Books About Alcoholism: Our Guide To The Top 5

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Alcohol addiction is a debilitating disease that can affect anybody, regardless of age, gender or background. It rarely just affects the person with the addiction too; it can also impact family members, friends, and children too.

Books are one of the best sources of knowledge; throughout human history, people have turned to books for help, knowledge or support. There are many quality books out there written by addiction experts, medical professionals and people in recovery from alcohol use disorder.

On this page, we are going to be exploring some of the most popular books and sober diaries about alcohol addiction from a variety of authors and decades.

Continue reading to learn more about alcohol addiction and some of the best books to read if you are in recovery, considering going to alcohol rehab, or simply want to learn more about alcoholism.

What is Alcohol Addiction?

Before we explore the best books to read about alcohol, let’s discuss what alcohol addiction is – addiction to alcohol explained.

Alcohol addiciton is a disease; like many diseases, it is diagnosable and treatable. It is recognised as a mental disease as well as a physical disease due to the way alcohol addiction can impact your brain.

Informally referred to as alcoholism, alcohol addiction is a form of alcohol use disorder. In 2023, medical professionals don’t use the terms ‘alcoholic’, ‘alcohol addiction’, ‘alcohol abuse’, or ‘alcohol dependence’ – they simply refer to all of the above as alcohol use disorder.

Alcohol use disorder, shortened to AUD, is a widely recognised mental and physical illness that is characterised by the lack of control over drinking alcohol, whether it be the amount you drink, the frequency at which you drink, or how long you drink for.

People with alcohol use disorder may continue drinking despite being aware of the negative effects on their health, relationships, finances, and general well-being.

AUD is categorised by medical professionals as mild, moderate, and severe – with dependence being the more severe form of alcohol use disorder. Roughly 14.1 million adults aged 18 and over had a form of AUD in 2019 – and over 414,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 had AUD.

Alcohol abuse is a causal factor in over 60 medical conditions, with many negative physical effects. Seeking help for alcohol addiction is massively important, and left untreated, it can lead to organ failure and even death.

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Alcohol Abuse Explained

Alcohol abuse is a milder form of alcohol use disorder. Abusing alcohol can have both short-term and long-term effects on your physical health.

Characterised as a dangerous drinking pattern, alcohol abuse can have many negative consequences – for example, drink-driving and other drink-related legal issues, relationship problems, and failing to fulfil responsibilities such as family, school, or work.

The NHS suggests that you should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week across the span of three or more days. 14 units is the same as around 6 pints of 4% beer or 6 medium glasses of wine.

These guidelines are there for your health and safety – sticking within these guidelines can lower the risk of developing alcohol-related problems. That being said, there are no completely safe levels of drinking – so it is important to drink mindfully and in moderation.

Alcohol poisoning (also known as an alcohol overdose) occurs when there is an excessive amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. This can have an effect on certain areas of your brain that control life-supporting functions – for example, your breathing, temperature, and heart rate.

Some signs of alcohol poisoning include vomiting, seizures, confusion, slowed-down breathing, loss of consciousness, and many more. It should be considered a medical emergency, as people with alcohol poisoning may be at risk of choking on their own vomit or dying.

What About Drug Addiction?

Much like alcohol addiction, drug addiction can impact all aspects of your life. Drug addiction is defined as the continuous use of drugs despite the negative effects that may present due to drug use and drug abuse.

Drug addiction, a form of substance use disorder, is considered a chronic and relapsing brain disorder, affecting the circuits in your brain that impact reward, stress, and self-control.

These changes can be debilitating but can be reversible with the right drug addiction treatment. However, not receiving treatment can cause permanent effects on your physical health – effects that can be fatal.

Some drugs are more addictive than others – whether they be prescription drugs or illicit drugs. For example, opioids such as heroin or fentanyl are considered much more addictive than cannabis or ketamine.

At Help4Addiction, we can help you overcome your drug addiction. We can get you in touch with a local rehab clinic to find the best treatment for you, considering your requirements, circumstances, and preferences.

5 Books to Read About Alcohol Addiction

Learning about alcohol addiction can help to ease your worries when seeking treatment. Likewise, it can help you to understand your own addiction, or support a loved one through their addiction recovery.

Similar to support groups, reading books about alcoholism can make you feel less alone with your addiction and less lonely throughout your recovery. It can also give you the motivation you need to take the first steps into sobriety, or to continue along your sober journey.

There are many books about addiction, including both drug addiction and alcohol addiction. These books are written by a range of authors from different backgrounds, and each can give you a new perspective on addiction and recovery. Some authors in this list tell their own stories, and others simply provide guidance and helpful information.

Additionally, some provide you with helpful advice and coping strategies that have been tried and tested. Not everything is about facts and figures – some books about addiction share personal experiences and stories about addiction.

