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Library

Recommended Reading

JAAN finds inspiration, knowledge, and information through a wide range of reading, including Jewish-centered books and articles written by professionals, individuals, and clergy. Whether you’re struggling with addiction, are in recovery, or care about someone who is, we encourage you to explore our library of recommended reading. Be sure to also visit our Jewish resources and general resources.

Disclaimer About Advice. The website does not provide medical or psychological advice and the information contained on the website is not intended to be a substitute for, or to be relied upon, as medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We are not directing any individuals to specific treatment modalities or treatment providers. This website is for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or psychological condition.

Jewish Reading/Books on Addiction and Recovery

Finding Recovery and Yourself in Torah: A Daily Spiritual Path to Wholeness

Finding Recovery and Yourself in Torah: A Daily Spiritual Path to Wholeness

By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

In this soul-restoring resource, Rabbi Mark Borovitz combines his knowledge of Judaism and his experience as a leader in the field of recovery to help you find, in the Five Books of Moses, deeper meaning, wisdom and guidance for living well in the moment.

For each Torah portion, he provides seven days of teachings and reflection questions to help you reconnect with your sacred self, discover solutions to life’s challenges, and help you heal.

Amazon.com
100 Blessings Every Day: Daily Twelve Step Recovery Affirmations, Exercises for Personal Growth & Renewal Reflecting Seasons of the Jewish Year

100 Blessings Every Day: Daily Twelve Step Recovery Affirmations, Exercises for Personal Growth & Renewal Reflecting Seasons of the Jewish Year

By Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky

This book is not just for Jewish people. It is for all people who would gain strength to heal and insight from the Jewish tradition.

Using a one-day-at-a-time monthly format, a spiritual leader who continues to reach out to addicted people, and all those seeking spiritual renewal, reflects on the rhythm of the Jewish calendar with recovering people and other teachers. Together they bring insight to recovery from addictions and compulsive behaviors of all kinds. This sensitive volume soars with the spirit of the Jewish soul and year. Its “exercises” help us move from thinking to doing.

Amazon.com
Twelve Jewish Steps to Recovery: A Personal Guide to Turning from Alcoholism and Other Addictions

Twelve Jewish Steps to Recovery: A Personal Guide to Turning from Alcoholism and Other Addictions

By Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky and Stuart A. Copans, M.D.

Twelve Jewish Steps to Recovery, written by a rabbi and a psychiatrist, presents a Jewish perspective, and offers consolation, inspiration, and motivation for recovery from all kinds of addictions. Traditional and contemporary Jewish sources are explored and many recovering people share their experiences.

Amazon.com
Counting Days: From Liberation to Revelation for Jews  in Recovery

Counting Days: From Liberation to Revelation for Jews in Recovery

By Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips

Counting Days guides readers through the season of spiritual preparation between Passover and Shavuot with daily reflections on Twelve Step recovery principles integrated with classical Jewish teachings. It’s a resource for Jews in recovery, family members and friends, students of Mussar and Jewish mysticism, and Jewish clergy, leaders, and organizations, and all who care about healing addiction within the Jewish community and beyond.

Lulu
Recovery―The Sacred Art: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice

Recovery―The Sacred Art: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice

By Rabbi Rami Shapiro

In this hope-filled approach to spiritual and personal growth, the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are uniquely interpreted to speak to everyone seeking a freer and more God-centered life. This special rendering makes them relevant to those suffering from specific addictions―alcohol, drugs, gambling, food, sex, shopping―as well as the general addictions we wrestle with daily, such as anger, greed, and selfishness.

Amazon.com
Recovery, the 12 Steps and Jewish Spirituality: Reclaiming Hope, Courage and Wholeness

Recovery, the 12 Steps and Jewish Spirituality: Reclaiming Hope, Courage and Wholeness

By Rabbi Paul Steinberg

This easy-to-read exploration from a Jewish perspective is the first comprehensive approach to successfully integrate classic Jewish spirituality with the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other recovery resources.

With clarity and passion, Rabbi Paul Steinberg masterfully weaves traditional Jewish wisdom with the experience, strength and hope of AA. He draws on Jewish resources — theological, psychological, and ethical — that speak to the spiritual dimension of the disease, and shows how the principles of Jewish spiritual recovery directly align with those of the AA 12 Steps. Along the way, he courageously shares his own personal struggles with alcoholism and addiction in a way that will help others find guidance and a new life path — and stay on it.

