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Addiction Memoirs Are a Genre in Recovery The New York Times

Admittedly, there are a lot of lists out there about the best recovery memoirs, but ours is a little different. We were inspired by the diverse experiences of our own community members. 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. Admittedly, there are a lot of lists there about the best recovery memoirs, which is why ours is a little different. It Calls You Back is Luis Rodriguez’s second memoir, following Always Running. 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. While This Naked Mind shows that you have the tools to reprogram your mind and live a life free from alcohol, Cold Turkey offers practical steps to get you through the first month of recovery.
  • Recounting the progression from an idyllic childhood to a monstrous meth addiction, Amy Dresner explores her recovery journey in this insightful memoir.
  • Meth is a powerful and addictive central nervous system stimulant that can affect your brain’s ability to function and communicate with the rest of your body.
  • Her beloved habit of over-drinking and staying until bars closed, however, meant that her nights and the following mornings were also all about her regular blackouts.
  • With this book she breaks her anonymity, describing the jarring moment of waking into trauma and victimhood, and the onerous emotional and legal battle that followed.
  • A little different than the typical recovery memoir, Coulter tells her story through a series of short, engaging essays that are at times heartbreaking, at others hilarious.
Whether you want to better understand the mindset of addiction or find inspiration in how they got out of it, these memoirs are nothing short of inspiring. With incredible wit and skill, Sacha Scobie manages to tell you both what alcohol used to mean for her and how her sober life is going now. She relied on alcohol, so now that this is no longer an option she has to re-evaluate everything in her life, which leads to some great and very witty observations on her newfound life. This book is a positive tale where she narrates the year in which she went from a cancer diagnosis to her happiest and best self ever. In this journey, she became sober, beat cancer, and finally built a richer life than she could have possibly imagined. It’s a beautifully told story about how alcohol seduced her at fourteen and secretly subjugated her through her university years and most of her award-winning career. For Caroline Knapp, as it is for many, alcohol was the protective friend that allowed her to get through life. Her protector became her lover and this is the memoir of their twenty-years-long destructive relationship.

Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas

I really liked this book because it focuses a lot on her spiritual crisis and how it related to her alcoholism. She is a Christian, as am I, and I often battled in my head with being a Christian and being an alcoholic. Eventually my faith brought me to my knees and I began my journey of sobriety after having a spiritual experience. More than a journey through addiction and recovery from it, this is a tale about how trauma shapes us, and how we can only free ourselves from its hold by facing it.

Does the brain recover from alcohol?

According to a recent article on recovery of behavior and brain function after abstinence from alcohol, individuals in recovery can rest assured that some brain functions will fully recover; but others may require more work.

While the book does end with a fairly typical recovery arc, Night of the Gun is unusual in how directly it deals with the idea of truth coming from one person. Carr’s investigation into his past self also reveals a dark side that is shocking even by the grisly standards of addiction memoirs; he beat women. Erin Khar’s Strung Out is a deeply personal, candid, and vivid description of her 15-year struggle with heroin abuse. Her memoirs tie in the opioid epidemic and what heroin addiction is like for the millions of Americans who struggle with it. She writes about her happy childhood up until she began to experiment with her grandmother’s expired prescription drugs. This experimentation eventually leads her to begin using heroin at the age of 13.

I Swear I’ll Make It Up to You: A Life on the Low Road

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. It is profoundly sad, remarkably tender, and fueled by a sense of love and reverence that only a child knows. Award winning and NYT bestselling author Karr’s memoir follows the self-professed blackbelt sinner’s descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness–and to her astonishing resurrection. Written with Karr’s relentless honesty, unflinching self-scrutiny, and irreverent, lacerating humor, it is a truly electrifying story of how to grow up. I recommend We All Fall Down to anyone in recovery, early or not, so that they understand that relapse is a very real possibility and there are ways of preventing it. We All Fall Down is also a good read for family members and friends of those in recovery, because it can help them identify warning signs that their loved one has relapsed. Jim Carroll’s classic memoir, set in New York City in the mid-1960s, transpires while the author is 12 to 15-years-old. Carroll’s drug of choice is cough syrup with codeine, and when he’s not getting high he’s hustling, playing basketball, and running wild around the city. Eco Sober House Beneath her perfect life and incredible success hides a girl who thought she had cheated her way out of her anxiety and stress via alcohol, only to find that she has surrendered to the powers of this magical liquid. She is the perfect example of a high-functioning alcoholic whose life looks perfect on the outside, even as it crumbles on the inside. She’s just someone who uses alcohol to muster up the courage, and, well, survive life. This is just how it has always been since her introduction to Southern Comfort when she was fourteen. Growing up in the public eye is never an easy thing, but Fisher didn’t just grow up in the spotlight. 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. You’ve probably already heard the name Augusten Burroughs or at least his first memoir , Running with Scissors. But in this memoir, Burroughs recounts his very regular and ordinary life of working in advertising and enjoying a drunken Manhattan life—until his employers force him to attend rehab. He also addresses his experience of feeling out of place in the music industry as a rapper who also practices a Christian faith, feeling excluded at red carpet events due to discussing his faith in his lyrics. But tough love can damage relationships and create long-lasting wounds, all while failing to change the behavior it intends to. Dr. Roy took the time to talk to us about harm reduction, the effectiveness of addiction medications, and the inspiring resilience she sees in her patients. 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. When she looked around she couldn’t help but notice that she was very much not alone. Lush explores the ongoing addiction crisis amongst middle-aged females through Cohen’s lenses in a very relatable style. 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. In 1992, Mishka Shubaly survived a mass shooting at his school, his parents divorced, his father abandoned him, and he swore he would right all the wrongs for his mother.

