Addiction Recovery Books to Read When Getting Sober

Getting sober is relatively easy: Get arrested, check into detox, chain yourself to a radiator, etc. While these are the worst case scenarios, the real work comes after you have decided to make a change and give up the using life. While there are myriads of books covering the topic of recovery, the following provides a list of recovery books who seek relief from active addiction.

Back to Basics: The Alcoholics Anonymous Beginners Meetings

This book may be a shock to the system for those who have attended AA meetings. If you have never been to one, you will hear a great deal about the 12 steps. This is a matter of opinion, but the steps should not take years to complete. In the late 30s, beginners meetings formed to help the newly sober alcoholic recover. These were four one hour sessions that detailed the way to take the steps of alcoholics anonymous, taking less than a month to accomplish.

Working with a sponsor (if you don’t have one, get one) this book will act as a guide to both individuals. When these types of meetings were still popular, the success rate of newly sober people recovering from alcoholism was 75%. This means that these people abstained from alcohol for the rest of their lives! Because other programs such as Narcotics Anonymous take their cues from AA, this works equally well regardless of what type of addiction from which you suffer.  My full review is here.

Living Sober

This book is a great reference for people are currently asking themselves: how will I live my life without my drug of choice, or what will I do with my time? For most of us, including myself, the preoccupation of when can I get a drink/drug, how will I get it, actually obtaining it, and finally, using it can dominate one’s life. Simply think about your addiction history. I am guessing that many hours of the day were dominated around a drink or drug.

This book answers a lot of questions regarding how to handle social engagements, ways to form healthy new habits, what to make of drinking dreams, etc. One habit that is particularly helpful is using the 24 hour plan. This is habit involves breaking sobriety down to one day, sometimes one hour, increments. Making promises to stay sober forever, or even a year reminds of us of our past failures and will be met with skepticism by friends and family. The text encourages you to give yourself a break. You may drink tomorrow, but most can abstain for at least one day.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Often called the definitive book on Alcoholics, this book has helped millions of people recover from alcoholism and addiction, and is still in use today 70+ years later. The first AA members wrote this book around the time 100 people had used this program of action successfully.

This book is an excellent read even if one does not suffer from addiction. It provides in detail how this organization came about and what was done in the early days. The primary purpose of the book as stated is to STAY sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. The program these men created was based on getting out of yourself and helping others. How many of us are constantly in our heads worried about the past, present, and future? Read this book to gain some inspiration on how it was in those days. Essentially, there was no treatment for alcoholics. Today, there are thousands of groups with an excellent singleness of purpose: “To stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.”

24 Hours a Day

“For yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision.” This simple proverb has been hailed as a building block for a life in sobriety. There is nothing that can be done about the past, and the future is not guaranteed. There is no time like the present in sobriety. As the saying goes, if you have one foot in yesterday and one in tomorrow, you are ruining over today.

The book is set up to be read everyday. A nightstand book, upon waking in the morning each page contains three sections: These are Thought for the Day, Meditation for the Day, and Prayer for the Day. Alcoholics Anonymous may be a spiritual program, but it is certainly not religious. Neither is this book.

I particularly like the meditation for the day. For example, January 29th talks about the thousands of dollars that we have wasted on drugs and alcohol. This does not even include the costs associated with the behavior exhibited during these drunken escapades. This day’s meditation focuses on the positive fact that money can be better spent on our families and other worthwhile activities instead of alcohol and drugs.

Drop the Rock

Drop the Rock focuses on steps six and seven of the various 12 step programs. These are “were entirely ready to God remove these defects of character” and “Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.” These are essentially steps in recovery, and this book does an excellent job explaining them.

Defects of which people suffering from addiction is typically a long list. They include self-pity, self-justification, resentment, fear, guilt, impatience, hate, phoniness, envy, laziness, procrastination, etc. This book serves a guide that is practical in nature that allows us to let go of the defects to experience a happy, joyous, and free existence.

The idea behind the book is a rock has been tied around our necks from our years of using. These are the character defects that bring us down. If we somehow ended up in water, we would sink and likely die. These issues can certainly weighing on us, and step six and seven area all about letting go of the past. The thing to do is not scared, but to learn.

The text combines many personal stories, insights, and practical advice so we can move forward in our recovery.

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

This books covers the twelve steps and traditions thoroughly. It is commonly used in step meetings throughout the world. Although “The Big Book” explains the steps sufficiently, this book expounds upon that knowledge for those who like to dive a bit deeper. Each step is broken down into a chapter, which can be used to gain insight into what the founder of alcoholics anonymous, Bill Wilson’s, mindset.

It can also be an excellent guide for those who wish to work the steps a second or a third time. I say this, because the first time a newcomer works the steps, they should use the first book of this list. Otherwise, the process becomes daunting and unachievable.

Pick Up a Book

As the goal of this entire site is to help people in their recovery over addiction, I hope everyone has an opportunity to check some of these books out. Back to Basics serves as the best guide of working the steps. Getting through the steps is the first mountain to climb when recovering from addiction. They were never intended to take years.

Living Sober will provide practical advice for day to day living in sobriety. It also answers a lot of the questions that seem unanswerable to people new to recovery.

The Big Book is essentially the bible for addiction recovery. It demonstrates how a simple idea spread throughout the world and created an organization committed to helping others beat their demons into submission. When reading this book, you will discover that the similarities of alcoholics and addicts is amazing. This book truly speaks to me when I read it.

24 Hours a Day is a great resource and an excellent way to start your day. Drop the Rock helps us get over our past resentments and focus on the present day. String enough great days together, the future starts looking very promising.

If you know of any other books that would be helpful to your fellow addict, please list them in the comment section.

Please share this post if it has helped or will help others close to you.



  1. This is very helpful. I have read a couple of these books and now want to read Drop the Rock. I also liked the book “Black Out: Remembering The Things I drank to forget” by Sarah Hepola. With addiction on the rise I hope this website helps people to want to stop using and gives them some tools to do so.

    • Thank you Susan. Using tools and following suggestions is a big part of it. That book is very good, and gives a great perspective of what it was like, what happened and what it’s like now.

  2. Hi Ernest
    Very interesting topic and extremely helpful. People who have a drinking problem should read this.
    I have read Living Sober as I was very curious about the format and content and this is extremely helpful if you have a problem with alcohol. There is so many useful tips and tricks how to fight with alcoholism.
    Highly recommended

    Regards, Marty

    • Thank you for the comment and recommendation. Living sober may seem simplistic but it does answer a lot of questions that newly sober ask. They simply cannot picture life without drinking as it has been so long since they lived that way.

  3. Hey i really enjoyed your article, i had to comment on it! I actually suffered from addiction from pain killers for years. But i ended up getting help and now i go to a doctor once a month for suboxone treatment and to talk to someone, ive been clean almost a year though off of actual drugs though. Im ready for the day i can get off of suboxone so i can be 100% clean.

    • Thank you Justin. I know many people who are in a similar place taking suboxone to wean off the harder stuff. congrats on nearly a year clean. At some point, I’m sure you will be able to stop the suboxone as well. Keep doing the right things and it will happen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *