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Erin Khar and Other Women Memoirists Are Rewriting the Addiction Canon

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This book explores the subsequent 15 years of her life and breaks down the stigma and stereotypes surrounding addiction. You spread versions of yourself around, giving each person the truth he or she needs—you need, actually—to keep them at one remove. How, then, to reassemble that montage of deceit into a truthful past? He does a formidable job of recreating his scheming addict self in order to better understand the sober self he worked so hard to achieve. Jamison writes about her recovery as well as she does about her addiction. “Sobriety often felt like gripping onto monkey bars with sweaty metallic palms,” she writes, describing how it was to quit drinking again after a relapse. Jamison gets sober almost exactly halfway through the book, and avoids the dull tone that can creep into the “sober sections” of these narratives. “The first day of my second sobriety, I crashed my friend’s car into a concrete wall,” she writes, as if to bang home how wild, mistake-filled, and exciting life without drinking can be. The Recovering’s insistence on the need for a different sort of addiction story is a tad unfair.

best addiction memoirs

Unexplained men and bruises the next morning are only a few of the unremembered experiences Sarah Hepola recalls in this honest, raw, poignant memoir. Finding that her creativity didn’t come from a bottle, she gets sober and finds a life she didn’t know she wanted. 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. More than just a memoir, this book is about the societal traps that lead us to drink, how drinking affects our brains and our bodies, and the psychology and neuroscience behind it all. Eventually, she goes through a series of 9-to-5 jobs that end with her living behind a Dumpster due to a descent into crack cocaine use. But in this gripping memoir, she turns it all around with the help of a family of eccentric fellow substance users and friends or strangers who come to her aid. Cupcake survives thanks to a furious wit and an unyielding determination and you’ll want to read her inspiring tale. Takes a deep dive into the history of the recovery movement while also examining how race and class impact our understanding of who is a criminal and who is simply ill. By day, she’s a successful editor, but by night she’s a party girl who can’t sleep.

Beautiful Boy by David Sheff

It takes guts to admit that you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol . These twenty-six authors have shown incredible bravery and resilience in sharing their most painful experiences and deepest vulnerabilities in public as they recount their roads to recovery. When I stopped drinking alcohol, I was desperate to know the stories of other people who’d also taken this road less traveled. During the most unsettling time of my life, I craved all the messy, tragic, complex, wonderful stories that could show me what was on the other side. Nobody in my real life could meet that need, so I turned—as I always do when I need comfort, encouragement, or inspiration—to books. 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. Her first memoir is an inside look at her famous parents’ marriage and her own tumultuous love affairs (including her on-again, off-again relationship with Paul Simon). Most notably, it’s a brutally honest — and hilarious — reflection on the late writer’s path to sobriety. The Recovering spends chapters grappling with the value of these stories, in the repetition itself, and the community they build in sobriety. Jamison writes about the utility of stories in recovery, “Your story is only useful because others have lived it and will live it again.” I have a reflexive resistance to stories as service.

What are addiction memoirs?

In an era of opioid addiction, wellness obsession and internet oversharing, stories of substance abuse are back. As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share.

In this audiobook, Rodriguez recalls his final days in prison as a teenager and his struggle with heroin addiction and alcohol. But just as he begins to see a light at the end of the tunnel for his own fight against addiction and criminal life, Rodriguez realizes that he must now fight to make sure his son doesn’t follow down the same path. If you struggle with alcoholism or think you might have issues with alcohol, Annie Grace’s This Naked Mind is a practical listen to help you reconsider what drinking does for you and understand what recovery can mean. Using psychological, sociological, and neurological research into the nature of alcohol use, this listen will open your eyes to how our society positively frames alcohol use and encourages alcoholism. And while this audiobook is filled with scientific facts, Grace’s personal journey of alcoholism and recovery truly drives the point home. The author narrates her work in a way that’s encouraging without being over enthusiastic or pushy. You can have freedom from alcohol, and This Naked Mind wants to help you get there. We think as we’re getting sober, in spite of the fact that by the time we quit drinking, we’re not typically leading very glamorous lives.


