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Best books on recovery

Image of the blog post "Best books on recovery" on Tikvah Lake Recovery.

There are literally thousands of books to help with recovery now. They specialize in all mental health problems from alcoholism, addiction, bipolar and personality disorders to anxiety, depression, eating disorders and trauma

We were not always so fortunate in having such an extensive choice. Although many people point to such as the Greek myths and what are today considered “religious” texts, the birth of what now is termed “self-help” literature really started in the 1930s.

The term “self-help” itself is believed to have arisen from a book published in 1859 by Samuel Smiles called Self-Help. But Dale Carnegie’s 1936 book How To Win Friends And Influence People is considered to be the book that really started the modern self-improvement press rolling.

It has gone on to sell more than 30 million copies. Another book published three years later has sold at least that amount as well.

Alcoholics Anonymous by AA co-founder Bill Wilson was published in 1939 and it has saved and transformed the lives of millions of people who were once considered beyond help. It is actually where the then new fellowship of recovering alcoholics took its name.

Plenty of other self-help books were published from then on. But the real catalyst of what we know today started with the 1976 publication of Your Erroneous Zones by Dr Wayne Dyer. He went on to write more than 40 bestselling self-help books.

Most bestselling self-help and recovery books are written by people who were previously suffering from at least one mental health problem. Their books resonate so much as they describe how it is to live with these conditions and also offer their solution.

In no particular order here are some recovery books – that we know from experience have helped a vast number of people.

Your Erroneous Zones by Wayne Dyer

Image of the book "Your Erroneous Zones" - by Wayne W. Dyer

Dyer spent much of his childhood in an orphanage after his father walked out on the family. He became a high school guidance counselor and his lectures on positive thinking became so popular that it led to him writing Your Erroneous Zones.

It shows how to stop negative thinking and deal with difficult periods in life. Dyer quit his job to promote the book throughout America and soon it was a bestseller.

Book quote: “Self-worth cannot be verified by others. You are worthy because you say it is so. If you depend on others for your value it is other-worth.”

More about Your Erroneous Zones by Wayne Dyer

Alcoholics Anonymous by Bill Wilson

Image of the book "Alcoholics Anonymous" - by Bill Wilson

Mostly known as the “Big Book” due to the thickness of paper it was originally printed on in order to save costs. It was the first time the Twelve Steps recovery program was written down.

It took almost two years to sell the initial 4,650 copies of the book’s first printing. Today it has been translated into 67 languages.

Book quote: “Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles.”

More about Alcoholics Anonymous by Bill Wilson

Healing The Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw

Image of the book "Healing the Shame - Expanded and Updated Edition" - by John Bradshaw.

Another influential self-help author who was abandoned by his father, Bradshaw wrote what is still considered to be the book on toxic shame – even more than 30 years after its initial publication.

It explains how toxic shame – the painful shame of others, usually a parent, that’s been passed down – is behind codependency, compulsive behavior and addiction. It’s helped millions of people to address the real cause of their inner shame.

Book quote: “If our primary caregivers are shame-based, they will act shameless and pass their toxic shame onto us. There is no way to teach self-value if one does not value oneself. Toxic shame is multigenerational.”

More about Healing The Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw

Codependent No More by Melody Beattie

Image of the book "Codependent No More - How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself" - by Melody Beattie

Beattie was an alcoholic by 13 and a drug addict five years later. Although she stopped drinking and using drugs, she ended up marrying a man who frequently drank.

Then while working with the spouses of addicts at a treatment center she realized the problems that had caused her own alcoholism were still present. The pain she felt was not because of her husband or his drinking – it was about her.

She was codependent, meaning she had an excessive emotional reliance on her partner. In codependency the partner is usually one who needs support because of an illness or addiction.

While Beattie didn’t first use the word codependency (that is believed to have come from AA) she became devoted to the subject. When published in 1986 it was Codependent No More that introduced the world to the term “codependency”.

Book quote: “Codependents make great employees. They don’t complain; they do more than their share; they do whatever is asked of them; they please people; and they try to do their work perfectly – at least for a while, until they become angry and resentful.”

