The addiction memoir genre has gained notoriety over the past few decades. People struggle to get over an addiction and the lack of further support can often push them to go back. Whether they find it difficult to overcome the addiction or they need further motivation to stay clean, honest and encouraging memoirs can certainly help in the process. All in all, here are some of the best books for addicts – brutally honest and extremely supportive for anyone who needs help or wants to learn something about these problems.

Finding North, by Marilyn Davis

Marilyn Davis is a certified recovery specialist, more than three decades after she has managed to overcome her drug addiction. Back then, her life was going downhill. She always had drugs at hand, spent a lot of time with rock bands due to her job, lost her entire family and friends. She was as close as anyone could be to death, but she got back on track.

In 1990, she opened an exquisite residential facility for women – the North House, which won multiple awards for its efficiency and innovative solutions. How did she get from one condition to another? How did she get from almost dying to helping women struggling with the same problems? Believe it or not, her chance included a conversation with an old Native American.

Her whole life changed when Gray Hawk showed her that self-healing is about looking within and taking one small step at a time. This book is about this journey and it will motivate, educate and encourage.

Wishful Drinking, by Carrie Fisher

Wishful Drinking is one of the most emotional books for addicts, yet it has a fair amount of humor too. It is intimate and sobering at the same time. There are various stories from all paths of life that the author has been through. She has been through electroshock therapy, so some of them are clearly less detailed than others – what do you expect after such harsh therapy?

This is the book where many Hollywood secrets are revealed. Families destroyed by celebrities, random dating stories, devastating secrets, people realizing they are gay after already having children and even dead people. This memoir is touching, but it also reveals some secrets some people may not be aware of – lots of addiction involved as well.

Wishful Drinking is so successful because it tells the truth of a bizarre reality full of intimate events, self-depreciation and superior humor. There is a bit of everything for everyone in this book.

Beautiful Boy, by David Sheff

This book is written from a parent's perspective and makes a great read for everyone – those who struggle with an addiction will understand how much they affect their loved ones. Before becoming addicted to crystal meth, Nic was a funny and charming boy. He was a good student and an aspiring student. Once the addiction kicked in, he started lying, stealing and even leaving on the streets.

The author explains the nightmare he had to go through. He mentions the denial, as well as the random 3AM calls – possibly his son, a hospital or the police. He also describes the rehabilitation attempts. Taking care of Nic became an actual addiction, as the desperate father tried his best to get his son back on track.

However, as a journalist, David Sheff simply refused to give up on his son and kept researching one treatment after another. This is a haunting story that will certainly change your perception of your parents.

The Night Of The Gun, by David Carr

This book is not just a memoir written by an addict. Instead, it is also a self-discovery book. The author remembers his life through the moments he loved the most, but is this everything? Definitely not. His book is based on sixty videotaped interviews throughout his worst years. He was a crack house regular, he fought cancer and he had to raise his kid alone – yet, he has managed to become a world renowned journalist.

This book is not just an emotional analysis of his worst years. Instead, it also describes the perception he had back then, as well as how drugs can change the way people see and feel things. Everything he thought and did back then was wrong – from his plans to quit drugs when he became a parent to how lucrative his cocaine dealing business was.

While not every addict's story might be identical, it will certainly open one's eyes and help them understand how they see a completely distorted reality.

Portrait Of An Addict As A Young Man, by Bill Clegg

Life was almost perfect for Bill Clegg. He was a respected literary agent and he had a great partner. His colleagues were his friends too, while his best friends always looked after him. Then, one day, he decided to try crack and he got hooked in. The whole venture took two months of his life and he almost lost everything – from his home and money to his family and life.

What makes a good and thriving young mind want to destroy itself? The author describes the triggers that made him try the drug. Then, he describes his perception from an addict's point of view – a distorted reality that no one else can understand. He talks about the reasons, the shape and the results of his addiction.

This is one of the more honest books for addicts. It is written in a beautiful manner and it features brutal honesty that anyone can learn from.

Lit, by Mary Karr

This incredible memoir is also a sequel to other memoirs. Mary Karr has gained a great reputation based on her memoirs, which tend to educate and help at the same time. All in all, this book is about getting drunk and fixing it. It is about changing one's life by letting things go and learning how to love again. It is touching and it will certainly give you some helpful hints.

This book reminds you how compelling a personal story could become. At the same time, it shows you that the right actions can help anyone out there. It tends to go around your emotions and grab them until you are hooked in – chances are you will finish it in a few reading sessions only. Learn about addiction and all the problems associated with it, as well as random problems that may occur out of nowhere.

Find out how to overcome it or how to help a close friend or relative get over it. Learn from others' personal experiences and do it in a beautiful, relaxing and emotional manner.

Drinking: A Love Story, by Caroline Knapp

This book shows how far an addiction can get, but also the fact that anyone can get affected. In this case, the roots of alcoholism are analyzed in an upper class family, when the daughter becomes addicted out of nowhere, without even realizing that something could go wrong. The author describes how a distorted reality pushed her even further and she also became anorexic – apart from being an alcoholic.

Different people find rescue in different things. In her case, it was literature. She read the right book and sobered up – it sounds simple, but the process was long and exhausting. Believe it or not, she spent almost two decades as an alcoholic. She explains the reasons behind her alcohol consumption – most commonly related to daily realities that no one wants to deal with.

These days, Caroline Knapp is a respected writer and wants to show that if she could do it, so can anyone else.

Parched, by Heather King

Parched is a mix of tragedy, drama and comedy revolving around alcoholism. Now a respected lawyer and writer, Heather King has had her dark years as well as she explored the depths of this addiction. The spiral expanded over a whole decade. Surprisingly enough, she ended up taking shabby jobs and dealing with alcoholism after she has actually graduated from law school.

Luckily for her, her family has always been there for her. Her family saved her, which is a valuable lesson for addicts who tend to reject help from the people who love them. She has managed to understand what kind of mess she was in and unsurprisingly, suffering is what caused the well-deserved redemption. Personal pain helps understanding and helping others.

The book is written in a dramatic manner, but it also features a unique style full of comedy and happy moments, so it features a feel good experience by the end.


In the end, these are some of the best books for addicts you can try out. Whether you feel like you are dealing with an addiction or you need further motivation after escaping from one, any of these books can guide you accordingly and keep you motivated. Moreover, these books are also recommended to those who are actually trying to help a close friend or a family member.​

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