top of page

Recommended Books about Addiction & Recovery

Understanding the Limits of Print or Broadcast Media for Addiction Treatment

Although books & documentaries/films do offer some important benefits in recovery, they should not be used as a replacement for traditional forms of addiction treatment. Detox, counseling, medications and holistic treatments provide the best foundation for recovery.

If you wish to use these as part of your addiction recovery, they are best incorporated into your aftercare plan for maintaining recovery following appropriate treatment.


The Opioid Fix: America's Addiction Crisis and the Solution They Don't Want You to Have

By Barbara Andraka-Christou

Addiction is a chronic medical condition. Why treat it, then, outside of mainstream medicine? Drawing on more than 100 in-depth interviews with people in recovery, their family members, treatment providers, and policy makers, the author reveals a troubling landscape characterized by underregulated treatment centers and unnecessary ideological battles between twelve-step support groups and medication providers. This book argues that MAT needs to be available to anyone suffering from opioid addiction and focuses on people who have already developed an opioid addiction but are struggling to find effective treatment. The Opioid Fix sounds a loud call for policy reforms that will help put lifesaving drugs into the hands of those who need them the most.


Chasing the Scream: The Opposite of Addiction is Connection

by Johann Hari - The New York Times Bestseller

What if everything you think you know about addiction is wrong? Johann Hari's journey into the heart of the war on drugs led him to ask this question--and to write the book that gave rise to his viral TED talk, and inspired the feature film The United States vs. Billie Holiday and the documentary series The Fix. Realizing he had addiction, he set out and traveled over 30,000 miles over three years to discover what really causes addiction--and what really solves it. Chasing the Scream is the story of a life-changing journey that transformed the addiction debate internationally--and showed the world that the opposite of addiction is connection. 


The Little Book of College Sobriety: Living Happy, Healthy, and FREE

By Susan Packard

Stories from College Students, a Few Graduates, and One Mother. The path to recovery is a trek from self-discovery to action. These stories shed new light on ways to grow and sustain good emotional health. When we tell our stories, we become visible. We find our voices and discover all that’s true about us. As a member of the recovery community, the author has learned there are many reasons we misuse drugs and alcohol. Childhood traumas. Sometimes mental illness is involved. This book is a form of empowerment, to honor those who have pushed through their pain, and found joy and hope-rich recoveries. They are models to show other young adults that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and all you can become. The proceeds from the sale of this book go to ARHE, Association of Recovery in Higher Education.


In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

By Gabor Mate, MD


"While not all addictions are caused by abuse or trauma, I believe they can all be traced back to a painful experience." All addictive behaviors are motivated by a sense of pain. It can be found in gamblers, Internet addicts, compulsive shoppers, and workaholics. The wound may not be as deep, the ache may not be as excruciating, and it may even be completely hidden—but it exists. As we'll see, early stress or negative experiences have a direct impact on both the psychology and neurobiology of addictive behavior in the brain. Dr Gabor Mate advocates for sympathy toward addicts, viewing them as sick people attempting to recover in the best way they know how. The simplicity of this concept makes so much sense, but it is frequently overlooked in everything from AA to drug law.


The Addiction Solution: Treating our Dependence on Opioids and Other Drugs

By Lloyd Sederer, MD

A practical guide to addiction treatment from a psychiatrist and public health doctor, offering practical, proven solutions for individuals, families, and communities dealing with substance use and abuse. It brings together scientific and clinical knowledge, policy suggestions, and case studies to describe our current drug crisis and establish a clear path forward to recovery and health. The author identifies a key insight, often overlooked in writing about addiction and its treatment: namely, that people who use drugs do so to meet specific needs, and that drugs may be the best solution those people currently have. Dr Sederer lays out specific, evidence-based, researched solutions to the prevention and problems of drug use, including exercise, medications, therapy, recovery programs, and community services.


Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous (also known as the Big Book in recovery circles) sets forth cornerstone concepts of recovery from alcoholism and tells the stories of men and women who have overcome the disease. The fourth edition includes twenty-four new stories that provide contemporary sharing for newcomers seeking recovery from alcoholism in A.A. during the early years of the 21st century. Sixteen stories are retained from the third edition, including the "Pioneers of A.A." section, which helps the reader remain linked to A.A.'s historic roots, and shows how early members applied this simple but profound program that helps alcoholics get sober today. It is expected that the new fourth edition will play its part in passing on A.A.'s basic message of recovery.


Courage to Change: One Day at a Time in Al-Anon II

More daily inspiration from a fresh, diverse perspective. Insightful reflections reveal surprisingly simple things that can transform lives.

Codependent No More.jpeg

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself

By Melody Beattie

One of America's best-loved and most inspirational authors holds the framework for understanding codependency and breaking free from its suffocating grip on your life. This book is a must-read for recovering addicts and their families and friends.

Unbroken Brain.jpeg

Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction

By Maia Szalavitz

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. 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. 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 more than 25 years of science and research, this book provides a paradigm-shifting approach to thinking about addiction.


Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction

By David Sheff

David Sheff's What must have happened to my lovely boy? What about our family? What went wrong for me? These were the agonizing questions that haunted David Sheff's voyage through his son Nic's drug addiction and tentative steps toward recovery. This New York Times #1 Best Seller follows a father's journey with a son addicted to crystal meth.


