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Best Books: 19 Must-Read Books For Children Of Alcoholics

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If you grew up in a family influenced by dysfunction and alcoholism, these 19 books can provide a valuable resource for understanding and insight into how to cope and deal with the situation.

Useful Resources:

Providing information, advice, and support for everyone affected by a parent’s drinking – nacoa.org.uk

Gives information on where you can find support on addiction and dependency, which are often linked to mental health problems. – mind.org.uk

#1 My Dad is an Alcoholic, What About Me? by Marc & Lianna Treitler

[This book] provides children ages 9 to 12 with the tools and strategies needed to cope with alcoholism and their family, AND with avoiding activating their own potential pre-disposition towards substance-abuse.

Eminently successful businessman and attorney who was a functioning alcoholic, Marc Treitler’s life was turned around because of a comment his daughter made when she was eight years old. That comment led to him going to rehab, where he realized all the things he wished he had learned as a child. Determined to teach those things to his children, he did so. And that led to the book.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Antoinette Kuritz from StrategiesPR

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#2 The Message in the Bottle by Stephanie B. McAuliffe

Children of alcoholics inherit a legacy that can be challenging to unwind. This book gives a voice to the other side of the devastation. It's a beautifully vulnerable story told about her journey back to peace, love, and eventual freedom; through compassion and forgiveness, and a reclamation of self – with a beautiful invitation for you to do the same.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Stephanie McAuliffe from Reclaiming Your Self, LLC 

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#3 So You Love an… Alcoholic? by Grace W. Wroldson

My book because it is common for adult children to become alcoholics, marry them, or both!

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Grace W. Wroldson from Grace W. Wroldson 

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  1. A really important read, especially for women to understand what they are going through and how to push forward. Highly recommended!

#4 Alcohol, Drugs and You by Marc Treitler

This book is cogent, candid, heartfelt, informative and written by real people who lived it.

It provides young people with the tools they need to avoid substance abuse and the reasons for doing so. A practical, easy-to-read guide, it can be read by middle school students alone or with parents or educators, and it opens discussion of the issues kids face.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Richard Kuritz from StrategiesPR

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#5 The Anchor Clankers by Renee Garrison

“The Anchor Clankers,” revolves around a ninth-grade girl who never had a brother, at least not a biological one. But she acquires hundreds of them when she moves (with her parents) into a boys’ military academy in Sanford, Florida, where her father is the new Commandant. Unfortunately, her father also is an alcoholic.

The story provides rich opportunities for students to consider several themes including peer pressure, and coping with change. The main character moves from Bostonto Florida in 1971. Not wanting to move is normal. Leaving behind everything that's familiar is frightening. I want my readers to remember that they're not alone - even if they have an alcoholic parent.  According to the National Military Family Association, military children will say good-bye to more significant people by age 18 than the average person will in their lifetime.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Renee Garrison from ReneeGarrison

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#6 A Clinician’s Journey from Complex Trauma to Thriving

My book 'A Clinicians Journey from Complex Trauma to Thriving: Reflections on Abuse, C-PTSD, and Reclamation' is an anthology of articles addressing complex trauma and addiction and the quest for thriving. It speaks to the needs of adult children of alcoholics as it examines systemic and generational child abuse and how sundry forms of mental illness, including alcoholism impacts child-rearing practices, while also addressing the trajectory of healing and thriving.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Sheri Heller from SheriTherapist

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#7 Adult Children: Alcoholic / Dysfunctional Families by ACA WSO

This is the basic text for the ACA fellowship. Adult Children of Alcoholics is a recovery program for adults whose lives were affected as a result of being raised in an alcoholic or other dysfunctional family. It is based on the success of Alcoholics Anonymous and employs its version of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Grace W. Wroldson from Grace W. Wroldson

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#8 Codependence and the Power of Detachment by Karen Casey

