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We are so glad you come to our blog to get information about substance use disorders, treatment, and the recovery journey. But, of course, this blog is not the only place you can turn to when you are hoping to get a better understanding of these topics. As Reading Rainbow always reminded us: “Take a look. It’s in a book.”

Books to Better Understand Addiction and Recovery

In this entry, we will share some books that have something valuable or inspirational to say about reclaiming your sobriety and your life. Some of these books about addiction and recovery might also be helpful reads for people who love someone who is struggling with drugs or alcohol. 

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction by Dr. Gabor Maté

In this 2010 book, Dr. Maté argues that the root causes of addiction can be found in childhood trauma. As the book description puts it:

Dr. Maté presents addiction not as a discrete phenomenon confined to an unfortunate or weak-willed few, but as a continuum that runs throughout—and perhaps underpins—our society. It is not a medical “condition” distinct from the lives it affects but rather the result of a complex interplay among personal history, emotional and neurological development, brain chemistry, and the drugs and behaviors of addiction.

Related topics from our blog:

Permanent Midnight by Jerry Stahl

Jerry Stahl is a Pushcart Prize-winning author, a respected journalist, and a writer of high profile television and film projects. None of that was enough to keep him from developing an addiction to heroin. Stahl shared his story—and it is a dark one, but told with humor—in his 1995 memoir. As Amy Wallace of the Los Angeles Times wrote in a feature about the author and the book at the time of its publication:

This is a man who once took his infant daughter into a dark, filthy Pico-Union heroin den in the middle of the night. This is a man who plundered his then-wife’s bank account, stole prescription painkillers out of friends’ medicine cabinets, and continued injecting poison even after doctors said it might mean the amputation of both his arms.

But Permanent Midnight is not just a cautionary tale (though it surely is that). It is also a story about a man who is working to stay sober one day at a time.

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Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff

Published in 2009, Sheff’s memoir recounts a father’s desperation in the face of his son’s battle with crystal meth. The book’s description describes the terrible transformation that drug use can cause:

Before Nic became addicted to crystal meth, he was a charming boy, joyous and funny, a varsity athlete and honor student adored by his two younger siblings. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole, and lived on the streets. David Sheff traces the first warning signs: the denial, the three a.m. phone calls—is it Nic? the police? the hospital?

This is the sort of book that can be helpful to parents and others who are facing the fact that someone they love is struggling with drugs or alcohol.

Related topics from our blog:

I Love You More: Short Stories of Addiction, Recovery, and Loss From the Family’s Perspective, by Blake E. Cohen, CAP

Sometimes fiction can help reveal the truth just as powerfully—or even more powerfully—as nonfiction can. Cohen’s 2019 book offers three short stories intended to take readers inside the situations faced by families dealing with addiction. Cohen, who is in recovery himself, is also a Certified Addictions Professional. From the book’s description:

These three powerful stories have common threads of hope, pain, mistrust, grief, worry, change, acceptance, belief, and the constant presence of varying levels of sanity across a broad spectrum.

I Love You More offers insight into the various perspectives and experiences of family members who have dealt with the harrowing disease of addiction.

The goal of this quick, easy-to-read, book is to be the conduit that allows you to enter the body and mind of a substance abuser and their family, to see the world through their eyes as they navigate their way through one of the most heart-breaking and gut-wrenching hardships they will ever face.

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We Are Ready and Able to Help You Write a New Sobriety Story

At French Creek Recovery Center—located in Meadville, Pennsylvania—we don’t want to let a substance use disorder be the end of your personal story. Instead, we want to help you reclaim and maintain your sobriety so that the next chapter of your life will be better than the last. We will see you through detox and residential rehabilitation—and then provide ongoing support via our continuum of care. 

Ready to turn the page? We are ready to help you change up the plot of your life story for the better.