The young girl ended up in the foster care system, where she was physically and sexually abused. She soon became involved in alcohol and drugs and was being sexually exploited in order to get money to survive. Allen’s powerful, uplifting tale was first published in 1978, and while the slang may belong to another era, the message is timeless. The road to recovery is different for everyone, but with a little courage and faith , it’s possible for many of us to walk it. In his first novel, Burroughs gives a vivid, semi-autobiographical account of heroin addiction in the early 1950s. I’ve wanted her to get sober for a long time, but the reasons have been a slow slide down the hierarchy of needs. I’ve always wanted her to be the person she is, to travel and explore and learn new things. I want her to feel good about herself at her core, to believe all of the wonderful things people constantly tell me about her. I want her to be secure financially and to know that she will always have what she needs to live. A memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant, laugh-out-loud humor,Blackoutis the story of a woman stumbling into a new kind of adventure — the sober life she never wanted.

best addiction memoirs

When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. The information on this website is not intended to be a substitute for, or to be relied upon as, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified health provider with questions regarding a medical condition. As a child, Helaina Hovitz was a very close witness to the attack to the World Trade Center on 9/11. These events leave her with a serious case of PTSD that in turn throw her into despair and later lands her into addiction.

Jowita Bydlowska could not have expected things to go this way. She had already beat alcohol in the past, but there was nothing wrong with celebrating the birth of her child with some champagne, right? That celebration threw her once again best addiction memoirs into the depths of alcoholism. In this book, she narrates the year in which she went from a cancer diagnosis to her happiest and best self. Her journey covers sobriety, beating cancer, and building a richer life than she’d ever imagined.

A story with a message seems didactic or self-righteous, moralizing like the author knows best. But that resistance ignores the history of human communication, that we told stories because we learned a way to survive and we didn’t know that it was the right or wrong way but it was a way. In the tradition ofBlackoutandPermanent Sober House Midnight, a darkly funny and revealing debut memoir of one woman’s twenty-year battle with sex, drugs, and alcohol addiction, and what happens when she finally emerges on the other side. Author Maia Szalavitz shows us, through her own history, how the current disease model of addiction is not accurate.

Many parents of addicts can relate to the father in this memoir. Take our short alcohol quiz to learn where you fall on the drinking spectrum and if you might benefit from quitting or cutting back on alcohol. All in all, this is an excellent quit lit story for those interested in an eye-opening perspective on alcohol’s role in our society today. Quit Like a Woman is a sobriety book that delves into the toxic culture of alcohol in society—and specifically, its impact on women. In the book, Holly Whitaker speaks on the irony of a world that glorifies alcohol yet looks down on people who get sick from using it. Alcohol Explained is a spectacularly helpful guide on alcohol and alcoholism.

  • Dr. Hart takes many preconceived notions about drugs and the U.S drug war and turns them on their head, analyzing them through scientific and then social lenses.
  • It tells the story of her addiction and eventual recovery in San Diego, California.
  • This addiction recovery book is also helpful for family and friends looking to support a loved one as they recover.
  • So here’s a list of my all-time favorite reads about substance use disorders.

The paperback will be coming out in January 2021 everywhere books are sold, (but preferably from your local, independent bookshop!). Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional. In one scene in the book, Brown describes losing her apartment and going on a four-day crack binge. Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be more to learn about the high-profile defamation trial, more than 6,000 pages of court docs were released over the weekend.

Beautiful Boy would also be a great read for people in recovery, as it could help them gain insight into what their loved ones experienced during their active addiction and recovery. The book does have the potential to bring up feelings of guilt for people in recovery as they begin to realize what their loved ones went through as a result of their addictions. Therefore, people in recovery who read this book may want to discuss their reactions with their therapist. The reader is supposed to be frustrated with me,” Barnett said. “I put my subjective feelings at the forefront of the story.” Like Barnett, Khar takes readers on a sometimes exasperating journey full of relapses in Strung Out, which chronicles the 15 years she spent fighting an addiction to heroin. Though Khar’s story takes place before the current opioid crisis, she was still a well-off, white-passing girl who struggled in isolation because no one suspected she was addicted to heroin.

Since we care about all kinds of recovery, we wanted to emphasize that drugs and alcohol are not the only ways that women suffer and not everyone recovers through a 12-Step program. And while memoirs centered around alcohol addiction are prevalent on this list, there are plenty of others to choose from, too. I started reading addiction memoirs in college, well before I admitted to having an alcohol use disorder. Why else would I have been mesmerized by When a Man Loves a Woman or 28 Days in my early 20s? These movies and books let me know I was not alone, that there were other people walking around who drank like I did. Admittedly, there are a lot of lists there about the best recovery memoirs, which is why ours is a little different.

What does 90 days sober feel like?

That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.” Or, you are going to be restless, irritable, and discontent, which means you will feel miserable and squirrelly in your mind.

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