By: Marilyn L. Davis

 

Books: The Way We’ve Always Learned

“I think books are like people, in the sense that they’ll turn up in your life when you most need them.” – Emma Thompson

I’m old enough to remember when books, either from a library or book store, were how we escaped, found comfort, got an education, or discovered ways to improve our lives. Books bring the world to us. 

Today, that world is smaller with online booksellers, reviewers, and sites dedicated to types of books. One of these is Shepherd.com. I enjoyed writing reviews on five books about addiction and recovery.  Each of those books helped me see that addiction has common themes. Yet, each of the authors admitted their addictions and found recovery in different ways. 

 

Easy Access to Information

It may just be me, but the first time I read Alcoholics Anonymous, or as we call it, The Big Book, I cried. There were so many passages that I could relate to in that first reading. I felt that the writers in 1939 were doing a “Letter to your future self – me.” 

When we find a book that resonates with us, we cherish it. The second, third, fourth, and fifth times I read the book while in treatment, I was shocked at how much I’d missed in a previous reading. I got out my trusty highlighter and started marking practically every page. I realized that meant that eventually, I would highlight every passage, so I stopped that practice. That was 33 years ago. 

 

Cherished Writing

I still have my original Big Book, tattered and worn with margin notes, highlighted passages, and phone numbers from people in treatment. It needs rebinding, but I’d lose those notes and numbers, and I don’t want to do that, so it stays together in its case when I’m not reading it. 

I still read it; antiquated and stilted language doesn’t matter. That’s why there’s another book, a dictionary for the seldom-used words. These 100 men and women who wrote The Big Book were the founders and pioneers who admitted their problems and gave us solutions. We can’t ask for more than that in any book. 

 

Inclusive Writing 

When we read a book and see ourselves on the pages, we pay attention. Sure, the names, places, ages, or genders might differ, but it’s us. How does an author do that – by relating feelings and thoughts, which transcend ages, genders, races, and places. 

I’ve gotten emails and messages from men who’ve read my book, Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate, who’ve asked if we’re twins. Or the email from a twenty-year-old who could relate. Believe me, those are the best validation an author can get. To know that you’ve written an inclusive book. 

Books Help Us Understand Ourselves 

When I first got into recovery, I went weekly to the Unity Bookstore in Gainesville, GA. They had the largest selection on recovery, codependency, spirituality, and Native American beliefs. I’d “sacrifice” a steak to get a new book. 

Some of my earliest books were: 

The Recovery Book: Answers to All Your Questions About Addiction and Alcoholism and Finding Health and Happiness in Sobriety

 Healing The Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children…

Stage II Recovery: Life Beyond Addiction

The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations for Codependents 

Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women 

Broken Toys Broken Dreams: Understanding and Healing Codependency, Compulsive Behaviors and Family

 

Bargain Books for You

If you’re like me and love the feel of a book in your hands, then I’d like to introduce you to Thriftbooks, my home for discounted books – including hardbacks.

No, I’m not their spokesperson, nor do I get a commission for anything I’ve listed or from Thriftbooks; it’s about following through on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s second bit of advice, “For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”

Any of these will help you in your recovery and perhaps lessen your suffering. Plus buying a used book makes economic sense. 

Reflections: Guideposts and Images for the Journey: 

Around the Year with Emmet Fox: A Book of Daily Readings

Narcotics Anonymous book by Narcotics Anonymous

Rehab Works 

Healing the Shame that Binds You

The Road Less Traveled and Beyond

Facing Codependence

Now That You’re Sober

Addicted to Dimes

 

Famous Authors

Today’s books differ only slightly from my original listing. Today, we’ve got more people writing about addiction and recovery who don’t necessarily work in the field. Some are famous, and coming out and stating that they are addicts and alcoholics is commendable.  

Here’s a list of three I’ve read because I was a concert promotor and managed bands and maybe understand some of the temptations and availability of drugs backstage.  

Recovery book by Russell Brand 

Robert Downey Jr.: The Fall and Rise 

Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood

 

When You’re Ready to Write About Your Recovery

I believe in diaries and journals. They help us record our thoughts and feelings and can be a way to discover patterns in our lives. Here are two journals that work: 

My Walk, My Journey, My Recovery: Drugs… book by Mama Cotton (thriftbooks.com)

The 12 Step Journal

And when you’re ready to write your story, consider getting Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook to help you remember, reflect, and write an excellent memoir about addiction and recovery to help someone else. 

 

 

Are you ready to lessen someone else’s suffering? Then consider a guest post. 

 

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