10 Books About Addiction & Recovery That You Should Read

January 31, 2022

5 mins

Dane O’Leary

ABSTRACT

5 mins Whether you enjoy reading or have some extra time on your hands, we’ve put together a list of books about addiction and recovery that we highly recommend.

Even as smartphones and tablets occupy more and more of our attention, reading continues to be one of the most constructive, relaxing, and affordable ways to fill up your free time. As we help strengthen our collective health during the pandemic, many of us are on the lookout for entertaining ways to pass this stay-home season. Similarly, those who enroll drug rehab programs will often find themselves with downtime between treatment sessions, providing ample time for mental and emotional enrichment by reading. 

Whatever the cause, if you find yourself with some extra time on your hands, or if you’re simply in the mood to curl up with a good book, then why not pick up one of our recommended reads about addiction and recovery?

Here’s ten recovery books that we highly recommend. 

The Night of the Gun by David Carr

The Night of the Gun

David Carr

Memoir

Carr’s autobiography takes the form of a journalist’s investigation. Carr ventures into the deceit of addiction from a sober standpoint, trying to better understand his recovered self through interviews with those who crossed paths with him as an addict.

Blackout by Sarah Hepola

Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget

Sarah Hepola

Memoir

In this poignant memoir, the author recounts her past as an aspiring, alcoholic writer. Like The Night of the Gun, it’s a book about trying to piece together the puzzle of an addicted past. This is one of the most-read books about recovery. 

The Sober Lush by Jardine Libaire & Amanda Eyre Ward

The Sober Lush

Jardine Libaire & Amanda Eyre Ward

Self-Help

This book is about how to lose yourself in the joys of life instead of alcohol. For a charming read on recovery in the non-fiction section, try this guidebook that, the author of our previous recommendation, Sarah Hepola, describes as a reminder of all that awaits us when we stop burying ourselves in booze and start reconnecting with ourselves and the world.  

Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis & Larry Sloman

Scar Tissue

Anthony Kiedis & Larry Sloman

Memoir

Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ frontman, Anthony Kiedis, released his autobiography (and it hit number one on the New York Times Best Seller List) in 2004. Scar Tissue tells the rockstar’s life story – a childhood riddled with neglect and drug abuse, his debaucherous rise to stardom, and how he came to start his now nearly 20-year-long recovery.   

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

A Million Little Pieces

James Frey

Semi-Fiction 

For a good read about recovery in fiction, James Fry’s A Million Little Pieces makes for an interesting choice. Originally published as a memoir, it was later reframed as a semi-fiction novel. Controversial allegations arose that Frey embellished the details of some of the happenings in his book, and his publisher later confirmed this to be true. Nevertheless, this based-on-a-true-story tale provides a candid look at the rollercoaster ride of rehab, recovery, and relationships formed along the way. 

How to Stop Time by Ann Marlowe

How to Stop Time: Heroin From A to Z

Ann Marlowe

[Not Your Typical] Memoir

In this cleverly-crafted, unconventional memoir, Marlowe provides readers with a more explicit definition of what heroin does to people’s bodies, minds, and lives. Against the backdrop of Manhattan’s East Village in the 1980s, this book is as much about addiction as it’s a moral critique of modern consumerist culture. 

Unwifeable by Mandy Stadtmiller

Unwifeable: A Memoir

Mandy Stadtmiller

Memoir

Described by critics as gutsy and unflinching, this in-your-face account of a New York columnist’s life is an entertaining read. Uncovering everything from addiction to relationships to celebrities and the media, Stadmiller’s memoir is surprisingly funny and received widespread critical acclaim. 

Rewired by Erica Spiegelman

Rewired: A Bold New Approach to Addiction and Recovery

Erica Spiegelman

Self-Help

Rewired was released in 2015 and is a self-help guide to physical and spiritual sobriety flowing from self-actualization. The humanist approach Rewired takes, revolves around patience and compassion as the core aspects of sustained recovery. 

Last Call by Various

Last Call: Poems on Alcoholism, Addiction & Deliverance

Various Authors

Poetry 

Celebrated poets Sarah Gorham and Jeffrey Skinner put together this bundle of poems about addiction and recovery in the late 1990s. Included in this collection are poems by Joan Larkin, Martha Rhodes, and writing legend Raymond Carver.

Addiction by Daniel Gibbons

Addiction: The Light and the Dark, Poems in Recovery

Daniel Gibbons

Poetry 

If you’re looking for more recent than Last Call, this 2013-2014 collection by Canadian author Daniel Gibbons might be for you. The author describes this poetry collection as “an expression of one addict’s continuing journey in recovery.”

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