Recommended Reads

The essential recovery guide for women new to sobriety, written by the director of clinical services at Hazelden’s new cutting edge treatment facility for women.

Whether you are just embarking down the road of recovery or are well into the journey, consider Brenda Iliff’s A Woman’s Guide to Recovery your companion and guide. Brenda Iliff is a leading Hazelden clinician. She developed this guide to help women handle issues and challenges that come with their new life of recovery: How can you balance self-care with family responsibilities? What do you do about friends who aren’t comfortable with your newfound sobriety? How do you rebuild family relationships? A Woman’s Guide to Recovery offers real-life insight into what it means and what it takes to sustain healthy, lasting recovery.

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Geared specifically to women, this book brings a feminine perspective to the Twelve Step program, searching out the healing messages beneath the male-oriented words.

Recovery is not a man’s world, and yet to a woman it can sometimes seem that way. Geared specifically to that woman, this book brings a feminine perspective to the Twelve Step program, searching out the healing messages beneath the male-oriented words. Based on an open exploration and a flexible interpretation of the Twelve Steps, this new perspective takes into account the psychological development of women as it relates to addiction and recovery, as well as the social and cultural factors that affect women in particular.Acknowledging that recovery raises special issues for women–from questions about sexuality, relationships, and everyday life to anxieties about speaking up at mixed-gender meetings–A Woman’s Way through the Twelve Steps focuses directly on the feminine experience of addiction and healing. The author explores the Twelve Steps one by one, reiterating each in its traditional language, then explaining and illustrating it in a way that highlights a woman’s experience–empowering the reader to take ownership of her own recovery process as well as her growth as a woman.

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Having an addiction can follow the path of a great relationship that goes sour: there’s the first blush of romance, the seduction (“you know you want to”), and the downward spiral into either obsession or breaking free.

Jill Talbot is no stranger to addiction. Part autobiography, part exposé, Loaded: Women and Addiction weaves Talbot’s own battles with addiction with various addiction stories of other women. The result is a captivating, honest look at the allure of addiction—be it to sex, drugs, alcohol, food, adventure, or infidelity—and ultimately its betrayal. 

Though addiction can be seductive, if you’re waking up with guilt or making choices that harm others, it’s probably a clue that things are out of control. Throughout Loaded, Talbot’s razor-sharp honesty, heartbreaking self-awareness, and resolve to reveal the difficult truth of her relationship with past and present addictions is humbling and sometimes gut-wrenching. In sharing her struggles and her resolve to attain control over her addictions, Talbot speaks her truth while sending a message of hope to women everywhere.

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Journalist Jenny Valentish takes a gendered look at drugs and alcohol, using her own story to light the way. Mining the expertise of 35 leading researchers, clinicians and psychiatrists, she explores the early predictors of addictive behavior, such as trauma, temperament, and impulsivity.

Drawing on neuroscience, she explains why other self-destructive behaviors – such as eating disorders, compulsive buying, and high-risk sex – are interchangeable with problematic substance use. From her childhood in suburban Slough to her chaotic formative years in the London music scene, we follow her journey to Australia, where she experiences firsthand treatment facilities and AA groups and reflects whether or not they are meeting the needs of women.

Woman of Substances is an insightful, rigorous and brutally honest read. In Australia, it was nominated for a prestigious Walkley Book Award.

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