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Must-Read Books On Substance Abuse Counseling

This article showcases our top picks for the best ‘books on substance abuse counseling’. We reached out to industry leaders and experts who have contributed the suggestions within this article (they have been credited for their contributions below). 

We are keen to hear your feedback on all of our content and our comment section is a moderated space to express your thoughts and feelings related (or not) to this article This list is in no particular order.


Bradshaw on by John Bradshaw

This product was recommended by Dr. Jerry Opthof from Opthof Center for Psychotherapy

I’ve recommended this book for years to patients, it’s not an easy read (it will bring up things for a person), but really gets you thinking about your substance abuse.


The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx

This product was recommended by Dr. Jerry Opthof from Opthof Center for Psychotherapy

This book is the author’s own diary from a year as a rock star and his heroin use. It gives you a great insight into what an addict is going through in their mind.


Clean by David Sheff

This product was recommended by Achintya Kolipakkam from Elegance Tips

David Sheff writes a brilliant defense of addiction as a disease, and the need to banish the stigma and moralizing that fails to address that. His book is full of statistics, facts, personal stories, research and experience from his time as a professional working with addicts, and the organizations that are supposed to help them. His points about the damaging impact of punishing substance abuse instead of treating it is a blunt condemnation of the current system. While he admits there is no single way to treat addiction, he gives some idea on how to start.


Unbroken Brain by Maia Szalavitz

This product was recommended by Achintya Kolipakkam from Elegance Tips

Writing from a neuroscience perspective, Maia Szalavitz gives a fascinating new theory on the nature of addiction. According to her book, Unbroken Brain, she says that addiction in all forms is not a matter of disease, but a learning disorder. One that falls on a spectrum similar to Autism, and has to be addressed the same way. Her biggest argument is one the flouts the modern belief that there is an “addictive personality”.


The Addiction Treatment Planner by Robert R. Perkinson

This product was recommended by Nicole Arzt from Well Beings Counselling

Treatment planning can be tough, so this is such an important book for anyone working with addiction. It allows you to create effective treatment plans with tangible goals, objectives, and interventions.


Co-Occurring Disorders by Charles Atkins

This product was recommended by Nicole Arzt from Well Beings Counselling

I recommend this book because you can’t begin to understand addiction without understanding the core concepts of co-occurring disorders. This book balances useful case studies with practical tips for helping your clients.


Group Exercises for Addiction Counseling by Geri Miller

This product was recommended by Nicole Arzt from Well Beings Counselling

This is a great book if you’re running groups in a rehab setting or with adolescents. It’s mostly full of ice breakers and other useful conversations about addiction.

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Must-Read Books On Substance Abuse

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