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Reading books on addiction is a fantastic way to enhance your recovery. Gaining insight into the underlying causes of addiction and hearing about other people’s experiences can cause shifts in perspective that will bolster your sobriety. In this blog, we’ve selected a few of the best books about addiction. Whether you are new to addiction recovery or have been clean for decades, these books are sure to prove interesting, useful, and thought-provoking.
“The greatest damage done by neglect, trauma or emotional loss is not the immediate pain they inflict but the long-term distortions they induce in the way a developing child will continue to interpret the world and her situation in it.”
This fascinating book on addiction by renowned physician and addiction expert Gabor Maté is one the most compelling books of its type in recent years. In it, Maté draws from his experiences working with addicted people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, ground zero for addiction in Canada.
He presents the idea that drugs themselves are not the cause of addiction. Instead, he tells us that the causes of addiction are the underlying problems that make drugs so inescapably addictive for people with addiction problems. He tells us that “Drugs, in short, do not make anyone into an addict, any more than food makes a person into a compulsive eater. There has to be a pre-existing vulnerability.”
In saying this, Maté challenges the dominant discourse which implies that addiction is a moral failing that can be solved by increasing willpower. Instead, he suggests that people use substances to escape the terrible weight of psychological pain. In the 12 years that he worked at the Portland Hotel in the Downtown Eastside, all of his patients, bar none, had suffered abuse as children.
Maté goes on to state that society often views these people as subhuman, and that we need to move towards a more compassionate way of viewing people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Russell Brand has spent the past 20 years reinventing himself from a hopeless drug addict, to a media icon who was married to Katy Perry, to now a wise thought-leader, whose podcasts highlight controversial social issues. Brand is also a recovery advocate, having been a member of Narcotics Anonymous for the entire length of his sobriety.
In his book, Recovery, he talks about his own experiences of drug addiction:
“There were terrible, terrible moments of loneliness in a flat where all I had were drugs. That was all I needed. I had a job at MTV. It went. I had a radio show. It went. Everything was going. My friends left me. Girlfriends left me. It was very scary.”
He also dives into what he believes are the solutions to addiction. Namely, self-reflection, self-awareness, and taking responsibility for one's actions. He encourages people struggling with addiction to seek support, whether it's through therapy, twelve-step programs, or other forms of community.
The book is laid out in Brand’s catchy and easy-to-read conversational style and is replete with funny anecdotes and insights into the human soul.
"Scar Tissue" is an autobiographical book on addiction written by Anthony Kiedis, the lead vocalist of the band Red Hot Chili Peppers. This book on addiction provides an intimate and honest account of Kiedis' life, delving into various aspects, including his struggles with addiction.
Keidis writes vividly about the allure and escapes drugs initially provided him, but also the chaos, pain, and loss that accompanied his addiction.
Kiedis shares his numerous attempts at getting clean, the relapses he experienced, and the emotional toll it took on him. His narrative provides a glimpse into the difficult process of breaking free from addiction, emphasizing the importance of perseverance and the support of loved ones.
An honest and eye-opening look at the insanity of drug addiction.
This novel, written by Irvine Welsh, documents the dark and gritty lives of a group of heroin addicts trying to survive amongst the urban decay and struggles of late 1980s Edinburgh.
It deals with the main character Renton’s attempts at getting clean, and the difficulties of doing this in a bleak and alienating environment that is rife with heroin addiction.
Trainspotting is splatted throughout with big dollops of dark humor, which make this book a much easier read than it might otherwise have been.
It was adapted into a film of the same name, which starred Ewan McGregor as Renton. Since being released, Irvine has written three more books set in the Trainspotting universe.
This book, written by Melody Beattie, focuses on codependency, a behavioral pattern where people rely on others for validation, self-worth, and a sense of identity.
People with codependency place other people’s health, welfare, and safety before their own, which can cause them to lose touch with their own needs and desires.
Beattie’s book dives into the roots of codependency and details how to move from codependency to having healthy relationships.
Codependency is common in the family members and partners of people with addiction. If you feel like you may have a codependent nature, this book is for you.
If you have addiction problems, getting all the information you can on addiction will be absolutely crucial for you to live a healthy lifestyle. Reading is a good start, but it may not be enough to stay in recovery.
If you would like more information on what it takes to maintain long-term recovery, please contact Samarpan Recovery today.
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