Books to facilitate your recovery

I love reading and I have a large collection of books on recovery. Here are six books I believe are invaluable in facilitating recovery.

A few interesting points: only three are specialist books on recovery; five are by women; and three surnames are a colour (a different colour will dominate in a another book section).

PS. The content management system I am using to develop this website automatically links to Amazon in the US. If you want to shop elsewhere, you’ll need to find the link yourself.

A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety & Radical Transformation

book-a-place-called-selfEarly recovery can be less satisfying than you expected. Some people struggle with loneliness and self-doubt. Once you’ve left the numbing comfort of alcohol or other drugs, you must face yourself and your emotions – perhaps for the first time. Pioneering therapist Stephanie Brown helps you sort through the feelings and thoughts that arise in recovery. This is such a wonderful read, so insightful and empathic. Examples of situations from people’s lives further enhance our understanding I would recommend everyone who can to read this book. And it’s relevant to men as well. There are few people in the professional world who speak as much sense about recovery as Stephanie Brown.


Instead, this way of thinking recognises that life is good and bad, joyful and painful, sweet and sour.”— ‘A Place called Self’ by Stephanie Brown

“Recovery is a developmental process of finding and building a new self…

You will gain a whole new way of thinking about yourself and about life, a more intricate way of looking at things.

It’s not black or white, it’s not either/or, and it’s not good or bad.



The Recovery Formula: An Addict’s Guide to getting Clean and Sober Forever

book-the-recovery-formulaBeth Burgess talks about the essential elements underlying recovery in a beautifully accessible way. A way that comes from experience – and will be easy to relate to for people who want to recover from a substance use problem. She describes the sorts of things she attempted when trying to overcome her own drinking problems, some of which helped her move towards recovery, others which did little or in fact impeded progress. Beth’s description of her past shows how easy it is for an uninformed person to stumble from one unhelpful tactic to another. Beth’s book describes a framework comprising four key building blocks to recovery: Get Honest, Get Held, Get Committed and Get Replacements. Please read my Foreword.


 “A wonderfully effective guide that every addict should read as they take their first steps into sobriety and recovery. I am hugely impressed by this book.” Wynford Ellis Owen

Beth Burgess talks about her book, ‘The Recovery Formula’


Chimp Paradox: How Our Impulses and Emotions Can Determine Success and Happiness and How We Can Control Them

book-the-chimp-paradox“What have chimps got to do with recovery?”, you might say. Plenty if the person talking about chimps is Dr Steve Peters, the consultant psychiatrist who has been helping the highly successful British track cycling team and Bradley Wiggins, winner of the 2012 Tour de France. Steve has developed a powerful mind management model that can make you become ‘a happy, confident, healthier and more successful person. There is no doubt in my mind that Steve’s model and this book can facilitate people’s recovery from addiction. It will help you: understand how your mind is working; understand and manage your emotions and thoughts; manage yourself and become the person you want to be. Well, as long as you work at it… and hard.


“Steve Peters is the most important person in my career” Victoria Pendleton, World and Olympic Cycling Champion


The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Book & CD)

book-the-mindful-way-through-depressionIf you don’t think that this book is for you because it has the word ‘depression’ in its title, forget that idea. Mindfulness, a simple but powerful way of paying attention to your most difficult emotions and life experiences, is a powerful tool to help people recover from addiction. The authors take insightful lessons from Eastern meditative traditions and cognitive therapy, and demonstrate how to sidestep the mental habits that lead to despair, including rumination and self-blame, so you can face life’s challenges with greater resilience. There is an accompanying CD of guided meditations from Jon Kabat-Zinn making this an invaluable package.


“Revolutionary… A truly useful guide to achieving emotional balance. I recommend this book and companion CD most highly.” Daniel Goleman


Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

book-daring-greatlyEvery now and again, I read a book that I immediately read again (this time using a marker), and then keep picking up to read various bits that I have highlighted. This is the latest of such books. Now, I’d never heard of Brene Brown until some months ago, but boy-oh-boy, what was I doing? Brene, a shame researcher, is one impressive lady and her unique “blend of warmth, humour and [butt]-kicking makes her the perfect person to inspire us to dare greatly.” Isn’t that what recovery is about? Daring Greatly. Brene talks about how having the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live. She describes the guideposts for Wholehearted Living, a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness. And she talks about much, much more. This book is a must-have.


A wonderful book: urgent, essential, and fun to read. I couldn’t put it down, and it continues to resonate with me.” Seth Godin

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming…


who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”— Theodore Roosevelt, as quoted in ‘Daring Greatly’ by Brene Brown


The Family Recovery Guide: A Map for Healthy Growth

book-the-family-recovery-guideAddiction can affect whole families as individual family members change their thinking and behaviour in response to one member’s drug or alcohol problem. Families can fall apart when the person with the substance use starts their journey to recovery, as family members cannot cope with the loss of the original role, i.e. to ‘protect’ the user or drinker. Stephanie Brown’s book is a unique and incredibly important resource that describes in exquisite detail what recovery is like for every family member. The careful step-by-step direction will help prevent relapse and enable all family members to feel supported along their journey to recovery. 


“The Family Recovery Guide is accessible, comprehensive, realistic, and filled with hope.” Stephanie Covington


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