Therapeutic Books When You Love An Addict
The following is from our contributor B.H. who shares stories of her life and love for her son who has struggled with addiction and is currently in recovery.
With my job, meetings, and writing, I do find it hard to read. I certainly do not have time to read fiction (except when I have time off from teaching), but since my son’s addiction and now recovery I make time. I read for about fifteen minutes a night before bed to calm my mind and body.
This helps me sleep better, as sometimes my anxiety keeps me awake.
I love reading self-help books on dealing with a loved one’s addiction and recovery, because not only do they help me get past my son’s addiction, but they help me with common life stressors that have nothing to do with addiction and recovery. I feel reading at night is a win-win.
These are some of the readings I recommend for someone looking for books if you love an addict.
Courage to Change
This book has saved my emotional well-being. It is perfect for anyone who wants to read a passage for each day, or who wants to look up a topic of choice and find the perfect reading. The readings are short, use examples, and are absolutely relatable.
When I am feeling down and anxious, this is my go-to and on-the-spot therapy. Al-Anon recommends it and the readings apply to any loved one who is suffering from a family member or close friend in active addiction. It is also perfect for understanding the recovery process. I find the book to be very soothing and I always feel at ease after reading a passage or two a day.
The Blue Booklet by Nar-Anon Family Groups
The Nar Anon Blue Booklet is available online at a very inexpensive cost. But, don’t let the inexpensive cost fool you, because it most definitely is not low-quality. This book can be a real lifesaver in many ways and is ideal for those who are in the beginning of experiencing a loved one’s addiction.
It discusses the twelve-step program that can change your life. It has a spiritual aspect to it and has many different readings, which makes it very convenient to pick up and find the help you need. Reading for the day is a way to keep yourself on track and moving forward in a positive direction, day-by-day and minute-by-minute.
Any reader can also jump around and read what is needed to help calm the mind. As with any Nar Anon book, attending meetings in conjunction with reading can help those who are being dealt with someone they love who is an addict or in recovery.
Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction by Maia Szalavitz
When my son was addicted to alcohol and his drug of choice, cocaine, I felt defeated and I was confused. I cried for him. I was unnervingly angry with him. I wanted to just hold him.
I love my son more than anything, and I knew how I raised him and I knew, more than anyone on the planet, that he was a good, caring person. It hurt so deep inside my chest would ache.
And then the blaming began. I blamed myself more than anything. What did I do wrong as a parent? Would he be this way if his dad and I would not have divorced? Did I not discipline him enough growing up? These questions constantly filled my mind.
I then attended addiction courses when he was in rehab. I also read this book to help me understand from a scientific and medical perspective. I learned not to blame myself any longer.
This book helps anyone understand addiction from the ground up, and helped me open my eyes to a deeper view of this illness. It is another way of thinking, and it is quite revolutionary in its approach.
But, this book gave me another way of understanding what my son was going through.
Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life by Gary John Bishop
That title will get anyone’s attention, including mine. I was a bundle of nerves and so very anxious throughout my son’s addiction, rehab, and recovery. I still have anxiety, but books like this have helped me tremendously.
This book is a get-to-the-point, blunt, witty, and so real book that it is very hard to put down! The advice, totally relatable examples, and the actual tone and mood of the author is a complete win. Never boring, almost entertaining, this book will change the way you think about yourself and completely alter that nasty inner-voice that often tries to take over during anxious times.
This book is perfect for anyone who suffers from anxiety and depression, for any reason, including that of dealing with an addict or an addict in recovery.
These books are good, thorough reads that can help change your mindset when dealing with a traumatic event, whether ongoing or short-lived. Addiction negatively affects the family dynamic, and as a mother of an addict, I craved the help.
If I could not be in a meeting or at counseling, I would pick up a book and feel much better in my own home. For not only dealing with addiction, these books help during the many curveballs life can throw at you.
If you reading suggestions that have helped you, share them in the comments. I’m always looking for new therapeutic books.