For some, books are better than people. Some books can take you to places and allow you to feel things that you’ve never imagined you could. That’s why we’ve decided to gather together a list of 7 of the best books about addiction for World Book Day.
Many people struggling with addiction or in the early stages of recovery can feel like they’re completely alone in the way they feel. When everything seems impossible or hopeless, we naturally sink into loneliness and despair.
Books, like music, have the amazing ability to make us feel things we’ve never experienced. Some books touch us more and seem more real to us than things happening in our lives. Others can help explain things we’ve never understood in ways that make sense like never before.
We asked members of our staff to share the books about addiction, recovery, and related topics that helped them the most.
Music is Our Medicine by Paul Pellinger
Music is Our Medicine explains everything that we do here at Recovery Unplugged. It’s the A to Z guide about everything “Recovery Unplugged,” and it’s written by one of our founders and Vision Leader, Paul Pellinger.
Paul takes readers step-by-step through the reasoning behind his concept of music-assisted treatment and how the idea came to him. By integrating music into the traditional evidence-based treatment model, Paul shares how we’ve made forward movement in the treatment of the disease of addiction.
On top of sharing Recovery Unplugged’s origins and history, Music is Our Medicine also highlights the ways in which music changes lives. Although mentioned and explained, rather than focusing on the psychosocial and scientific ways music impacts us, this book highlights the emotions and spiritual healing music provides.
I Love You, More by Blake E. Cohen
I Love You, More is a moving collection of short stories written by our very own Blake Cohen. Blake is a Certified Addiction Professional and is in recovery himself, two facts that shine through his writing.
By taking the emotions behind his own story and those he’s heard from others, Blake builds compelling and intense characters. His stories also provide a number of different perspectives, making it a perfect read for everyone who has been touched by addiction.
Whether you’re getting this book for yourself, for someone you love, or someone who has no experience with addiction and substance abuse, this book works. By focusing on each character’s humanity, I Love You, More allows a look into the impact of addiction in a way that hits all the right places.
Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff
This book was among our staff’s universally recommended reads. Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction is an emotionally wrought memoir written by the father of a meth addict.
This memoir documents the emotional journey of a father whose son struggles with addiction. David shares how Nic’s bright future was snuffed by the darkness of addiction. It reveals the hope and heartbreak that come with trying to help and support a child who can’t seem to forge a life in recovery.
This book was later adapted into film, and serves as a beautiful description of how high hopes can be dashed by this disease. It also illustrates the ways in which the disease of addiction really is a family disease.
Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff
Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines is a memoir written from the perspective of Nic Sheff, a meth addict, to complement Beautiful Boy. Tweak recounts Nic’s life during his twenties, and how drugs have changed who he is as a person.
Over the course of the memoir, Nic reflects on his youth and his poor choices, and how they have impacted the course of his life. The book is separated into two parts, with the first half detailing his most recent relapse, and the second chronicling his attempts to get clean while battling poor mental health.
No More Letting Go: The Spirituality of Taking Action Against Alcoholism and Drug Addiction by Debra Jay
One piece of advice we’ve all heard is to “let things go.” In No More Letting Go, Debra Jay shares her belief that this advice isn’t helpful when it comes to addiction.
Throughout the book, Debra challenges “letting go” and states that in reality, letting go can destroy the family of the addict. She presents addiction as a disease with multiple victims, the addict themselves being the first among them.
A mix of philosophy, science, and spirituality, No More Letting Go provides a number of perspectives and stories to further support her stance. By approaching her readers with warmth and compassion, Debra gives strong, sound advice intended to help the family as a whole.
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction by Gabor Maté, MD, and Peter Levine, PhD
A compassionate and philosophically-driven read, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts documents Gabor Maté’s experience with addicted patients in Vancouver. Over the course of the book, Gabor shares stories from his patients and how their experiences led them to their heavy addictions.
Gabor also questions the idea of addiction throughout the book, asking if we’re not all addicted to something unhealthy in our lives. He also documents and questions the ways in which neurology, physiology, and sociopolitical beliefs impact addiction.
A heavy read, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts asks a number of questions without fully answering all of them. In some ways, this is an invitation to help answer them in the context of our own lives.