Like addiction itself, addiction memoirs can cover a range of issues to discuss within its chapters. From trauma to the female perspective or from discovering one’s sexuality to discovering one’s identity, addiction memoirs encompass various factors of lifestyle and personal reflection that can help readers understand their own situation and seek guidance. There’s a cathartic moment for every memoirist who decides to reveal their darkest secrets to the world that helps them not only realize their mistakes but also helps them spread wisdom to others.
With new addiction memoirs coming out every year with unique voices ready to show the world they’re still ready to fight and conquer their substance abuse, this is a list of addiction memoirs that showed some spectacular writing talent that readers will come to appreciate and enjoy.
The Gilded Razor by Sam Lansky
First on the list addiction memoirs is a book by Sam Lansky titled The Gilded Razor, a provocative tale of Lansky’s high school years.
Living a double life at the young age of 17, Lansky played the role of a prep school student with promising chances at joining Ivy League during the day but then engaged in promiscuous, drug-induced adventures by night. The memoir mainly focuses on the descent of Lansky’s addiction to prescription painkillers as he engages in multiple affairs with older men, puts himself in risky situations, and comes close to death with an overdose.
The Gilded Razor has been featured in multiple magazines, such as Vanity Fair and Entertainment Weekly, and has been compared to the poignant yet humorous writing of Augusten Burroughs. Lansky isn’t afraid to lay out his chaotic adventures for readers to witness, from being checked into a psych ward in New Orleans to his sexual romps in Manhattan.
The memoir shows perspective within the LGBTQ community while also detailing the repercussions of divorce and child neglect. Though the book does not delve much further into Lansky’s life after treatment, it’s a captivating read that will have you turning page after page until the very end.
The Big Fix by Tracey Helton Mitchell
It’s not too often that you find the female perspective playing an active part in addiction memoirs, but Tracey Helton Mitchell put her voice out there to showcase the addiction world from a woman’s point of view.
The Big Fix: Hope After Heroin illustrates the specific issues women face when entering life after treatment, from having to relearn how to interact with men and form healthy relationships to developing essential life skills, such as gaining control over personal finances. In her memoir of personal strife with heroin, Mitchell comments on the failings of the rehab industry in the United States, as well as the numerous ultimatums women face when battling addiction, such as resorting to prostitution.
A mother of three children, Mitchell chose to use her memoir as a vehicle to demonstrate the potential pathways a recovering individual can take in their recovery and to change their life for the better. With chapters dedicated to how she rekindled her relationship with her mother and how she managed to stay sober and form a better life for herself and her family, Mitchell can serve as an inspiration for those wondering if their lives can ever transform.
In the past, Mitchell may have been suffering from heroin addiction in San Francisco, but The Big Fix is proof that nowadays, she is a successful author ready to grab life by the horns.
I Swear I’ll Make It Up to You by Mishka Shubaly
Trauma can play a huge role in a person’s addiction, sometimes being the root of the issue. For Mishka Shubaly, a life of alcoholism was triggered by a series of unfortunate events: surviving a mass shooting on his school’s campus, learning about his parents’ divorce right after, and watching his mother have her house get foreclosed on her after his father abandoned the family.
In his captivating memoir, I Swear I’ll Make It Up to You, Shubaly explores the nature trauma can have on a person, even when the individual is in denial about his addiction and mental health.
Self-medicating with alcohol, Shubaly threw himself into a whirlwind of bad decisions, engaging in bad romances, going through his days in a foggy haze, and even meeting his newborn nephew while hopped up on cough syrup. While he was hoping his career as a rock musician would lift off into success, it would be the joy of running that would bring Shubaly a new opportunity for reinvention and healing, as well as reuniting with his father and learning his side of the story.
I Swear I’ll Make It Up to You is one of those addiction memoirs that gives a sobering insight into how trauma at a young age can affect a person, but how closure and the decision to face fears instead of running away from them can heal that same person.
Girl Walks Out of a Bar by Lisa F. Smith
While some authors use their addiction memoirs to show the downward spiral substance abuse can cause in a person’s life, Lisa F. Smith used her memoir to show readers the haunting nature of a high-functioning addict who can demonstrate control as her life spirals out of it.
For a decade, Smith fell under the spell of alcohol and cocaine as she navigated through her career as a young lawyer in New York City. Her New York Times best-selling memoir, Girl Walks Out of a Bar, gives insight to the hectic world of corporate law and the high demands the workload poses on a young professional trying to survive in the field, even if it means drinking after work every once in a while, or every day—and maybe while snorting some coke.
From ditching the birth of her niece to meet up with her coke dealer to staging her own intervention, Smith provides humorous yet frightening episodes of her life that demonstrated an impressive amount of control in her actions while simultaneously making deeply irresponsible and terrible decisions. As she comes to terms with the fact that being a high-functioning addict is just that: functioning, not living, Smith begins to walk down the road of recovery and change her lifestyle.
Girl Walks Out of a Bar shows readers exactly what it takes to maintain sobriety and avoid relapse, which shows much greater control than managing to hide from everyone in your life that you have an addiction.
Blackout by Sarah Hepola
Not everyone has a moment of clarity that inspires them to get sober. For Sarah Hepola, coming to the conclusion that sobriety was necessary in her life involved a resistant stumble toward it.
In her memoir, Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, Hepola narrates her drunken adventures and routine evenings spent at cocktail parties and bars, often blacking out and having to put the pieces together of the events that occurred the night before. Whether she said or did something worth regretting, Hepola couldn’t remember it, but would keep having to apologize for her actions caused by her addiction.
While many addiction memoirs focus on an individual’s eventual acceptance of a new life, Hepola reveals to readers the toxic grip addiction can have on a person’s self-esteem and identity. Though she uses humor as a defense mechanism, Hepola also illustrates the slow rebirth of a recovering individual who has to realize that her identity, her confidence, and her intelligence doesn’t come from a bottle, but from herself.
Hepola gives a raw portrayal of “the addict” struggling to separate their own identity as just being an addict, and she lets readers understand that sometimes recovery isn’t as clear-cut as realizing a need for change. Sometimes recovery means realizing you’re not changing who you are, but what you do.
Addiction Memoirs Are Proof You’re Not Alone–Get Treatment Now
The reason addiction memoirs tend to resonate with recovering individuals is because they comfort readers and let them know they are not alone in their struggles and doubts. Connecting with others is an important aspect of recovery, which is why Citrus Recovery aims to give each client an opportunity to build everlasting relationships with other like-minded people wanting to change their lives and conquer their addictions.
Our representatives are available 24-7 to assist you in forming the right treatment plan for you. Call today at (844) 318-0072 and discover a new chapter in your recovery.