englander.

“Let Go of Emotional Overeating and Love Your Food: A Five Point Plan for Success” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) is for anyone who wishes they could eat what they like (within the 80-90% healthy foods/10-20% fun foods ratio advised by most evolved nutritionists today), savor it, and stop just at the point of satisfaction without overeating. Readers learn how to become aware of the difference between eating in a healthy way and eating emotionally – neither to satisfy hunger, nor for enjoyment, but in a desperate attempt to distract oneself from painful thoughts and feelings. Proven techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindful Eating are presented in an innovative, easy to remember way.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#16 Rewired: A Bold New Approach To Addiction and Recovery by Erica Spiegelman

Rewired: A Bold New Approach To Addiction and Recovery by Erica Spiegelman
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Shawn Lockery from NemaMetrix Inc.

This book is a revolutionary new approach to addiction recovery from an addiction specialist Erica Spiegelman. This book is an entirely new breakthrough approach to fighting addiction by acknowledging personal power to bring ourselves from the brink.

I personally feel that “A Bold New Approach To Addiction and Recovery” is a book for almost everyone at any age. This book gives you the exact strategy for success in life by generously guiding you with all the ways needed to thrive.

The author Erica Spiegelman provides a practical approach to addiction recovery, focusing on the recovery of the body, mind as well as a spirit through focal points such as managing time, self-care and gratitude. This book provides the reader with a strong foundation of recovery philosophies, both wisdom and clinical based knowledge of addiction.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#17 Highlight Real by Emily Lynn Paulson

Highlight Real by Emily Lynn Paulson
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Joelle Speranza from Smith Publicity.

Highlight Real: Finding Honesty & Recovery Behind the Filtered Life (Light Hustle Publishing) is the true story of what happens when Emily Lynn Paulson —a so-called perfect mother and businesswoman­—is forced to find reckoning with her past and build a future based on the authenticity she has always sought. Searingly honest, heartbreaking and packed with uncountable did-she-actually-just-say-that moments, Highlight Real is a memoir of healing as well as a fully modern look at what happens when the filters fall off and real life emerges into the light.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#18 Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood

Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Nikki Webster from Brit on the Move.

It’s about addiction to love or rather that sensation we all experience early on.

All young women are conditioned from an early age that love is going to be a cinderella like an experience – a prince awaits. The reality is that life does not work this way and relationships are complicated – they require work.

While primal attraction creates the start of most relationships, the adrenaline that comes with it is dangerous and can cloud real feelings. In the first few months, people are high on dopamine and some people become addicted to it and it’s consequences.

This book explores why women are addicted to the wrong men and consistently find themselves in the same relationship over and over again. The roots of these patterns are explored and the book challenges the dopamine triggered feelings and learned patterns that some are addicted to vs. the monotony of normal relationships.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#19 Recovering From Reality by Alexis Haines

Recovering From Reality by Alexis Haines
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Alexis Haines from Recovering From Reality.

As the star of the E! Reality seriesPretty Wild, Alexis appeared to be living the glamorous life. In reality, she was battling depression, drug addiction and trauma. Her firsthand experience with sexual assault and substance abuse, combined with the explosive effects of social media storytelling, ignited a desire in her to eradicate shame around our greatest struggles. In Recovering from Reality, Alexis shares how she learned to turn embarrassment into empowerment, using her public meltdown as an opportunity to pull back the covers on the misogyny and abuse that fuels so much of popular culture.

With profound insight, Alexis shows how women can stand up and heal from the institutionalized and systemic trauma that keeps them from recognizing how powerful they truly are. From panhandling drugs on the streets to partying with some of the biggest rock stars in the world (often on the same day), Alexis’ life was more than just pretty wild; it was nearly fatal. After facing up to six years in the correctional system due to her burglary conviction, Alexis got sober at the age of 19 and began to build the extraordinary life she lives today. Recovering From Reality documents her journey, tells the true story behind the “Bling Ring” and explains why her involvement became a defining moment in her life.

In this gripping memoir, Alexis shares what it’s like to go from hot mess to hot mom, showing how we all have the power to change the world, and to find our true passion and meaning through some of our most shameful experiences. Inspired by her public journey from reality TV meme to sobriety, motherhood and wellness, Alexis is living proof that you can heal yourself -if you’re willing to recover from reality.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#20 Emotional Detox for Anxiety by Sherianna Boyle

Emotional Detox for Anxiety by Sherianna Boyle
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Sherianna Boyle from SheriannaBoyle.

Anxiety is when someone is addicted to thinking. Thinking (worrying) becomes a way they learn to manage their emotions. Emotional Detox for Anxiety features the revolutionary C.L.E.A.N.S.E Method,™ a seven step mindful approach to processing your emotions so you can release and heal the worry habit.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#21 Just the Way He Walked by Kathleen Pooler

Just the Way He Walked by Kathleen Pooler
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Kathy Pooler from A Memoir Writer’s Journey.