Amazon.com
God of Our Understanding: Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction

God of Our Understanding: Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction

By Rabbi Shais Taub

God of Our Understanding is a frank and penetrating look at the underlying spiritual dynamics of addiction and its treatment through Twelve-Step programs. Rabbi Shais Taub, a world renowned expert in Jewish mysticism as well as a mentor to many thousands of addicts, draws from his unique background to thoroughly address many of the concerns raised by Jewish addicts in recovery while also using Jewish knowledge to enrich the understanding of the spiritual principles of recovery for addicts of all faiths.

Amazon.com
Addictive Thinking: Understanding Self-Deception

Addictive Thinking: Understanding Self-Deception

By Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski M.D.

Abnormal thinking in addiction was originally recognized by members of Alcoholics Anonymous, who coined the term “stinking thinking.” Addictive thinking often appears rational superficially, hence addicts as well as their family members are easily seduced by the attendant–and erroneous–reasoning process it can foster. In Addictive Thinking, rabbi and psychiatrist Abraham Twerski reveals how self-deceptive thought can undermine self-esteem and threaten the sobriety of a recovering individual. This timely revision of the original classic includes updated information and research on depression and affective disorders, the relationship between addictive thinking and relapse, and the origins of addictive thought. Ultimately, Addictive Thinking offers hope to those seeking a healthy and rewarding life recovery.

Amazon.com

Jewish Reading / Spiritual Books for Challenging Times

Sacred Therapy: Jewish Spiritual Teachings on Emotional Healing and Inner Wholeness

Sacred Therapy: Jewish Spiritual Teachings on Emotional Healing and Inner Wholeness

By Estelle Frankel

In Sacred Therapy, Estelle Frankel travels to the heart of Jewish mysticism to reveal how people of any faith can draw upon this rich body of teachings to gain wisdom, clarity, and a deeper sense of meaning in the midst of modern life. In an engaging and accessible style, Frankel brings together tales and teachings from the Bible, the Talmud, Kabbalah, and the Hasidic traditions as well as evocative case studies and stories from her own life to create an original, inspirational guide to emotional healing and spiritual growth.

Amazon.com
The Wisdom of Not Knowing: Discovering a Life of Wonder by Embracing Uncertainty

The Wisdom of Not Knowing: Discovering a Life of Wonder by Embracing Uncertainty

By Estelle Frankel

In the Wisdom of Not Knowing, Estelle Frankel, psychotherapist, spiritual advisor, and seasoned teacher of Jewish mysticism, shows us that our psychological, emotional, and spiritual health is radically influenced by how comfortable we are at navigating the unknown and uncertain dimensions of our lives. The book is a deeply affirming exploration of the challenging and possibilities of the unknown, with meditations and exercises, that can help transform the fear and uncertainty of “not knowing” into a sense of openness, curiousity, and bravery. Case studies of individuals who have grappled with fears of the unkown, and as a result, have come out wiser, stronger, and more resilient.

Amazon.com
More Beautiful Than Before: How Suffering Transforms Us

More Beautiful Than Before: How Suffering Transforms Us

By Rabbi Steve Leder

In this deeply inspiring book, Rabbi Steve Leder guides us through pain’s stages of surviving, healing, and growing to help us all find meaning in our suffering. Drawing on his experience as a spiritual leader, the wisdom of ancient traditions, modern science, and stories from his own life and others’, he shows us that when we must endure, we can, and that there is a path for each of us that leads from pain to wisdom. “Pain cracks us open,” he writes. “It breaks us. But in the breaking, there is a new kind of wholeness.” There is a real and profound power in the suffering we endure if we transfrom that suffering into a more, authentic, meaningful life.

Amazon.com
Talking to God: Personal Prayers for Times of Joy, Sadness, Struggle, and Celebration

Talking to God: Personal Prayers for Times of Joy, Sadness, Struggle, and Celebration

By Rabbi Naomi Levy

Written in a simple and direct style, the prayers in this book - and the wonderful stories that accompany them - are for people of all faiths, and for all occasions large and small. Rabbi Levy’s personal prayers address the anxieties and roadblocks we all face in contemporary life. Her words, imbued with grace and empathy, touch on the entire range of human experience. Many will recognize ourselves in these prayers and stories and will be comforted by them, as well as challenged and uplifted. They are stepping-stones for us to create our own prayers, to find meaning in our own lives, and to begin or renew our own relationships with God.

