The 9 Most Moving Memoirs About Addiction

Once a child soldier in a war-torn country, Ishmael Beah shares his haunting first-person account of being picked up by a government army and trained to be a killer at just 13 years old, and how he eventually escaped that hell. Sarah M. Broom recounts growing up in “the Yellow House,” a single-story that was destroyed when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. Bahni Turpin narrates this gorgeously rendered tribute to home and family. Don’t come at me for not including your favorite memoir; this is a list of the most influential, not the best, and honestly, I had to cut so many of my own favorites from this list.

  • I recently came to terms with my own problematic relationship with alcohol, and my one solace has been in books.
  • Azar Nafisi brought seven of her female students into her home every week to read forbidden Western classics.
  • One hint that the author and protagonist of A Fan’s Notes (1968) are really the same person is that they are both called Frederick Exley.
  • It is the first of Orwell’s published works and set the tone for his dystopian literary classics — and high school required reading — Animal Farm and 1984.
  • Gilbert helps us understand the noisy voice in our head, which can often be our greatest critic.
  • She’s focusing on her schoolwork and is on track to finish high school at the top of her class.

I’ve dug into memoir after memoir, tiptoed into the hard science books, and enjoyed the fiction from afar. The following are a smattering of the books about alcoholism I’ve found meaningful. Irish novelist Maggie O’Farrell tells her incredible life best alcoholic memoirs story through the lens of many near-death experiences, leaving the listener remarkably aware of what it means to be alive. Tove Ditlevsen’s memoir in three parts—aptly titled Childhood, Youth, and Dependency—is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

In addition to authoring two books (her second comes out March 2023), McKowen hosts the Tell Me Something True podcast. It’s a witty, straightforward tale of the shenanigans, shame, and confusion that occurs in the morning-afters. Sarah also explores how alcohol affected her relationships with her friends, family, and even her cat. 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. Jerry Stahl was a writer with significant and successful screenwriting credits — Dr. Caligari, Twin Peaks, Moonlighting, and more.

In this extraordinarily candid and revealing memoir, Knapp offers important insights not only about alcoholism, but about life itself and how we learn to cope with it.It was love at first sight. Sometimes the best way to understand mental illness or addiction is through the eyes of someone who lived it. When she was drunk, writer and editor Hepola was a creative force. But she was also reckless, often finding herself soberly apologizing for things she didn’t remember doing, waking up next to men she didn’t remember meeting and caring for bruises she didn’t remember getting. Subtitled “Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget,” Hepola’s debut memoir is a vulnerable story about refocusing her attention from finding her next drink to learning how to love herself without liquid enhancements.

Night by Elie Wiesel

This is one of the most compelling books on recovery and humanity ever written. Dr. Maté shares the powerful insight that substance use is, in many cases, a survival mechanism. When something awful happens to us, our way to cope is to turn off and even turn against ourselves, as a method of resilience. The book discusses drug policies, substance use treatment, and the root causes of substance use. More than anything, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts provides a voice of kind generosity and understanding to anyone who is looking to learn more for themselves or a loved one. This is one of the best memoirs on alcohol recovery in my opinion.

best memoirs about alcoholism

White thoughtfully explores boundaries, emotional regulation, body image, shame, and self-care in a way that’s actionable and accessible. The book is short, easy to read, and will leave you with some immediate tools for addressing social situations, sex, and friendship while navigating an alcohol-free lifestyle. Written by a cognitive neuroscientist with former substance use struggles, Marc Lewis emphasizes the habitual reward loop in the brain that can cause a substance use disorder to develop. This book also examines the brain’s ability to create new neural pathways and lose the desire to use substances. 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.

Get Started With Medication To Drink Less

It’s raw; it’s honest, and it’s a beautiful story of redemption and recovery. 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. In an era of opioid addiction, wellness obsession and internet oversharing, stories of substance abuse are back. Know My Name by Chanel MillerThis should be compulsory reading in every high school. Miller was long known as Emily Doe, the anonymous victim of a sexual assault at Stanford University and the voice behind a viral victim impact statement that changed the terms of debate around consent, violence and rape.

best memoirs about alcoholism

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