7 Essential Reads For The Spouse Of An Alcoholic

woman reading book

Remember when you were influenced by something you read? It doesn’t matter whether it was fact or fiction. I remember reading “Kidnapped” by Robert Louis Stevenson. It was almost like I was there with all of the adventure. I would have to say Robert Louis Stevenson had the ability to transform the moment for me with his words.

The recommendations I have selected are what I consider MUST READ books for someone in a relationship with an alcoholic.

Possibly one of the most influential writers on the subject of a relationship with an alcoholic is Melody Beattie. Her first book “Codependency No More” explores the issues encountered by someone who has such a relationship.

Codependency No More

by Melody Beattie
Click Here To View On Amazon

Later Melody created a workbook to help focus the individual key points from her original book. This is an easy to follow guide. It makes the journey much easier because you work through an issue at a time. This remarkable work is called simply,”Codependency No More Workbook”.

Codependency No More Workbook

by Melody Beattie
Click Here To View On Amazon

Melody Beattie wrote out of her own experience of growth and self improvement. This led to her next book titled, “Beyond Codependency”.

Beyond Codependency Letting Go

By Melody Beattie
Click Here To View On Amazon

Most recently, Melody took the original book and updated it for the current generation,”The New Codependency: Help and Guidance for Today’s Generation”.

This is a remarkable example how the message of wellness translates to each generation.

The New Codependency: Help and Guidance for Today’s Generation

by Melody Beattie
Click Here To View On Amazon

When you have read the original work you will definately want to read this as the next part of the journey.
You will benefit from it even if you put the others in your library already.

Fortunately, there is a way to bundle these four works into one package to make it easy to place in your library.

Melody Beattie Four Title Bundle

Click Here To View On Amazon

There is another author I think is profound in her take on what addiction is really like. This lecturer and author is Claudia Black. Her seminal work is called “It will never happen to me”.

It Will Never Happen To Me

by Claudia Black
Click Here To View On Amazon

If you think you understand what goes on with an addict you will find out you only scratched the surface.

Claudia helps you to understand the disease and the denial associated with it. If you have not read this book you will want it for your own and for that moment when your husband realizes he needs help.

Last but not least is a book to answer your questions about Al-Anon.

Here is an excellent resource to help you know more about Al-Anon.

Paths to Recovery: Al-Anon’s Steps, Traditions and Concepts

by Al-Anon Family Group Head Inc
Click Here To View On Amazon

We talk a lot about why not try an al-anon meeting. If you have not been to a meeting or if you would just like to know more, here is a valuable resource that introduce you to the steps, traditions and concepts that have made this 12 step program so successful.

There are other books that have been written on the subject, but these are in my opinion the essential library for someone who wants to follow a path for change.

Are there any other books you’d like to recommend? Let us know what they are in the comments…


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  1. Donna

    Thanks for the information, I will get these and read them.

    • FreeMyAddict Coach

      These authors are among the very best when it comes to issues related to life with an alcoholic. Melody Beattie was one of the very first people to actually write about Co-dependency, Claudia Black opens your eyes to what alcoholism is all about and everyone wants to know more about Al-Anon. I think you will be glad you have them in your library.

      • I remember when Melody Beatty’s book first came out. It was so very exticing. It was the first book to deal with the entire phenomena and had real suggestions; it didn’t just make you feel awful and unsalvagable. No more feeling it was just — oh my go! – ANOTHER label.I have often thought when looking back that the most valuable thing I carried away from reading, working and using that book to help others, was the chapter on the rescuer/ victim/ persecutor triangle. It is so classic and you begin to see it in so many situations.If addiction is cunning, baffling and powerful, then codependency is all that PLUS being insidious.Thanks Nancy it was so good to see this posted on here!Cheers, peace AND Joy,Virginia

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Thanks for your comment. In my mind there’s simply not a better book on the subject.

  2. Kareem Hronek

    Hi there, i just needed to drop you a line to say that i thoroughly enjoyed this detailed post of yours, I have subscribed to your RSS feeds and have skimmed a few of your posts before but this one really stood out for me. I know that I am just a stranger to you but I figured you might appreciate the appreciation Take care and keep blogging.

    • FreeMyAddict Coach

      Kareem, Thank you for visiting our site. We are pleased with the appreciation. We are excited to help with recommendations that make a difference.

      • I’ve gotten to a point with my codependent family member where I’m just nodding when she talks. I don’t give or offer advice and I don’t talk about my own life either. She doesn’t talk to me very often and that could be because I’ve cut her off so to speak. I’m at a point though where it’s exhausting for me. I have a lot on my plate, my own health, my Mom’s health, my Grandma’s health, my kids, and my husband and I’d like to have a little down time where I’m not fixing booboos which is why I’ve decided to just nod. Am I doing something bad? Am I enabling the behavior because I’m just too tired with my own stuff I’m dealing with?

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Sounds like your plates full already without dealing with your alcoholic.

  3. Sandra Pohlman

    Read Codependant no more years ago. Good info for all that are sociable people pleasers (me included)!

    • Wendell

      One of the keys in codependency is to realize the motivation to please. When you begin to make a change in that behavior a whole new world opens up. Codependency No More is probably the best book I know to help with this issue. Thanks for your comment.

  4. I don’t think nodding is a bad approach to dealing with someone who is codependent. Codependents are so wrapped up in their place others lives that they pull other people in to their drama to try to help them exert control. We’ll ask you for your advice, but we only want to hear it if it coincides with what we want to do which is to control another person. With that in mind, refusing to engage in that type of behavior by listening and nodding is an okay way to deal with her. And you are right, she probably isn’t talking to you as much because you are refusing to engage. When people stop refusing to engage in our poor behavior, we eventually have to deal with it at least that’s what should happen!

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Sometimes it’s better to bite your tongue and let others work their issues out themselves.

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