Amazon.com
To Begin Again: The Journey Toward Comfort, Strength, and Faith in Difficult Times

To Begin Again: The Journey Toward Comfort, Strength, and Faith in Difficult Times

By Rabbi Naomi Levy

Where do we find the strength to meet tragedy? Can we rekindle hope? Innocence? Faith? The answers, illustrated with many moving, true stories drawn from Rabbi Levy’s experience and the lives of her congregants, provide sanity, peace, and a safe harbor where we can heal and grow. Remember: “Death is a great tragedy. But to die while we are still living, that is the greatest tragedy of all.”

Amazon.com
Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar

Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar

By Alan Morinis

Mussar is an illuminating, approachable, and highly practical set of teachings for cultivating personal growth and spiritual realization in the midst of day-to-day life. Everyday Holiness is an accessible and inspiring introduction to this Jewish spiritual path. The core teaching of Mussar is that our deepest essence is inherently pure and holy, but this inner radiance is obscured by extremes of emotion, desire, and bad habits. Our work in life is to uncover the brilliant light of the soul. The Mussar masters developed transformative teachings and practices - some of which are contemplative, some of which focus on how we relate to others in daily life, to help us heal and refine ourselves.

Amazon.com
Jewish Meditation Practices for Everyday Life: Awakening Your Heart, Connecting with God

Jewish Meditation Practices for Everyday Life: Awakening Your Heart, Connecting with God

By Rabbi Jeff Roth

A fresh take on meditation that draws on life experience and living life with greater clarity rather than the traditional method of rigorous study. Well-known meditation teacher and practitioner Rabbi Jeff Roth presents Jewish contemplative techniques that foster the development of a heart of wisdom and compassion that are accessible to both beginners and experts alike.

Amazon.com
The Spiritual Self: Reflections on Recovery and God

The Spiritual Self: Reflections on Recovery and God

By Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D.

In the Spiritual Self, rabbi and psychiatrist, Abraham Twerski, brings a clear vision and thoughtful approach to questions surrounding spirituality. It addresses how spirituality, independent of religion, is central to emotional and mental health, and is a key to being truly and profoundly human.

Amazon.com

Jewish Reading / Articles, Guides and Pamphlets

Jewish Prayers & Practices for Your 12-Step Journey

Jewish Prayers & Practices for Your 12-Step Journey

By Beth Fishman, PhD/Jewish Center for Addiction (JCFS/Chicago), June 2017

Beth Fishman, PhD, Program Director of the Jewish Center for Addiction at Jewish Child and Family Services of Chicago, has created a booklet for those who would like to experience ways in which Jewish prayers and practices may enhance a 12-Step program of recovery.

Full Text Here
Why Jewish Organizations Should Rent Space to 12-Step Meetings

Why Jewish Organizations Should Rent Space to 12-Step Meetings

By Beth Fishman, PhD/eJewishPhilanthropy, February 24, 2016

Beth Fishman, PhD, Program Director of the Jewish Center for Addiction at Jewish Child and Family Services of Chicago, makes the case for increasing 12-Step meetings in Jewish spaces, and addresses common concerns and misconceptions.

Full Text Here
Jews Must Take Mental Illness Out of the Shadows

Jews Must Take Mental Illness Out of the Shadows

By Stephen Fried/The Forward, September 20, 2016

Stephen Fried, best-selling author and award-winning investigative journalist and essayist, writes about the stigma and myths surrounding addiction and mental illness in the Jewish community, and challenges the Jewish community to treat disease of the brain like other diseases - with openness, understanding, and compassion. Includes practical suggestions for how to accomplish this.

Full Text Here
Recovery Seder Workshop

Recovery Seder Workshop

By Rabbi Gary Katz for JACS/The Jewish Board, New York

Rabbi Gary Katz, an independent rabbi, educator, and lecturer, created a Passover Seder guide for JACS (Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons & Significant Others) that includes all of the steps of the Seder along with insightful questions for thought or discussion that relate to recovery.

Full Text Here
This is the Path: 12 Steps in a Jewish Context

This is the Path: 12 Steps in a Jewish Context

By Rabbi Rami Shapiro/Gerushin Workshop, 2005

Rabbi Rami Shapiro, an award-winning author of over thirty books on religion and spirituality, discusses each of the 12-Steps in a Jewish context, incorporating a variety of text sources and wisdom from our sages. This booklet invites people to deepen their Judaism and use the 12-Step approach to enrich their spirituality.