[This is a] wonderful book using real-life examples of the author's and people she knew in Al Anon (for family and friends of alcoholics) for detaching with love. Detaching with love is often the only thing that works for codependent people in dealing with the anger, frustration, and grief that accompanies growing up or living with an alcoholic - even those that become and stay sober.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Jaime Pfeffer from Jaime Pfeffer LLC 

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#9 The Courage to Change by Al Anon Family Services

A page-a-day reader for individuals who have been or continue to be affected by an alcoholic. Each page corresponds to a day in the year and gives real-life examples of people who either grew up with or live with an alcoholic now. Themes touched upon include those pertinent to this audience, such as self-love, compassion, anger, resentment, broken promises, letting go of the past, boundaries, and more. A profoundly, life-changing book for anyone who grew up in an alcoholic family.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Jaime Pfeffer from Jaime Pfeffer LLC

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#10 Hope for Today by Al Anon Family Services

Daily reader for individuals who grew up in a dysfunctional family, with either one or both parents/caretakers as alcoholics or the parents' parent(s) as alcoholics. Individuals reading this book will recognize things from their own families currently and in the past, as well as things within themselves - and how to deal with these situations. Examples include lack of boundaries at family gatherings, wanting to control the alcoholic, feeling unloved, feeling abandoned, having unmet emotional needs, etc.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Jaime Pfeffer from Jaime Pfeffer LLC

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#11 The Empath’s Survival Guide by Judith Orloff

Some individuals growing up in alcoholic families become hyper-sensitive or empathic. This can lead to tremendous stress, social anxiety, and depression later on because empathic people often take on the feelings/emotions of others - particularly people with narcissistic tendencies, like alcoholics or addicts. In this book, Orloff explains what it means to be empathic, how to tell basic sensitivity from empathy, and how to protect oneself from absorbing other people's feelings and emotions.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Jaime Pfeffer from Jaime Pfeffer LLC

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#12 BALM: The loving path to family recovery by Beverly Buncher

BALM (Be A Loving Mirror) is a virtual program dedicated to supporting family members of those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. This book summarizes the process and offers many stories to illustrate the challenges of maintaining your own life and sanity while being your loved one's best chance at recovery. Self-care, education, examining beliefs and fears, knowing when to intervene or not, and most importantly, learning to set loving, respectful and firm boundaries, these are the components of the BALM. The BALM changes lives, including my own.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Fern Weis from FamilyRecoveryPartners

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#13 Codependent no more by Melody Beattie

A must read for all persons in recovery, but is a great read for those growing up in Alcoholic homes where boundaries get crossed and people often become that of a caretaker.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Jacob Webb from Desert Rose Recovery

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#14 The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Many children affected by parents who suffered from alcoholism have an overwhelming sense of unearned shame. The Gifts of Imperfection, breaks the myth that the perfect lives of others are anything but a fantasy. The book is meant to empower you not to worry about what others think as much as what you think.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Caleb Backe from Maple Holistics

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#15 Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

People who suffer often lend themselves to other people's problems as a coping mechanism. It can also be a struggle for people who never experienced much in the way of boundaries in their upbringing a common thread among children of alcoholics. Boundaries, is a great book to read for someone seeking both a mental and emotional balance in their lives.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Caleb Backe from Maple Holistics

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#16 Adult Children of Alcoholics by Janet Woititz

The book covers the affect alcoholics have on their children. The book deals with unconscious behavior and dysfunctional families.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Caleb Backe from Maple Holistics

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#17 On the Other Side of Chaos by Ellen Van Vechten

An instructive handbook written for those dealing with the disruption and pain of active addiction, whether it involves alcohol / drugs / or compulsive behaviors.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Kae Tienstra for Central Recovery Press

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#18 Unspoken Legacy by Claudia Black

A far-ranging examination of addiction and trauma in the family and how its effects reverberate for generations.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Kae Tienstra for Central Recovery Press

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#19 When the Servant Becomes the Master By Jason Z W Powers

The definitive guide to all things related to addiction and its treatments.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Kae Tienstra for Central Recovery Press

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