Beattie was a struggling single parent of two children and freelance author and journalist cranking out stories for a small-town daily newspaper in 1986 when she came up with a book idea. She wanted to write a book about what happens to people when they love someone who is addicted to alcohol and other drugs. Twenty publishers turned down Beattie's book proposal. Hazelden, however, a treatment center and recovery publisher based in Minnesota, saw a need for the book. The publisher understood how families of alcoholics suffer and believed Beattie's book idea would help people. Beattie marched to the welfare department, asked for enough financial help to make it through the three months it would take her to write the book, then locked herself in a basement office and cranked out Codependent No More. Codependent No More has now sold over 4 million copies. Beattie has since written nine more books, five for major publishing houses. She relocated from Minnesota to California, and she has long-since paid back the welfare department. Beattie has appeared in the pages of Newsweek and People and has been a regular guest on Geraldo and Oprah.