Advice for Living Sober in Chicago | Stairway to Freedom

Recommended Books on Addiction and Recovery (2019)

Recommended Books on Addiction and Recovery

Recovering from addiction is a process. There’s so much to learn, whether it’s about yourself or ways to help you recover and create healthy habits to make sure you don’t fall off the wagon again. And once you get your life back on track, the journey is not over. You’ve won half the battle and now you must maintain the life practices and habits to win the war. Here are five recommended books about addiction and recovery that can help educate and inspire.

1) A Million Little Pieces, James Frey

This semi-fictional book has the accolades and notoriety, having sold over 2 million copies and was selected in the prestigious Oprah’s Book Club in 2005. The story is told through the eyes of James Frey, a 23 year-old drug abuser and alcoholic who gives us a glimpse of his journey to recovery as he recalls his days at a rehab clinic. This book doesn’t come without controversy. After an appearance on the Oprah Show, it was revealed through journalistic investigation that the originally marketed memoir contained false claims and stretched truths. Despite the accusations, the book has an inspiring narrative that anyone can enjoy and apply to their own life.

2) My Fair Junkie: A Memoir of Getting Dirty and Staying Clean, by Amy Dresner

If you’re looking for a good laugh just as much as you’re looking for a good story, this is the book for you. Amy takes us through her sex, alcohol and drug addictions through hilarious anecdotes and is as honest and raw as it gets. Dresner herself is a stand-up comedian and a columnist for, an outlet we mentioned in our previous blog.

3) The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, Bessel Van Der Kolk M.D.

Traditionally, addiction treatment has focused on the healing of the mind and spirit. In this book, Dr. Van Der Beek explores the physical aspects of recovery, focusing on scientific evidence to explore how trauma affects the drug and alcohol use has on the body and brain. He also dives into a number of physical exercises that can help rejuvenate the brain’s neuroplasticity. This book is recommended for people looking for a fresh perspective on recovery.

4) The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath, Leslie Jamison

This is a popular memoir amongst recovering addicts and is regarded as a must-read within the sober community. The Author of multiple New York Times Best Sellers, Leslie Jamison takes us through a time in her personal life where she was dealing with addiction recovery. Legendary author Stephen King descirbed the book as, “An honest and important book . . . Vivid writing and required reading.”

5) Recover to Live: Kick Any Habit, Manage Any Addiction: Your Self-Treatment Guide to Alcohol, Drugs, Eating Disorders, Gambling, Hoarding, Smoking, Sex and Porn, Christopher Kennedy Lawford

If you’re looking for a book with a ton of professional advice from credible sources, look no farther than this book. Lawford brings in over 100 addiction experts who specialize in everything from alcohol and drugs to gambling and sex. He’s spent over 25 years in the recovery field and has a strong desire to help anyone looking to recover from addiction. It is known for being one of the most comprehensive books on recovery and addiction to date.

Whether it’s your own life or a loved ones, learning about addiction and recovery can help speed up and/or maintain the process. The first hand stories above by recovering addicts and scientists passionate about the subject can hopefully inspire and educate for generations to come.

Ready to start your recovery?

These recommended books on addiction and recovery are only the beginning of your journey to a healthier, happier you. Schedule a consultation and tour of Stairway to Freedom Sober Living in Chicago now.

Top Sober Living Resources (2019)

The first step on the path to recovering from addiction is becoming self-aware. Whether it’s for your family or yourself, it is critical to know there are issues that need to be resolved.

It’s important to have that moment where a person shifts their mentality from being in denial of the problem at hand to being open to making a full-hearted effort in making a change and get back on the right track.

Sometimes, people don’t have access to certain resources or don’t know where to turn to when they begin the road to recovery. Below, you’ll find a nice introduction to a few blogs and living resources that can help provide words of encouragement, a vocal outlet, sober living tips and/or other things that can help someone recover from an addiction.

