10 Books You Should Read About Addiction & Recovery

Have you ever thought about the benefits of reading? This includes: improving your memory, being a source of education and motivation, reducing stress, and making you more empathetic. Today we’re sharing 10 great books for you to add to your recovery toolbox and your summer reading list!

Are you interested in addiction/recovery-based literature but aren’t sure where to start? Keep reading this blog for a variety of recommendations, ranging from popular favourites to A-list celebrity memoirs to educational resources. 

Popular 

Drinking: A Love Story — Caroline Knapp 

Via Penguin Random House: 

Caroline had her first drink at fourteen. She drank through her years at an Ivy League college, and through an award-winning career as an editor and columnist. Publicly she was a dutiful daughter, a sophisticated professional. Privately she was drinking herself into oblivion. This startlingly honest memoir lays bare the secrecy, family myths, and destructive relationships that go hand in hand with drinking. And it is, above all, a love story for our times—full of passion and heartbreak, betrayal, and desire—a triumph over the pain and deception that mark an alcoholic life.

A Very Fine House: A Mother’s Story of Love, Faith, and Crystal Meth — Barbara Cofer Stoefen 

Via the author’s website: 

A Very Fine House: A Mother’s Story of Love, Faith and Crystal Meth is an intimate memoir of a mother’s all-American Norman Rockwell family turned upside down by her daughter’s descent into meth addiction and crime. Bright and beautiful, Annie is an unlikely candidate for meth. Living fast and hard on the streets of Bend, Oregon, she commits crimes against herself, the community, and her own family. This is her mother’s story of despairing loss and impossible choices. It is also the revelation of a journey where both love and faith are tested—and ultimately redefined. 

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are — Brene Brown 

Via Indigo: 

A motivational and inspiring guide to wholehearted living, rather than just the average self-help book, with this groundbreaking work Brené Brown, Ph.D., bolsters the self-esteem and personal development process through her characteristic heartfelt, honest storytelling. With original research and plenty of encouragement, she explores the psychology of releasing our definitions of an “imperfect” life and embracing living authentically. Brown’s “ten guideposts” are benchmarks for authenticity that can help anyone establish a practice for a life of honest beauty—a perfectly imperfect life.

We Are The Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life — Laura McKowen 

Via GoodReads: 

What could possibly be “lucky” about addiction? Absolutely nothing, thought Laura McKowen when drinking brought her “to her knees.” As she puts it, she “kicked and screamed . . . wishing for something — anything — else” to be her issue. The people who got to drink normally, she thought, were so damn lucky. But in the midst of early sobriety, when no longer able to anesthetize her pain and anxiety, she realized, with more than a bit of amazement, that she was actually the lucky one. Lucky to feel her feelings, live honestly, really be with her daughter, change her legacy. 

Celebrity memoirs 

Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions — Russell Brand 

Via Barnes and Noble: 

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 work, stress, bad relationships, digital media, 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?” 

Scar Tissue — Anthony Kiedis & Larry Sloman 

Via Amazon: 

Whether he’s honoring the influence of the beautiful, strong women who have been his muses or remembering the roaring crowds of Woodstock and the Dalai Lama’s humble compound, Kiedis shares a compelling story about the price of success and excess. Scar Tissue is a story of dedication and debauchery, of intrigue and integrity, of recklessness and redemption — a story that could only have come out of the world of rock. 

Little Girl Lost — Drew Barrymore with Todd Gold 

Via GoodReads: 

She was a modern-day Shirley Temple, but at the age of nine Drew Barrymore was drinking alcohol. At ten she took up marijuana, and by twelve she began snorting cocaine. Here is her gripping, heart-wrenching story–a story of a childhood gone awry and a young woman battling to restore order to her chaotic life. 

Educational

Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book — Bill W. 

Perhaps one of the most recognizable picks and well known to the Woman of Avalon, Alcoholics Anonymous – The Big Book.  Some of you may have already purchased this book, have started your way through it or have completed it.  The Big Book has served as a lifeline to millions worldwide. First published in 1939, Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book sets forth cornerstone concepts of recovery from alcoholism and tells the stories of men and women who have overcome the disease.  

If you are interested in purchasing The Big Book, it is available at each of our Centres.   

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

Via Indigo: 

With instructive life stories, personal reflections, exercises, and self-tests, Codependent No More is a simple, straightforward, readable map of the perplexing world of codependency–charting the path to freedom and a lifetime of healing, hope, and happiness. 

Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol — Ann Dowsett Johnson 

Via Harper Collins:

In Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, award-winning journalist Anne Dowsett Johnston combines in-depth research with her own personal story of recovery and delivers a groundbreaking examination of a shocking yet little recognized epidemic threatening society today: the precipitous rise in risky drinking among women and girls. 

 

Reading is a great way to learn more about yourself, others, and the world — and can be an important part of one’s own recovery or a way to educate oneself to better help others. Particularly in the addiction space, reading can be a transformative and a meditative daily practice. 

If you haven’t already done so, check out Avalon’s free resource libraries at each of our three Centres for a vast range of addiction and recovery books. Also, Avalon has its very own book club, which is always looking for new women to join. It meets on the third Sunday of every month virtually via Zoom for a 2-hour discussion about that month’s read. If you’re interested in joining, please click here!

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