A big part of recovery is about learning how to use and maximize the tools at your disposal- these tools can be things such as 12-step meetings, meditation, counseling, and fellowship with other recovering addicts or alcoholics. However, another tool can be as simple as relating to another addict or alcoholic’s story, and finding hope in their recovery. While meeting attendance is vital for this, an additional tool is by reading memoirs of recovering addicts or alcoholics. Some authors have come under fire for whether or not their accounts are 100% factual, or whether certain points have been exaggerated for the purposes of selling books. However, these stories can still be helpful and inspiring to read when you have quiet time, if only just to remind yourself the places addiction can take us, and that a solution is out there.

The following is a list of ten memoirs about addiction, and the hope of recovery and a life of sobriety. Synopses are taken from Amazon.com.

  1. Dry– Augusten Burroughs

    “You may not know it, but you’ve met Augusten Burroughs. You’ve seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twentysomething guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had two drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn’t really a request) of his employers, Augusten lands in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey Jr. are immediately dashed by grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click and that’s when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life―and live it sober. What follows is a memoir that’s as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is true. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a Higher Power.”

  2. Parched- A Memoir — Heather King

    “In this moving, emotionally charged, and unflinching look at alcoholism and its effects, lawyer and prominent National Public Radio writer and commentator Heather King describes her twenty-year-long descent into the depths of addiction with wit and candor. King went from a highly functioning alcoholic who managed to maintain her grip on reality to living in the lowest of dive bars, drinking around the clock and barely sustaining an existence. With help from the most unexpected source, King stopped her self-destructive spiral and changed her world for the better. This is the poignant, painfully honest, and inspirational true story of a woman who looked into the abyss, and was able to step back from the edge and reclaim her life on her own terms.”

  3. Blackout- Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget — Sarah Hepola

    “A memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant, laugh-out-loud humor, BLACKOUT is the story of a woman stumbling into a new kind of adventure–the sober life she never wanted. Shining a light into her blackouts, she discovers the person she buried, as well as the confidence, intimacy, and creativity she once believed came only from a bottle. Her tale will resonate with anyone who has been forced to reinvent or struggled in the face of necessary change. It’s about giving up the thing you cherish most–but getting yourself back in return.”

  4. Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man — Bill Clegg

    “Bill Clegg had a thriving business as a literary agent, representing a growing list of writers. He had a supportive partner, trusting colleagues, and loving friends when he walked away from his world and embarked on a two-month crack binge. He had been released from rehab nine months earlier, and his relapse would cost him his home, his money, his career, and very nearly his life. What is it that leads an exceptional young mind to want to disappear? Clegg makes stunningly clear the attraction of the drug that had him in its thrall, capturing in scene after scene the drama, tension, and paranoiac nightmare of a secret life-and the exhilarating bliss that came again and again until it was eclipsed almost entirely by doom. PORTRAIT OF AN ADDICT AS A YOUNG MAN is an utterly compelling narrative-lyrical, irresistible, harsh, and honest-from which you simply cannot look away.”

  5. The Basketball Diaries — Jim Carroll

    “The original classic story about growing up with drugs and sex and about learning to survive on the streets of New York–once again in print. An urban classic of coming of age.”

  6. Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster — Kristen Johnston

    “Actress Kristen Johnston has written her first book, a surprisingly raw and triumphant memoir that is outrageous, moving, sweet, tragic, and heartbreakingly honest. Guts is a true achievement—a memoir that manages to be as frank and revealing as Augusten Burroughs, yet as hilarious and witty as David Sedaris. Johnston takes us on a journey so truthful and relatable, so remarkably fresh, it promises to stay with you for a long, long time.”

  7. Drunk Mom — Jowita Bydlowska

    “Three years after giving up drinking, Jowita Bydlowska found herself throwing back a glass of champagne like it was ginger ale. It was a special occasion: a party celebrating the birth of her first child. It also marked Bydlowska’s immediate, full-blown return to crippling alcoholism. In the gritty and sometimes grimly comic tradition of the bestselling memoirs Lit by Mary Karr and Smashed by Koren Zailckas, Drunk Mom is Bydlowska’s account of the ways substance abuse took control of her life- the binges and blackouts, the humiliations, the extraordinary risk-taking- as well as her fight toward recovery as a young mother. This courageous memoir brilliantly shines a light on the twisted logic of an addicted mind and the powerful, transformative love of one’s child. Ultimately it gives hope, especially to those struggling in the same way.”

  8. My Last Rock Bottom — Sara Berelsman

    “Sara liked to drink. Sara was a writer, and drinking seemed to be an element of the identity. As a writer, she searched for the story that would define who she was, and her drinking was a part of her. She drank socially at first, with friends or family, at parties, or festivals. She drank at home sometimes, a glass of wine or two. It was when the two glasses of wine turned into two bottles of wine, when her blacked-out drunken behavior began destroying her marriage, when she began combining her drinking with pills – prescribed or otherwise – this is when Sara began to realize she had a problem. It wasn’t until she hit her last rock bottom that she understood her story. If she were to continue drinking, her marriage would be over. She knew she had to quit. So she did. Sara quickly learned that sobriety wasn’t easy. She had never realized before what a focal point alcohol had been in her life. This new world she was in felt strange and unnatural. Sometimes the daily battle felt impossible. But inside the struggle she found words. One day, she threw on her husband’s oversized Nike sweatshirt, drove her daughter to school, and came home to write. The words just poured out of her. Now she had a story. Despite the struggles she faced and still faces, Sara has remained sober. This is her story.”

  9. Note Found in a Bottle: My Life as a Drinker — Susan Cheever

    “Born into a world ruled and defined by the cocktail hour, in which the solution to any problem could be found in a dry martini or another glass of wine, Susan Cheever led a life both charmed and damned. She and her father, the celebrated writer John Cheever, were deeply affected and troubled by alcohol. Addressing for the first time the profound effects that alcohol had on her life, in shaping of her relationships with men and in influencing her as a writer, Susan Cheever delivers an elegant memoir of clear-eyed candor and unsettling immediacy. She tells of her childhood obsession with the niceties of cocktails and all that they implied — sociability, sophistication, status; of college days spent drinking beer and cheap wine; of her three failed marriages, in which alcohol was the inescapable component, of a way of life that brought her perilously close to the edge. At once devastating and inspiring, Note Found in a Bottle offers a startlingly intimate portrait of the alcoholic’s life — and of the courageous journey to recovery.”

  10. Lit — Mary Karr

    “Lit follows the self-professed blackbelt sinner’s descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness–and to her astonishing resurrection. Karr’s longing for a solid family seems secure when her marriage to a handsome, Shakespeare-quoting blueblood poet produces a son they adore. But she can’t outrun her apocalyptic past. She drinks herself into the same numbness that nearly devoured her charismatic but troubled mother, reaching the brink of suicide. A hair-raising stint in ‘The Mental Marriott,’ with an oddball tribe of gurus and saviors, awakens her to the possibility of joy and leads her to an unlikely faith. Not since Saint Augustine cried, ‘Give me chastity, Lord-but not yet!’ has a conversion story rung with such dark hilarity. Lit is about getting drunk and getting sober, becoming a mother by letting go of a mother, learning to write by learning to live. Written with Karr’s relentless honesty, unflinching self-scrutiny, and irreverent, lacerating humor, it is a truly electrifying story of how to grow up–as only Mary Karr can tell it.”