Books for

 Family Members

The following books are recommended to family members who want to learn about addiction, the mental health crisis, and recovery. 

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts

“In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction” by Dr. Gabor Maté is a great read for families dealing with addiction. Maté uses real-life stories and science to show the trauma and pain often behind addiction. This helps families better understand what their loved ones are going through.

The book suggests that seeing addiction as a reaction to emotional pain, not a moral failure, can lead to more empathy and healing.

Maté’s work gives families tools to handle their complex emotions and start on a path of recovery and understanding.

“Not all addictions are rooted in abuse or trauma, but I do believe they can all be traced to painful experience. A hurt is at the center of all addictive behaviors.”


  • Original Date of Publication: January 1, 2008
  • Author: Gabor Maté
  • Number of Pages: 520

It Didn't Start With YoU


“It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle” by Mark Wolynn offers a fresh perspective to families affected by addiction.

The book introduces the concept of inherited family trauma, suggesting that our past – even aspects we’re unaware of – can deeply impact our present.

Wolynn provides practical tools and strategies to uncover these hidden influences, helping families to understand the roots of addiction in a wider context.

By connecting the dots of past traumas, families can begin to comprehend the complex nature of addiction, and support their loved ones more effectively towards recovery.

“Even when the person who suffered the original trauma has died, or the story has been forgotten or silenced, memory of the trauma is often communicated and transferred through unexplained symptoms, persistent sensations and troubling emotions.”


  • Original Date of Publication: April 26, 2016
  • Author: Mark Wolynn
  • Number of Pages: 256

Adult Children of emotionally immature parents

“Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents” by Lindsay C. Gibson is a great resource for families touched by addiction.

The book goes into the lasting impact of being raised by emotionally immature parents, a situation that often leads to problems like addiction in later life.

Gibson offers clear strategies for understanding and navigating these emotional patterns, empowering readers to break free from past traumas. For families dealing with addiction, this book sheds light on potential causes and provides guidance for fostering healthier, more fulfilling relationships.

“Emotionally immature parents fear genuine emotion and pull away from emotional closeness. They use coping mechanisms that resist reality rather than dealing with it. They don’t welcome introspection; preferring to retain control over what happens in the relationship.”

  • Original Date of Publication: June 1, 2015
  • Author: Lindsay C. Gibson
  • Number of Pages: 216

How Al-Anon Works

“How Al-Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics” is a supportive guide for people whose lives are touched by a loved one’s addiction.

The book provides a detailed understanding of the Al-Anon Fellowship and its philosophy. It outlines practical steps that families can take to deal with their situations and work towards recovery.

The personal stories shared illuminate the shared struggle of addiction, making readers feel less alone. A must-read for those seeking a path to healing, this book equips readers with the resources to navigate their journey and foster healthier relationships.

“We begin to feel the pain of living in a compulsive cycle. Can we interrupt this cycle? Yes, by becoming willing to start our own recovery, we can interrupt the cycle.”


  • Original Date of Publication: June 1, 1995
  • Author: Al-Anon Family Groups
  • Number of Pages: 406

Co-Dependent No More

“Co-dependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself” by Melody Beattie is a great resource for families impacted by addiction.

The book explores the concept of co-dependency, which often arises when a family member struggles with addiction.

It lays out the path for self-care and highlights the importance of setting healthy boundaries. Beattie’s work offers families a clear roadmap out of the web of co-dependency, enabling them to lead more balanced and fulfilling lives while supporting their loved ones.

“Co-dependency can be defined as any relationship in which two people become so invested in each other that they can’t function independently anymore.”


  • Original Date of Publication: September 1, 1986
  • Author: Melody Beattie
  • Number of Pages: 276

Unbroken Brain

“Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction” by Maia Szalavitz is a compelling exploration of the nature of addiction. It combines personal narrative with a scientific approach, giving a fresh perspective on the topic.

The book underscores that addiction is a learning disorder, a view that can impact how families interact with and support their addicted loved ones.

Szalavitz’s work provides an understanding framework for families, helping them to see addiction in a new light and offering great insights on the path towards recovery.

“Viewing addiction as a developmental disorder is not a matter of ‘letting kids off the hook,’ as if understanding always excuses. Instead, it offers a blueprint for healing and remakes what we think of as treatment.”


  • Original Date of Publication: April 5, 2016
  • Author: Maia Szalavitz
  • Number of Pages: 352

Beautiful Boy

“Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction” by David Sheff offers an emotional chronicle of a father’s struggle to help his son through addiction.

The book is a raw and intimate look into the heartache, fear, and hope that families experience when a loved one is dealing with addiction.

Sheff’s personal narrative provides comfort and inspiration to families, serving as a reminder that they’re not alone in their journey. It’s a heartfelt exploration of the trials, triumphs, and enduring love within a family facing the challenge of addiction.

“There are no maps through the territory of addiction. It’s a solitary trek, a burrowing in and an expedition out.”


  • Original Date of Publication: February 26, 2008
  • Author: David Sheff
  • Number of Pages: 336

The Weight of Air

“The Weight of Air: A Story of the Lies About Addiction and the Truth About Recovery” by David Poses is an eye-opening memoir that takes readers on an intense journey through addiction.

The book serves as a wake-up call to families by challenging the common misconceptions about addiction and recovery.

Poses lays bare his own experiences, providing families with a deeper understanding of what their loved ones are going through. His honesty and vulnerability make this a must-read for families seeking to support their loved ones without falling into the trap of common myths and misunderstandings.

“In the throes of addiction, it’s not about the substance. It’s about pain, fear, depression, and desperation.”


  • Original Date of Publication: October 12, 2021
  • Author: David Poses
  • Number of Pages: 288

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