My 10 Favorite Addiction Recovery Memoirs

“The Recovering” works like an AA meeting where people are sharing their stories in the hopes that others will identify with them. Sheff offers no simple suggestions for staying sober. Instead, he portrays the complexity and difficulty of the real world. It just goes to highlight the one-day-at-a-time nature of any recovery. It’s the kind of friendship that’s easy to make in elementary school when you’re six or seven … “And the amazing part is,” Hayden has said “we’re not drunk in a bar.” This is true. It is possible to make close, instant friendships while sitting at a bar drinking. But these friendships tend to evaporate at four in the morning when the bar closes, or the next morning when you find yourself sleeping in the same bed.

This is one of the first books I read about addiction ever, before I realized I had a problem. He comes from the book publishing world and, again, was someone who was successful and smart, but in active addiction. He lost trust of people around him and in his field, but through sobriety he has been able to regain that trust and help many people along the way. Terry achieved long-term sobriety at one time, and she helped many women. It made me realize the pain I would have brought to my parents if they had lost me. King is a writer, lawyer and NPR contributor whose memoir chronicles her decades-long downward spiral into alcoholism, from her small New England hometown to seedy restaurants where she waitressed and cockroach-ridden lofts where she lived. Eventually saved by her family, King writes with equal parts sensitivity and humor about redemption and compassion for others.

God And Starbucks: An Nba Superstars Journey Through Addiction And Recovery By Vin Baker

I found this book uncomfortable at times and very funny at other times. It is the real deal and Cat is a talented writer, but most of all a survivor. alcohol recovery books I very much related to her always feeling “less than” in normal life, and only becoming confident and alive once she poured alcohol down her throat.

alcoholic memoirs

But seriously,an honest and interesting look at the man’s life through his varied experiences with alcohol. All of this is written in quaint early 20th century American English reminiscent of Upton Sinclair or Frank Norris. I did not expect to enjoy this fairly short book as much as I did.

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Looking at the little ball of packed white powder, I can’t help but laugh … I know what hard drugs have done to my life … they’ve basically destroyed everything I’ve ever had … Obviously, I should flush the shit right now … I set up a line. For Caroline Knapp, like many addicts, her relationship to alcohol had many of the traits of an abusive friendship or romantic relationship. Knapp and alcohol were meant to be together; she had found the answer to all her problems. As bliss transformed into dependence and finally addiction, Knapp found herself vowing never to go back to drinking, the source of so much of her pain. The novel’s themes include masculinity and male friendship. London discusses various life experiences he has had with alcohol, and at widely different stages in his life.

In Blackout, Sarah clearly explains why there’s nothing benign about it and describes what is actually happening to the brain when we reach that point of alcohol-induced amnesia. I love her perspective on drinking as an act of counter-feminism—that in reality it actually dismantles our power, our pride, and our dignity as women, though we intended the opposite. Alcohol abuse, particularly binge drinking, has increased significantly in women in recent years.

In his follow-up to his first memoir, Tweak, which dealt with his journey into meth addiction, Sheff details his struggle to stay clean. In and out of rehab, he falls into relapse, engaging in toxic relationships and other self-destructive behaviors that threaten to undo the hard-won progress he’s made. Based on Fisher’s hugely successful one-woman show, Wishful Drinking is the story of growing up in Hollywood royalty, battling addiction, and dealing with manic depression.

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  • Out he goes with the intention of washing ashore in a few days’ time bloated and dead.
  • In a moving, passionate memoir, former Senator George McGovern recalls the events leading up to his daughter Terry’s death as a result of alcoholism.
  • A timeless work because, unfortunately, it is impossible to make a drug, once so profusely buried in the cultural and social life of a people, disappear.
  • Later when he is sailing about the pacific and doing several jobs at once he finds alcohol necessary to stem the doubt and fear in his mind that he might lose friends, family, and himself to tropical disease and storms.

