19 Powerful Memoirs About Mental Illness & Addiction

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Occasionally reminiscent of Sylvia Plath, Karr’s writing style is simultaneously unsentimental and moving. 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. After quitting her career in order to dedicate more of her time to her family, Clare Pooley found herself depressed and feeling sluggish with a daily drinking habit to keep her company. Often, we hear the stories of people with addiction being redeemed by their children — but this is not that kind of story, which is precisely why we love it. It’s about a woman who longs to belong and find comfort in her new life with husband and baby but instead develops a gripping addiction to wine. 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.

addiction memoirs

“If you’re finding yourself in that situation over and over, like I was, it’s probably time to stop drinking. In this book, McKowen talks about her personal story along with how she faced the facts, the question of AA, and dealing with other people’s drinking. Although she doesn’t sugarcoat how difficult sobriety can be (and yes, it’s not without its struggles), she continues to write about the many blessings of living an honest life without the debilitating shame of addiction. This memoir tells of her painful descent from depression into drug addiction and, eventually, how she broke free. Despite its dark beginning, this is ultimately a hopeful book that inspires readers to root for her throughout.

Sobering Realitieswomen Write Their Way Into The Addiction Canon

There’s a climactic epiphany snatched from a debauched bottom, then an earnest striving toward sobriety. For the most part, the story arc is tidy, allowing readers the rubbernecky thrills of second-hand vice with a dose of hard-won redemption as a chaser. It’s like scarfing a bacon cheeseburger and washing it down with a shot of wheatgrass. This is the book for you if you’re looking for masterful prose.

addiction memoirs

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph is a beautiful look at the effects of alcoholism on friends and family members in the touching way only Brandy Colbert can master. What Mohr means is that his father would have been better off digging up skeletons closer to home.

There Is No Substitute For A Loved One

A person of extraordinary intellect, Heather King is a lawyer and writer/commentator for NPR – as well as a recovering alcoholic who spent years descending from functional alcoholism to barely functioning at all. From graduating cum laude from law school despite her excessive drinking to languishing in dive bars, King presents a clear-eyed look at her past and what brought her out of the haze of addiction.

It’s brutally honest, and her story reads like so many others – some who didn’t make it to recovery. She further educates the reader with research and a better understanding of the psychology and physiology that drive female addiction with humor and exceptional insight. It takes guts to admit that you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol .

Lit: A Memoir By Mary Karr

Advises kids to take care of themselves by communicating about the problem and joining support groups such as Alateen. Created for family members of people with alcohol abuse or drug abuse problems. Answers questions about substance abuse, its symptoms, different types of treatment, and recovery. Addresses concerns of children of parents with substance use/abuse problems. A relationship is, among other things, a shared story – or sometimes, a mutually held delusion. In this haunting, sometimes hallucinatory memoir, Machado inventively recounts the tale of her abusive relationship with a volatile aspiring writer, who viciously warns her not to write about the relationship, among other things.

addiction memoirs

Jerry Stahl was a writer with significant and successful screenwriting credits – Dr. Caligari, Twin Peaks, Moonlighting, and more. But despite that success, Stahl’s heroin habit began to consume him, derailing his career and destroying his health until one final, intense crisis inspired him to get clean.

The Recovering: Intoxication And Its Aftermath By Leslie Jamison

Today, she’s a lawyer and motivational speaker who wants to show others that change is possible. In one scene in the book, Brown describes losing her apartment and going on a four-day crack binge. 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. The paperback will be coming out in January 2021 everywhere books are sold, (but preferably from your local, independent bookshop!). Mr. Rieder is a bioethicist, philosopher and author who is the director of the Master of Bioethics degree program, as well as a research scholar, at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.

Joshua Mohr’s new addiction, illness memoir “Model Citizen” – Los Angeles Times

Joshua Mohr’s new addiction, illness memoir “Model Citizen”.

Posted: Fri, 12 Mar 2021 08:00:00 GMT [source]

Not just another celebrity memoir, Fisher’s book strikes the ideal balance between gossip-y entertainment and razor-sharp commentary. In Amy Dresner’s memoir My Fair Junkie, she recounts her life from her idyllic childhood to her methamphetamine addiction. Dresner offers an honest and shameless account of her struggles with meth abuse and recovery. She writes about her admittance into a psychiatric hospital, financial struggles, and divorce. Dresner also shares her struggles with sex addiction and achieving sobriety again in her 40s. This is a great book for people who hit rock bottom in addiction. Memoirs are nonfiction biographies written from personal knowledge.

Girl Walks Out Of A Bar: A Memoir

A lot of recovery memoirs end when the writer gets sober, leading us to wonder, “What happened next? ” British writer Catherine Gray tells us, and the good news is that what happened next for her was pretty amazing. 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. Maybe you’ve been leaning on alcohol too much to try to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The book jumps between Jamison’s personal addiction story, between her investigations into the lives of other writers and artists with addictions, and then, toward the end, it expands to tell the stories of other people she met in recovery.
  • Mr. Rieder is a bioethicist, philosopher and author who is the director of the Master of Bioethics degree program, as well as a research scholar, at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.
  • Work events, brunch, baby showers, book club, hair salons—the list of where to find booze is endless.
  • Taken together, they constitute a powerhouse work, one haunted by the traces that people in Mohr’s life have left behind.
  • If you’ve wondered what it would be like to live your life sober, this book is for you.
  • For Dr. Remy, his job meant waking up one morning to find himself in rehab for alcohol use disorder.

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. This book explores the subsequent 15 years of her life and breaks down the stigma and stereotypes surrounding addiction.

A Piece of Cake is her gripping tale of crashing down to the bottom and crawling back to the top. 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. Then I insisted the daily drinking was just part of adulthood. Marc Lewis, PhD, is a neuroscientist addiction recovery books and professor of developmental psychology. He has authored or coauthored more than fifty journal articles in neuroscience and developmental psychology. Presently, he speaks and blogs on topics in addiction science, and his critically acclaimed book, Memoirs of an Addicted Brain, is the first to blend memoir and science in addiction studies.

When Cupcake Brown was 11, her mother choked to death during a seizure. 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. Over the past several decades, books falling under the umbrella of Alcohol detoxification “addiction memoir” have become omnipresent. Whether you’re well-versed in the subject or totally new to it, here are nine of the smartest and most moving examples. 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.

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. She’s just someone who uses alcohol to muster up courage, and well, survive life. This is just how it has always been since her introduction to Southern Comfort when she was just fourteen. Aids family members in coping with the aftermath of a relative’s suicide attempt. Describes the emergency department treatment process, lists questions to ask about follow-up treatment, and describes how to reduce risk and ensure safety at home.

addiction memoirs

“It makes people uncomfortable, and that’s particularly true because I’m a woman,” she said. Khar, Aron, and Barnett zoom out to show the reader how they’ve been shaped by societal pressures and oppressions.

For her, the otherness she felt during her American childhood powerfully impacted the way she understands her illness. In some ways, I keep myself sick.” Although her health generally improves over the course of the book, the chronic nature of illness—indeed, the spirochete shape of the bacteria that causes Lyme—is at work in the shape of this memoir. She isn’t going to give us the happy ending of healing that we all demand of medical mysteries.

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