By BrightView
Published: February 18, 2023
Updated: June 1, 2023

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 with similar experiences can be an excellent complement to treatment.

The team at BrightView Treatment Centers has pulled together a list of our favorite 20 Books About Addiction Recovery to Read in 2023.

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
    David’s reality-fiction novel is based on a Hollywood party girl and cocaine addict. Her partying doesn’t pay off, and ultimately, she loses 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
    Peterson shares the true story of his journey from opiate painkillers to heroin addiction. As the son of a southern Baptist preacher, he seemed like an unlikely candidate for drug addiction, but Peterson’s story shows how this disease is not selective but can be overcome.
  4. Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein
    Bernstein struggled with eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, and constant self-doubt and self-loathing before she became the celebrated teacher and lecturer that she is now. In her book, she 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 the darkness.

  6. Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
    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. She details drinking through her years at an Ivy-League college, and an award-winning career—all while masking herself as a dutiful daughter and professional. Readers looking for sobriety books geared towards women will appreciate Knapp’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. The healing touchstone of millions, this modern classic holds the key to understanding codependency and unlocking its stultifying hold on your life. This book is a great read for recovering addicts, 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 gripping fiction. Jenkins breaks through the stigma and silence to offer hope and inspiration to anyone battling the disease. A raw, page-turning memoir spans her 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
    Zimmerman reveals the shocking moment she discovered her ex-husband and father of her children was a drug addict. She takes readers on an intimate journey of how she started rebuilding a life for herself and her children while researching 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 happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong? Those are the wrenching questions haunting Sheff’s journey through his son’s drug addiction to crystal meth and tentative steps toward recovery.

  11. Girl Walks Out of a Bar: A Memoir by Lisa Smith
    Girl Walks Out of a Bar explores author Smith’s formative years, her decade of alcohol and drug abuse, her divorce, and her road to recovery. In this darkly comic and wrenchingly honest story, she describes how her circumstances conspired with her predisposition to depression and self-medication in an environment ripe for addiction to flourish. The book 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
    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 due to alcoholism.

  13. Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster by Kristen Johnston
    In her first book, Johnston writes about her journey that is so truthful and relatable, so remarkably fresh, it promises to stay with you for a long time. The actress writes, “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, Stadtmiller spills every secret she knows about dating, networking, comedy, celebrity, 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 journey. 
  17. How to Murder Your Life: A Memoir by Cat Marnell
    The New York Times bestselling author and former beauty editor provides us with a “vivid, maddening, heartbreaking, very funny, chaotic” 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
    Gray was stuck in a hellish whirligig of Drink, Make horrible decisions, Get 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, 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 – Weller 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. She takes us through her journey with addiction and recovery in this moving, inspiring 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