You Deserve Freedom

Memoirs Reveal You Are Not Alone in Recovery

Memoirs Reveal You Are Not Alone in Recovery

Sometimes, even when you are surrounded by supportive friends and family, it can feel as though you are going through recovery all alone. After all, most of the people around you have no actual experience with a substance use disorder and the challenges that come with working to stay sober. (An important exception, of course, is your 12-Step or other recovery program meetings.)

Fortunately, there is a place you can turn to when you are feeling lonely or misunderstood in recovery. There are many, many books to choose from written by people who truly do understand what you have been through—and what you are continuing to go through on your recovery journey. We might even suggest finding a few of these books and building your own recovery library, so that you always have a place to turn for a little understanding and inspiration.

We have some suggestions to share, but before we do, we want to remind you that even if you don’t think of yourself as much of a reader, there are multiple ways to access many books. Maybe you head to the library or bookstore—new or used—and find physical copies of books. Maybe you fire up your e-reader or an app on your phone to read electronic copies. Maybe you prefer audiobooks that you can listen to while you drive, exercise, or tackle household chores. All of these options give you access to the motivation and encouragement that books can provide for you while you are working to maintain your hard-won sobriety.

Here are a few titles to get you started.

Girl Walks Out of a Bar: A Memoir by Lisa Smith

Lisa Smith was working at a prestigious New York City law firm, and she was feeling overwhelmed by stress and anxiety. Despite her ability to keep up appearances, she began “self-medicating” with drugs and alcohol. Her memoir is honest and darkly funny as she recounts her years of substance use and her journey to recovery. Smith has been sober for more than a decade.

Up from Down: A True Story of Recovery From Addiction by Ted Adamson

Ted Adamson’s memoir opens with a shocking scene. High on heroin, he was stopped mid-rampage by a SWAT team in a pharmacy—a moment that sounds like something out of a movie but was Adamson’s real experience. His story of his 14 years of drug addiction digs into the despair that a substance use disorder can lead to and the many poor choices he made along the way. But the book is also a story of hope. That hope is highlighted by the fact that Adamson has been sober for decades. (We should note that Adamson writes from a Christian perspective. Here are some thoughts on religion and spirituality in recovery.)

Permanent Midnight by Jerry Stahl

Jerry Stahl can be a funny guy. After all, he wrote episodes of the popular 1980s comedic television shows “Alf” and “Moonlighting.” But his personal story of substance use is no laughing matter. Stahl shares shocking stories—like going out in search of drugs with his daughter in her car seat in the backseat—on the way to writing about his journey toward sobriety. (Stahl’s memoir was made into a movie starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson in 1998.)

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction by Gabor Maté M.D.

Dr. Gabor Maté’s book is unusual because it is the story of his work with those struggling with substance use disorders on the streets of Vancouver, but it is also the story of his own struggles with a substance use disorder. He makes a case for compassionate self-understanding as a first step toward healing and recovery, and he argues that a holistic approach to substance use disorder treatment is the most effective path to recovery.

A Quick Disclaimer: Read for the Right Reasons

We believe these stories of overcoming adversity and ongoing recovery can provide inspiration and encouragement when times are tough on your recovery journey. We urge you, however, to make sure you are reading these books—and others like them—for the right seasons. Your goal should not be to nostalgically relive your own days of drug or alcohol use through the stories told by these writers. Instead, these sorts of books should serve as a reminder of how bad things were (or could have been) when you were using substances and how much better things are now that you are in recovery.

We Are Ready to Help

At Bel Aire Recovery Center—located near Wichita, Kansas, we provide personalized treatment for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. We are dedicated to a shared vision of treating people the way we ourselves would want to be treated. That means finding the right approach to help you get sober and maintain that sobriety over time. When you are ready to make a change for the better, we are ready to help.

Related Posts