Our society is wiser about addictions than ever before – and there is still a long way to go. The 12-step movement is one of the greatest contributions to positive social change in the twentieth century. Millions of addicts have worked successful programs of recovery, and their families have found meaningful connections with co-addiction support groups.
Many families continue to struggle with addiction issues – with members who are addicted to substances (alcohol or drugs or food) or to problematic or unsafe behavior such as out-of-control shopping and spending, compulsive gambling or sexual behavior.
The self help-books listed below can open windows of understanding and perspective on your struggle, remind you that you are not alone, and suggest actions to take and resources that are available to you.
David Yarian, Ph.D.
More Recommended Self-Help Books on Addictions
This is the “Big Book,” the basic self-help text for AA. The first part describes the AA recovery program; the latter two-thirds of the book includes extensive personal testimonies by AA members in recovery. 2000, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services
This is Bill Lee's story of his gambling addiction, which is set in San Francisco's China Town and steeped in a culture where it is not unheard of for gamblers to lose their children to a bet. With gritty honesty and true humility, Lee describes what gambling addiction feels like and looks like from the inside and tells the story of the gambling binge that brought him to financial ruin. In the end, however, Born to Lose is a self help memoir of hope as Lee reveals how recovery from his gambling addiction has been possible through the Twelve-Step Program. 2005, Hazelden
This updated version of a clinically tested self-help manual offers tools for successful moderation - like spacing alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones and timing drinks to maintain low levels of blood alcohol concentration, as well as tactics for dealing with common challenges like hard-drinking friends and social anxiety. 2004, The Guilford Press
An official publication of The Debtors Anonymous 12-Step Fellowship, this self-help book describes the basics of the Debtors Anonymous Recovery Program. It includes success stories of D.A. members and offers experience, strength, and hope to help other compulsive debtors and all those who want to stop incurring unsecured debt. 1999, General Service Board of Trustees, Inc.
A ground-breaking self-help work by the nation’s leading professional expert on sexual addiction, based on the candid testimony of more than one thousand recovering sex addicts. The book includes advice from the addicts and their partners as they work to overcome their compulsive behavior patterns. Positive, hopeful and practical. 1992, Bantam
Pete Hamill’s rich Brooklyn childhood is evocatively portrayed in this memoir. But childhood ended early for him, and part of being a man was to drink. Alcohol helped him overcome his sexual shyness, and he describes his life as a successful, prize-winning reporter, culminating in his decision on a New Year’s Eve to stop drinking because as he said, “I have no talent for it.” A powerful self-help book that tells an honest story with love and humor. 1994, Little, Brown
This self-help text takes techniques used by thousands of people recovering from sex addiction and shows in a step-by-step manner how to break free of this disease and live a healthier, more fulfilling life. Each chapter provides practical exercises designed to address topics like dealing with the power of denial, facing the consequences of behavior, using recovery principles, how to respond to change and crisis, and how to manage life without dysfunctional behavior. 2006, Gentle Path Press
An excellent and practical self-help book for people in the process of healing from addiction. It is in workbook form and provides structured exercises to help recovering people integrate the twelve steps into their lives. 1994, Hazelden
In this first hand account of Borderline Personality Disorder, Reiland (a pseudonym) tells the poignant story of her life which included episodes of anorexia, promiscuity, impulsiveness, suicide attempts, hospitalizations, and often unrelenting, anger-intensive, violent and unpredictable behavior. With astonishing honesty, Reiland's memoir reveals the inner reality of her illness and shows how healing and recovery is possible through intensive therapy and the support of loved ones. 2004, Hazelden
The 21 celebrities who tell their stories in this self help book include Richard Pryor, Mariette Hartley, Alice Cooper, Steve Earle, and Grace Slick. They are all in recovery from addictions to alcohol or drugs; the strength of these honest and affecting essays is in showing the variety of paths to recovery. 2007, Hazelden
This self-help book offers hope to the millions of consumers who have become trapped in a spiral of debt. This complete step-by-step guide shows you how to get out of debt once and for all. The book helps you recognize the warning signs of serious debt, design a realistic pay-back schedule and identify your spending blind spots. Learn how to get out from under the daily stress of debt! 1990, Bantam
In the Shadows of the Net: Breaking Free of Compulsive Online Sexual Behavior
Patrick Carnes, et. al.
Patrick Carnes pioneered the assessment and treatment of sexual addiction. In this self-help book he focuses on cyber-sex addiction, including online pornography use and cyber-chat addiction. This self-help book includes guidance to help you determine whether you are suffering from these compulsive behaviors and supportive steps to take to free yourself.2004, Hazelden
This breakthrough self-help work, the first to describe sexual addiction, is still the standard for recognizing and overcoming this destructive behavior. Patrick Carnes writes with insight and compassion and outlines how to identify sexual addiction and change the patterns that support it. 1995, Perennial Currents
This self-help guide, an alternative to abstinence-only programs, offers solace, support, information, and the skills you need to understand harm reduction and use it to make positive changes in your life. 2003, The Guilford Press
Why is it that newfound sobriety with its hard-won joys and accomplishments can be such a lonely and unsatisfying experience for many women? Once a woman leaves behind the numbing comforts of alcohol or other drugs, she is left to face herself - perhaps for the first time in her life. With gentle guidance and personal stories, Dr. Brown helps readers unravel painful truths and confusing feelings and weave for themselves a true sense of self. This self-help book offers women a map to find their way through the rocky spots in sobriety. 2004, Hazelden
In this highly acclaimed self-help recovery guide, renowned sex and relationship therapists Wendy and Larry Maltz shed new light on the compelling nature and destructive power of today’s instantly available pornography. Weaving together poignant real-life stories with innovative exercises, checklists, and expert advice, this groundbreaking resource provides a comprehensive program for understanding and healing porn addiction and other serious consequences of porn use. 2009, Harper Paperbacks
This helpful self-help workbook presents the only scientifically supported treatment method for sex addicts. In it the reader may explore the root causes of addiction; reduce high-risk sexual behavior and the use of online porn, phone sex, strip bars; put an end to affairs forever; and rediscover a healthy attitude toward sex. 2004, New Harbinger
Sexual anorexia is an extreme fear of sexual intimacy and the obsessive avoidance of sex. The authors examine its causes, often arising from childhood trauma and other forms of abuse and neglect, and then describe concrete tasks and plans for exploring intimacy and restoring healthy sexuality. 1997, Hazelden
Called the “12 and 12” in AA, this is the best available self-help source for someone wishing to understand the traditions and steps more completely. The book includes heartfelt stories and vignettes illustrating the points made in the text. 1989, Halzelden