The Best Addiction Memoirs Five Books Expert Recommendations

No matter where you are on your journey to recovery, it helps to have stories from peer groups who understand what you are going through. This is also helpful for friends and family members as they support you through the recovery process. Admitting you have a problem — not to mention actually getting sober — is no small feat. There’s no award for “Most Sobriety Memoirs Read,” so read them for yourself — let their wisdom be its own award (I can feel your eye rolls. I’m sorry.).

best alcoholic memoirs

If you struggle with anything related to body image, you won’t regret this read. This book may also help you see sobriety as a gift you’re giving to your body. I had to read this book in small doses because it was so intense. Through reading this book I came to better understand myself, my body’s physical best alcoholic memoirs reactions, and my mental health. It’s a tough book to read due to the descriptions of horrific traumas people have experienced, however it’s inspirational in its message of hope. Van der Kolk describes our inner resilience to manage the worst of life’s circumstances with our innate survival instinct.

Beautiful Boy by David Sheff

The Glass Castle is simultaneously beautiful and infuriating, and one of the more well-known and most influential memoirs of the last few decades. If I have any faith now, it’s in literature’s ability to help us redeem even life’s darkest realities by bringing them into the light. But Ditlevsen’s single conventional moment also, I think, underlines her originality. The result was a tale whose bracing darkness is ultimately redeemed not by its perfunctorily hopeful ending but by the extraordinary force and beauty of its telling. Second, they contain sections describing the lurid drama and dreadful effects of addiction in unsparing detail. Unvarnished accounts of the havoc and disaster of addiction, whether played for farce or pathos, are as reliably found in the most artistically ambitious addiction memoirs as in the least.

Val, a young lesbian mom, is ashamed of her position and desperate for professional growth. There are vital historical texts, like The Diary of Anne Frank, or Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father, that are almost memoir but not quite — the pieces of a diary and the stories of someone else, respectively. The American South is often cast as a backwater cousin out of step with American ideals. In this vital cultural history, Perry argues otherwise, insisting the South is, in fact, the foundational heartland of America, an undeniable fulcrum around which our wealth and politics have always turned. Fusing memoir, reportage, and travelogue, Perry imparts Southern history alongside high-spirited interviews with modern-day Southerners from all walks of life. At once a love letter to “a land of big dreams and bigger lies” and a clarion call for change, South to America will change how you understand America’s past, present, and future.

Gripping Books About Alcoholism and Recovery

A titan of science fiction masters a new form in this winsome love letter to California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range. When Hsu arrived at Berkeley in the 1990s, a rebellious undergrad obsessed with creating zines and developing “a worldview defined by music,” he made an unexpected friend. It all came crashing down when Ken was murdered in a carjacking, sending Hsu into a decades-long spiral of grief and guilt. Ever since, Hsu has been trying to write Stay True, a wrenching memoir about who Ken was and what Ken taught him. At once a love letter, a coming-of-age tale, and an elegy, it’s one of the best books about friendship ever written. Annie’s book is so important (and she’s a wonderful human to boot).

best alcoholic memoirs

He also offers step-by-step instructions for starting recovery and sticking with it. Cupcake Brown was 11 when she was orphaned and placed into foster care. She grew up with a tragic journey, running away and becoming exposed to alcohol, drugs, and sex at a young age, and leaning on those vices to get by. A Piece of Cake is her gripping tale of crashing down to the bottom and crawling back to the top. But, growing up with an alcoholic mother, my most common mode of escape as a child was in fiction.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Lewis provides a description of life in recovery that I relate to myself; that sober life is not a life of deprivation, but one of fulfillment, continued growth, and personal development. A 1996 bestseller, Caroline Knapp paints a vivid picture of substance use and recovery that every reader can appreciate, whether you struggle with substance use or not. Knapp writes elegantly about her 20+ years of ‘high-functioning drinking’.

  • A year and a half before Schulz’s father dies, she meets the woman who would become her wife.
  • She went on to drink her way through four years at an Ivy League college and an award-winning career as an editor and columnist.
  • A 1996 bestseller, Caroline Knapp paints a vivid picture of substance use and recovery that every reader can appreciate, whether you struggle with substance use or not.
  • It’s a deep meditation on something like growing up poor, or having a debilitating mental illness, or living in a racist America.
  • While only a few years old, Know My Name is without a doubt one of the most iconic and influential memoirs on this list.
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