Recovery Bookshelf: The Language of Letting Go

Reviewed by Susan Raphael

My favourite recovery book hands down is, “The Language of Letting Go”, by Melody Beattie. When I bought this book in 1999, it was in the self-help section at the local book store. It is now in the inspirational genre and is available everywhere. It has stood the test of time on my bookshelf.

There are so many things I love about this book. Melody herself has a very heart-warming recovery story, so that has a definite appeal as she integrates her experience in this unique and very practical daily mediation book.

Melody’s readings focus on codependency, self-esteem and acceptance. These daily reflections encompass thoughts and feelings common to people in recovery. They encourage problem solving, self-awareness and offer support around intimacy, attachment and relationships. This book delivers what the title offers. It gives realistic and everyday language for setting boundaries and healthy limits with people and real world situations.

Beattie became a success by sheer determination. She was a struggling single parent of two children, a freelance author, and journalist at the time in 1986. She wanted to write a book about what happens to people when they love someone who is addicted. Twenty publishers turned down Beattie’s book proposal. “It’s a good idea, but we don’t think there’s that many codependents out there,” they wrote back. Hazelden, the Granddaddy of 12-Step treatment centres, saw a need for the book. Beattie, struggling financially, marched to the welfare department, asked for enough financial help to make it through the three months then locked herself in an office and cranked out her first book,“Codependent No More”, which has now sold 3.5 million copies.

But what sets “The Language of Letting Go” apart from other recovery books is the workable index in the back. Accordingly, if you are looking for a particular topic, such as “fear” or “acceptance”, you can just look that up in the index and it provides the readings for that topic. I find this feature very useful.

As an addiction and mental health counsellor myself, I recommend this book all the time to family members of people in recovery as well as those recovering from addiction and people in long-term recovery. Beattie’s wisdom and pragmatism is ageless as far as I’m concerned and “The Language of Letting Go”, is always within reach at my home and office.

“The Language of Letting Go” by Melody Beattie. Available at

Susan Raphael – International Certified Co-occurring Disorders Professional (ICCDP) |  International Certified Alcohol & Drug Counsellor (ICADC)|

About the Authors

Renascent Alumni
Members of Renascent's alumni community carry the message by sharing their experiences and perspectives on addiction and recovery. To contribute your alumni perspective, please email