How Can Books Help?

Self-help books are an excellent resource for anyone who is in the recovery stages of an addiction. Self-help books might treat general topics related to addictions; alternatively, they might offer substance-specific information. In both cases, they offer a structured approach towards helping the recovering addict understand how and why addictions develop and how they can be overcome. Some books focus on therapeutic approaches or skill-building, describing techniques that can be applied in the reader’s everyday life.

Books SmallWhen to Use Books

If you think you or a loved one may be suffering from an addiction, the first thing to do is seek the advice of a trained healthcare professional. In the case of severe addictions, self-help books may be of little to no use until after the substance is out of the addict’s system and withdrawal symptoms have stopped. Following detoxification, the patient should work with a therapist, counselor, psychiatrist, or psychologist to create a treatment plan. Books may be used to supplement a treatment plan, but seeking support in the form of individual or group counseling is also necessary. Combined, these methods give individuals a better chance at recovery.

Who Can Books Help?

Books can help anyone who likes to take in new information through reading. Most often, books work well for people who are visual learners and like seeing text laid out in front of them. If this is not how you typically like to learn – for instance, if you like to have someone else explain things to you – books may not be the best choice. However, you don’t have to read a self-help book cover-to-cover for it to be helpful. It can also act as a resource that you look to when you can’t access other forms of support. Most people find that in recovering from addiction, self-help books work well in conjunction with other, more traditional forms of therapy, such as individual or group counseling and medication. In some cases, a therapist may suggest books or readings as homework outside of scheduled appointments that help the patient to further understand how to move forward with his or her life.

Top Titles

There are thousands of books on addiction and the recovery process. Some of these books have been written by recovering addicts or alcoholics themselves, while others have been written by experts in the field. If you’re seeking help in the form of a book, the following are some of the top titles:

Books Large

  • Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions by Alcoholics Anonymous: Written in 1952, this book has long been used as a guide for AA groups around the world. The text outlines the steps and describes AA as a way of life.
  • The Big Book by Alcoholics Anonymous: Each edition of this book includes contemporary stories and personal experiences of addiction that describe the history and widespread applications of AA.
  • In The Realm of the Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Maté: Written by a doctor with over twenty years of experience working with severely addicted patients, this is a comprehensive exploration of the experiences, emotions, neurological development, brain chemistry, drugs, and behaviors that contribute to addiction.