A lifelong process, addiction recovery requires constant dedication, motivation, and hard work. Hearing or reading stories of others in recovery can provide encouragement and inspiration. Here are six books to enjoy that can be sources of inspiration for anyone in recovery.
- Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff
The inspiration for the award-winning motion picture Beautiful Boy, Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines is the heart-wrenching story of Nic Sheff. He tells of his first time getting drunk, at age eleven, and how, in his early teenage years, he regularly smoked pot, did ecstasy and cocaine, and developed addictions to heroin and crystal meth. It took a violent and nearly fatal relapse for him to realize he was not in control. Sheff brings the reader with him as he plunges into the physical and mental depths of drug addiction. This true story is honest, harrowing, and raw but ends with a sense of hope.
- Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
In her memoir, Knapp explains that approximately one-third of the 15 million people a year in the United States with alcohol addiction are women. She tells of her 20-year love affair with alcohol, beginning with her first drink at age 14. Her drinking continued throughout college and her professional career as an award-winning columnist and editor. In public, she was sophisticated, professional, and respectful. But, privately, her alcoholism was destroying her life. Knapp describes how she used alcohol as a “liquid armor” to protect herself from life’s difficult realities.
- Tales of Addiction and Inspiration for Recovery: Twenty True Stories from the Soul (Reflections of America) by Barbara Sinor
This book is both inspiring and illuminating. Sinor provides readers with 20 true personal stories of everyday people struggling with addiction. Some stories end with the person finding long-term sobriety. Others end with defeat, as addiction controls the person or takes their life.
- Up from Down: A True Story of Recovery from Addiction by Ted Adamson
Now clean for 35 years, Adamson was addicted to drugs for 14 years. His memoir begins with a scene of himself being high on heroin and getting stopped by a SWAT team in a pharmacy. It tells of race riots and cruelty during his time in a county jail and state prison. Adamson paints a picture of the despair and ugliness of being a drug addict. He tells of the bizarre practices and therapies he tried and describes the strengths and weaknesses of 12-Step programs. But in the end, Adamson offers a story of hope and inspiration for those who are suffering from addiction.
- In My Skin: A Memoir of Addiction by Kate Holden
A college graduate from a solid, middle-class family, Holden seemed to have it all. But in reality, she suffered from chronic depression and extreme shyness. She recounts her first time using heroin. It was supposed to be a one-time experiment with friends, but she became addicted to the drug and lost her friends, job, and apartment. She stole money from her family and resorted to prostitution to get drugs. Throughout her downward spiral, Kate’s family never gave up on her. With their love and support, she was able to get the treatment she needed and defeat her addiction.
- Girl Walks Out of a Bar: A Memoir by Lisa Smith
Now sober for more than ten years, Smith recounts the story of her addiction in an honest and comically dark way. She describes herself as a high-functioning addict who seemed to be in control but was horribly out of control. A young New York City lawyer at a prestigious law firm, Smith used drugs and alcohol to cope with the stress and anxiety of her work. She writes about self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to cope with depression, her years of addiction, her divorce, and her journey to recovery.
If You Need Help
Addiction is a chronic brain disease, not a choice. It can affect anyone. If you or someone you care about is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, we can help. Located in Terre Haute, Indiana, Anabranch Recovery Center has a team of professionals to help you regain your sobriety. Take the first step and contact us today.
About the Author:
Terry Hurley is a retired educational professional and freelance writer with more than fifty years of experience. A former reading specialist and learning center director, Terry loved her years working with children in the educational field. She has written extensively for print and online publications specializing in education and health issues. For the last six years, her writing focus has been on addiction and mental health issues.