By BrightView
Published: February 18, 2020
Updated: December 2, 2022

Drug abuse and alcohol addiction are a serious disease that plagues millions of Americans. No matter where one may be in their addiction treatment journey, it helps to have peer groups and personal stories of others that understand what they are going through. This is also helpful for the friends and family members of those going through the recovery process While self-help books are not a solution for long-term recovery, they can be very helpful for emotional sobriety throughout the journey of recovery. There is no replacement for a comprehensive treatment program  for those that are struggling with substance abuse, but reading the true stories of those who have had similar experiences can be an excellent compliment to treatment.  The team at BrightView Treatment Centers has pulled together a list of the Best 20 Books About Addiction Recovery to Read in 2020. Here are our favorites.

Here are some of the best books related to drug and alcohol addiction: 

  1. Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola This New York Times Best Seller and memoir has been described as “unblinking honesty and poignant, with laugh-out-loud humor.” It’s about giving up the thing you cherish most–but getting yourself back in return.
  2. Party Girl: A Novel by Anna David Anna David’s reality-fiction novel based on a Hollywood party girl and cocaine addict. Her partying doesn’t pay off and ultimately she ends up losing her job and perhaps even her mind. She decides to quit her drug use but struggles with a new, sober identity.
  3. BACK ON TRACKmarks: From Hopeless to Dopeless by Matt Peterson Matt Peterson shares the true story of his journey from opiate painkillers to heroin addiction. As the son of a southern Baptist preacher, Matt seemed like an unlikely candidate for drug addiction, but his story shows how this disease is not selective, but it can be overcome.
  4. Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein Author Gabrielle Bernstein struggled with eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, and constant self-doubt and self-loathing before she became the celebrated teacher and lecture that she is now. In her book Spirit Junkie, Bernstein guides readers through the life-changing lessons that shaped her spiritual journey: how we become accustomed to fearful ways of thinking, how to recognize and change those thought patterns to make way for bliss, and how to maintain our happiness and share it with the world.
  5. Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis & Larry Sloman Another New York Times Best Seller, Scar Tissue is the “vivid and inspiring” account of Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman, Anthony Kiedis and his journey through fame in the rock world. The artist discusses his journey, including his descent into drug addiction and finding light through darkness.
  6. Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp Author Caroline Knapp shares her personal memoir and brings to light the fact that more than 15 million Americans a year are plagued with alcoholism and 5 million of them are women. Caroline describes how she drank through her years at an Ivy-League college, her award-winning career, while masking herself as a dutiful daughter and professional. Readers looking for sobriety books geared towards women will appreciate Caroline’s honest account.
  7. Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie Is someone else’s problem your problem? If, like so many others, you’ve lost sight of your own life in the drama of tending to someone else’s, you may be codependent–and you may find yourself in this book–Codependent No More.The healing touchstone of millions, this modern classic by one of America’s best-loved and most inspirational authors holds the key to understanding codependency and to unlocking its stultifying hold on your life. This book is a great read for both the recovering addict, as well as their friends and family.
  8. High Achiever: The Incredible True Story of One Addict’s Double Life by Tiffany Jenkins This true story reads like a gripping fiction. Author Tiffany Jenkins breaks through the stigma and silence to offer hope and inspiration to anyone battling the disease—whether it’s a loved one or themselves. A raw page-turning memoir spans Tiffany’s life as an active opioid addict, her 120 days in a Florida jail and her eventual recovery.
  9. Smacked: A Story of White-Collar Ambition, Addiction, and Tragedy by Eilene Zimmerman Author and journalist, Eilene Zimmerman reveals the shocking moment she discovered her ex-husband and father of her children was a drug addict. She then takes readers on an intimate journey of how she started trying to rebuild life for herself and her children, while researching just how common drug abuse is in white-collar settings.