Resources for Sober Living (2019 Edition)

Sober Living Resources


1) Getting sober and sober living Reddit page

This reddit page has almost 5,000 subscribers and provides a safe, ego-free way to have an open discussion on just about anything that deals with sobriety, from the beginning stage of realizing you need help, to relapse, to full-blown recovery and significant sobriety milestones. The page is extremely positive and negative comments or posts get taken down by moderators. People who post positive things about where they are at with their sobriety will be championed by the reddit community and gives you that emotional support beyond friends and family. If you ever need inspiration or talk about something that’s been on your chest for a while, this page is the one for you.

2) Tempest Sobriety School

A former addict herself, Holly Glen Whitaker founded Tempest Sobriety School, formally known as Hip Sobriety, in 2012 to help provide help seekers with, “resources, tools, education, roadmaps, and inspiration that helped me navigate my own recovery.” Content includes every type of 21st century medium such as blogs, newsletters, podcasts and even digital courses that help with addiction.

3) The Fix

With over 16,000 followers on Twitter and 127,000 like on Facebook, the Los Angeles-based The Fix is one of the most popular sober living resources on social media. This outlet covers an array of sober living and lifestyle resources using traditional journalism such as breaking news, investigative reporting and exclusive interviews. The outlet also has an open forum that allows free discussion on just about any form of addiction. The Fix reviews rehab centers in case you were wondering what the best facility might be for you and your addiction.

4) Memoirs of an Addicted Brain

If you’re looking for a blog or resource that dives into psychological and physical nuances, this blog is for you. Marc Lewis, the founder of Memoirs of an Addicted Brain, is a neuroscientist, author and retired professor of developmental psychology. His 2011 book, “Memoirs of an Addicted Brain,” is a story about his personal addiction to alcohol and drugs ranging from amphetamines to psychedelics, and offers professional analysis and advice through a study of his own self. The site also offers his printed articles as well as psychotherapy for people looking to kick their habit, which includes a free consultation.

The internet can be full of dark places and host a web of misinformation that can spread like wildfire. Knowing what to information to absorb and what to ignore is an underrated skill one must have when surfing the internet. You don’t have to go through the recovery process alone, there’s plenty of people just like you, on the road to recovery, looking for resources to help them live a better life. Finding the right resources is a good start.

Start on your personal road to recovery – request a consultation at one of our Chicago sober living facilities today.

Opioid Abuse: Deadly Statistics To Know

Statistics on Opioid Abuse

While some research reports indicate that the opioid crisis is beginning to level off, for millions the opiod problem is only getting wrose and the impact will undoubtedly be felt for generations.

Now is the time, however, to turn around and ascend the stairway to freedom, unshackling yourself or your loved ones from the chains of this devastating epidemic.

The more that everyone knows about opioid abuse and opioid addiction (and the steps to opioid recovery) the easier it will be to change course. Consider the following statistics on opioid abuse and the devastating impact it has already had on our communities.

  • The probability of dying from opioids has surpassed the likelihood of being killed in a car crash (National Safety Council).
  • Opioids contributed to the overwhelming majority – 69 percent – of fatal drug overdoses in 2016, totalling 37,814 deaths, according to the NSC.
  • In 2017, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and illegal opioids like heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl) was 6 times higher than in 1999. (Annual Review of Public Health)
  • On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose (National Center of Health Statistics)
  • In 2016, health care providers across the US wrote more than 214 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication—a rate of 66.5 prescriptions per 100 people.
  • The CDC estimates the total economic burden of prescription opioid misuse in the US is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of health care, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.
  • The U.S. could have 81,700 opioid overdose deaths per year by 2025

These are scary numbers but there are steps that we can all take to minimize and prevent these problems from getting worse. Improving access to prevention, treatment, and recovery support services is the best way prevent the many health, social, and economic ills that are caused by opioid addiction and enable individuals to start out on the road to long-term recovery.

Advancing the practice of pain management to enable access to high-quality, evidence-based pain care that reduces the burden of pain for individuals, families, and society while also reducing the inappropriate use of opioids and opioid-related harms.