As an entirely too angsty young person, I read this right before my 21st birthday. I have known alcoholics and have heard their stories but there is no comparison between hearing their accounts and vicariously living through London’s writing. I recommend this book to those who love adventurers, fans of Jack Kerouac, lovers of the good life & people entangled with alcohol. A legacy of a long-life, well-lived & full of thought. Reading Jack London will exercise your vocabulary, as surely as titubating exercises the calves.

Best 20 Books About Addiction Recovery To Read In 2020

He was also an innovator in the genre that would later become known as science fiction. Jack London provides in this story a wondrous argument simultaneously for and against the use of alcohol. And, while adamantly denouncing its unpleasant taste and nauseous effects, he frankly concedes its intrinsic value, and how its practice in social interactions saw him benefit. While sustaining long periods of abstinence, he also demonstrated a reputation for tolerance and endurance that would leave rivals literally under the table. For it was John Barleycorn that he bargained with, benefited from, and ultimately, became indebted to. There is little record of tramping, despite having made his own way quite often.

alcoholic memoirs

Highsmith manages to humanely portray a murdering, rich, hapless drunk so that near the end, one inevitably feels more complicated and ravaged by both Highsmith and Bruno’s trickery. This is based on the life story of one of my ex-patients. He died of alcohol poisoning two days after his last medical appointment.

To make things even more interesting, Fisher grew up with the world watching while she battled manic depression, addiction, and visited all sorts of mental institutions as a result. This book is beautiful, compelling, and a riveting retelling of Jackson’s life as well as those of his male relatives who have gone through similar journeys. This is a darkly comic book about the slow road through recovery, really growing up, and being someone that gets back up after screwing up. Engaging, readable, and honest, this book is like getting a hug from your best sober buddy. In one scene in the book, Brown describes losing her apartment and going on a four-day crack binge. “When men are in a blackout, they do things to the world. When women are in a blackout, things are done to them,” Hepola writes.

alcoholic memoirs

John Barleycorn is as real a character as any of the other personalities presented in this tale. Alcohol He provides arguments, and he has an ideology, and he has the dialogue of the “white logic”.

Her discussion of having a partner who drinks adds another layer of complexity and interest. Dharma Punx takes the reader on Levine’s journey from an addicted punk rock kid to sober Buddhist meditation teacher. For Levine, Buddhism becomes as bound up in his recovery as the punk scene was in his active addiction. This book could be illuminating for anyone seeking to incorporate Buddhist practice and meditation into their own life.

Although both men and women struggle with substance abuse, the issues that influence a woman’s descent into addiction and journey to sobriety are unique. These memoirs by female writers may strike a cord with women in treatment or help their loved ones better understand the experience of a female substance abuser. It’s a relief that the author revealed and explained the primary factor that propelled his desire for alcoholic drinks- accessibility. As for me, I drink to neutralize aftertastes from strongly-flavored recipes and queer-tasting preserved foods. I thought I know everything about drinkers, but I was so wrong. London detailed the spiraling of alcoholic desire in a way that spurred my interest to read on, when drunkard books are not really among my preferred books.

There are also the self-help books, the AA manuals, the well-meaning but often dry tomes to help one acquire clarity and consistency in a life where addiction often creates chaos and disorder. I read this book before I became a parent and was floored, but have thought about it even more since.

Occasionally reminiscent of Sylvia Plath, Karr’s writing style is simultaneously unsentimental and moving. The Esteemed and late New York Times columnist David Carr turned his journalistic eye on his own life in this memoir, investigating his own past as a cocaine addict and sifting through muddied memories to discover the truth. The story follows Carr’s unbelievable arc through addiction, recovery, cancer, Alcohol detoxification and life as a single parent to come to an understanding of what those dark years meant. The acclaimed author of Prozac Nation goes from depression to addiction with this equally devastating personal account. Wurtzel reveals how drugs fueled her post-breakout period, describing with unbearable specificity how her doctor’s prescription of Ritalin, intended to help her function, only brought her down.

Posted by: Alissa Palladino