Books on Recovery

Here I’ll list books that I have found personally helpful or interesting in my recovery journey.   They can generally be purchased on-line through Amazon or through


“Alcoholics Annonymous” – Hey it’s the classic

“The 12 Steps and 12 Traditions” – Another AA Classic explaining in detail the 12 steps and 12 traditions of AA

“As Bill Sees It”, published by AA World services.   A collection of short writings by Bill W.  Indexed by topic.

“Spiritual Awakenings” – Journeys of the Spirit from the pages of the AA Grapevines.   AA Grapevine.

“The Dual Disorders Recovery Book”   – An approach to the 12 steps for people experiencing both mental illness and Addiction.

“Sober”, Marsha Hornbacher.   The best book I’ve ever read about recovering from mental illness and addiction.  It is 12 step based.

“Good Bye Hangovers, Hello Life” by Jean Kirkpatrick founder of Women for Sobriety.  It basically introduces the WFS philosophy of recovery which I love.

“Mindful Recovery: A Spirtual Path to Healing from Addiction”, Thomas and Beverly Bien.   Approaches addiction recovery using Mindfulness Meditation.

“First Year Sobriety – When All that Changes is Everything,” Guy Kettlehack.   An easy read that walks you through some of the emotions and upheaval you experience in your first year of recovery.

“The Little Red Book for Women” A guide to the 12 steps written specifically for women.

“The Narcotics Anonymous Step Working Guide” NAWS Inc.  I’m an alcoholic, but I’m using this workbook in reworking the steps with my sponsor.  It’s much more detailed than anything AA has.   It has tons of questions to get you thinking.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

“Mind Over Mood: Change How you Feel by Changing the Way you Think”, Greenberger, Padesky.   This is the classic introductory workbook to CBT that’s used in most CBT programs here in Toronto.  But it can also be worked through on your own.  Has separate sections for dealing with depression and anxiety.

Daily Meditation Books

“24 Hours a Day”  This was the first book of AA daily meditations.  It has a meditation a day.  Now published by Hazelden.

“Walk in Dry Places”, Mel B.  Another good daily meditation guide for addiction recovery.

“Each Day a New Beginning” Karen Casey.  Meditations specifically for women.


“The Mindful Way Through Depression”, Williams, Teasdale, Segal, Kabat-Zinn.   A Mindfulness approach to recovery from depression.

“Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes”, Therese Borchard – A memoire of surviving depression that is alternately moving and funny.

General Mental Health

“The Gifts of Imperfection” Brene Brown.  A great read on the benefits of giving up on perfectionism and shame and embracing life wholeheartedly.

“This is Not the Life I Ordered”, Stephens, Speier, Tisley, Yanehiro.   A funny collection of short anectdotes on dealing with life’s unexpected trials.

“The Ten Things to do When Your Life Falls Apart”.   If you’ve ever found yourself as an unemployed, suicidal, alcoholic, or are just experiencing some other catastrophy in your life, this is a great book for getting through it and moving on.

Mindfullness Meditation

“Full Catastrophy Living” Jon Kabat-Zinn, It’s a bit academic but it’s a full introduction to his Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program.

“Wherever You Go, There You Are” Jon Kabat-Zinn, Short essays on mindfulness and how to practice it in everyday life.

“Coming to Our Senses” Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Continues the theme of practicing mindfulness in everyday life.

“Peace in Every Step” Thich Nhat Hanh.   Hahn is a Buddhist monk who is one of the best regarded teachers in the world, and has written a number of easily accessible books.  This is a good overview of mindfulness.


Self Harm

“Healing the Hurt Within: Understand Self-Injury and Self Harm and Heal the Emotional Wounds”, Jan Sutton and Tracey Alderman.  This is by far the best book I’ve read on Self Injury.  It contains lots of anecdotes, art, and stories from self harmers.

“Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self Mutilation” Steven Levenkron.  Try to get past the Title and the outdated terminology.  It’s a helpful book in stopping self injury.

“The Scarred Soul, Understanding & Ending Self-Inflicted Violence” Tracy Alderman.  This is a self help guide.  I personally found the language to be a bit academic, but it’s a good book.


“Coping with Trauma, Hope through Understanding, Second Edition”   Jon Allen.   It’s on the academic side but it’s a good guide to understanding trauma and how it affects your life.

“Life After Trauma Second Edition A Workbook for Healing”, Rosenbloom, Williams, Watkins.   A self help workbook for recovering from trauma.  Personally I’d recommend working through it with a therapist.

20 Responses to Books on Recovery

  1. Dell says:

    Thanks alot – your ansewr solved all my problems after several days struggling

  2. Hello blog owner! This is not spam! By approving this comment you helpa lot of people. Think about it. We are a group created exclusively to help people that look for help, and people who suffer about this problematic. We mustto join forces to help people around the world. In 1953 Narcotics Anonymous, originally called AA/NA, was founded in California by Jimmy Kinnon and others. Differing from its predecessors, NA formed fellowship of mutually supporting groups. Founding members, most of whom were from A.A., debated and established bylaws of the organization. On September 14, 1953, AA authorized NA to use of AA’s s steps and traditions on the condition that they stopped using the AA name, causing the organization to call itself Narcotics Anonymous. In 1954, the first NA publication was printed, called the “Little Brown Book”. It contained the 12 steps, and early drafts of several pieces that would later be included in subsequent literature.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Narcotics Annonymous, thanks for the background. I have a lot of respect for NA. I’m in AA but am currently reworking the steps using the NA step workbook. It’s far more thorough than anything AA puts out. I’m finding it hard but good. It really makes you think.


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