For those struggling now with opioid addiction, the best course of action is to review the steps to recovery and join a sober living community in Chicago that is committed to your success. Learn more about sober living at Stairway to Freedom and get started today on the road to recovery.


Mindfulness Meditation and Addiction Recovery

Meditation in Addiction Recovery

Addiction comes in many forms and the effects it can have on physical and mental health can be substantial. Fortunately, there are some practices that those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction can engage in to dramatically improve their chances of recovery.

Most people abuse drugs and alcohol because they believe it provides a “distraction”. It is one of the few things that addicts routinely claim offers them any true comfort. Relief from the irritations and agitations experienced in a normal daily life. Addicts in essence want to “fill the void”, the hollowness that is so incredibly common in modern society – that overwhelming sense that things are just ever so slightly out of reach.

Drugs and alcohol, however mistakenly, are essentially seen and used as solutions to the problem of this inner angst. Regardless of the substance you or a loved one are struggling with, there are better options available that can be used to improve mental and physical health and someone’s station in life – and it has been used for millennia as a way to feel more connected with ourselves and our place within the universe; it’s called meditation.

Any mention of meditation, of course, often conjures up images of yogis sitting with crossed legs on a mountain top. There are actually many ways to meditate – transcendental meditation, breath awareness meditation, progressive relaxation, and the type that has captured the attention of health and wellness experts the world over recently, mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness meditation is the practice of being fully immersed in what is happening. That means being aware of what you are doing in a particular moment and to your surroundings – and nothing else.

Using mindfulness meditation for addiction recovery is a good option because the practice requires people/addicts to be fully present, aware of where they are and what they are doing and not reacting to everything happening outside of their own mind – which can be distracting and lead to situations where less than optimal decisions are made.

Take a look at the benefits of mindfulness meditation and how you can to get started with the practice.

Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation for Addicts

In addition to a generally improved level of health and quality of life, those in recovery that start to meditate also notice reduced anxiety and depression. The better concentration leads to a better ability to cope with typical stresses. With such a strong foundation, it is easy to see how the practice of mindfulness meditation can improve the long-term chances of recovery from addiction.

Mindfulness meditation does have its detractors, of course, primarily because it is seen as trivial, but the benefits of regular meditation are often proven significant and its impact on addiction can be notable.

Meditation for Addiction Recovery

Everyone does mindfulness meditation a little differently. Here are some basics:

+ Designate a certain time of day and the length of time you will meditate.

+ Find a quiet, comfortable place where you will not be disturbed.

+ Sit up straight with your hands laid gently on one another in your lap.

+ Intentionally relax your muscles and take several slow, deep breaths.

+ As you exhale, physically imagine you are dropping your worries like a heavy bag.

+ Focus on your breath; it’s pace, volume, even temperature.

+ Start with a few minutes each day and keep building.

The Secret to Mindfulness Meditation

As your mind and body have begun to relax, the next step is to bring your attention back to your thoughts and feelings. Everything – from the memories and images in your mind to the wishes and life plans is critical to address. That might seem counterintuitive to the concept of meditating but mindfulness meditation is not about thinking. Instead, it is about being aware these feelings exist and becoming comfortable with them.

Meditation is not a substitute for a formal recovery plan but it can provide those suffering from addiction greater confidence and peace of mind.

Can meditation really help with addiction?

The reason that mindfulness meditation is so powerful is that it helps those recovering to focus energy on what is important. This includes your relationship with yourself, a sense of connection with others and the world around us.

Substance abuse is a serious issue but those suffering from addiction have options. While mindfulness meditation is effective, recovering addicts should consider the services of a halfway home, which is where Stairway to Freedom Sober Living can help. Located in the Chicago area, our sober living community is an alternative to a traditional halfway home and offers the support and structure that you or your loved one needs for long-term recovery.

Learn more about our sober living facilities in Chicago and get started on the road to recovery.


Read more about addiction recovery and sober living from Stairway to Freedom:


Start Your Journey to Sobriety Today

Get back the life you deserve and take the first step

Start Your Free Consultation