Full Text Here
Addiction in Body, Mind, and Jewish Spirituality

Addiction in Body, Mind, and Jewish Spirituality

By Rabbi Paul Steinberg/CCAR Journal, Summer 2015

Rabbi Paul Steinberg, a rabbi at Congregation Kol Shofar, and a nationally recognized transformative educator and author, explores current scientific insights about addiction and illustrates that spirituality, with an emphasis on Jewish spirituality, is the final and critical component to succcessfully treat addiction, suggesting an integrative understanding and treatment model for addiction.

Full Text Here
Spirituality, Prayer, the Twelve Steps and Judaism

Spirituality, Prayer, the Twelve Steps and Judaism

By Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D./The JACS Journal, Vol: 3, No. 1, 1993

Rabbi Abraham Twerski, M.D. is a nationally acknowledged expert in the field of alcoholism and chemical dependency, the author of over 60 books, and has written and lectured extensively about addiction and recovery in the Jewish community. In this article, Rabbi Twerski addresses common Jewish objections to Twelve Step recovery programs and provides a Jewish context for each of the steps.

Full Text Here

Additional Reading / Recovery Program Books

Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book)

Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book)

By Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book) is the basic text for A.A. and has served as a lifeline to millions worldwide. First published in 1939, Alcoholics Anonymous sets forth cornerstone concepts of recovery from alcoholism and tells the stories of men and women who have overcome the disease. In this fourth edition (2001), the essential recovery text has remained unchanged while personal stories have been added to reflect the growing and diverse fellowship.

Amazon.com
Alcoholics Anonymous - Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Alcoholics Anonymous - Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

By Anonymous

Originally published in 1952, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions is the classic book used by Alcoholics Anonymous members and groups around the world. It lays out the principles by which A.A. members recover and by which the fellowship functions. This basic text clarifies the Steps which constitute the A.A. way of life and the Traditions, by which A.A. maintains its unity.

Amazon.com
How Al-Anon Works (for Families & Friends of Alcoholics)

How Al-Anon Works (for Families & Friends of Alcoholics)

By Al-Anon Family Groups

Al-Anon Family Group’s essential book explains the Al-Anon program and fellowship, and how it can help people whose lives have been been affected by another’s alcoholism. It includes the Steps, Traditions, and Concepts as well as personal stories in which members share their experience, strength, and hope.

Amazon.com
Paths to Recovery: Al-Anon's Steps, Traditions and Concepts

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

By Al-Anon Family Groups

A comprehensive guide to Al-Anon’s Steps, Traditions and Concepts, the three Legacies of this recovery program for anyone whose life is touched by another’s addiction. Each chapter presents a description of the individual Legacy, personal stories from members, and a series of questions for personal and group use in putting them into practice.

Amazon.com
Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous

By Anonymous

This is the basic text for the Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.) fellowship. It describes the N.A. program and how it works, includes the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (adapted from A.A.) as well as many personal stories of people who have found freedom from addiction through N.A.

Amazon.com
Sharing Experience, Strength & Hope

Sharing Experience, Strength & Hope

By Nar-Anon Family Groups

In this daily reader, Nar-Anon members share their experience, strength and hope, carrying the message of Nar-Anon recovery to those who suffer from the effects of another’s addiction.

Amazon.com
SMART Recovery Handbook

SMART Recovery Handbook

By Rosemary Hardin, Editor

The SMART (Self Management Addiction Recovery Program) Handbook includes tools, exercises, techniques, and strategies to help those with addictive behaviors. The Handbook covers SMART’s 4-Point Program that teaches self-directed change to recover from addiction and alcoholism. SMART views addiciton as a complex maladaptive behavior with possible psychological factors, and supports the use of psychological treatments as well as legally prescribed psychiatric and addiction medications. SMART Recovery offers an alternative to 12-Step programs.

Amazon.com
SMART Recovery Family & Friends Handbook

SMART Recovery Family & Friends Handbook

By Roxanne Allen, Editor

The SMART Recovery Family & Friends Handbook helps people affected by the addictive behavior of a loved one, focusing on the SMART Recovery tools for dealing in a healthy way with emotionally challenging situations and the principles of the evidence-based Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT). Topics include positive communication, healthy boundaries, coping with lapses, disabling the enabling, and trust and forgiveness.

