Addiction Resource Guide

Addiction is a physical and mental illness where a person compulsively uses a substance or repeats a behavior, such as sex or gambling, despite negative consequences. It is frequently, but not always, a result of using substances or unhealthy behaviors to cope with trauma, mental illness, stress or feelings of social ostracization. Science shows that addiction is tied to the rewards system in the brain and the “pleasure” response tied to dopamine.

There are many paths to recovery, including peer groups, counseling, medication and the replacement of destructive habits with positive ones such as exercise, meditation, self improvement and social involvement with friends, family or community.

Addiction Helplines

SAMHSA’s National Helpline

1-800-662-HELP (4357)

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.

National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Center (NASAIC)


The NASAIC has a listing of drug and alcohol treatment centers for every level of treatment.  You can call, live chat or fill out a contact form to talk with staff who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

National Intervention Referral


The National Intervention Referral network is a resource to use when looking for information on and help with interventions with alcohol and drug problems.  You can contact the trained staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to talk with them about the intervention process and to get treatment referrals.

Boys Town National Hotline


This hotline is a resource and referral hotline staffed by trained counselors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, who respond to questions about family and school problems, pregnancy, suicide, chemical dependency, and sexual and physical abuse.  They also have a chat room.

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD)

1-800-NCA-CALL (622-2255)

NCADD provides assistance to those who need help and guidance confronting alcohol or drug dependence, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Crisis Text Line

Text “Listen” to 741-741

This crisis text line is similar to a traditional hotline in that teens are connected to trained counselors, but instead of talking, you text. They provide assistance for any type of crisis, and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Additional Helplines

Substance Abuse Recovery Apps

  • A-Chess: This app has motivational reminders, recovery success stories, an Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meeting finder. It also allows you to input problem spots such as bars or a drug dealer’s house that you used to frequent and will send an alert to your support group if you spend more than 5 minutes near that location. It can also connect you to your counselor via video chat.
  • Sober Grid: Sober Grid is a social network that helps addicts in recovery connect with others in recovery in their area and worldwide.
  • Sobriety Counters: There are numerous sobriety day count apps. The most popular is Nomo, which allows you to share your sobriety day count and gives daily encouragement. Another popular app is SoberTool which includes a calculation of money saved by staying sober.
  • AA and 12 Step Recovery Apps: There are numerous apps to support 12 step recovery programs including apps for Narcotics Anonymous and and Marijuana Anonymous. Most of these apps include free literature, meeting finders and sobriety counters. There are also a number of speaker apps which include talks by recovering addicts and alcoholics.


Blogs on Addiction and Recovery

Addiction Inbox: This site bills itself as a review of the, “The Science of Substance Abuse”. The author writes clear, accessible summaries of the latest alcohol and drug addiction studies.

The Fix: Blog all about recovery lifestyle and news with personal essays, celebrity news and write ups of the latest addiction studies. Unfortunately it is owned by a for profit addiction treatment center with a bad reputation. Our advice is to ignore the rehab reviews and ads, enjoy the articles.

Hip Sobriety: A site by Holly Glenn Whitaker, an addict who did not want to recover through AA and found outpatient treatment to expensive to afford. She created her own program of recovery and has set herself up as a sobriety coach with a blog all about recovery.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: This site is the gold standard for the latest medical news on alcoholism and recovery. In addition to the blog, the site is full of clear, concise descriptions of medical and psychological conditions related to alcoholism.

Parents Of An Addict: An Addict in Our Son’s Bedroom is about the journey of addiction recovery from the perspective of the family. It is highly recommended to family members, parents in particular, of addicts.

Port of Call Blog: British blog run by professional drug counselors that is designed to help addicts and their families determine the best path of treatment.

Recovery 2.0: Tommy Rosen is a popular author, life coach and addict in recovery with 25 years of sobriety. On his site he hosts a podcast where he interviews doctors, counselors, nutritionists and spiritual teachers about recovering from addiction.

ShatterProof: Nonprofit of doctors, executives, addiction specialists and people affected by substance abuse dedicated to ending the devastation caused by addiction. They are focused on policy changes as well as personal essays to raise awareness of how addiction impacts peoples’ lives.

The Sobriety Collective: “Living, breathing community of awesome people in recovery (from substance use disorder/mental health concerns), making contributions in music, film, writing, fashion, technology, beauty, business, comedy, photography/art, philanthropy, education, fitness.”

Books on Substance Abuse and Addiction

  • Alcoholics Anonymous: Also known as, “The Big Book”, this text is the cornerstone of the 12 Step recovery method and includes recovery stories from numerous alcoholics.
  • Beautiful Boy by David Sheff and Tweak by Nic Sheff: There are many memoirs on addiction recovery, too many to be named here. These two memoirs have something unique to offer in that they are written by a father and son and show two perspectives of the addiction/recovery process with a family.
  • Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones: While not a book about individual addiction or guide to recovery, this book is worth reading if you want to understand the macro causes of the opioid epidemic. Quinones, a journalist, charts the rise of opioid based prescription medication and corrupt doctor pill mills and then follows with the growth of cheap heroin imported from rural Mexico and a new system that revolutionized illegal drug dealing.
  • In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction by Gabor Maté, M.D.: In this book, Maté explores the physical, psychological, and behavioral causes of addiction, informed by his decades of experience working with addicts and his own struggles with addiction. Many reviewers credit the book with changing their understanding of addiction and ability to empathize with addicts.
  • This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol by Annie Grace: This books examines our society’s obsession with alcohol from a research point of view and makes a convincing argument for all of the positive reasons to quick or cut back drinking.
  • Unbroken Brain: A revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction by Maia Szalavitz: In this book, Szalavitz argues that addiction is a learning disorder and that changing to this perspective will change the way we think about treatment, prevention and policy. Szalavitz weaves her own moving story with the latest research and studies into addiction.

Thought Leaders on Addiction and Related Disorders

  • Hazelden Betty Ford: In 2014 Hazelden and Betty Ford, two of the largest and best known substance abuse recovery nonprofits, merged to form one organization. In addition to rehabilitation centers, they have an active blog and are one of the largest publishers of books on substance abuse recovery.
  • SMART Recovery: SMART recovery is an evidence based recovery support nonprofit that differentiates itself as not being connected to Alcoholics Anonymous or 12 step recover. From there website, “SMART Recovery is not a spin-off of Alcoholics Anonymous.  No one will label you an “alcoholic”, an “addict” or “diseased” nor “powerless”, and if you do not believe in a religion or spirituality, that’s fine, too. We teach common sense self-help procedures designed to empower you to abstain and to develop a more positive lifestyle.”
  • Brene Brown: Brene Brown is a professor of social work, researcher on shame, and the author of numerous popular self help books on shame. While not specifically focused on addiction, much of her works overlaps with addiction recovery.  
  • Refuge Recovery: Refuge Recovery is a Buddhist based support network and Alcoholics Anonymous alternative or supplement founded by Noah Levine. Levine also founded Refuge Recovery Treatment Centers, although the two organizations are not officially connected.