Addiction Memoirs from Rock Stars, Parents, & Hollywood Celebrities The Reader’s Shelf

Probably the least-known work of the Brontë sisters, by the least-known sister, Anne’s second and last novel was published to great success in 1848. Helen ultimately escapes her marriage and pretends to be a widow, earning a living as an artist to care for herself and her young son. The book was so upsetting to her sister Charlotte that, after Anne’s death she passed on the chance to have it reprinted, and the book was neglected for a really long time. Today it is widely considered to be a landmark in early feminist literature, but its frank depictions of addiction within marriage are just as deserving of acclaim. Ditlevsen’s failure of nerve, causing her to wrap up three volumes of the most trenchant and unillusioned autobiography ever written with a feeble daydream, is easily explained. She surely felt the reader (and perhaps the author) had endured too much pain in the preceding story to be sent away without solace.

Although I think they can all be considered addiction memoirs, and share a familial resemblance with other examples of that form, none of them feel remotely imprisoned by its conventions. And yet—even though each of these books goes its own way, never hesitating to flout a trope or trample a norm to serve its story—they don’t go in terror of the conventions either. Where the story they have to tell echoes others, they let us hear that echo. One characteristic I think I discern in the best addiction memoir is a certain humility that doesn’t strive after innovation for its own sake. Serious addiction has a way of annihilating your sense of exceptionalism, stripping away your autonomy and character, and reducing you to the sum of your cravings.

How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell

This is an approachable recipe book using everyday healthy ingredients to make delicious alcohol-free drinks for every occasion. Developed by registered dietitians, this book takes a new twist on classic cocktails. You’ll also find options for dessert drinks, frozen drinks, and holiday drinks without relying on sugar for flavor.

  • It was first published in Danish in the 1970s, but has only recently been translated into English by Tiina Nunnally and Michael Favela Goldman.
  • Identifying with accomplished writers whose creativity seemed to thrive in a haze of intoxication, she fell further into the depths of alcoholism before hitting rock bottom.
  • By the end of her drinking she is reduced to crouching on a stairwell outside her apartment, glugging whisky with her one-year-old son and failing marriage inside.

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. The American writer Leslie Jamison is the bestselling author of the acclaimed essay collection The Empathy Exams (2014). She grew up in Los Angeles, read English best alcoholic memoirs at Harvard, studied for her MFA in creative writing at the Iowa Workshop, and has a PhD from Yale, where her thesis looked at addiction and sincerity in 20th-century American literature. She now lives in New York, where she teaches at Columbia University, with her husband, the writer Charles Bock, her stepdaughter, and their three-month-old baby daughter.

Dr Matthew Green on London’s Addictions Books

As you embark on a sobriety or moderation journey, building a toolkit to keep you motivated and inspired can help you reach your goals. Recovery-related books, AKA ‘quit lit,’ can be great for seeing how others have navigated similar experiences, gaining tips that can help you along your journey, and learning more about the science behind substance use. Here are my 29 favorite books related to alcohol recovery. Was it painful to write about your own  drinking, to remember the blackouts and all the other humiliations involved? I don’t want to write personal narrative unless I’m granular.

This memoir chronicles the lives of three generations of women with a passion for reading, writing, and travel. The story begins in 1992 in an unfinished attic in Brooklyn as the author reads a notebook written by her grandmother nearly 100 years earlier. This sets her on a 30-year search to find her grandmother’s journals and uncover the hidden interior lives of her mother and grandmother. Having said that, I did—while reading Ditlevsen’s Dependency—occasionally need to put the book down and take a few deep breaths. Even the second time around I found it so viscerally powerful that at times I was overwhelmed.

Tato Grasso on Medicinal Marijuana Books

For the past decade, Literary Hub has brought you the best of the book world for free—no paywall. In return for a donation, you’ll get an ad-free reading experience, exclusive editors’ picks, book giveaways, and our coveted Joan Didion Lit Hub tote bag. Most importantly, you’ll keep independent book coverage alive and thriving on the internet. 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. 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. It was the beginning of using externals to fix an internal problem.

alcoholic memoirs

A captivating story 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. She shares her personal lifelong struggle with anxiety, which led to excessive substance use, rehab, and her ultimate triumph into recovery. 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.

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Although both are worth reading, it’s the first I find myself returning to, marvelling at its ability to conjure the insanity of addiction from inside its diabolical reality. Written by a cognitive neuroscientist with former substance use struggles, Marc Lewis emphasizes the habitual reward loop in the brain that can cause a substance use disorder to develop. This book also examines the brain’s ability to create new neural pathways and lose the desire to use substances.

alcoholic memoirs

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