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Books That Empower Friends and Family Members of an Addict

There are tons of books written for alcoholics and addicts as they try to understand their disease and how to beat it. But don’t worry. If you love someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, there are plenty of books that are written just for you. Take a look:

A Personal View

When drug and alcohol addiction strikes someone you love, your natural first response is emotional. The only good thing about this situation is that you are not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of others who have and do suffer with the same problem, and a few of them have written books about it. For example, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff. Interestingly, the son about whom David speaks, Nic Sheff, penned his own book about his struggle with addiction and recovery. You can check that out, as well: Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff. Together, the two create a complete picture of a parent-child relationship dealing with one of the toughest trials of all.

Books on Codependency

If you love someone who is actively using, even if your loved one is in recovery, you run the risk of becoming codependent, if you aren’t already. Get some spiritual guidance in this touchy area from Melody Beattie in her book, Codependent No More: How To Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself. According to, “Containing real-life examples, personal reflections, exercises and self-tests, this work recalls the history of “Codependent No More”, and points the way for how to take care of yourself, and what to do to start feeling better.”

Beattie has written a number of other books on the subject as well, including Beyond Codependency: And Getting Better All the Time, Codependents’ Guide to the Twelve Steps, and The Language of Letting Go.

Guidance for Families in Addiction
No More Letting Go: The Spirituality of Taking Action Against Alcoholism and Drug Addiction by Debra Jay is a new approach to dealing with addiction in the family that is the opposite of “tough love.” Says the site: “Detachment” has been the standard message of most addiction literature for the last twenty years. The conventional wisdom offered to an addict’s loved ones has been to let the addict “hit bottom” before intervening. Now intervention specialist Debra Jay challenges this belief and offers a bold new approach to treating addiction that provides a practical and spiritual lifeline to families struggling with alcohol or drug abuse.

From a more psychological perspective comes It’s Not Okay to Be a Cannibal: How to Keep Addiction from Eating Your Family Alive by Andrew T. Wainwright and Robert Poznanovich. Written by two professional interventionists, describes the book well: “With compelling case histories and real-life scenarios, the authors set forth a practical course of action for families to break free from the grip of addiction, a process that culminates with an intervention for the addict. The process liberates and forever changes the family.”

Drug Addiction Reference

Found a pill and don’t know what it is? Think some of that slang that your teen is throwing around is drug-related? Then check out Dangerous Drugs: An Easy-To-Use Reference for Parents and Professionals (Hazelden Guidebook) by Carol Falkowski. According to, “Dangerous Drugs is an easy-to-use reference for parents and professionals. It includes the latest information on the newest drugs to hit the nation–and who’s abusing them. Written for parents, teachers, counselors, and other professionals, this is an up-to-the-minute, comprehensive guide covering all current drugs of abuse.”

What books do you recommend to those who are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction in their family?

By Wendy Lee Nentwig