Whether you purchase these books from a bookshop or online, these books have excellent reviews and are a must-read. Read on to learn more about five of the most popular books about alcohol addiction.

1 – The Big Book – Alcoholics Anonymous

Naturally, The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous takes the first spot on our list of the top 5 books about alcohol. Whether you’ve experienced alcohol addiction yourself or know somebody that has alcohol addiction, chances are, you’re familiar with the group Alcoholics Anonymous.

Often shortened to ‘AA’, Alcoholics Anonymous is a 12-step program with an extensive history. The group was founded in 1935, and was designed to provide support for those with alcohol addiction or alcohol use disorder. The book was mostly written by the founder of the group, Bill Wilson.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a place where people affected by alcohol can share their experiences. Alcoholics Anonymous encourages life without alcohol, providing support for its two million-plus members. So, where does the Big Book come into it?

The Big Book was published back in 1939 and was written to show other recovering alcoholics how the first members of AA got sober.

In 2022, The Big Book was translated into more than 70 languages and sold 30 million copies and is considered the key text for AA meetings. In fact, it is considered the most-read self-help book of all time.

The book is referenced in most Alcoholic Anonymous meetings – containing the necessary information about the 12-step recovery programme. Likewise, it contains helpful stories about those who have overcome their problems with alcohol.

Many people are under the false impression that Alcoholics Anonymous is a cult – check out this page to explore whether this is true, and why people believe it is a cult.

2 – The Mindfulness Workbook for Addiction – Rebecca E. Williams and Julie S. Kraft

The Mindfulness Workbook for Addiction by Rebecca E. Williams and Julie S. Kraft takes the second spot on our list of the most popular books about alcohol addiction.

Mindfulness is becoming more and more common – more people are realising the benefits that being mindful can have on your physical and mental health. It is considered a mental state that is achieved by being present in the current moment and focusing on your awareness.

Being mindful involves both acknowledging and accepting your thoughts. Some people are under the false impression that mindfulness is about pushing your thoughts away, but this isn’t the case. In order to be mindful, you have to accept your thoughts, feelings and sensations so you can move past them.

It is believed by many that mindfulness can help improve your well-being as a whole and a wide range of mental health issues, including addiction. Mindfulness can give you a deeper understanding of yourself and your feelings.

Mindfulness is proving to be an effective tool for those dealing with alcohol addiction. It can be used to manage cravings but also make sober living more manageable in general – as well as other mental health issues that are linked with addiction such as depression and anxiety. It can ease symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal too.

The Mindfulness Workbook for Addiction by Rebecca E. Williams and Julie S. Kraft provides helpful and practical instructions on how you can apply mindfulness to your day-to-day life, and how it can help you deal with addiction.

Small amounts of the material in this workbook are aimed at those with mindfulness experience – however, this book can help anybody who is dealing with addiction.

The Mindfulness Workbook for Addiction was published in 2012 by two psychologists and offers you a program to help you work through your addiction and grief, through DBT (dialectical behavioural therapy), CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), as well as ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy).

3 – Why You Drink and How to Stop: A Journey to Freedom – Veronica Valli

According to many reviews, this book is extremely helpful for those struggling with addiction. Published in 2013 by Veronica Valli, this book shares the author’s personal experience with addiction – her own story and own path with alcohol.

Critics state that this is a brilliantly researched, refreshingly straightforward and delightfully compelling book. The book explores the reasons why ‘alcoholics’ act the way they do, and how their brains are wired.

Veronica Valli spent over 10 years working as a therapist and life coach specialising in addiction, which involved working with outreach services, private practices, the criminal justice system, local government and primary care adult treatment.

Understanding how addiction works can be extremely helpful in terms of recovery – and this book can teach you what you need to know about addiction so you can focus on your own recovery journey.

4 – The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober – Catherine Gray

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray has been referred to as both funny and smart – and instead of focusing on the negative impacts of addiction, the book focuses on the joys of being sober.

Sobriety is something that may scare many addicts – but this book shines a light on the positives. Sobriety can be all it’s cracked up to be, and this book can help you see how freeing life can be without alcohol.

Many people find comfort in AA and the 12 steps – however, Catherine Gray explores life outside of AA. Many people worry about life being lonely or boring without alcohol – however, this book shows the other side of the coin.

As a Sunday Times bestseller with countless positive reviews, you can rest assured knowing that this book is a must-read, whether you’re an addict yourself or you simply wish to learn more about addiction.

As well as having opinions and insight, this well-written book also provides practical resources and statistics. It is extremely refreshing to see a book that outlines the fun and positive aspects of sobriety rather than focusing on the negatives of addiction.

5 – This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life – Annie Grace

The final must-read on our list is This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life by Annie Grace.

This book is a science-backed book written with insight, clarity, and kindness. Like many books about alcoholism, this book is part memoir, part practice; and can give you help and support throughout your recovery journey.

