If you’ve already read through the last 5 books and memoirs about addiction & recovery, here’s 6 more. Hopefully you can gain some insight so you can avoid going to that great rehab in the sky.
1. Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
In “Drinking: A Love Story,” Knapp details her life as an alcoholic, blackouts and hangovers included. Because of her privileged background, Ivy league credentials and success as a journalist, few suspected she had a problem–and even as her disease was taking control of her life, Knapp remained adept at painting a portrait of a person without a problem. She entered rehab at age 36–she said Pete Hamill’s classic “A Drinking Life” helped drive her to sobriety–and died six years later of breast cancer.
2. Guts by Kristen Johnston
In the mid-1990s, Kristen Johnston was starring on the hit NBC series 3rd Rock from the Sun, alongside the revered John Lithgow and budding heartthrob Joseph Gordon-Levitt. She won two Emmy awards for her role, and the opportunities seemed endless as she snagged movie roles and endorsement deals. Meanwhile, she was struggling with an addiction to drugs and alcohol, which eventually led to a major health scare—a stomach ulcer that ruptured while she was on the toilet. She describes her rock-bottom moment in detail in her new memoir, Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster. Johnson was hospitalized, and entered rehab shortly after. She writes candidly about working toward sobriety.
3. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
Whether “A Million Little Pieces” is bitter truth or part-myth, one thing is for sure: James Frey was at one time addicted to alcohol and crack. His descriptions of his horrible experiences and eventual detox were enough to get Oprah hooked on his prose, and even if you take it with a giant grain of salt, his memoir is a gripping read.
4. In My Skin by Kate Holden
This is a beautifully written account of Kate’s journey from a comfortable middle-class life in the suburbs of Melbourne, via an addiction to heroin, to a life of prostitution. It’s far from self-pitying, and her description of the pride she took in her work, which some may feel is at odds with her feminism, is deeply affecting. Her next book, The Romantic, continues the story as Kate begins to rediscover herself in Rome.
5. Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby Jr.
If Dostoyevsky had been born in Brooklyn in 1928 instead of Moscow in 1821, he too might have started his greatest novel with the sentence, “Harry locked his mother in the closet.” Selby once described himself as “a scream looking for a mouth.” In this bleak, hysterical, heartbreaking tour de force, that scream has been channeled into a junkie wannabe dealer, his junkie-turned-prostitute girlfriend, and his diet pill–demented, wannabe game-show contestant mom. Defying all conventions of grammar, good taste, and what reviewers like to call “redemption,” Requiem captures nothing less than the doomed, dope-sick, self-mutilating soul of America itself. The words “genius” and “masterpiece” are overused — here they may be insufficient.
6. The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll
The story of Carroll’s adolescent years in New York, his high-school basketball career, and his addiction to heroin, which began when he was 13 years old. It’s an edited version of the diaries he kept at the time, and is incredibly frank and extraordinarily intimate.