List Of Best Books On Alcoholism Recovery

Last Updated: April 10, 2020

Authored by Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Many tools can be used as part of recovery when a person is just getting started on the journey to sobriety. Reading books on recovery from alcoholism can be very helpful, especially during times when it’s difficult or impossible to get to a meeting. This text aims to provide people with the best sources of literature that can help to get on the track to recovery.

What Kind Of Books Are There For Overcoming Alcohol Addiction?

There are a variety of books to help with alcoholism that are intended to offer guidance with overcoming addiction to alcohol. Some focus on physical addiction, while others may focus on psychological compulsion or the religious and spiritual aspects of recovery.
For those seeking a method of self-managing alcohol addiction, they may choose self-help books. These books may help guide the individual toward getting started with the process of healing and overcoming alcohol addiction. Self-help books may focus on physical dependence, psychological dependence, or both. They may even take on a more spiritual outlook on addiction.
Books on compulsion are another form of literature that may help with alcohol addiction. These books about alcoholism aim to decipher why people are addicted as well as the behavior that causes it and compels alcoholics to want to go back to drinking.
One of the most important forms of literature available for those overcoming addiction is the recovery book. These books on alcoholism recovery aim to offer support through the process of battling alcohol addiction. They may include advice for withdrawal effects, how to stay sober, or what to expect when going through the various stages of recovery.
When it comes to addiction, no one’s recovery is ever the same. That is why there is gender-specific alcohol recovery literature. Guides for women focus on what it is like to go through alcohol addiction recovery as a woman and the unique aspects of female recovery. This may include psychological differences, lifestyle differences, or managing personal relationships during recovery.
Finally, there are alcoholism books for family and friends. These books ensure that the family and friends of those suffering from alcohol addiction have some idea about what the addict is going through. This will then help loved ones to give the best help and support possible to the addict throughout the recovery process.

Alcohol Self-Help Books

This Naked Mind by Annie Grace

In this book on alcohol abuse, dependence on alcohol is explained through neurological science. It helps to guide one through the mental side of addiction by showing how to remove psychological dependence and cravings for alcohol. The author uses clarity, humor, science, and storytelling to ensure it is engaging as well as helpful. This is the top-selling alcohol self-help book on

Refuge Recovery by Noah Levine

The recovery text offers a systematic approach to recovery as an alternative to AA’s 12 Steps. It makes sure that the more spiritual, religious, and psychological sides of recovery are met with its simple methods. This book offers Buddhist insight, which means that readers may not be alienated by focusing on an external higher power, as they may be by other books on alcohol addiction.
Refuge Recovery guides people through processes such as meditation to help them heal and awaken.

12 Steps And 12 Traditions – Alcoholics Anonymous

This is a classic text from AA that is extremely helpful with 12-step alcoholism recovery. This book lays out the steps to alcoholism recovery, how fellowship can help in the recovery process and traditions that should be followed to ensure the survival of the group. It focuses less on the narrative that the big book and is more of a guide.

Compulsion Literature

Drop The Rock – Removing Character Defects by Bill P.

The text aims to help people with alcohol recovery by focusing on how to remove character defects that create compulsion. It claims that resentment, self-pity, anger, and intolerance are the character traits that can cause relapse and the compulsion to pick up a drink. It then focuses on adjusting these traits to allow people to recover.

Why Can’t I Stop? By John Grant

Targeting risky, unwise, and irrational behavioral traits, this story focuses on avoiding expensive and dangerous compulsions such as gambling, alcohol, and drug addiction. It explains why it is so difficult to stop this kind of behavior in a manner that is easy to read for those suffering from the compulsion or for their family and friends. Diagnosis, treatments, and symptoms are all talked about in this informative and interesting guide to compulsion.

Recovery Books

Alcoholics Anonymous – The Big Book

Although this was originally published back in 1939, it is still one of the bestselling books about alcoholism, and with good reason. The AA Big Book provides all the basics of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. It provides detailed guidance for ensuring people stay on track with recovery, and it includes narratives of the personal experiences of many different alcoholics.

A Happier Hour by Rebecca Weller

Another alternative look at recovery, the text is in the form of a memoir. Rebecca Weller pours her heart out onto the pages of the book, explaining her tale of alcohol addiction and recovery. The book is enough to inspire anyone through the most challenging of times and goes far beyond the usual self-help guides, delving into the darker side of addiction and sharing information on what it takes to recover.

Living Sober – Alcoholics Anonymous

This book about alcoholism doesn’t offer advice on getting sober but instead of staying sober. It argues that this can be the most critical part of alcoholism recovery and that it is the most challenging part. As with all AA books, it offers a few tales of those who have before managed to stay sober as inspiration.

Literature For The Family And Friends Of Those Suffering

Beautiful Boy by David Sheff

This text is another memoir, told from the perspective of a family father. Although this book is based on David’s son, Nic’s addiction to crystal meth, it focuses on the challenge of addiction itself. It explains how it feels to be the family member of an addict and the emotions that come along with it. This book on alcoholism and the family will help give perspective to the family and friends of an addict of any kind. It will help them see how to provide the best support possible through understanding.

Courage to Change – One Day At A Time by Al-Anon

The text is quite simple in its goal. It provides family members with daily reminders, prayers, and meditations to share the recovery journey with loved ones. It aims to keep the environment surrounding alcohol addiction as positive as possible, to give the addict the best chance of recovery and to help their family and friends to understand and participate in the process.

Books On Alcohol Abuse For Women

For some women, heavy drinking can be a more serious problem than for men because women sometimes become alcohol addicted faster. A woman’s recovery can present its challenges, so it can be helpful to pay attention to the literature only for women.

“The Big Fix,” by Tracy Helton Mitchell

The text is written by a female alcohol addict for the female alcohol addict. There are many useful recommendations for women on how to stop drinking alcohol. The author also addresses the disadvantages of the rehab system in place today.

Girl Walks Out of a Bar, by Lisa F. Smith

This book is written by using a different approach, focused on “functional alcoholism.” The author describes her addiction that was a result of the pressures of being a young adult struggling to make her way in the corporate world.

Information Needs Action

Reading books on alcohol addiction can help with the process of learning to get sober and stay sober. Being well informed on a topic is always useful, but people also need to take action to battle addiction. Following the processes of the self-help guides can be very useful but may not work for every individual, and most likely won’t work by itself.


Page Sources

  1. This Naked Mind,
  2. Refuge Recovery,
  3. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,
  4. Why Can't I Stop? by John E. Grant,

Published on: March 9th, 2018

Updated on: April 10th, 2020

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


Leave a comment

  • Oli
    Very difficult and sensitive subject for families and friends around. I liked Ellen’s book as well. Good read and plenty of help there. Thanks. This guide changed my life and gave me the opportunity to change this terrible situation although it seemed impossible. If your loved one or a friend is an alcoholic – this book will be an invaluable help. It will show you how to take the necessary steps to help the person you care about.
  • Gina
    Looked through some books already, best one I came across was How to Help an Alcoholic You Love by Ellen Petersen did all that. Worth checking!