The 11 Addiction Memoirs To Add To Your Bookshelf
We have a Recovery Book List and Recovery Movie List and now, we’re releasing our Sober Memoir List! Truth be told, I wrote this somewhat selfishly (it’s my goal to read more this year!). I have read many of these books and can honestly recommend them, and the few that I haven’t read have made it onto my to-be-read list. Happy Reading!
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Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget—by Sarah Hepola
From day one, I was a blackout drinker, and I continued to be a blackout drinker until I gave up drinking, that’s one of the many reasons I see myself in this bravely written book.
“A memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant, laugh-out-loud humor, BLACKOUT is the story of a woman stumbling into a new kind of adventure—the sober life she never wanted. Shining a light into her blackouts, she discovers the person she buried, as well as the confidence, intimacy, and creativity she once believed came only from a bottle.” You can find it on Amazon.
The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley
A memoir from the woman who brought us the blog, Mummy Was A Secret Drinker, which uses humor and honesty to help you answer such questions as Am I drinking too much? What changes will sobriety bring to my life?
The Sober Diaries has been called, “A bravely honest and brilliantly comic account of how one mother gave up drinking and started living. This is Bridget Jones Dries Out.” You can find it on Amazon.
Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Another book I read through in active addiction. This memoir isn’t 100% about addiction, but it’s 100% recommended. In my opinion, it’s a cult classic and shouldn’t be left out. Prozac Nation has been compared to Girl, Interrupted and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. And I honestly think you’ll love it, relate to it and be unable to put it down.
The New York Times says, “Sparkling, luminescent prose . . . A powerful portrait of one girl’s journey through the purgatory of depression and back.” You can find it on Amazon.
Girl Walks Out Of A Bar by Lisa Smith
Lisa Smith gives us a darkly comic, honest, and completely relatable inside look at high-functioning addiction in the world of corporate law-a sort of ‘Sex and the Psych Ward.’ It’s inspiring, informative, and impossible to put down.” -Jennifer Belle, best-selling author of High Maintenance and The Seven Year Bitch. You can find it on Amazon.
Drunk Mom by Jowita Bydlowska
A favorite on my bookshelf, Drunk Mom is a memoir about a simple relapse leading back into full-blown alcoholism and the fight this one mama puts into regaining her sobriety.
Lena Dunham called the book “An intense, complex and disturbing story, bravely and beautifully told. I read Drunk Mom with my jaw on the floor, which doesn’t happen to me that often.” You can find it on Amazon.
Dry by Augusten Burroughs
From the author of Running With Scissors (another book I recommend), Dry was a book I read in active addiction, though sobriety seemed impossible at that time in my life, I saw myself in this book and often looked back on it in early sobriety.
The description of the book in Amazon says, “You may not know it, but you’ve met Augusten Burroughs. You’ve seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twentysomething guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had two drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all…[this is] a memoir that’s as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is true. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a Higher Power.” You can find it on Amazon.
My Fair Junkie by Amy Dresner
After hearing Amy speak on a podcast a few months ago, My Fair Junkie was my second audible purchase, while it’s NSFW, I couldn’t stop listening (thank goodness for headphones!) It hits on every form of addiction – sex, drugs, and booze. It’s a wild ride with a beautiful outcome.
Amazon describes the book as “in the tradition of Orange Is the New Black and Jerry Stahl’s Permanent Midnight…this is an insightful, darkly funny, and shamelessly honest memoir of one woman’s battle with all forms of addiction, hitting rock bottom, and forging a path to a life worth living.”
High Achiever by Tiffany Jenkins
“Once word got out that I was currently withdrawing from opiates on the floor of a jail cell, people in my town were shocked, to say the least. Not because of the 27 felonies I’d acquired, or the nature of my crimes, but mainly because my boyfriend was a Sheriff Deputy, and his friends—our friends, were the ones who’d arrested me. I spent 120 days in a jail where every officer knew what I had done to their ‘brother in blue’ and despised me for it. After a few suicide attempts, cavity searches, pillow fights, and lesbian love affairs, I made my way to a residential treatment center. It was there that I recounted the harrowing events leading up to my arrest, and eventually began the process of recovering from a life of addiction.” You can find the book on Amazon.
I’m Just Happy to Be Here by Janelle Hanchett
I have a total writer-crush on Janelle Hanchett (from the blog Renegade Mothering), so much so that I am currently working on an interview with her for our next Inspirational Sober Mommies. This book is beautifully written and honestly relatable to any mama who’d felt out of place.
“Hanchett’s memoir speaks with warmth and wit to those who feel like outsiders in parenthood and life–calling out the rhetoric surrounding “the sanctity of motherhood” as tired and empty, boldly recounting instead how one grows to accept an imperfect self within an imperfect life–thinking, with great and final relief, “Well, I’ll be damned, I’m just happy to be here.” You can find it on Amazon.
Between Breaths by Elizabeth Vargas
This inspiring read is written by former ABC 20/20 anchor, Elizabeth Vargas. She shares her raw account of living with crippling anxiety which led her to the bottle, which is how her career and life began to fall apart. This book is incredibly relatable to any woman struggles with both anxiety disorder and addiction.
“Beloved former ABC 20/20 anchor Elizabeth Vargas reveals her alcohol addiction and anxiety disorder in a shockingly honest and emotional memoir. Winner of the Books for a Better Life Award in the First Book category.” You can find the book on Amazon.
Bent back into shape is by one of our own Sober Mommies, Esther Nagle. Esther entered yoga teacher training as a new career venture, and she gained so much more. In this book she describes how yoga has been absolutely instrumental in sobriety. (I just downloaded it on my Kindle, message me, we can read it together!)
Charlotte Harding from Recovery Mummy calls of the book: “A very brave and truthful account I can relate to. Thought-provoking, informative, a must-read for anyone wanting to find spirituality and learn about the use of yoga in addiction recovery.”
There ya have it! Feel free to share with your sober tribe, and be sure to comment below one’s we left out! Our library can never be too big! And, don’t forget, if you purchase any of these books on Amazon, be sure to use AmazonSmile, which doesn’t add to the cost of your purchase, but the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to Sober Mommies.
Melissa is a fulltime working mama to her two young boys; Watson and Emerson. She is married to a wonderful sober man and they have created a blessed life in Southern California.
Melissa has been sober since 11.6.13 and is active in 12 step fellowships and the online sober community and . She understands there are no sober blueprints, and different things work for different people. Along with addiction, Melissa struggles with mental health issues, addiction to self-harm, and has a habit of self-loathing. Through recovery, she has begun to overcome those obstacles.
She works at a non-profit, men’s recovery home and spends her free time blogging, podcasting with her husband, and recycling old clothes.