10 Powerful Books about Addiction and Recovery


Millions of Americans currently suffer from drug and alcohol addiction, yet many of those people feel alone or misunderstood. Although they are not a replacement for drug and alcohol treatment, books about addiction and recovery are a great reminder that you are not alone. Reading about the personal experiences of others who have struggled with addiction is a great way to encourage and inspire yourself throughout the recovery process. Here are ten powerful books about addiction and recovery.

Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp

Caroline Knapp’s powerful memoir chronicles her twenty-year battle with alcoholism. She began drinking as a teen and used alcohol as a coping mechanism for the harsh realities of life. Knapp takes a critical look at her battle with addiction and gives insight on ways to fight it.

Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions by Russell Brand

Comedian, actor, and writer Russell Brand offers a hilarious and honest look at his battle with drug and alcohol addiction. Brand speaks very candidly about his addiction to not only drugs and alcohol, but work, caffeine, fame, social media, and toxic relationships as well. He uses his book to challenge readers to stop asking why they are addicted and start identifying the pain that fuels addiction.

90 Days by Bill Clegg

90 Days is the follow-up to Clegg’s first memoir, Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man, leaves off. After losing everything, Clegg enters drug and alcohol treatment for six weeks. Once he is released, he works to stay sober for 90 days, which he believes will loosen the hold of addiction. The book tells the tale of Clegg’s struggle to maintain sobriety when he returns to his home in New York City, although he is attending meetings and has a solid, sober support system. 90 Days is a reminder that rock bottom is only the beginning.

Recovery from Trauma, Addiction, or Both: Strategies for Finding Your Best Self by Lisa Najavits

Lisa Najavits discusses the effects that past trauma has on a person’s addiction. This is an inspirational book that provides real-life examples of developing coping mechanisms and realistic goals that lead to a healthier life. In the book, Najavits links trauma with addiction and presents readers with science-based self-help strategies that can be used no matter where you are in your recovery process.

Letting Go of the Thief: A Ninety Day Journey Inside the Thoughts of an Alcoholic by Pamela D. Pesta

Letting Go of the Thief specifically deals with alcoholism. Pesta takes readers on a 90-day excursion into what she refers to as alcoholic thinking and explores the complexities of an intoxicated mind. This book exposes the darkest parts of addiction and argues that unless you jump directly into the circus that is addiction, you will never understand it.

Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff

Beautiful Boy by David Sheff is the heart-breaking story of a father’s struggles to hold his family intact throughout his son’s battle with drug addiction. Sheff gives readers a first-hand account of a parent watching their child go from a healthy, charming little boy to a young man who was suffering from addiction and fighting for his life. It is a tale of one father’s relentless search for the right treatment for his son and the refusal to give up on him.

Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis and Larry Sloman

Red Hot Chili Pepper’s frontman, Anthony Kiedis, chronicles his journey through fame and drug addiction. Keidis and co-author, Larry Slowman, paint a vivid picture of how Keidis’ first experience with drugs (at age 11), fame, and the loss of a friend and bandmate fueled years of addiction. The book also discusses Kiedis’ relapses and reveals what inspired him to get sober.

High Achiever: The Incredible True Story of One Addict’s Double Life by Tiffany Jenkins

Tiffany Jenkins’ presents a brutally honest (and at times humorous) account of her life as an active opioid addict. This memoir tells the story of a woman who went from being the captain of her high school cheerleading team to someone whose active addiction led to a life of crime and even incarceration. Jenkins shatters the stigma of addiction and offers inspiration to those battling addiction and their loved ones.

Smacked: A Story of White-Collar Ambition, Addiction, and Tragedy by Eilene Zimmerman

Journalist, Eilene Zimmerman gives her heart-wrenching tale of how she discovered that her ex-husband and father of her children was in active drug addiction and using several types of drugs. This revelation prompted her to explore drug use in white-collar settings and she soon discovered that addiction amongst high-achieving professionals is common. Smacked takes an intimate look into how being over-stressed and overworked can take people down the path of addiction.

Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola

Blackout is a New York Times Best Seller that takes a humorous approach to discuss the complexities of forging a new identity after active addiction. Hepola sheds light on blacking out and how doing that allowed her to bury feelings that she wanted to bury. Now that she is sober, she is working through those feelings and shares her journey in this compelling memoir.

This list of books is a testament to how addiction recovery is possible. Learning from others is an important part of drug and alcohol treatment. Oftentimes, addiction can lead to secrecy and shame. Books that chronicle a person’s journey with addiction shatters that secrecy and shame by offering readers a candid look at the vulnerabilities of substance use disorders. They serve as inspirations for others who battle with substance abuse and as learning tools for loved ones seeking to learn more about the disorder. Whether you are fresh in recovery or well into your sobriety, reading books about the experiences of others can be motivating and enlightening. Valiant Living provides a variety of services for men who are struggling with addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or would like more information on our services, call to speak to a caring, trained staff member at (303) 952-5035.