The Big Fix: Hope After Heroin

By Tracey Helton Mitchel

After surviving nearly, a decade of heroin abuse and hard living on the streets of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, Tracey Helton Mitchell decided to get clean for good. With raw honesty and a poignant perspective on life that only comes from starting at rock bottom, The Big Fix tells her story of transformation from homeless heroin addict to stable mother of three—and the hard work and lessons that got her there. Tracey focuses on her journey of recovery and rebuilding her life, while exposing the failings of the American rehab system and laying out a path for change. A decidedly female story of addiction, The Big Fix describes the unique challenges faced by women caught in the grip of substance abuse, such as the toxic connection between drug addiction and prostitution. This book will inspire anyone who has been affected by substance abuse while offering hope for a better future.


I Love You More: Short Stories of Addiction Recovery and Loss From the Family’s Perspective

By Blake Cohen, CAP

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 This book is meant to be an emotional education on the family systems affected by addiction, using three, fictional short stories, all with very different endings. The author is currently in recovery from a substance use disorder himself for multiple years. 

My Fair Junkie .jpeg

My Fair Junkie

By Amy Dresner

My Fair Junkie is an intelligent, darkly funny, and unashamedly honest memoir of one woman's battle with all types of addiction, hitting rock bottom, In the vein of Orange Is the New Black and Jerry Stahl's Endless Midnight, and establishing a path to a worthwhile life.


American Fix: Inside the Opioid Addiction Crisis – and How to End It

By Ryan Hampton

The author is a former White House staffer and opioid addict who is now a national recovery advocate. With American Fix, he provides an inside account of the opioid crisis predicated on firsthand knowledge gained from his own journey of discovery, as well as a call for new, long-term, evidence-based treatment models that have been shown to be much more effective than traditional 28-day model. Overall, the message is uplifting, providing hope for new instructions and treatment options.


Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles

By Gabrielle Bernstein


Before becoming the celebrated teacher and lecturer today, author Gabrielle Bernstein struggled with eating disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, and constant self-doubt and self-loathing. Bernstein walks readers through to the life-changing lessons that molded her spiritual journey in her book Ghost Junkie.


Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors

By Beth Macy

Dopesick pulls together of the author’s decades of research and interviews to highlight why and how doctors, dealers and drug companies conspired (in some cases knowingly) to get large swaths of the American population addicted to painkillers.


Dream Land: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic

By Sam Quinones


From a small town in Mexico to the boardrooms of Big Pharma to main streets nationwide, an explosive and shocking account of addiction in the heartland of America. In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland. Now, 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. 



By Amy Reed

A gripping novel about five adolescent rehab patients. Olivia, Kelly, Christopher, Jason, and Eva all share one trait: they are addicts. Addicts who have reached rock bottom and have been forced to face their problems, sobriety, and themselves in rehab. Nobody wants to be there. Nobody wants to face the truths about their pasts. Because when you're that high, there's only one way to go: down, down, down.


The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober

By Catherine Gray

Catherine Gray's book, Discovering A Happy, Healthy, Wealthy Alcohol-Free Life. Catherine Gray was trapped in a hellish whirlwind of drinking, making bad decisions, crashing, and repeating. She'd had her share of 'drunk tank' jail cells and topless-in-a-hot-tub mishaps. However, this book goes beyond binges and blackouts to explore uncharted territory: What happens after you stop drinking?


A BACK ON TRACKmarks: A Journey From Dope to Hope

By Matt Peterson

Matt Peterson tells the true story of his transition from opiate pain relievers to heroin addiction. Matt appeared to be an unlikely candidate for substance abuse as the son of a southeastern Baptist minister, but his story demonstrates how this illness is not picky and can be conquered.

Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions.jpg

Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions

By Russell Brand

Russell Brand, a comedian and actor, writes of his own wild story with an infrequent mix of honesty, humor, and compassion and needs to share the advice and wisdom he has acquired in his fifteen years of sobriety.

girl walk out of bar.jpg

Girl Walks Out of a Bar: A Memoir

By Lisa Smith

Girl Walks Out of a Bar delves into Smith's early years, focusing on her decade of alcohol and drug misuse. What was once a way for her to escape her insecurities and negativity as a youngster became a way to cope with the worry and stress of an unattainable workload. In this darkly comic and wrenchingly honest story, she describes how her circumstances conspired with her predisposition to depression and self-medication in an environment ripe for addiction to flourish. The book is a candid alcohol recovery book written through the lens of gritty New York realism.


Party Girl

By Anna David

Anna David's true-life novel about a Hollywood party girl and a cocaine addict. Her partying does not pay off, and she eventually loses her job and possibly her mind. She decides to stop using drugs, but she establishes a new, sober identity.

Unchain Your Brain.jpeg

Unchain Your Brain: 10 Steps to Breaking the Addictions That Steal Your Life

By Daniel Amen, MD & David Smith, MD

Are you chained to your addiction to smoking? Drinking? Sugar? Drugs? Food? Prescription painkillers? Caffeine? Internet porn? Gambling? Sex? When you are chained by an addiction, it can ruin your life, devastate your family, destroy your relationships, derail your career, lower your grades, and make you physically ill. If you want to break free from your addictions, you need to optimize your brain. The brain plays a central role in your vulnerability to addiction and your ability to recover. Brain dysfunction is the number one reason people fall victim to addiction, why they can't break the chains of addiction, and why they relapse. Unchain Your Brain: 10 Steps to Breaking the Addictions That Steal Your Life is a practical, easy-to-follow step-by-step program that shows you how to boost your brain so you can kick your bad habits.

bottom of page