Carrie Fisher, Augusten Burroughs, Leslie Jamison: 15 great recovery memoirs

Told in the present tense (another rarity in autobiography), the result is a stunningly immersive and intimate story. We seem to experience Ditlevsen’s life with her, moment by vivid moment. Meanwhile successful writing always surprises and challenges us, perhaps by defying the conventions of the form to which it belongs or simply by refreshing them in some way. This book serves as a guide for anyone starting their journey with a 30 day sobriety challenge.

best alcoholic memoirs

Here, Nikki shares the diary entries—some poetic, some scatterbrained, some bizarre—of those dark times. Joining him are Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars, Slash, Rick Nielsen, Bob Rock, and a host of ex-managers, ex-lovers, and more. When Lara was four years old, her father moved from Rochester, New York, to Anchorage, Alaska, a distance of over 4,000 miles.

“The Body Keeps The Score” by Bessel van der Kolk

For now I’ll mention one more convention of addiction memoirs, although it differs slightly from the others because it’s more directly concerned with how they’re read than with how they’re written. The pleasures we expect from the form range from the edifying (empathy, inspiration) to the unseemly (voyeurism, vicarious transgression) to mention just a few. But many readers —like the one I was during my time in rehab in 2015—also come to it seeking something often considered antithetical to art. I mean help, whether in the form of identification, solace or instruction. I said this convention concerned reading more directly than writing, but—since all good writing involves deep sensitivity to the reader’s experience—the two things are ultimately inseparable. For one kind of author, helping the reader is the whole point of writing an addiction memoir; for another, even to consider doing so would be aesthetically fatal.

If this book resonates with you, be sure to check out Grace’s podcast of the same name, This Naked Mind, where she and guests continue to dissect alcohol’s grasp on our lives and culture. Matt Rowland Hill was born in 1984 in Pontypridd, South Wales, and grew up in Wales and England. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, New Statesman, the Telegraph and other outlets. Dependency is startlingly unlike any other memoir about addiction—that I know of, at least. I’ll mention some more in relation to the books I’ve chosen, but these are, I think, the four most fundamental ones. Jerry Stahl was a writer with significant and successful screenwriting credits — Dr. Caligari, Twin Peaks, Moonlighting, and more.

by Caroline Knapp

If you’re looking for more sobriety resources, check out Monument’s therapist-moderated alcohol support groups and anonymous online forum. I will read anything Clare Pooley writes simply because she is a magical storyteller. The Sober Diaries is one of the best books in the quit lit category.

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. Before I was old enough to simply walk out of the house and literally escape, I hid inside my room and read entire afternoons away, happily lost. I chose Atlas of the Heart because it touches on the important theme of second chances.

portrait Of An Addict As A Young Man By Bill Clegg

Blackout is her poignant story of alcoholism and those many missing hours that disappeared when she had just enough to drink to wipe out her memory. Hepola gets through the darkest parts of her story with self-deprecating humor and a keen eye on what she was burying by drinking. In college, my friends and I joked that it’s not alcoholism until you graduate. Then I told myself it was because I was a journalist working the night shift. I am not sure I’d be sober today if it weren’t for Tired of Thinking About Drinking. Belle’s consistent messaging on our faulty thinking led to a major mindset shift for me.

  • You can learn more about addiction and relate to authors through their stories, reminding yourself that you aren’t alone in your journey.
  • In this tale, author Catherine Gray describes the surprising joys you can experience when you ditch drinking.
  • Admitting you have a problem — not to mention actually getting sober — is no small feat.
  • Addiction and recovery memoirs are great reminders that you are not alone and that many, many others have gone down the difficult road to sobriety.
  • Peter Markham, both a director and a long-time teacher of directing at the American Film Institute, talks us through five of his favourite book-to-movie adaptations—and what they reveal about successfully bringing a book to the screen.
  • When she was drunk, writer and editor Hepola was a creative force.

Healing Neen provides a personal look into the connection between incarceration, substance use, and trauma. Her story is a beautiful reminder of how safety and support can lead the way to incredible healing. A captivating story best alcoholic memoirs of a highly accomplished well-known professional in the spotlight who was brave enough to share her story. Elizabeth Vargas takes off her perfectly poised reporter mask and shows you the authentic person behind the anchor desk.

Alongside this deeply personal story, she includes scientific research and a wealth of advice, including how to recognize if you have alcohol use disorder (AUD) and how to navigate the social pressures that come with a life of sobriety. Ann Dowsett Johnston combines in-depth research and her own story of recovery in this important book about the relationship between women and alcohol. Drink brings to light the increase in DUIs, “drunkorexia” (limiting eating to get drunker), and other health problems among young women in the United States. She started sneaking sips from her parents’ wine glasses as a kid, and went through adolescence drinking more and more. By the time she was an adult in a big city, all she did was drink.

best alcoholic memoirs

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