  10. Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong? Those are the wrenching questions that haunted David Sheff’s journey through his son Nic’s addiction to drugs and tentative steps toward recovery. This NYT #1 Best Seller takes us through a father’s journey with a son addicted to crystal meth.
  11. Girl Walks Out of a Bar: A Memoir by Lisa Smith Girl Walks Out of a Bar explores author Lisa Smith’s formative years, her decade of alcohol and drug abuse, divorce, and her road to recovery. In this darkly comic and wrenchingly honest story, Smith describes how her circumstances conspired with her predisposition to depression and self-medication in an environment ripe for addiction to flourish. Girl Walks Out of a Bar is a candid alcohol recovery book written through the lens of gritty New York realism.
  12. Terry: My Daughter’s Life-and-Death Struggle with Alcoholism by George McGovern George McGovern served in the U.S. Senate for 18 years and was the 1972 Democratic candidate for president. Rarely has a public figure addressed such difficult, intimate issues with such courage and bravery. In a moving, passionate memoir, former Senator George McGovern recalls the events leading up to his daughter Terry’s death as a result of alcoholism.
  13. Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster by Kristen Johnston In her first book, Actress Kristen Johnston writes about her journey that is so truthful and relatable, so remarkably fresh, it promises to stay with you for a long, long time. “It felt like I was speeding on the Autobahn toward hell, trapped inside a DeLorean with no brakes. And even if I could somehow stop, I’d still be screwed, because there’s no way I’d ever be able to figure out how to open those insane, cocaine-designed doors.”
  14. Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions by Russell Brand Comedian and actor, Russell Brand writes with a rare mix of honesty, humor, and compassion about his own wild story and shares the advice and wisdom he has gained through his fourteen years of recovery.
  15. Dry by Augusten Burroughs In this witty memoir and New York Times Best Seller, author Augusten Burroughs recounts how he ended up in rehab, and the realization that when he gets out in 30 days, he will still have to live his same drunken life, but now sober. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a Higher Power.
  16. Unwifeable: A Memoir by Mandy Stadtmiller Provocative, fearless, and dizzyingly uncensored, Mandy spills every secret she knows about dating, networking, comedy, celebrity, media, psychology, relationships, addiction, and the quest to find one’s true nature. She takes readers behind the scenes (and names names) as she relays her utterly addictive journey. Readers will soon see why Unwifeable is one of the best reviewed, most beloved memoirs of the year.
  17. How to Murder Your Life: A Memoir by Cat Marnell New York Times bestselling author and former beauty editor Cat Marnell, writes a “vivid, maddening, heartbreaking, very funny, chaotic” (The New York Times) memoir of prescription drug addiction and self-sabotage, set in the glamorous world of fashion magazines and downtown nightclubs.
  18. Drunk Mom: A Memoir by Jowita Bydlowska This true story by Jowita Bydlowska reveals how the author found herself throwing back a glass of champagne like it was ginger ale three years after giving up drinking. It was a special occasion: a party celebrating the birth of her first child. It also marked Bydlowska’s immediate, full-blown return to crippling alcoholism.
  19. The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober: Discovering A Happy, Healthy, Wealthy Alcohol-Free Life by Catherine Gray Author Catherine Gray was stuck in a hellish whirligig of Drink, Make horrible decisions, Hangover, Repeat. She had her fair share of ‘drunk tank’ jail cells and topless-in-a-hot-tub misadventures. ​​​​​But this book goes beyond the binges and blackouts to deep-dive into uncharted territory: What happens after you quit drinking? This gripping, heart-breaking and witty book takes us down the rabbit-hole of an alternative reality. A life with zero hangovers, through sober weddings, sex, Christmases and breakups.
  20. A Happier Hour by Rebecca Weller At 39 years of age – and a Health Coach, no less – she knew better than to down several bottles of wine per week. Her increasingly dysfunctional relationship with alcohol had to stop, but after decades of social drinking, she was terrified of what that might mean. Author Rebecca Weller takes us through her journey with addiction and recovery in this moving, and inspiring true story about giving up something you think you love so you can live the life you truly want. 

If you or a loved one are currently struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, you are not alone. Please seek the help you deserve. BrightView offers comprehensive outpatient treatment that can help you reclaim your life. Please call us today. Our friendly team answers the phone 24 hours a day. 888-501-9865