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Ashley’s Top Picks – Addiction

For a lot of us, the topic of addiction is something that hits close to home. We have resources to help at the library! Whether it’s learning about the history of addiction, hearing words of wisdom from someone who has been there, or simply learning how to help a fellow human being, you can find insightful books on our shelves.

Each of the titles listed below are linked to our catalog so that you can easily place holds from wherever you are. Simply click on the cover image to jump directly to our library’s catalog.

“For families of addicts, fear, shame, and confusion over a loved one’s addiction can cause deep anxiety, sleepless nights, and even physical illness. The emotional distress family members suffer is often compounded by the belief that they somehow caused or contributed to their loved one’s addiction—or that they could have done something to prevent it.

Addict in the Family is a book about the pain of addiction, but more importantly it is a book of comfort, understanding, and hope for anyone struggling with a loved one’s addiction. As the compelling personal stories reveal, family members do not cause their loved one’s addiction—nor can they control or cure it. What family members can do is find support, set boundaries, detach with love, and eventually discover how to enjoy life more fully. This book helps them do just that—whether the loved one achieves recovery or not.”

-From amazon.com

“I come from a family forged by tragedies and bound by a remarkable, unbreakable love,” Hunter Biden writes in this deeply moving and “unflinchingly honest” (Entertainment Weekly) memoir of addiction, loss, and survival.

When he was two years old, Hunter Biden was badly injured in a car accident that killed his mother and baby sister. In 2015, he suffered the devastating loss of his beloved big brother, Beau, who died of brain cancer at the age of forty-six. These hardships were compounded by the collapse of his marriage and a years-long battle with drug and alcohol addiction.

In Beautiful Things—“an astonishingly candid and brave book about loss, human frailty, wayward souls, and hard-fought redemption” (Dave Eggers, New York Times bestselling author)—Hunter recounts his descent into substance abuse and his tortuous path to sobriety. The story ends with where Hunter is today—a sober married man with a new baby, finally able to appreciate the beautiful things in life.”

-From amazon.com

“What if you could find happiness after addiction? Imagine the struggle was behind you and you felt grateful for every ounce of joy in your life. What if you KNEW how to be courageous and not just for show?

In his raw memoir, critically acclaimed and bestselling author, Robert Imbeault, shares how he found happiness after addiction. When the trauma of childhood abuse catches up with him, Robert begins a suicidal dance with drugs and alcohol sinking him to a series of rock bottoms. But through self-discipline, self-love, and small steps forward (and a few steps back), Robert transforms his life to one filled with gratitude and joy.

His story is a harsh reality of the darker side of Las Vegas and a reality check of how addicts hide their struggle and illness from family and friends.

In Before I Leave You, he shares his road to recovery, how he came to love himself, and most of all how he used forgiveness in his own healing.

Robert is a co-founder of a wildly successful startup which he helped build while he struggled with his addiction. What started out as a good-bye letter turned into this book.

If you are looking for a compelling, well written, raw and honest account of letting go and how to heal” read this book!

-From amazon.com

“‘My name is Liz, and I am the partner of an alcoholic.’

This is the story of two people in love, who packed up their lives and drove a thousand miles across Europe in a transit van to the magical island of Venice, to start their new lives and dreams together and raise their baby girl there. They left behind everything they didn’t need. But they also brought something terrible with them: alcoholism.

In the summer of 2019, Liz Fraser watched her husband fall into a catastrophic vortex of depression, alcoholism and self-destruction, which, unbeknownst to her, had been slowly bubbling and building for years. She was suddenly left alone with their baby, in a foreign country, renovating a house, and paying all the family bills along with his enormous drink-related costs. She worked when she could with no childcare or support, all while slowly losing her mind from shock, exhaustion, and heartbreak.

It was a long and lonely time before she met others who live, or have lived, with alcoholism or other substance abuse, whether a spouse, a partner, a child or friend, and found enormous relief in talking about it with people who could understand. In Coming Clean, Liz tells her story–of life with an alcoholic at his darkest moments, and the uncertain journey through recovery as her husband nears six months of sobriety. With this raw, wrenching memoir, she gives a voice and offers hope to everyone watching a loved one struggle with substance abuse with the crucial reminder: you are not alone.”

-From amazon.com

“In an all too familiar scenario, played out in millions of homes every day, children who grow up in addictive families abide by certain rules: don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel. The rigid survival roles and youthful coping behaviors they take on, such as the responsible child, the adjuster, the placater, and the acting-out child can eventually contribute to problems of depression, loneliness, and addiction in adulthood.

Using poignant personal stories, thoughtful explanations, and helpful exercises, Black helps readers gain personal insights and develop new skills that lead to a healthier, happier, more fulfilling life.

While continuing to recognize alcohol as the primary addiction within families, this newly revised edition of It Will Never Happen to Me, which has sold more than two million copies, broadens concepts to include addictive disorders involving other drugs, money, food, sex, and work.”

-From amazon.com

“Erica C. Barnett had her first sip of alcohol when she was thirteen, and she quickly developed a taste for drinking to oblivion with her friends. In her late twenties, her addiction became inescapable. Volatile relationships, blackouts, and unsuccessful stints in detox defined her life, with the bottles she hid throughout her apartment and offices acting as both her tormentors and closest friends. By the time she was in her late thirties, Barnett had quit and relapsed again and again, but found herself far from rehabilitated.

“Rock bottom,” Erica Barnett writes, “is a lie.”

It is always possible, she learned, to go lower than your lowest point. She found that the terms other alcoholics used to describe the trajectory of their addiction–“rock bottom” and “moment of clarity”–and the mottos touted by Alcoholics Anonymous, such as “let go and let God”–didn’t correspond to her experience and could actually be detrimental.