You may be reluctant to lower your alcohol consumption, control your drinking habits or stop drinking as you may associate sobriety with being boring or miserable. However, much like the previous book on our list, this book outlines the positives of sobriety.

Author Annie Grace encourages readers to consider what life could be like without alcohol – living in the present moment without strong cravings or compulsions.

Grace understands how difficult recovery can be, and how hard it can be to crave alcohol – she was once a high-functioning alcoholic herself.

There was a time in her life when she drank heavily every night, whilst holding down a job as the president of a multinational company. However, she now uses her past experiences with alcoholism to help others. This is not dissimilar to the founder of Help4Addiction.

The founder of Help4Addiction was once an addict and vowed to use his experiences with addiction to help others receive the treatment they need to regain control of their lives.

How We Can Help You Quit Drinking for Good

Addiction can often feel like a lifetime struggle, but there is help out there for you. At Help4Addiction, we can find the right rehab treatment for you.

We have connections with rehab clinics all around the UK – from London to Liverpool – and can take the time to understand your addiction and determine the right rehab facility for you.

Whether you’re looking for outpatient rehab or you’d prefer inpatient rehab at a residential rehab centre, we can give you all the information you need to make an informed decision for you.

Unfortunately, there is no permanent solution to addiction – although a comprehensive rehab programme can give you the best chance of overcoming your addiction for good.

If you undergo the right treatment and put the work in, you can leave your former life behind and break the physical and psychological dependence. Read on to learn more about the rehab process, from detoxification to aftercare and long-term recovery.

Alcohol Detox

The first step of alcohol addiction treatment is detoxification – the process of freeing your body of a substance. This means that during an alcohol detox, you will have no access to alcohol. The aim of detoxification is to break the physical dependence on alcohol.

Throughout the detox process, you may experience unpleasant and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may benefit from a medical detox – during which, you may be given detox medication under the supervision of medical professionals.

Medical assistance can give you peace of mind when withdrawing from alcohol. However, if you have a mild addiction, you could be eligible for an at-home detox.

The length of time it takes to detox, and the severity of the withdrawal symptoms can depend on a range of factors such as your age, height, weight, and addiction history. With Help4Addiction, you will be assessed on a one-to-one basis to ensure you receive the care you need.

Detoxification alone, however, does not address all aspects of addiction. Instead, an alcohol detox focuses on overcoming physical dependence.

At Help4Addiction, we recommend that you complete an alcohol detox as part of a larger treatment programme consisting of therapy and aftercare too. If you’re wondering about the duration of rehab or the cost of rehab, we can give you all the advice you need. Read on to learn more.

Alcohol Addiction Therapy

Therapy is not only effective at treating mental health conditions but is an effective way of treating addiction and dual diagnosis.

The forms of therapy available will often vary from clinic to clinic – however, certain types of therapy are more widely used than others. For example, most rehab clinics will offer CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), counselling and group therapy sessions.

It’s important to note that one size does not fit all when it comes to addiction treatment. Our team at Help4Addiction can help to determine the best treatment plan for you and your circumstances.

The aim of therapy in rehab is to give you a deep insight into your addiction and build your strength and confidence.

Therapy can help you learn about your addiction triggers or the root causes of your addiction. It can also help with existing mental health conditions, especially ones that are linked to addiction such as anxiety or depression.

Secondary Treatment

Leaving rehab can be scary; you’re returning back home to the environment in which you once became addicted to alcohol. You may feel concerned that you’ll relapse, or worry that you don’t have a solid support network in place.

This is why secondary treatment is so important. Secondary treatment, also known as aftercare, provides you with ongoing support after rehab on an outpatient basis.

The goal of secondary treatment is to ease the transition from rehab to recovery. Ultimately, this can help you not only manage relapse but prevent it from occurring.

Secondary treatment can include ongoing therapy and counselling (e.g group therapy), telephone support, and online support. Some people also attend support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous to connect with other people in recovery in a supportive environment.

Contact Us Today

At Help4Addiction, we have helped countless people overcome their addiction to alcohol by securing the right rehab plan for them.

We can help you overcome your addiction too. We don’t just help those with alcohol addiction; we can also help you to overcome drug addiction, whether it be prescription drug addiction or illicit drug addiction such as cocaine addiction or heroin addiction.

Remember, you don’t have to deal with addiction alone – we are here for you. Contact us today to begin your recovery journey and kickstart your sober life. Likewise, chat with us to discuss your treatment options and learn more about how we can help you.

About Author

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV. He is the founder and CEO of a drug and alcohol rehab center called Help4addiction, which was founded in 2015. He has been clean himself since 2009 and has worked in the Addiction and Rehab Industry for over a decade. Nick is dedicated to helping others recover and get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. In 2013, he released a book ‘The Thin White’ line that is available on Amazon.

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