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Must-Read Books On Substance Abuse

This article showcases our top picks for the best ‘books on substance abuse’. 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.


Erase Negativity by Ms. Sally Ann Marks

This product was recommended by Sally Marks from N/A

A practical guide on how to reduce negativity and embrace happiness. From meth addicts to multi-millionaires, the book offers powerful experiences of individuals who have faced dramatic challenges, but did not lose hope. Using these compelling biographies, as well as practical advice and simple exercises, the reader is guided on an internal journey toward adopting a more joyful way to live.


The Art of Losing It by Rosemary Keevil

This product was recommended by Tabitha Bailey from BookSparks PR

When her brother dies of AIDS and her husband dies of cancer in the same year, Rosemary is left on her own with two young daughters and antsy addiction demons dancing in her head. This is the nucleus of The Art of Losing It: a young mother jerking from emergency to emergency as the men in her life drop dead around her; a high-functioning radio show host waging war with her addictions while trying to raise her two little girls who just lost their daddy; and finally, a stint in rehab and sobriety that ushers in a fresh brand of chaos instead of the tranquility her family so desperately needs. “With unflinching honesty and bravery, The Art of Losing It brings readers into a world of love, loss, grief, addiction and recovery. It is a powerful reminder that what looks perfect on the outside may be crumbling on the inside. Faced with tragedy and an ensuing downward spiral, Rosemary Keevil finds the strength to change, for herself and her daughters. Beautifully written, there is no self-pity here. Her story and her family are an inspiration to those who feel alone in their struggles.” –Lisa Smith, author of Girl Walks Out of a Bar


Thing of Beauty by Stephen Fried

This product was recommended by Ahmed Mir from Sip Coffee House

This well-written book tells the tragic story of Gia Carangi one of the top models in the 70’s and the first woman in the USA to die from Aids. She moved to New York alone at the age of 16 and pursued a life in fashion. She fast experienced the dark side of the industry and a drug habit became an addiction which in turn led to her death. Her story is one that holds many lessons and is truly heartbreaking. This is one of the best books I have read in a very long time.


The Bitter Taste of Dying by Jason Smith

This product was recommended by Lynell Ross from Test Prep Insight

The Bitter Taste of Dying: A Memoir by [Jason Smith, Thought Catalog]

This is a different and important book on substance abuse because it is written by a young man who suffered from a debilitating opiate addiction. This honest, self deprecating memoir describes the world of addiction and offers hope to others by following the journey of a man who overcame it to go on and help others. Jason Smith inspires others to find purpose by using their skills to serve their communities and rebuild their lives. And this book helps the rest of us by giving us new insight into the world of addicts.


Alcoholics Anonymous by AAWS

This product was recommended by Sonia Akavan from Books & Wisdom

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the basic text for Alcoholics Anonymous. The book is a step-by-step guide for stopping drinking, and for living a satisfying and useful life without alcohol. However, the twelve steps can truly help with any drug addiction. It is probably the best known and most respected self-help book available. For people with a drinking problem (physical or mental dependency; alcohol abuse), this book offers a proven way to lead a life of sobriety. The book is attractive to men and women, young and old alike, and it has worked for all types of people. Because it’s free, people easily make a decision to simply give it a try. The basic ideas remain the same. This and 12 Step Meetings work. They are not magic, but they will help. The basic things that constitute a 12 step program are helpful and available in every city, and can be helpful to people with a number of other problems. Between rooms and phone calls, they can be pretty much anywhere.


Crank by Ellen Hopkins

This product was recommended by Bryan Truong from GameCows

If you’re looking for something a little different on substance abuse you need to check out Ellen Hopkins, particularly Crank. The author’s daughter battled through a Crystal Meth addiction, and Ellen Hopkins draws on that experience to write a freeform verse poetry novels. There’s nothing quite like it out on the market, and the verses are arranged on the page to visually display emotion, so readers are treated to an impact from the poetry and through the arrangement of the verses. It deals with the story of everyone involved with drug addiction. Not just the individual, but the families and friends as well.

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