Skip to content

5 Great Books for Substance Abuse Counselors

What is a Substance Abuse Counselor?

A substance abuse counselor, also commonly referred to as an addiction counselor, plays a pivotal role in the field of mental health. These dedicated professionals specialize in helping individuals grappling with drug and alcohol abuse, as well as other substance use disorders. Substance abuse counselors work diligently to provide support, guidance, and therapy to those in need, facilitating their journey towards addiction recovery. Their primary responsibility is to assess and develop treatment plans tailored to the unique needs of their clients, addressing both the behavioral disorder and mental health aspects of addiction.

Substance abuse counselors often collaborate closely with mental health counselors, as addiction frequently intertwines with various mental health issues. They may conduct individual counseling sessions, group therapy, or family therapy sessions to address the multifaceted challenges posed by addiction. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for addiction counselors continues to grow, with an increasing number of individuals seeking treatment for substance use disorders. These professionals may find employment in diverse settings such as mental health centers, residential treatment centers, and private practice. Job placement services and support groups also play a significant role in helping addiction counselors connect with those in need of assistance. If you continue below, we will explore five great books that can aid substance abuse counselors in their mission to support individuals on their path to recovery, while also enhancing their expertise in addiction counseling and mental health.

Must Read Books for Substance Abuse Counselors:

  • Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy
  • Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction
  • Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change
  • You Can’t Make Me Angry
  • Rewired: A Bold New Approach To Addiction and Recovery

Substance abuse may be one of the biggest public health crises the world is facing today. In 2014, the number of drug related overdoses had climbed to 47,055 per year. Alcohol related liver disease was at 18,146 annually. The need for substance abuse counselors is more critical than ever. Keep reading as we share a bit more about these five must read books for any substance abuse counselor.

1. Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

David Sheff writes a brilliant defense of addiction as a disease, and the need to banish the stigma and moralizing that fails to address that. His book is full of statistics, facts, personal stories, research and experience from his time as a professional working with addicts, and the organizations that are supposed to help them. His points about the damaging impact of punishing substance abuse instead of treating it is a blunt condemnation of the current system. While he admits there is no single way to treat addiction, he gives some idea on how to start.

2. Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction

Writing from a neuroscience perspective, Maia Szalavitz gives a fascinating new theory on the nature of addiction. According to her book, Unbroken Brain, she says that addiction in all forms is not a matter of disease, but a learning disorder. One that falls on a spectrum similar to Autism, and has to be addressed the same way. Her biggest argument is one the flouts the modern belief that there is an “addictive personality”.

3. Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change

All substance abuse counselors have to know how to motivate people to change damaging patterns of behavior. In the third edition of this book, authors William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick discuss the technique of motivational interviewing, a practice that helps to shape a patient’s desire to help themselves.

Unlike other books that merely explain the process and the reasons to use it, this volume will give a full framework for implementing the practice. You will learn to be more understanding, compassionate, effective and proactive with your less motivated patients.

Featured Programs

4. You Can’t Make Me Angry

Aimed specifically at alcoholics, this book is important for the addiction specialist, as well. It teaches addicts how to accept their emotions, past, and the turbulent process of overcoming substance abuse. It also helps to teach better ways to communicate, and to cope when communication appears to be impossible.

Using Dr Paul O.’s unique style, substance abuse counselors can gain a better understanding of their patient’s struggles with daily interactions. They can also use the information to begin instructing those same patient’s with better ways to manage their feelings, and improve communication within a therapy setting.

5. Rewired: A Bold New Approach To Addiction and Recovery

Rewired by Erica Spiegelman is a self-actualization book that encourages addicts to learn the power of their own mind and self to bring themselves from the edge of ruin. It focuses on a holistic approach to healing and sobriety, addressing the spiritual, emotional and mental aspects of breaking free of their addiction.

Books as an Excellent Resource…

In conclusion, the field of addiction counseling is a dynamic and essential component of mental health care, addressing both the substance abuse behavioral disorder and the broader spectrum of behavioral disorders and mental health concerns. These five recommended books provide valuable insights and tools for addiction counselors as they navigate the complex journey of helping individuals and families facing drug abuse and substance use disorders. The knowledge and expertise gained from these resources empower licensed counselors to craft effective treatment plans, collaborate with other mental health professionals, and support not only their clients but also the family members who often play a vital role in the recovery process. As addiction counselors work tirelessly to guide those in need toward a brighter future, these books serve as helpful companions on their mission to help individuals seek treatment, regain control over their lives, and find hope on their path to recovery.

Related Resource:

The Top 10 Online Counseling Degree Programs

5 Tips to Survive Your First Year as a Substance Abuse Counselor

5 Jobs For Substance Abuse Counselors

How Can I Become a Substance Abuse Counselor?