The book can be purchased on Amazon. This influential memoir breaks the stigma of alcohol addiction and enabling alcoholic behavior while giving hope to parents and caregivers on how to deal with an alcoholic child.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#22 The Cure for Alcoholism by Dr Roy Eskapa

The Cure for Alcoholism by Dr Roy Eskapa
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Katie Lain from Embody Daily.

Simply put, this book forever changed my life. The method illustrated in this book allowed me to overcome my alcohol addiction once and for all, and I’ve seen this be the case for thousands of others over the last few years. This book provides all of the scientific information on how medication assisted treatment can be used to allow a person to truly ‘unlearn’ alcohol addiction and be returned to the state they were in before the addiction ever took place.

This is a great book for people interested in knowing more about how evidence-based methods that are backed by science and medicine are starting to transform the way we view and treat alcohol addiction. “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic” isn’t necessarily a true statement any longer.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#23 When Your Partner Has an Addiction by Christopher Kennedy Lawford

When Your Partner Has an Addiction by Christopher Kennedy Lawford
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Stefanie Lesser from Hope & Love Radio.

When Your Partner Has Addiction provides you with techniques and strategies to help improve your relationship and help get your partner the help he needs, while taking care of yourself in the process. Research presented in this book has shown that the love you have for your partner in recovery can be extremely helpful.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#24 The Year of No Nonsense by Meredith Atwood

The Year of No Nonsense by Meredith Atwood
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Jessica Gore from Moon 40 Marketing.

The Year of No Nonsense is the upcoming book by Meredith Atwood. In this book, Meredith Atwood talks about her biggest brand of NONSENSE: for her, it was alcohol. This revolutionary book is for the woman who is already amazing, but is ready to take herself to the next level on her terms, to rid herself of the Nonsense that is holding her back from her best health, (pursuit of) happiness, and success–finding her true spirit and self.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#25 My Fair Junkie by Amy Dresner

My Fair Junkie by Amy Dresner
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Meredith Atwood from SwimBikeMom.

In the tradition of Blackout and Permanent Midnight, a darkly funny and revealing debut memoir of one woman’s twenty-year battle with sex, drugs, and alcohol addiction, and what happens when she finally emerges on the other side.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#26 Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp

Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Daniel DeMoss from DumbBellsReview.

The book, a love story, is well-written, honest, and informative. It describes the abusive relationship with alcohol, and leaving alcohol is like breaking up with your love. It says that avoiding alcohol is just like your running from your ex-lover at a restaurant.

The story is entertaining as well as surprisingly insightful that expresses her struggle towards alcohol and self heartedness and pain to make herself perfect for every relation. The book gives an understanding of both phases; an active alcohol user and the one who is recovering from it. In the end, the author remarks, We live in an alcohol-saturated world; it’s simply impossible to avoid the stuff.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#27 High Achiever by Tiffany Jenkins

High Achiever by Tiffany Jenkins
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Usama Mushtaq from Decrum.

A raw and twisty page-turning memoir that reads like fiction, High Achiever spans Tiffany’s life as an active opioid addict, her 120 days in a Florida jail where every officer despised what she’d done to their brother in blue, and her eventual recovery.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#28 The Kill Zone by Justin Zufelt

The Kill Zone by Justin Zufelt
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Justin Zufelt from Operation Onward Miracle.

The Kill Zone: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Combating Pornography, and it is unique because it is written directly to youth to teach them how to navigate the sexualized world that they are living in where pornography is waiting in every pocket and on every screen. I use stories from my experience in the military and law enforcement to show how the same tactics used in physical warfare are used in the battle against pornography addiction. It’s no longer a matter of if kids will see pornography, but when. They need to know what to do when they’re in that situation, and that’s exactly what The Kill Zone teaches.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Contributors to this article
Bart Wolbers from Alexfergus

Rochelle Guidry from N/A

Bracha Goetz from Spiritual Books

Colin McDonnell from the Other clinic

Adina Mahalli from EnlightenedReality

Tracy Minsky from Meryl Moss Media

Cali Estes from TheAddictionsCoach

Nahamani Yisrael from Nahamani

Hope Zvara from HopeZvara

Arlene B. Englander from ArleneB.Englander

Shawn Lockery from NemaMetrix Inc

Joelle Speranza from Smith Publicity

Nikki Webster from Brit on the Move

Alexis Haines from Recovering From Reality

Sherianna Boyle from SheriannaBoyle

Kathy Pooler from A Memoir Writer’s Journey

Katie Lain from Embody Daily

Stefanie Lesser from Hope & Love Radio

Jessica Gore from Moon 40 Marketing

Meredith Atwood from SwimBikeMom

Daniel DeMoss from DumbBellsReview

Usama Mushtaq from Decrum

Justin Zufelt from Operation Onward Miracle

Written by Zak Parker

Journalist, writer, musician, professional procrastinator. I'll add more here later.

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