15 Outstanding Books About Addiction and Recovery

Man reading a book while taking notes and drinking coffee

Hearing other’s stories of addiction can make your recovery feel less lonely. Reading books discussing similar experiences as your own offer you the comfort of knowing you are not the first to traverse these challenges. Books are also a good tool for loved ones of addicts who seek to better understand what the addict is going through. This blog will recommend 15 books that tackle the topics of addiction and recovery.

15 Books About Addiction and Recovery

Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola

This book has been described as both honest and hilarious. Chronicling her life while using and while sober, Sarah Hepola discusses how she re-found herself when she became sober. Sobriety allowed Hepola to remember experiences that her blackouts caused her to forget. This book resonates with many who are rediscovering themselves in sobriety and provides you with comfort in knowing you are not the only one.

BACK ON TRACKmarks: From Hopeless to Dopeless by Matt Peterson

Matt Peterson discusses his story of opiate painkillers and heroin addiction. This book highlights the indiscriminate nature of addiction, as he is the son of a Baptist preacher. BACK ON TRACKmarks: From Hopeless to Dopeless is a good read for both the addict and the loved ones of the addict as it provides hope for recovery but also helps those not experiencing addiction firsthand understand that it is not a choice, but a disease. 

Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis and Larry Sloman

Scar Tissue is Kiedis’s account of his addiction journey while in the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This book discusses both his journey to rock bottom and his rise to sobriety. This story is perfect for someone looking for a hopeful story of sobriety as well as a book about rock and roll.

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie

It is so common to become submerged in other people’s lives and drama, however, do you take this interest in other people’s lives too far? Melody Beattie helps identify key traits of a co-dependent person and provides tools for healing for those to which the term applies. Co-dependency is especially common amongst addicts and their friends and families, so this book offers an opportunity to recognize co-dependent bounds and begin living for yourself.

Girl Walks Out of a Bar: A Memoir by Lisa Smith

Lisa tells the story of a high-functioning professional with a drinking and cocaine problem. She explores the turmoil caused by her addiction and the environment that allowed her addiction to flourish. This book has been described as a “chilling, cautionary tale” that many who experience addiction can relate to.

Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff

This book may be more applicable to loved ones of addicts as it chronicles a father’s desire to understand his son’s addiction to crystal meth. This book discusses the persistent questions you ask yourself as a parent or a loved one of an addict; questions you can’t seem to find answers for. David Sheff, in a way, validates the concerns and questions constantly thought of and asked by loved ones of addicts and makes them feel a little less alone.

How to Murder Your Life: A Memoir by Cat Marnell

How to Murder Your Life: A Memoir discusses Cat Marnell’s experience being addicted to prescription drugs. Cat details her journey of self-sabotage and her fight between ambition and addiction set in the world of fashion.

Drunk Mom: A Memoir by Jowita Bydlowska

This is a true story about how Jowita Bydlowska found herself drinking champagne like it was water three years after becoming sober. It started off as drinking only on special occasions but quickly spiraled out of control. This book highlights the commonality of relapse but also emphasizes the importance of renewing your commitment to sobriety.

A Happier Hour by Rebecca Weller

A Happier Hour follows Rebecca Weller, a Health Coach, and her alcoholism. She discusses her unhealthy relationship with alcohol and her journey to recovery. 

My Fair Junkie by Amy Dresner

In this book, the author illustrates how you can be an addict regardless of your socioeconomic background. By chronically her privileged upbringing, Dresner is able to show how non-discriminatory addiction really is. This story discusses Amy’s struggle with meth and other drugs and her journey to sobriety in her forties. 

Party Girl: A Novel by Anna David

This novel is a reality-fiction book based on a cocaine addict and party girl living in Hollywood. Party Girl: A Novel tells the story of the consequences of addiction and the struggle of becoming sober.

Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp

This is a personal memoir meant to expose how prevalent addiction is in America. Caroline Knapp tells the story of her struggle with drinking while attending an Ivy-League college and excelling in her career. This is a cautionary tale for professionals attempting to hide their addiction in the hopes that they will continue to be functioning. 

Parched by Heather King

Parched offers a look into alcoholism and its effects on lawyer and National Public Radio writer, Heather King. In this book, Heather describes her twenty-year-long addiction and the impact it had on her life. King then discusses how she stopped this spiral and became sober for the better.

Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man by Bill Clegg

Bill Clegg, a well-established professional, discusses how he walked away from his life to instead go on a two-month crack binge. He talks about how his relapse cost him his home, money, career, and nearly his life. This book highlights how relapse, in a lot of ways, is a part of recovery and how recognizing your patterns can help you stay sober.

Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster by Kirsten Johnson

This book talks about Kirsten Johnson’s struggle with cocaine addiction and how she triumphed over addiction.

Staying Strong in Your Sobriety with Design for Recovery

Recovery can feel isolating and daunting, but it doesn’t have to. Design for Recovery can help make recovery a little easier. Design for Recovery offers a structured, safe environment to become more secure in your sobriety. Residents work hard daily to develop new skills, values, and coping mechanisms for approaching life in early recovery. At Design for Recovery, we believe that addiction recovery involves more than just physically abstaining from substances — it involves building a new way of life. With the help of Design for Recovery’s sober living services, you can build a support system of both your peers and professionals that can help you feel comfortable and secure in your sobriety.

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