11 Must-Read Books for Families of Drug Addicts

I’ve always wanted her to be the person she is, to travel and explore and learn new things. I want her to feel good about herself at her core, to believe all of the wonderful things people constantly tell me about her. I want her to be secure financially and to know that she will always have what she needs to live. Many of them, like Caroline Knapp, started in their early teens and began to use alcohol as “liquid armor,” a way to protect themselves against the difficult realities of life. In this extraordinarily candid and revealing memoir, Knapp offers important insights not only about alcoholism, but about life itself and how we learn to cope with it. Harris Wittels didn’t fit the stereotype of what a junkie looks like. He was a successful comedian, actor, producer, and writer for Sarah Silverman and on shows like Parks and Recreation and Master of None. Even with all his talent and jobs coming his way, he was not able to get clean and stay clean, eventually dying from an overdose in 2015 at age 29. Everything is Horrible and Wonderful is written by Harris’s sister, Stephanie, about his tragic death and the aftermath of losing her younger brother who was her best friend and also an addict. But, growing up with an alcoholic mother, my most common mode of escape as a child was in fiction.

It is also the book for you if you consider faith to be a necessary piece for the puzzle that addiction recovery entails. This is a story of faith and love through the journey of recovery, more than just a tale from alcoholism to sobriety. Allen’s story of being a young woman in a teenage marriage that best alcoholic memoirs eventually runs away to Cincinnati, where she begins the destructive pattern of weekend partying and drinking, is a powerful tale. Eventually, she finds sobriety through a commitment to God and humanity to spend the rest of her life doing anything she can to help anybody suffering from alcoholism.


This moving story discusses addiction from a parent’s perspective. Many parents of addicts can relate to the father in this memoir. One Hit Away is the heartbreaking yet hopeful story of a young man’s struggle with opioid addiction. In it, Jordan Barnes shares how his heroin addiction brought him to the brink of ruin. Family members of addicts are looking for insight and solutions. Learning about addiction can be very helpful, and it can help the reader look at things through a different lens. As stated earlier, reading the book and doing nothing more would result in inaction. Family members of addicts develop an unhealthy dysfunctional family system.

And the portrait of heroin addiction it depicts is a painful reality for many people. Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales tells the story of Nicole, a 19-year-old girl who leaves college life in Maine behind to start over in Boston with her best friend, Eric. Nicole and Eric think they are running away to freedom, but what they discover instead are the shackles of heroin addiction. Marni Mann’s novel sounds as real, raw, and honest as an actual memoir, and listeners describe Arden Hammersmith’s narration as “superb.” In this post, we’ve put together nine of the best addiction memoirs and quit lit books for you to check out. From painfully honest stories to science-based tips, there’s a title on this list that’s sure to inspire and motivate you or someone in your life.

Leave the Light On

In this book, celebrated journalist Anne Dowsett Johnston intuitively intertwines her own life story of alcohol use disorder with some great in-depth research and relevant interviews. Her book includes the perspective of those leading the charge in this field, shedding some much-needed light on this crisis and the factors that have contributed to it. There, Burroughs is finally able to truly examine himself, and something starts to click. This memoir is the story of his drinking, finding recovery, and getting sober while also finding love, loss, and Starbucks as a Higher Power.

The following are a smattering of the books about alcoholism I’ve found meaningful. James went to my college, Denison University, and is friends with many of my friends, so I loved reading the parts that took place (“fictionally”) in Granville, Ohio. This is one of the first books I read about addiction ever, before I realized I had a problem. This was the first book I read on this subject, and I instantly could relate to her feelings. She made a huge impact on me and is someone I will always be grateful to.

Incredible Recovery and Sobriety Memoirs I Want Everyone to Read

Some children grow up in horrible situations and become very successful with no addiction issues. Some children grow up with a void or a hole because dad was never there, or if he was, he never gave them attention or said he was proud of them. The trauma can range through a vast range of scenarios, and it’s all in the perception of how the person sees it and how they were affected. Memoirs are nonfiction biographies written from personal knowledge. Sobriety memoirs are personal accounts of an individual’s experiences with addiction, rehab, and recovery. Whether you’re in addiction recovery or know someone who is, reading the personal accounts of others who have been through a similar experience can make the recovery process easier to understand. Below we’ve listed addiction recovery memoirs that offer a fresh and relatable perspective on recovery. She recalls her childhood experiences with anxiety, her time in rehab, and the guilt she felt as a mother who was seemingly never able to find the balance between work and family life.
best alcoholic memoirs
None of the suggestions are to correct the problem without help and a solution from someone other than yourself. Extremely timely as more and more children are being raised by grandparents due to their parent’s addiction. Krosoczka is a well-known children’s illustrator and author who didn’t realize till later in life that his mother is an addict. Growing up, he was raised by his grandparents after she can no longer care for his basic needs due to being in and out of rehab and his father is out of the picture. Today, some of my favorite works of fiction are those which manage to portray the complex multitudes of ways in which alcoholism affects people—not just the addicts themselves, but their friends, family, and co-workers. It is easy to use addiction as a crutch, a way to build plot or signal “here’s a bad dude,” but it is much harder to accurately and humanely depict the life-warping pain of struggling with alcoholism.

In an era of opioid addiction, wellness obsession and internet oversharing, stories of substance abuse are back. Recommended by James BrownFrom James’s list onthe best books on addiction and recovery from someone who has been there. This is a raw memoir that makes you feel like you’re there with the writer, through all her shame, all her Sober Home hiding, and all her self-accusations of being a terrible mother because of her drinking. Her struggle is beautifully portrayed, and you also get to emerge with her on the other side once she regains her sobriety once more. There’s a new kind of thinking in the recovery world, and all of that is thanks to McKowen’s upcoming memoir .

  • Today I get it, especially if the child is addicted to drugs or alcohol.
  • This book is also very age-appropriate, so it can be enjoyed by a wider audience than my books and some of my more grown-up recommendations.
  • Think about a person who reads the books Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous while in detox or actively using or drinking alcohol.
  • As we believe and as the book suggests, you may not have control over the addict directly, and you do have control over how you cope, react, and treat yourself concerning your loved one’s addiction.

Díaz writes of her childhood in a public housing project in Puerto Rico and, later, Miami Beach, and an adolescence marked by “juvenile delinquency” and marred by violence, addiction, mental illness, and abuse. Díaz’s resilience – and success – in the face of mighty obstacles registers as part luck, part strength, and part audacity. A relationship is, among other things, a shared story – or sometimes, a mutually held delusion. The book serves as a powerful corrective to the fallacy that queer relationships are by nature egalitarian. And the reader roots for Machado fiercely as she finds her way out. In Recovery, Russell Brand shares an amusing yet valuable story of addiction and the path to sobriety. As a wildly famous celebrity, he struggled with more than just alcohol. But it’s easy to resonate with his emotions surrounding addiction, no matter your vice. In this tale, author Catherine Gray describes the surprising joys you can experience when you ditch drinking.

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