Table of Contents
- Learn from Those Who’ve Been There
- Addiction is a Symptom of Mental Illness
- Understanding Addiction is Not Isolation
- Reading is Healing
Addiction is oftentimes a word that brings a dark cloud of negative connotations and evokes memories of past trauma. Within every stage of recovery, a strong support system is needed because though there’s light at the end of the dark road that is addiction, the journey of moving past it is never really over.
Reading is a great way to aid any kind of recovery journey. Joining reality again can be overwhelming without the vices we once used to soothe ourselves, but there are policies such as life insurance for alcoholics and healthcare plans with addiction treatment coverage that are designed to help keep you living sober while getting affordable help.
Whether you or a loved one are struggling with addiction it is to be applauded that you’ve opened this tab to get an insight into a healthier lifestyle that can put addiction in its place. Not everything will work for everyone, but finding what doesn’t resonate with you is just as important as finding what does.
The books below are great reads for anyone struggling, in any stage of recovery, or witnessing a loved one fight against addiction.
Learn from Those Who’ve Been There
Being told to change can feel belittling and demeaning, especially when what you’re struggling with is more than just strategic planning. Addiction can be a topic everyone voices an opinion on, but few know and can empathize with the mental turmoil of being self-destructive. These books are from those who have been where other addicts are and are now on the other side of recovery.
by Russel Brand
A fitting title. Russel Brand is a beloved actor and comedian who, throughout his fame, has struggled with food, drug, and sex addictions. Even in film, he was often portrayed as the wild card who relishes in the ‘rock and roll’ gluttonous lifestyle, but more intriguing than his films is his true character and recovery journey that can resonate with anyone.
“Recovery” is a great book to read for anyone wanting a non-12-step program approach to finding someone that understands the thoughts, feelings, and life of an addict. Not everything is always sunshine and roses, even when crawling down the yellow brick road of recovery. But knowing you aren’t alone on the journey brings comfort and confidence that other reads may fall short of.
2. Black Out
by Sarah Hepola
Speaking of being there, Sarah Hepola’s book is a non-sugar-coated work that speaks well on the internal work necessary for an addict to change their life. She speaks on her low points and her positive turning points, which makes reading “Black Out” more like listening to a friend speak about their journey over coffee. Even for addicts that are far in their recovery, this book is a great read.
Addiction is a Symptom of Mental Illness
When trauma decides to show, it often comes in disguise, making identifying it feel like a game of pin the tail on the donkey. Historically and especially within communities of color, mental illnesses and seeking therapy were taboo subjects that often were frowned upon, leading many to mask their internal issues with any vice available.
These books remove the “cover it up” rhetoric surrounding both trauma and the root causes of mental illness.
by Resmaa Menakem MSW, LICSW, SEP
This book is a New York Times Best Seller and strongly recommended for people of color, but is meaningful and insightful for all audiences. Resmaa Menakem is a therapist and trauma specialist that speaks on the journey and power of healing oneself.
This book is a year’s worth of therapy on a shelf and can be helpful for anyone needing insight on healing the root causes of their addictions.
by Erica Spiegelman
“Rewired” is one of the best reads when it comes to changing one’s perspective. There is no way to a better life without learning how to have and implement a shift in thought. You cannot simply stop being an addict because addiction causes chemical reactions that make you physically and mentally dependent on your vice.
Changing the way you think about something is the most difficult part of recovery and takes the highest level of discipline to tell yourself no to what once got you through the day. This book is the life coach you knew you needed but was too nervous to get.
by Bassey Ikpi
This book helps to put an end to the toxic ‘just get over it’ rhetoric that many of us were taught growing up. You have to stop beating yourself up. You cannot always be the tough soldier that doesn’t let life chip their shoulder, and that’s okay.
If you have trouble dealing with the roots of your trauma, the layout of this book will help you realize that getting over the bad things isn’t how you get through them.
Bassey Ikpi breaks down the stigmas surrounding how we view mental health, and it’s beneficial for everyone to learn. Using herself as the narrative’s anchor, she gives us readers herself to connect with while holding a mirror to the things we’ve written off in our own lives.
There is no successful recovery journey without facing the truths of the past, which ironically is extremely well focused in “I’m Telling The Truth, but I’m Lying.”
Understanding Addiction is Not Isolation
A hard realization is that your addiction hasn’t negatively affected just you. Many times seeing our faults through only our lens does us a disservice, so these choices may seem indirect or unconventional when speaking directly to the ones struggling with addiction. But putting yourself in the shoes of those who care for you can be an eye-opening experience.
by Beverly Conyers
Beverly Conyers’ style of writing in “Addict in the Family” is mostly a personal narrative on her story of being a mother of an addict. Hearing personal stories can be just as effective in aiding recovery as personal therapy.
When in the clouds of addiction, actions are often justified by the thinking that we’re only hurting ourselves, but no matter how alone you think you are, that is simply untrue. “Addict in the Family” and similar books are an indirect sneak peek into how addicts’ actions have caused strain that ripple effect past their physical space.
7. Recovery from Trauma, Addiction, or Both: Strategies for Finding Your Best Self
by Lisa Najavits
Finding our best selves may seem like a solo trip, but it’s the opposite. Finding our best self includes owning up to our faults and mending broken and fractured relationships. “Recovery from Trauma, Addiction, or Both” speaks to how in the journey of gaining back yourself you relay and allow yourself to be reflected in others.
Reading is Healing
Admitting to addiction is a self-journey that can sometimes make you feel shameful and guilty, but books, even for nonreaders, can be what propels a journey forward.
Reading makes internalizing the process of recovery easier than trying to create your own mental framework for a new life. Surrendering to what you do not know is a big leap shortened by those who have made it through so they can write it down.
You are powerful, you are strong, and within these pages, you are not alone.
Read next: 15 Best Books on Addiction and Recovery