With remarkably brave and vulnerable writing, Barnett expands on her personal story to confront the dire state of addiction in America, the rise of alcoholism in American women in the last century, and the lack of rehabilitation options available to addicts. At a time when opioid addiction is a national epidemic and one in twelve Americans suffers from alcohol abuse disorder, Quitter is indispensable reading for our age and an ultimately hopeful story of Barnett’s own hard-fought path to sobriety.”

-From amazon.com

“One of the most devastating aspects of addiction is the damage it causes to relationships–with intimate partners, family, friends, or colleagues. But recovery programs often recommend that you focus solely on sobriety and don’t emphasize the need to rebuild relationships. Psychologist and addictions expert Kelly Green wants to change that. Through her work with hundreds of clients, Dr. Green has learned that social support is key to the recovery process. This compassionate, judgment-free guide shares powerful tools you can use to recognize the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships, set and maintain boundaries, reestablish emotional intimacy, communicate your feelings and needs, and end harmful relationships respectfully. With inspiring stories and easy-to-use worksheets (you can download and print additional copies as needed), this book lights the way to a life untethered from addiction–and filled with positive connections.”

-From amazon.com

“In 2020, nothing went according to plan. Duff McDonald had intended to write a book about society’s obsession with measurements, data, and predictions, showing how it blunts individual happiness and decision-making while fueling corporate capitalism. But in the quiet of quarantine, McDonald found himself reexamining the assumptions beneath his own life choices. He also reconsidered his book, deciding instead to reframe his approach as an exploration of his own battle with what he calls the “precision paradox”—the existential struggle between our desire for ease and our need to exert control.

Drawing inspiration from an impressive range of sources—from Borges to the Buddha to Bob (Dylan) to Harry Potter—McDonald documents how he let go of his attachment to precision in favor of delving deeper into what it means to be present—in his work, his relationships, and what he calls the “science of experience.” He asks, “What should I have been doing? I should have been focusing on things that I love, not the things that anger or annoy me. I should have been focusing on things that tickle me.” 

Part self-help, part memoir, Tickled is a story of how to bring joy and love into your life right now. McDonald acknowledges that “tickle” is a funny, awkward word. In one context, it’s as innocent as can be. But it also runs deeper. When something tickles you, you are in the moment, experiencing reality itself—at the vortex of truth, consciousness, and bliss. “When something tickles, that’s your soul speaking to you in the language of love, thanking you for experience,” he says. As he lays out his own personal transformation, McDonald invites readers to begin their own journeys to find out what “tickles” them, too.

This exploration of joy and presence—experiences that tickle—lies at the heart of McDonald’s unusual, moving, and profound book. 

-From amazon.com

“When Madeleine Dean discovered that her son Harry was stealing from the family to feed a painkiller addiction, she was days away from taking the biggest risk of her life: running for statewide office in Pennsylvania. For years, she had sensed something was wrong. Harry was losing weight and losing friends. He had lost the brightness in his eyes and voice, changing from a young boy with boundless enthusiasm to a shadow of himself, chasing something she could not see. Now her worst fears had come to light.

Under Our Roof is the story of a national crisis suffered in the intimacy of so many homes, told with incredible candor through the dual perspectives of a mother rising in politics and a son living a double life, afraid of what might happen if his secret is exposed. In this honest, bracing, yet ultimately uplifting memoir, they discuss the patterns of a family dealing with an unspoken disease, the fear that keeps addicts hiding in shame, and the moments of honesty, faith, and personal insight that led to Harry’s recovery.

In a country searching for answers to the devastating effects of opioids and drug abuse, Under Our Roof is a ray of hope in the darkness. It is not only a love story between mother and son but also an honest account of a pressing national crisis by a family poised to make a difference.”

-From amazon.com

“Even after a decades-long opioid overdose crisis, intense controversy still rages over the fundamental nature of addiction and the best way to treat it. With uncommon empathy and erudition, Carl Erik Fisher draws on his own experience as a clinician, researcher, and alcoholic in recovery as he traces the history of a phenomenon that, centuries on, we hardly appear closer to understanding—let alone addressing effectively.

As a psychiatrist-in-training fresh from medical school, Fisher was soon face-to-face with his own addiction crisis, one that nearly cost him everything. Desperate to make sense of the condition that had plagued his family for generations, he turned to the history of addiction, learning that the current quagmire is only the latest iteration of a centuries-old story: humans have struggled to define, treat, and control addictive behavior for most of recorded history, including well before the advent of modern science and medicine.

A rich, sweeping account that probes not only medicine and science but also literature, religion, philosophy, and public policy, The Urge illuminates the extent to which the story of addiction has persistently reflected broader questions of what it means to be human and care for one another. Fisher introduces us to the people who have endeavored to address this complex condition through the ages: physicians and politicians, activists and artists, researchers and writers, and of course the legions of people who have struggled with their own addictions. He also examines the treatments and strategies that have produced hope and relief for many people with addiction, himself included. Only by reckoning with our history of addiction, he argues—our successes and our failures—can we light the way forward for those whose lives remain threatened by its hold.

The Urge is at once an eye-opening history of ideas, a riveting personal story of addiction and recovery, and a clinician’s urgent call for a more expansive, nuanced, and compassionate view of one of society’s most intractable challenges.”

-From amazon.com

This list is just the tip of the iceberg! There are a large number of books available within our library system. Visit our catalog to get started (the results list in the link is a quick search for everything from all libraries and for all age levels on addiction).

-Ashley

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