Can you have a problem with alcohol and not be an alcoholic?

One of the differentiators between problem drinking and alcoholism is the physical dependency. If you can go long periods of time without the need for alcohol, you may not be an alcoholic. However, problem drinking has the capability to turn into alcoholism over time.

The marketing strategies employed to sell booze to women are as alarming as the skyrocketing number of women who qualify as having alcohol use disorders. Ann’s book is such a unique and insightful combination of personal experience and scientific research. A raw, real and well-written account of one freelance journalist’s addiction to the legal and socially acceptable drug, alcohol. Like many, the author’s journey was one of the functioning alcoholic, and many didn’t know she even had a problem. This is the case with so many Americans, and unfortunately, most never hit that bottom that forces them to finally get help. Her account of her alcoholism and her eventual recovery is thorough, moving and delves into other issues including anorexia. Similar to Cherry, Ohio is also a devastating depiction of the aftermath of returning from war and getting swept up by the opioid epidemic and is set in Ohio. Recounting the progression from an idyllic childhood to a monstrous meth addiction, Amy Dresner explores her recovery journey in this insightful memoir. Although the details of our addiction and recovery stories may be different, the core of our experiences is often the same. Identifying with others who have been through the hell of addiction and made it to the other side can provide a cathartic sense of relief, providing both hope and the opportunity to feel seen and perhaps a little less alone. Recommended by James BrownFrom James’s list onthe best books on addiction and recovery from someone who has been there. 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, and life as a single parent to come to an understanding of what those dark years meant. From moving memoirs to self-help guides, these are some of the best listens on addiction and recovery we’ve found. Compelling, raw, and painfully self-aware, In the Open describes an existence most people can barely imagine.
Like Annie Grace, Mishka Shubaly uses his own messy history with alcoholism and recovery to show just how difficult the road to recovery can be. The author argues that “one-size-fits-all” plans, like 12-step programs, do not set you up for success. Rather, to become truly free from addiction, he recommends finding a way to define sobriety in your own terms. Shubaly narrates his work exclusively for Audible, and his reading feels like a good friend telling you a story and offering advice. 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. The passages about scoring and using drugs in the novels are as harrowing as in any memoir, and Melrose’s many attempts to clean himself up are moving and frustrating in equal parts. 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. This new book argues that a life without alcohol can still be glittering and unpredictable, decadent, messy and thrilling, that it is still possible to be “dirty and wild”, to “trip out on life” and to fall in love without booze as fuel. The reminder that sober life need not be ascetic or dull is welcome to seasoned veterans of recovery and newcomers alike, but I think the blueprint here for an abundant life of pleasure could be useful for anyone. One of the best addiction memoirs is Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking.
Wurtzel sadly passed away at the age of 52 in January of 2020. Her confessional style of writing has left an indelible mark that remains influential today. Author Erica Garza grew up in a strict Mexican household in East Los Angeles. She writes with evocative prose about the anxiety that fueled her addiction best memoirs about addiction to masturbation as a young girl, and eventually, her sex and pornography addiction as an adult. Through failed relationships, serial hook-ups, blackouts, and all of the shame that comes with these experiences, Garza writes a riveting memoir narrating a journey of exploration as she seeks therapy.
…if you have anything you can send to help these young/older women, believe me anything is appreciated. A darkly comic, honest, and completely relatable inside look at high-functioning addiction in the world of corporate law-a sort of ‘Sex and the Psych Ward.’ It’s inspiring, informative, and impossible to put down. Immediate New York Times bestseller and released to high praise, Journalist Beth Macy focuses on central Appalachia as the heart of crisis and widens the scope from there to show how individuals and communities are affected. Through talking to opioid users, family members, dealers, doctors, judges, activists, emergency responders, and law enforcement, we get a much larger picture of the causes and effects. Some of the closest friendships are forged in the crucible of hard partying. This lyrical, dark, biting novel is about one of those friendships, between Tyler and Laura, roommates and codependent hot messes. They wonder throughout whether they’re overdoing it … and order another round anyway. When the cycle of druggy nights and hardcore hangovers starts getting to Laura, their bond must be reevaluated. BrightView offers comprehensive outpatient treatment that can help you reclaim your life. Her timeless tale is a powerful one, and definitely one that needs to be read by all. Using her relatable voice, which is equal parts honest and witty, Holly tackles the ways that alcohol companies target women. She also divulges the details on her emerging feminism, an alternate way out of her own addiction, and a calling to create a sober community with resources for anyone who is questioning their own relationship with alcohol. At the end of the day, this memoir is a groundbreaking Sober House look into our current drinking culture while providing a road map to cut alcohol out of our lives so that we can truly live our best lives. Iranian American novelist Porochista Khakpour’s elegant, vibrant memoir is primarily about being sick and trying to find answers. But it also details her journey with addiction to the pills prescribed to treat her insomnia and her struggles with mental health. Of course, books and audiobooks are just one component in your recovery toolkit. best memoirs about addiction Instead, he began a love affair with the bottle and barely crawled out, but he did, and we cheer him on at each twist and turn in his journey. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. When women are in a blackout, things are done to them,” Hepola writes. Bookshop.org needs to review the security of your connection before proceeding. By Augusten Burroughs is an incredibly accurate depiction of what it’s like to be a young alcoholic in New York City. best memoirs about addiction
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