The best books portraying addiction and family dysfunction with honesty, compassion, and humor

Who am I?

I can say in truth and with humor, that I’m overqualified on this topic. My parents are both alcoholics, I followed suit along with two siblings and married into the club, not once but twice. Thank God my second marriage was to a recovering alcoholic. Today I’m approaching 30 years of sobriety while hubby remains in the lead with 34 years. Knowing what it’s like to live with another alcoholic, practice the art yourself and find a way through it, should be the equivalent of a doctorate on addiction. I know the pain, denial, struggle, and all the lies. Most importantly, I have the heart to help others who, like myself, march on the front line of this battle.


I co-wrote...

In Spite Of Us: A Love Story about Second Chances

By Deb Palmer, Sandy Palmer,

Book cover of In Spite Of Us: A Love Story about Second Chances

What is my book about?

A raw, authentic story written in dual perspectives by two alcoholics, now married and in recovery. Sandy is sober, moving toward God and a better life. Deb is not sober. She believes a sober life would be like staying awake through major surgery.  What happens when this unlikely match agrees to a blind date? Solo, they're a mess, but as a duet? God help them! They are modern-day characters right out of the Bible. Remember the sheep? That pesky fellow wandering off causing the shepherd to leave the ninety-nine and take care of it? That's them. What lengths will God go to save this couple from their worst enemy--themselves?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Days of Wine and Roses

Deb Palmer Why did I love this book?

The most valuable lesson I received is that sometimes you have to let loved ones make bad choices. There’s nothing you can do beyond prayer and hope.

This book and the movie portray the good in people who do bad or stupid things. You end up loving the characters no matter how bad their choices. Sadly, many can relate to the story through family, friends, or even themself. The characters are believable and I would wager the author based the story on real life. It’s also an excellent book for anyone needing an introduction to recovery programs like Alanon, ACOA, or Alcoholics Anonymous. The story’s message is important: You have to be willing to change and trust in a power higher than yourself.

By J.P. Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Days of Wine and Roses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Miller, J. P


Book cover of A Principle of Recovery: An Unconventional Journey Through the Twelve Steps

Deb Palmer Why did I love this book?

I recommend this book because it pulls no punches. It’s not easy to get sober, and it’s not glamorous. Jack Grisham--lead singer of the punk band T.S.O.L., has 33 years of sobriety at the time of this writing. He shares that journey honestly with a heart for those needing to hear of his struggles. It’s a good read that teaches what’s behind the 12 steps of recovery. 

By Jack Grisham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Principle of Recovery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A guided journey through the 12 Step process. A Principle of Recovery is a look at sobriety through the eyes and heart of Jack Grisham--lead singer of the punk band T.S.O.L., and the author of 'An American Demon'. Grisham has been clean and sober since January 8th, 1989. This book cuts through the myths and misconceptions of what it is to live in recovery and gives us a glimpse into the freedom that being sober can bring. An agnostic libertarian Grisham challenges some of the "cult" like practices in today's groups and encourages you to think for yourself, live without…


Book cover of Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget

Deb Palmer Why did I love this book?

This book does an excellent job describing what it’s like to feel “less than.” For me, that is the crux of my drinking. I truly appreciate that Hepola addresses sexuality patterns for many women alcoholics. It’s difficult to portray this in a way that is understandable but does not excuse the behavior nor shame it. This story is not glamorized and I appreciate that. 

By Sarah Hepola,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Blackout as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant, laugh-out-loud humor, Blackout is the story of a woman stumbling into a new kind of adventure -- the sober life she never wanted.

For Sarah Hepola, alcohol was "the gasoline of all adventure." She spent her evenings at cocktail parties and dark bars where she proudly stayed till last call. Drinking felt like freedom, part of her birthright as a strong, enlightened twenty-first-century woman.

But there was a price. She often blacked out, waking up with a blank space where four hours should be. Mornings became detective work on her own life. What…


Book cover of Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book

Deb Palmer Why did I love this book?

How can I not recommend the book that has changed so many lives, including mine. If you don’t find a personal story in this book that relates to you, I promise you will recognize a friend, relative, or co-worker. With each edition, fresh stories are added. And, the steps are explained with backstory and details to help find the road to recovery.  It’s a must-have for anyone suffering from addiction or who knows someone who is. 

By Bill W.,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Alcoholics Anonymous as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many thousands have benefited from "The Big Book" and its simple but profound explanation of the doctrines behind Alcoholics Anonymous, which was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. This original 1939 edition outlines the famous 12 steps, and offers counsel for those who wish to join the program but doubt the existence of a higher power. It also contains encouraging personal stories, in which AA members relate their experiences with alcohol and how they found the path to sobriety.
"The Big Book" has gone through numerous editions and remains the most widely used resource for recovering…


Book cover of Mere Christianity

Deb Palmer Why did I love this book?

Admitting there’s a power greater than me and that I am powerless? Phew! That’s a tall order. Mere Christianity deals with the fundamentals and doctrines of the Christian belief. Lewis writes as a former atheist, in a way that anyone can grasp. Most Christians keep a copy of this on their bookshelf. I personally read this book once a year.

By C. S. Lewis,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Mere Christianity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Special 65th Anniversary Edition

One of the most popular and beloved introductions to the concept of faith ever written, 'Mere Christianity' has sold millions of copies worldwide.

The book brings together C.S. Lewis's legendary radio broadcasts during the war years, in which he set out simply to 'explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times'.

Rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity's many denominations, Mere Christianity provides an unequalled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to absorb a powerful, rational case for the Christian faith.


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Honeymoon at Sea: How I Found Myself Living on a Small Boat

By Jennifer Silva Redmond,

Book cover of Honeymoon at Sea: How I Found Myself Living on a Small Boat

Jennifer Silva Redmond Author Of Honeymoon at Sea: How I Found Myself Living on a Small Boat

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Writer of Memoir Editor of everything Sailor of Seas Daily Dog Walker Intrepid Traveler

Jennifer's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

When Jennifer Shea married Russel Redmond, they made a decision to spend their honeymoon at sea, sailing in Mexico. The voyage tested their new relationship, not just through rocky waters and unexpected weather, but in all the ways that living on a twenty-six-foot sailboat make one reconsider what's truly important.

In this charming, meditative memoir, the couple sails to Baja's Sea of Cortez, where they spend twelve months before sailing south and through the Panama Canal. Jennifer's unique experience on the boat weaves through time, from her bohemian 1960s childhood to being a struggling actor in New York.

Honeymoon at Sea: How I Found Myself Living on a Small Boat

By Jennifer Silva Redmond,

What is this book about?

When Jennifer Shea married Russel Redmond, they made a decision to spend their honeymoon at sea, sailing in Mexico. The voyage tested their new relationship, not just through rocky waters and unexpected weather, but in all the ways that living on a twenty-six-foot sailboat make one reconsider what's truly important.

In this charming, meditative memoir, Jennifer recounts that fateful first year, moving back and forth with the currents of her life. On their voyage, the couple sailed Watchfire to Baja California's Sea of Cortez, where they spent twelve months before sailing south along Mexico and Central America and through the…


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Interested in alcoholism, fundamentalism, and dysfunctional families?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about alcoholism, fundamentalism, and dysfunctional families.

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