Amazon.com

Additional Reading / Other Books

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself

By Melody Beattie

Is someone else’s problem your problem? If, like so many others, you’ve lost sight of your own life in the drama of tending to someone else’s, you may be codependent-and you may find yourself in this book. The healing touchstone of millions, this modern classic by one of America’s best-loved and most inspirational authors holds the key to understanding codependency and to unlocking its stultifying hold on your life. With instructive life stories, personal reflections, exercises, and self-tests, Codependent No More is a simple, straightforward, readable map of the perplexing world of codependency-charting the path to freedom and a lifetime of healing, hope, and happiness.

Amazon.com
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed Be and Embrace Who You Are

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed Be and Embrace Who You Are

By Brene Brown, Ph.D.

Brene Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity and belonging, explores how to cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to embrace your imperfections and to recognize that you are enough. Brown shares what she’s learned from her research on the power of Wholehearted Living, a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.

Amazon.com
Everything Changes: Help for Families of Newly Recovering Addicts

Everything Changes: Help for Families of Newly Recovering Addicts

By Beverly Conyers

A compassionate, user-friendly handbook for family and friends navigating the many challenges that come with a loved one’s new-found sobriety. Everything Changes assuages fears and uncertainties, and offers practical tools to build a fresh, rewarding relationship with a person in early recovery, maintain boundaries, cope with relapse, and be supportive without enabling destructive behaviors.

Amazon.com
The Wisdom We're Born With: Restoring Our Faith in Ourselves

The Wisdom We're Born With: Restoring Our Faith in Ourselves

By Daniel Gottlieb

An inspirational primer that takes us on an enlightening journey toward a sense of well-being. Daniel Gottlieb, who suffered a traumatic injury that left him a quadriplegic over 30 years ago, is uniquely qualified to offer wise counsel on the relationship between what we want and what we have. He offers his thoughts on breaking patterns and habits, calming the unquiet mind, reconnecting with our emotions and our bodies, living in the moment, discovering that ineffable “something” that defines who we are - and above all, the importance of love.

Amazon.com
Not as Prescribed: Recognizing and Facing Alcohol and Drug Misuse in Older Adults

Not as Prescribed: Recognizing and Facing Alcohol and Drug Misuse in Older Adults

By Harry Haroutunian, M.D.

Dr. Haroutunian, physician director at Hazeldon Betty Ford Foundation, provides the vital information needed to understand the dynamics of addiction in older adults. An estimated 17 percent of people aged 60+ struggle with substance misuse and addiction. This book covers how to recognize the progression and signs, the unique treatment needs of older adults, and help for caregivers.

Amazon.com
The Spirituality of Imperfection

The Spirituality of Imperfection

By Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham

I Am Not Perfect is a simple statement of profound truth, the first step toward understanding the human condition, for to deny your essential imperfection is to deny yourself and your own humanity. The Spirituality of Imperfection, steeped in the rich traditions of the Hebrew prophets and Greek thinkers, Buddhist sages and Christian disciples, is a message as timeless as it is timely. This insightful work draws on the wisdom stories of the ages to provide an extraordinary wellspring of hope and inspiration to anyone thirsting for spiritual growth and guidance in these troubled times.

Amazon.com
Recovery 2.0: Move Beyond Addiction and Upgrade Your Life

Recovery 2.0: Move Beyond Addiction and Upgrade Your Life

By Tommy Rosen

In Recovery 2.0, Tommy Rosen shares his own past struggles with addiction and the powerful insights that helped him identify and break free from the obstacles that stand in the way of recovery. From his explorations on the yoga mat and in 12-Step rooms, he found a path for sustainable recovery that includes mind-body practices, a profound look at diet, and a more holistic and inclusive perspective on the 12 Steps. Through an innovative approach that features deeper levels of detoxification and transformation, Rosen shows how it is possible to thrive in recovery and live a life second to none.

Amazon.com
Gratitude and Trust: Six Affirmations That Will Change Your Life

Gratitude and Trust: Six Affirmations That Will Change Your Life

By Paul Williams and Tracey Jackson

Paul Williams, award-winning songwriter, actor and performer, is an alcoholic. Tracey Jackson, a well-known TV and film writer is not. Together, they wrote this book that is designed to apply the principles of recovery to the countless people who are not addicts, but nevertheless need effective help with their difficulties and pain. Gratitude and Trust is an essential, inspirational, and uplifting guide to identifying and changing maladaptive behaviors in order to uncover your most productive, healthiest self.

Amazon.com

Addiction is a Jewish issue. We’re working to address it.