More about Codependent No More by Melody Beattie

Feel The Fear… And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers

Image of the book "Feel The Fear… And Do It Anyway" - by Susan Jeffers

This bestselling book by an American psychologist is about discovering what we are afraid of and getting through these fears. It teaches how to speak louder than the negative voice that stops many people from realizing their hopes and dreams.

This means they can become self-empowered and find meaning in life. First published in 1987 Jeffers’ book has since been translated into 36 languages. 

Book quote: “Every time you encounter something that forces you to ‘handle it’, your self-esteem is raised considerably. You learn to trust that you will survive, no matter what happens. And in this way your fears are diminished immeasurably.”

More about Feel The Fear… And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers

The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck

Image of the book "The Road Less Traveled" - by M. Scott Peck

Psychiatrist Morgan Scott Peck’s bestselling book was published in 1978. But it took five years until it became a bestseller – and it then spent ten years on the New York Times bestseller list.

Peck explains how to know the difference between dependency and love. He gives a guide to achieving spiritual growth that shows how we can all discover our true self.

However Peck says that most people won’t do this even when they have been told how it is possible. Hence the title: the journey of self-realization remains the road less traveled.

Book quote: “Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit.”

More about The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck

Healing The Child Within by Charles L. Whitfield

Image of the book "Healing the Child Within" - by Charles L. Whitfield

Whitfield is an American medical doctor and psychotherapist widely known as an expert on mental illness, addiction and recovery from childhood trauma.

This book helps people to heal from the pain of childhood trauma. It explains about the “inner child”.

This is a term that first started to develop in the work of psychologist Carl Jung. It refers to a person’s childlike side – especially about what was learned in childhood and unresolved childhood experiences.

Book quote: “Many children growing up in troubled or dysfunctional families learn how to be either aggressive or manipulative or to sit back or withdraw. They don’t get what they want or need. They almost never see assertiveness being modeled, are rarely taught to be assertive and thus grow up to be adults who operate by being either aggressive, and/or manipulative or passive, ‘people pleasers’, or a combination of these.”

More about Healing The Child Within by Charles L. Whitfield

The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Image of the book "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle

Published in 1997 this is a hugely popular book that describes how living in the present moment is the best way to live. It says how if we learn not to dwell on the past or worry about the future, life will be much easier.

Tolle relates his past experiences of relentless anxiety and severe depression. But aged 29 he had an abrupt realization when he heard the words “resist nothing”… and afterwards he experienced a great peace about everything.

“The peace was there because there was no self,” explains Tolle. “Just a sense of presence or ‘beingness’, just observing and watching.”

Only 3,000 copies were printed of the first edition. More than three million copies have now been sold in North America alone and it’s been translated into 33 languages.

His second book Stillness Speaks has also been of great help to many people. It explains the way to find “inner stillness”.

Book quote: “Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be.”

More about The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle

So many other exceptional books deserve a mention – including by such as Louise Hay, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Brené Brown, Bessel van der Kolk, Dr Gabor Maté, Matt Haig, Jordan Peterson, Russell Brand, Jerold J. Kreisman & Hal Straus, Paulo Coelho and Dr Guy Meadows.

At Tikvah Lake Recovery we are in the ideal spot for reading while you relax in the sunshine. Many of our guests spend many peaceful moments by our beautiful tranquil lake looking at a life-inspiring book or two…

Or in fact anywhere in our luxury mansion is wonderfully peaceful. Our professional team understands all mental health conditions and has years of experience in helping people.

We confidentially listen to our guests here. We then offer a personalized treatment program that will work for the most effective and enduring recovery.

To find out how we can help you or someone you care about, contact us today.

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David Hurst

David Hurst

David Hurst has four books published on mental health recovery, including 12 Steps To 1 Hero, The Anxiety Conversation and Words To Change Your Life. He has written for national newspapers and magazines around the world for 30 years including The Guardian, GQ, Esquire, Marie Claire and The Times. He has been in successful continual recovery since January 2002.

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