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Top 10 Books on Parenting a Child Through Addiction

Written by O'Connor Professional Group
Published on August 19, 2021

“The daughter I knew has disappeared.” “The son I raised has vanished.”

“How could this have happened in our family?”

Fear. Shame. Guilt. Isolation. Enter hopelessness.

Sentiments such as these can seep in and permeate the thoughts and actions of even the most emotionally stable, psychologically savvy parents who have a son or daughter struggling with substance use and addiction. The devastating emotional, physical, and financial tolls, maybe even including legal consequences, weigh heavily on a family, and parents can find themselves experiencing a confusing mix of emotions and their families eventually buckling under the pressure.

As we know, problems such as these do not magically disappear on their own, despite our wishing and willing them away with all our might and good intention. Rather, the path towards wellness is often long and nonlinear, fraught with steps forward and steps back, requiring understanding and dedication from everyone involved. Oftentimes, parents find themselves unsure of how to navigate these difficult times, of how best to support their loved ones while simultaneously holding themselves accountable and maintaining their own realistic expectations of what the future may bring.

Fortunately, myriad resources exist to guide families through these anxiety-provoking times, including numerous books on parenting a child through addiction. We have found that books can serve as valuable companions on that journey and empower parents with the much-needed hope, compassion, and understanding to travel the distance alongside their sons and daughters.

Here is a list of what we think are the 10 best books to help families along the way to recovery.

*We recommend finding immediate medical or clinical support if you have concerns about your loved one’s health or of any family member.

Addiction Recovery: A Family’s Journey, Diana Clark

Offers guidance to family members of those struggling with substance use disorders and mental health concerns; addresses both addiction and the recovery process, includes engaging exercises and case examples.

 Addict In the Family: Stories of Loss, Hope, and Recovery, Beverly Conyers

Details how a family can support an addicted loved one without enabling and stresses the importance of boundary setting, prioritizing self-care, and finding therapeutic or spiritual resources in the community; recounts personal stories from the author’s experience with her daughter’s addiction and recovery as well as from others struggling with the same issues.

Everything Changes: Help for Families of Newly Recovered Addicts, Beverly Conyers

Addresses the new and difficult challenges facing not only recovering loved ones but also those who love them; gives advice on how to navigate this challenging time so that the whole family can move forward.

Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change, Jeffrey Foote, Carrie Wilkins, Nicole Kosanke, and Stephanie Higgs

Provides motivational and behavioral strategies based on love and kindness for engaging with and encouraging a loved one who is struggling with substance use to make positive change, including entering treatment, guided by exercises and examples; stresses the importance of self-care when helping a struggling loved one.

Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening, Bob Meyers and Brenda Wolfe

Teaches the supportive and non-confrontational CRAFT method to help families improve the quality of their lives and make treatment an attractive option for their loved one who is struggling with substance dependency; contains practical exercises for families.

Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption, William Cope Moyers with Katherine Ketcham

Recounts the gripping true-life recovery tale of how the son of journalist Bill Moyers, a young man with seemingly every advantage in life, nonetheless entered a death spiral due to his alcohol and drug use, and how he ultimately turned his life around; provides hope that with faith we can find strength again, even in the broken places.

Reclaim Your Family from Addiction: How Couples and Families Recover Love and Meaning, Craig Nakken

Emphasizes the need for cohesiveness within the family system and sets forth principles for healing problematic relationships and guiding couples and families back together in the wake of having a loved one struggle with addiction; gives real-life examples to deepen meaning.

Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You: A Guide for Parents of Drug and Alcohol Addicted Children, Charles Rubin

Drives home the point that parents tend to lose themselves in their child’s addiction and emphasizes the importance of parents committing to a plan of self-care, especially acting as role models for their children; dispels the belief that parents are to blame for their child’s substance misuse.

Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction, David Sheff

Depicts the compelling account of a father questioning what he did wrong and where his responsibilities ended when his son became addicted to meth; demonstrates the non-linear nature of the recovery journey and instills hope for even the most serious of cases.

HIGH: Everything You Want to Know About Drugs, Alcohol, and Addiction, David Sheff and Nic Sheff

Provides a good talking point for parents to explore with their teens the potential consequences of using drugs and alcohol that will hopefully lead to their making healthier choices: part informational, part memoir and part self-help book.

Learn more about how we help families struggling with addiction and substance abuse.


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