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8 Books to Spark Recovery: Help with Alcohol and Drugs

8 books with message about addiction and recovery

For World Book Day, we asked our team about books that have made a big difference to them in addiction recovery. Here are 8 books that provide insights and help with alcohol and drug addiction recovery. From understanding what can lead to addiction, through to the mental transformation that is needed to achieve and sustain sobriety, there are great messages in all of these books. We’ve included some big hitters on our list, which have been read by millions of people worldwide. There might be a couple of surprises too. Join the recovery conversation with Help Me Stop on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. If you need affordable treatment for addiction, please contact us here.

Practising the Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle

There is some great practice In Eckhart Tolle’s work, to be able to enter into and sustain an awakened state of consciousness throughout everyday life. Through meditations and simple techniques, Eckhart shows us how to quiet our thoughts, see the world in the present moment, and find a path to ‘a life of grace, ease, and lightness.’

‘The Big Book’ – Alcoholics Anonymous

It may seem an obvious choice but we think it remains ‘where it’s at’. Many have initial skepticism (how can a book written in the US in 1939 be relevant to me?), to the initial identification found in the chapter entitled, ‘The Doctor’s Opinion’, and the ongoing application of the practical course of action outlined in simple terms. All this makes ‘The Big Book’ the benchmark for all other recovery books.

Straight Jacket: Overcoming Society’s Legacy of Gay Shame – Matthew Todd

A validating and important book for people who have grown up in a community or society where they have been shamed for being gay. This book is powerfully written and moving, including around the connections between gay shame, addiction and mental ill health. There is also helpful advice about how to overcome the significant trauma of being shamed for who you are, moving into a place of recovery, and away from internalised gay shame.

A Principle of Recovery – Jack Grisham
This book is a refreshing take on the 12 steps, citing excerpts from the AA Big Book alongside real life experience of the application and experience of the 12 step programme. Jack Grisham is a Californian punk vocalist (best known as the lead singer of T.S.O.L). His no-nonsense approach makes a potentially daunting subject accessible and entertaining.

“Sobriety is not a questionnaire, a line, or a lecture; it’s an adventure, and the twelve-steps are a journey into the spirit.  You can’t distil this voyage down to a single word; it’s action, and each person’s path is entirely their own”

Jack Grisham

The Sermon on the Mount: The Key to Success in Life – Emmet Fox

For anyone who struggles with the dogma of religion, the message in The Sermon on the Mount is simple and appealing. Fox’s view is that the Bible is merely a ‘textbook of metaphysics, a manual for the growth of the soul.’ The book promotes the idea that the teachings of Jesus (whether or not you believe) express a practical approach ‘for the development of the soul and for the shaping of our lives into what we really wish them to be.’

Drinking: A Love Story – Caroline Knapp

So, this book concentrates around the descent into addiction, but journalist Caroline Knapp writes with such brutal honesty about alcohol addiction, it’s definitely worth a read. Whilst holding down a job, and appearing to be a ‘high functioning’ member of society (a myth that we’ve often debunked), Caroline’s alcoholism was killing her from the inside out. This memoir also has a few things to say about relationships: both with her family members and romantic partners.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu

Written over two thousand years ago, this classic is as relevant today as it ever was. By ceasing to fight against nature, including against our ourselves, we can move into the powerful flow of life. This book has universal messages for people from cultures, about how to surrender the struggle, how to lead, and finding the highest levels of attunement with ourselves, other people and the world around us.

Good travellers leave no tracks.
Good words leave no trace.
Good counting needs no markers.

Good doors have no bolts
Yet cannot be forced.
Good knots have no rope
But cannot be untied.

In this way the Sage
Always helps people
And rejects none,
Always helps all beings,
And rejects none.
This is called practising brightness.

In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction – Dr Gabor Mate

Compassionately written, this book explores the deep roots of addiction, particularly the connection between unresolved childhood trauma and addictions as a faulty coping mechanism. It’s full of insights that apply to the wider human condition, with many learning points for people with addiction, their family and friends, and wider society.

8 books with message about addiction and recovery

Please pick up the phone, or send us a message, if you’re looking for help with alcohol and drugs. We are ready when you are.

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