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Relapse Prevention: 5 Great Addiction Recovery Memoirs

A close-up of a book being read by a man sitting outside by a tree with a cup of coffee.
Reading about another person’s recovery can be a great way to stay motivated on your own journey.


Chances are you feel kind of alone sometimes. The challenges you’ve faced—and overcome—are epic. The average person simply cannot relate.

There are, of course, many great places to share and work through these feelings, including group therapy or AA meetings. But the pages of a memoir written by someone who has been there can be an inviting way to spend an evening. Here are a few to start with.

  • Lit by Mary Karr (2009) is a story about getting drunk and then getting sober, all told in Karr’s poetic and darkly humorous voice. It was named a Top 10 Book of 2009 by The New York Times and praised in its review as “a book that lassos you, hogties your emotions and won’t let you go.”
  • Million Little Pieces by James Frey (2003) was a sensation when it was published thanks to the author’s ability to fully convey the pull that drugs and alcohol had on him. Controversy followed when it was learned that he had embellished some of his memories, but the heart of the story is true—and makes for a very compelling read.
  • Blackout: Remembering The Things I Drank To Forget by Sarah Hepola (2015) chronicles the author’s alcohol-fueled nights out in New York City. After waking up one too many mornings with no recollection of the night before, Hepola decided it was time to quit drinking. Her fresh voice, combined with her look into the science of blackouts, made this book a New York Times bestseller.
  • Dry: a Memoir by Augusten Burroughs (2003) is another memoir set against the fast pace (and late closing times) of bars in New York City. While most of his friends would have two drinks and call it a night, Burroughs had 12 and stayed out till it was time to get ready for work the next day. Strong-armed into going to rehab by his employer, Burroughs was finally forced to examine his life—and how he wanted to live it.
  • A Happier Hour by Rebecca Weller (2016) is a quick and easy read that does a nice job examining how the author’s social life changed after giving up alcohol—and how she worked to maintain her “fun” persona without a wine glass in her hand.

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The Raleigh House is a residential treatment center located in Denver that believes addiction isn’t just a physical problem. Our master’s level trained therapists get to the root cause of addiction and will help you develop a strategy to manage and enjoy life without drugs or alcohol. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the treatment programs at The Raleigh House.

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