Recovery Reading List: 16 Best-Selling and/or Award-Winning Books on Addiction and Recovery
Whether you’ve been to treatment, you’re contemplating rehab, or your loved one is struggling with substance misuse, the more tools you have in your arsenal the better. Everything from inpatient rehab and sober living facilities to peer-support groups and outpatient care can move you or your loved one another step closer to long-term recovery.
Self-help books are yet another device that can support your efforts. Granted, books certainly can’t replace treatment and professional guidance. But they can provide fresh perspectives and inspiration—and reinforce that you’re not alone.
So here are 10 best-selling and/or award-winning books on addiction and recovery. Along with educational insights on substance use disorders, the books provide multiple perspectives from those who have successfully traversed the road to recovery.
1. High Achiever: The Incredible True Story of One Addict’s Double Life
Exploring the thoughts of an addict and a life unraveled by narcotics, this memoir spans the author’s struggles with opioid use disorder, to her time in jail, and ultimately to her recovery. High Achiever offers hope and inspiration and a raw and page-turning read.
2. The Addiction Recovery Workbook: Powerful Skills for Preventing Relapse Every Day
While not a replacement for professional therapy and treatment, The Addiction Recovery Workbook can help equip you with coping techniques and actionable strategies to succeed in recovery, despite triggers, stressors, and daily challenges.
3. The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober
The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober explores the role alcohol plays in our world and insights from top neuroscientists and psychologists about why we drink. Discussing alcohol’s impact on our health and minds, author Catherine Gray illustrates how a sober life can truly be intoxicating.
4. Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction
Former “20/20” anchor Elizabeth Vargas shares her story of anxiety and alcohol use disorder in this compelling memoir. Between Breaths reveals how she lived in denial and secrecy for years before finally entering rehab and a life of sobriety.
5. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
Pairing scientific research with real-life stories of addiction, the author and world-renowned trauma expert provides a holistic explanation of addiction. Offering an easy-to-grasp explanation of the brain and addiction, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts promotes compassionate self-understanding as a pillar of health and healing.
6. The Addiction Recovery Skills Workbook: Changing Addictive Behaviors Using CBT, Mindfulness, and Motivational Interviewing Techniques
Employing an integrative, 7-step program for addiction, The Addiction Recovery Skills Workbook helps readers to better understand the roots of their substance misuse issues. A powerful tool when used in conjunction with treatment, the concept pairs motivational techniques, cognitive behavior therapy, and mindfulness strategies.
7. Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget
Prior to getting sober, memoir author Sarah Hepola often drank until she blacked out. Blackout reveals how sobriety helped her discover the confidence, intimacy, and creativity within her—all of which she previously thought could only be found at the bottom of a bottle.
8. Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change
Authored by addiction professionals, Beyond Addiction illustrates how people can use positive reinforcement, behavior strategies, and kindness to help their loved ones achieve sobriety. Pairing insights on treatment options and how to navigate the rehab system, content is designed to not only help someone change but also prompt them to want to change.
9. Twenty-Four Hours a Day
First published in 1954, Twenty-Four Hours a Day is a staple for many people struggling with an alcohol use disorder. It features daily meditations, thoughts, and prayers to aid readers in maintaining sobriety.
10. Chaos to Clarity: Seeing the Signs and Breaking the Cycles
Talk show host Marci Hopkins of “Wake Up With Marci” shares intimate stories of addiction and uses an educational approach to explain the journey of recovery, help readers become aware of their own patterns and habits, and inspire them to transform the chaos of addiction into clear awareness and abundant joy in Chaos to Clarity.
11. Stash: My Life in Hiding
In her memoir, Stash, Laura Cathcart Robbins, the host of the podcast “The Only One in the Room,” shares her addiction—which involved years of hiding an alcohol and prescription-pill dependency— and her long journey to recovery, with candid openness and raw, well-crafted prose.
12. Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines
Nic Sheff is actually the author of 2 memoirs—Tweak and We All Fall Down: Living With Addiction—which, along with his father’s memoir about him, Beautiful Boy, inspired the major motion picture of the same name. Tweak recounts Nic Sheff’s harrowing addiction to meth and his hopeful tale from relapse to recovery.
13. The Rewired Life
As an addiction and wellness specialist, Erica Spiegelman penned several books, including her bestselling Rewired Life, The Rewired Life Workbook, Rewired: A Bold New Approach to Addiction & Recovery, the Rewired Workbook, and the Rewired Coloring Book—all of which function as guidebooks to help individuals rewire their thought processes. Rewired helps readers fight addiction and self-damaging behavior by acknowledging their power to bring themselves back from the brink.
14. The Book of Boundaries: Set the Limits That Will Set You Free
The co-founder and CEO of Whole 30 and bestselling author, Melissa Urban, helped millions of people transform their relationship with food. Now, in The Book of Boundaries, out November 2023, Urban, who has been in recovery for more than 20 years, shows how setting clear limits can help protect your time, energy, health, security, confidence, and freedom.
15. Reframe Your Shame: Experience Freedom from What Holds You Back
By providing awareness and resources in her book Reframe Your Shame, author Irene Rollins, a pastor, certified emotional health coach, and recovery activist, helps readers recognize the warning signs of addiction, take responsibility for their own healing journey, find freedom from shame, learn to really connect with others, and discover practical tools to free them from their past.
16. Dry Humping: A Guide to Dating, Relating, and Hooking Up Without the Booze
From Sober Sexpert Tawny Lara comes a cheeky, lighthearted, judgement-free handbook. Dry Humping is filled with alcohol-free date ideas, scripts for awkward conversations, tips from experts, prompts, people’s perspectives, and more.
If you or a loved one is struggling with any form of substance use disorder, American Addiction Centers can help. With facilities scattered across the U.S., AAC is a leading provider of evidence-based treatment and mental health services. Reach out to an admissions counselor at to learn more about treatment and take the first steps toward recovery today.