Top 5 Books to Read in Recovery

October 1st, 2019

Whether you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, it is often helpful to look at a more in-depth resource or read another’s story of addiction and recovery. A good book on a subject can be more than just a satisfying read, it can have a transformative effect on your life. Books about addiction and recovery are no different. Reading in recovery can also have an impactful effect on how you view the recovery process. However, a simple Google search for literature about addiction and recovery leaves you with an endless stream of options. To help you narrow your search for books to read around addiction and recovery, here are a few of our favorite books on the subject. 

 Living Sober

 Written by an anonymous author, Living Sober, is a book that does not look at how to get sober but instead focuses on the importance and challenges of living a sober life. The book looks at the process of living in sobriety and recovery. However, the book does not stop at looking at a sober life. Living Sober provides real tools about living a life of sobriety and can be a powerful tool to have in your arsenal. It is worth noting that the book is tied to Alcoholics Anonymous and is often considered to be a primer to the basics of AA. Regardless, Living Sober is an important read that can provide you with wisdom regardless of your recovery status. 

 Rewired: A Bold New Approach to Addiction and Recoveryby Erica Spiegelman 

 Often considered to be one of the essential modern novels on addiction and recovery, Rewired provides a new line of thinking about the processes of addiction and recovery. Written by author and addiction specialist Erica Spiegelman, the novel is centered around the ideas of “self-actualization” and using the self to take new steps in the recovery process. Spiegelman, who has struggled with addiction and alcoholism herself, focuses her line of thinking about addiction on identifying key principles within yourself to lead to physical, mental and emotional sobriety. The principles and tools of the novel can be used as an alternative or in conjunction with traditional recovery practices, making the book a powerful tool. Rewired provides new ways to think about sobriety and equips the reader with simple, practical ways to bolster their path to recovery. 

 The Gifts of Imperfectionby Brené Brown

 While The Gifts of Imperfection is not exclusively about recovery or addiction it can provide a very powerful framework for rethinking one’s self. Written by professor Brené Brown of TED Talk fame, the novel focuses on self-evaluation and looks at what it means to live a wholehearted life. Brown’s dissection of how we should evaluate ourselves within the context of how society affects our inner-dialogue and self-perception can be a powerful message for those in recovery or fighting addiction. The conversation ignited by The Gifts of Imperfection is important for all who live in today’s media-saturated world to take part in. More importantly, it is an especially pertinent discussion for those who have dealt with addiction. The Gifts of Imperfection is an extremely powerful novel, that brings a multitude of ideas that can be translated perfectly to living life with addiction and in recovery. Brené Brown offers a profound message of self-evaluation that can be an important tool for those in recovery or supporting someone in recovery to hear. 

 Why Don’t They Just Quitby Joe Herzanek 

 For those who have family members struggling with addiction or in recovery, Why Don’t They Just Quit by Joe Herzanek gives understanding and powerful insight into addiction and recovery. Focusing on several topics surrounding addiction, the novel gives practical answers to questions that surround such a difficult subject. On top of offering insight into the realm of addiction, Herzanek also provides the reader with solutions to support and assist those in their life who are dealing with addiction or are in recovery. Providing both answers and practical ideas around addiction and recovery, Why Don’t They Just Quit is an essential resource if your loved one is struggling with addiction.

 In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction by Gabor Maté, MD 

 When looking for literature surrounding the topic of addiction and recovery, it is important to digest novels written by authors who have experienced addiction themselves and who have been on the front lines of providing recovery. Retired physician Gabor Maté brings decades of experience in the realm of substance abuse recovery with his time working on the front lines in Downtown Vancouver. His novel In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction is the cumulation of his experiences in the field and his scientific work. Maté provides readers with his groundbreaking approach to recovery, a powerful tool for those in recovery and supporting loved ones with addiction. Focusing on the facts and complexities surrounding substance abuse, Maté simplifies research on the brain and addiction for a wide audience. Due to his firsthand experiences with those affected by substance abuse, his novel is written in a compassionate tone that will not alienate anyone who has experienced or is currently experiencing addiction. Another powerful part of Mate’s novel is the focus on how society and popular perception impact the conversation surrounding substance abuse and those living with it. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction is a must-read for anyone who has been touched by addiction. 


These five books barely scratch the surface of the thousands of powerful novels written about the subject; This list is simply a starting point for your journey. Reading can be an important part of the recovery process for those dealing with addiction. It can also provide needed insight for those on the outside looking in. Take some time to look into the five titles listed above, or embark on your own search for a book that make inspire and educate you on addiction and the process of recovery. 

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