Becoming knowledgeable about one’s disease is the first step towards recovery. Many addicts have heard about alcoholism, addiction, the genetic component, or the spiritual malady but have no real understanding of the scientific and psychological explanations behind the disease itself. Learning about one’s own disease is one of the first steps in moving forward to an appropriate treatment plan. As the somewhat corny saying goes, “Knowledge is Power.” However, this is especially true in addiction. Having the knowledge about addiction and how it affects the brain can be crucial in recognizing the power one has in his or her own recovery process.

There are many books, treatments plans, and methods to get and stay sober. But if you are wandering the library or bookstore one day and are interested in learning more about this nagging problem destroying your life, it’s a good idea to pick up a few of these gems and start educating oneself. Only then can recovery be discovered, initiated, and maintained. Here are 5 of our favorites.

1.The Big Book of AA/NA. Well, you knew this one was coming. Written almost 100 years ago when alcoholism and drug addiction was thought of diseases that only the insane and debaucherous suffered from, (let alone women, who usually suffered in silence), this book is the pioneer in understanding and treating addiction, while giving a solid guide map on how to stay sober. Primarily Bill Wilson, the founder of AA, wrote the book in 1939. Most AA meetings will give the book out for free or at a minimum fee. There is no reason for anyone to claim they cannot have access or afford this book. Simply attend an AA meeting and ask to be loaned a copy. The book provides the tools necessary to stay sober, and also serves as a study guide for those who remain in long-term recovery.

2.Rewired: A Bold New Approach to Addiction and Recovery. Written by Erica Speigelman, this book lays out a plan to stay sober by rethinking about addiction in a new light. It teaches the reader how to “rewire” the brain, while including the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. (See above). The author also promotes a holistic approach to recovery that goes beyond just the 12 steps. Her philosophy is that, “the attitudes and beliefs that accompany addiction are what fuels the disease.” In other words, self-talk such as “I can’t be happy without this drug,” or “I can’t survive this social situation without something calming me down” are lies that need to be smashed. We have to rewire our brains in order to survive this terrible affliction of addiction.

3.Co-Dependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Caring about Yourself. Written by Melodie Beattie, this book is helpful in that it is written for both addicts and those who are affected by the addict in their lives. Many think mistakenly that only spouses and friends of addicts are co-dependent, but actually addicts themselves are highly codependent. Addicts need someone to take care of them, and there are way too many codependents that unwillingly take on that role. This book teaches both the addict and the family and friends of the addicts how to stop enabling each other and start living independent and healthy lives alone. Codependence is one of the biggest crutches of the addict. He or she is often a child who has never learned how to take care of oneself. Only when an addict takes responsibility for his or her own life can the true healing begin.

4.Living Sober. This is a book written by Anonymous, as a side-by-side pocket book for those reading the Big Book of AA. One of the biggest problems addicts face in recovery is learning how to live a sober lifestyle. Once addicts get sober, they aren’t sure how to live a normal life and be ok with it. Living sober is about maintaining sobriety and explains step-by-step solutions that give advice on preventing relapse and enjoying day-to-day moments with friends, family, and work. This book’s founding principle states that, “sobriety is more than just not drinking, it is a daily practice of commitment to healthy and engaged living.”

5.Prozac Nation. Though non-fiction books are useful in understanding the scientific and physiological changes that accompany addiction to drugs and alcohol, it can be helpful to read memoirs that are relatable to our own experiences. In this book written by Elizabeth Wurtzel, she lays out the correlation between addiction and mental health by describing her own journey that involved anti-depressants, alcohol addiction, and drugs. She used each of these to medicate the emotional pain that became too much to bear as life went on. The two most important points in her book focus on the emptiness and longing that so many addicts feel, and why we choose to use drugs and alcohol to fill those voids. Her story is one of inspiration, poignancy, and recovery, which give the reader a sense that there is hope for addicts and those suffering from mental illness.

Though there are many different fiction books, non-fiction books, memoirs, and workbooks addicts can use in order to educate them about their disease, these are some of the top five that Footprints suggests when beginning one’s journey towards recovery. It is vital for the addict to learn about their addiction and discover ways to channel their negative lifestyle in a more positive direction. Of course books alone will not help the addict become sober, but they can be a great tool to coincide with a 12-step program, a rehabilitation program at Footprints Behavioral Health, or through an in-depth counseling session with a certified therapist.

Have you read about your addiction to drugs and alcohol and are ready for the next step in recovery? Have you done the research and aren’t quite sure yet whether or not you may have a problem that needs to be resolved? If so, call Linda Rose at 949-556-4723 today and start your roadmap towards recovery now.