For The Family Members of Substance Abusers
Life is full of immense complications and difficulties meaning the perfect outcome is almost always impossible. There isn’t a perfect solution to solve problems or issues that weigh on you, but living now, in the age of knowledge and connection, there is help to manage problems all around. One of the more personal and often helpful resources available is books for parents of substance abusers.
The issue of substance abuse specifically has been and still is haunting many families throughout our society. Despite the importance of solving this issue and helping families, we continue to see a rise in substance abuse and its fallout among those affected.
There are many hindering factors that stop a person from being able or willing to change, such as the drug abuse stigma, and a lack of education around alcohol and drug use. Books are one of the ways in which we can find knowledge to better help family members and a loved one’s addiction.
Why Should I Read About Substance Use Disorders and Addictive Behaviors?
With how prevalent an issue substance abuse is in our society, it is likely that you have come across someone or know of someone who has struggled with substance abuse issues.
As addiction is an inability to prohibit certain behaviors or activities, you can be addicted to pretty much anything such as shopping, video games, or even internet surfing. The difference between addictions to alcohol and drug use is the capacity for damage.
While being addicted to shopping, gaming, or internet surfing can harm you financially or socially, the consequences are typically manageable. With drug and alcohol addiction, the changes within the body and social rejection can lead to life-threatening situations.
Reading information on these topics can help with understanding some signs that may arise within ourselves as well as within our loved ones. Building an understanding of this topic allows for hope in times of need.
Why is Substance Abuse a Problem?
Drug and alcohol addiction is a problem that we don’t want present in our society, yet education and knowledge regarding this topic are difficult to find. There are resources to find information, but even with this, it is left to be searched for rather than readily found.
This lack of education and available information allows for this problem to continue to grow. How are we supposed to help remove this issue from our society without understanding it? The fear and ignorance that were instilled into us prevent the problem from being resolved.
It is important to read about and understand substance use disorders and addictive behaviors to help individuals properly recover and rejoin society. The lingering stigma surrounding drug abuse causes us to push away people in need of help.
The Stigma Around Drug Abuse
The drug abuse stigma is deep in our roots, centered around feelings of fear and ignorance when it is brought up. Ignoring present problems that must be handled, managed, or solved leads to a declining environment.
This stigma helps distance and push away users from the society that should help them. Many users are afraid of facing people due to rejection. Society has no place for them, only being labeled as negative or bad.
Parents of substance abusers are made to feel responsible for the addiction. Substance abusers are shunned away and pushed out of society when they are in the moments they need help the most.
Who would want to ask for help that comes with shame, pity, humiliation, and blame? A society that understands the hardships of these individuals and wishes to help can support them through addiction recovery.
With this, people struggling with substance abuse problems are more likely to ask for help and rejuvenate their lives. Proper education and knowledge are key to supporting drug addicts through recovery and helping prevent relapse in newly recovered addicts.
The Lack of Education
There is little room in the current education system to teach children and students about drug and alcohol abuse. Without understanding substance use, students are put at higher risk of becoming a user.
When someone is offered drugs they were told are bad, how are they supposed to reject something they don’t understand or even grasp what it is? And how better to understand than by doing? This oppression of education limits people from being able to grasp the dangers or effects.
Not only is education important for preventing dangerous substance use, but it is also important for understanding the struggles of addicts. Rather than pushing blame onto someone struggling with drug addiction, we can understand their pains and hardships.
Addiction is considered to be a disease, characterized by changes in the brain and impaired self-control. Although the first use of a substance may be voluntary, the continued use of substances can lead to an addiction.
Understanding the problems and issues that come with addiction and why addicts struggle to recover are important steps toward stopping this issue. Drug users’ struggles affect themselves and everyone around them.
The families of drug addicts can face false stigmas and blame for the actions of their addicted family members. The mental strain that comes with loving a substance abuser can lead to an unfulfilling and broken life.
How do Books Help?
Books are a great way to gain that lacking education and remove the stigma. There are countless personal stories and tragedies surrounding us that prove we are not alone in this struggle.
Many of these books speak on the hardships of addiction with countless important lessons and teachings within the family stories of loss. Knowing you may be struggling with moving forward, self-care is of the utmost importance.
People speak about their own individual experiences and how they have overcome the hardships of addiction, loss, and recovery from these experiences. We are able to take from these experiences and walk down the roads they have paved.
We all walk down our own roads and paths in life but some of those roads have been walked before. When presented with a difficult issue like substance abuse and we are struggling with moving forward, we can take the first steps down a paved road.
Reading and understanding the knowledge held in books are walking down the paved roads. This type of knowledge allows for a better understanding of self. Incorporating teachings and experiences into our lives can help us better our difficult lives.
12 Books for Parents of Substance Abusers and Loved Ones
This list of 12 books ranges from personal stories with hard truths to an uncovered look at what addiction is. Each book carries its own purpose and knowledge that is of great importance in understanding addiction.
You may be in a rush to learn and understand this topic but taking on too much can slow you down. To avoid taking on too much, start with one book and go from there.
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts – By Gabor Maté
Gabor Maté is a physician who has worked with many patients struggling with addiction. In his work, he found many addictive behaviors within himself and removed addiction as solely a matter of substance abuse problems.
Through the stories of patients, Maté explores the changes within the body that have led these patients to addiction. He provides insight into the difficulties such as childhood trauma, abuse, neglect, and undiagnosed mental illness.
‘In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts’ is for anyone that wants to be informed on addiction. It presents a scientifically sound understanding of addiction and is a great help for building a compassionate perspective on addiction.
Never Enough – By Judith Grisel
A combination of research and personal experiences brings this guide together to better understand addiction. ‘Never Enough’ goes into brain science that shows how substances affect the body.
Judith Grisel is a recovered addict that went on to learn and study the sciences behind addiction and share that knowledge in the form of this book. Having first-hand experience with being addicted, she is able to combine her experiences into this guide.
Understanding and Helping an Addict – By Dr. Andrew Proulx
Helping drug addicts is one of the most difficult tasks as addictions can be hard to understand. With how destructive substance abuse is to the life of a loved one, it is strange to continuously see this behavior repeated.
In ‘Understanding and Helping an Addict,’ Andrew Proulx goes through the processes of how an addiction is formed through the use of substances and how families can best help a loved one with recovery.
Addict in the Family – By Beverly Conyers
Addiction in our loved ones can cause families to become victims of difficult suffering. Beverly Conyers used writing as a way to manage her daughter’s addiction. Through her own personal struggles and distress from her loved one’s addiction, she understood how greatly the family members suffer.
‘Addict in the Family’ is a book for the family members of an addicted family member. An addicted loved one can lead to a broken family system. This self-help book provides a way for families to learn how to live in their truths.
Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You – By Charles Rubin
The parents of drug and alcohol addicted children often bear the shame of poor parenting and are left to sacrifice themselves to save them. Charles Rubin goes against that idea and provides a guide for parents on how to reclaim their lives.
Watching your child lose themselves to substance use and other drugs can lead to unbearable mental duress. ‘Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You’ presents advice for parents on practicing self-care before helping others.
Addict Behind Our Bedroom Door – By Deborah Lynn Wilson
The mental struggles and emotional duress that comes with drug and alcohol-addicted children are debilitating. ‘Addict Behind Our Bedroom Door’ speaks on the raw, unfiltered, story of Deborah Lynn Wilson and her husband.
As the title suggests, even behind the locked bedroom door, they were always struggling and suffering from their child’s addiction. In spite of the substance use that has taken hope and comfort within their family, D. L. and her husband hold onto hope their child will recover.
Unhooked – By Jason Coombs
As substance use continues to grow, the presence of addictions grows along with it. Finding the right ways to help a loved one with proper treatment and recovery can be hard to find. ‘Unhooked’ follows the personal story of a mother trying to save her son.
This book is a self-help book assisting families and suffering loved ones with strategies that weren’t available to his mother. Jason Coombs, having now recovered, is the son in this story.
The Shadow Child – By Ashleigh Nowakowski
It is immensely difficult to watch a family member succumb to drug and alcohol abuse. Seeing a sibling who you have grown up next to change into someone unrecognizable is a change that will never leave you. ‘The Shadow Child’ explores Ashleigh Nowakowski’s story through her brother’s addiction.
We are able to get a new perspective on an addicted family member and continue to understand the struggles of mental illness. We walk with Nowakowski through her healing from unresolved traumas.
My Dad Loves Me, My Dad Has A Disease – By Claudia Black
Living through a family member’s substance abuse is a very traumatizing experience. This can be especially difficult for children who only have their parents to look up to for help. Claudia Black has worked with young people that have parents in addiction treatment.
Through her work, she put together and designed ‘My Dad Loves Me, My Dad Has A Disease’ to best help children with addicted parents express themselves and understand their reality. It is important for a child to grasp their situations so that they can properly move forward.
Beautiful Boy – By David Sheff
Addiction within a family member can push feelings of blame and guilt into many parents and families. ‘Beautiful Boy’ is a father’s journey through his son’s addiction. This personal story shows the many hardships that drugs brought to his own life.
Sheff’s son is living a positive and loving life that becomes uprooted by the use of drugs. In Sheff’s hope of saving his son, he searches for treatment to help his son. This book provides an emotionally thick and real experience.
For those that find the journey compelling, his son Nic Sheff, now in recovery wrote his own account. ‘Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines’ shares his side of the descent into addiction and can provide insights for parents with children enmeshed in a substance use disorder, especially in the case of meth.
Addict in the House – By Robin Barnett
Adult addicts cause an effect on everyone they are involved with, especially their families. As much as we wish to help and support our loved ones, sacrificing ourselves to keep their lives from being destroyed may stop them from getting the treatment they need.
‘Addict in the House’ provides a guide to dealing with a family member’s substance use problem while also creating healthy boundaries. This book is very straightforward and honest about the problems that must be dealt with.
Parenting Through Your Adult Child’s Addiction – By Ginny Mills
When you see your adult child, the child you’ve raised and watched grow up, suffer from addiction, it is unbearable. ‘Parenting Through Your Adult Child’s Addiction’ is a guide to help provide trying parents with methods of help.
Addiction and substance abuse lead to stories of loss. Hope and recovery seem hopeless and out of reach. This book can help with understanding what can be done about addiction in adult children.
Finding Rehab and Help to Overcome Addiction
Many families struggle with drug or alcohol addiction, unable to find hope in their daily life. Finding addiction treatment can be overwhelming, that’s why we make it easy here at Find Addiction Rehabs. We offer confidential help to find you or a loved one proper treatment.
Whether finding a treatment center in your location or connecting you with recovery tools and resources, our hotline is available 24/7 to make sure you can get the help you need, anytime you need it.
The books listed here are great resources for better understanding and managing recovery and relapse; however, rehab may be an option you want to consider. Call us now and we can help find the right treatment that works for you.
Edward lives and works in South Florida and has been a part of its recovery community for many years. With a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Massachusetts, he works to help Find Addiction Rehabs as both a writer and marketer. Edward loves to share his passion for the field through writing about addiction topics, effective treatment for addiction, and behavioral health as a whole. Alongside personal experience, Edward has deep connections to the mental health treatment industry, having worked as a medical office manager for a psychiatric consortium for many years.