One way to ensure one’s post-rehab direction stays on course is to feed on inspiring material that is rich in lessons. The lessons should be forged in the reality of day-to-day living and backgrounded by challenges that threaten to cripple one’s ability to enjoy life fully as a productive person. The journey of others with similar stories can help strengthen the resolve of those recovering from addictions and open up a new facet of their lives.

With that, here are 6 of some of the most inspiring books that most, if not all, people, especially recoverers, will find worthy page turners (and gift ideas).

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ~Charles W. Eliot

Up from Down: A True Story of Recovery from Addiction (Ted Adamson)

Adamson’s addiction centered on heroin, which got his days and nights occupied just to satiate his craving for the substance. The insatiable yearning led him to prison and a junkie’s life, which he details in this clear, disturbing, warts-and-all account. He also shares his roller coaster journey to recovery, which involves a variety of addiction therapies. Through the murkiness of his addiction, you will find comfort in the fact that he will indeed achieve redemption.

Scar Tissue (Anthony Kiedis)


If you’re the kind who takes an interest in the lives of the rich and famous, you’ll find the account of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ frontman a cautionary tale. It is also inspiring, considering the rocker managed to stay clean and sober since 2000. He reveals that his first experience with substance abuse was actually done under the supervision of his own dad. Kiedis also details the ugly truth of addictions, which got him destroying relationships and himself. He proves no matter how rocky the road to redemption is, one can reach the destination with perseverance and the help of others.

Lit (Mary Karr)

The author of “The Liars’ Club” is known for her confessional style of writing. She once again employs it in this mesmerizing memoir. This tome, which is not lacking in humor, includes a number of anecdotes that do not necessarily relate directly to her alcohol problem but reveal her self-awareness. You will also understand that her alcoholic addiction, despite paralyzing her for many years, helped her tread the path that led her to her conversion to the Catholic faith.

Permanent Midnight (Jerry Stahl)

This bestselling memoir has already been adapted into a film, which starred Ben Stiller, and has been hailed as a classic. It is the story of Stahl, a successful screenwriter whose heroin addiction was not shunned by those around him as he was still able to churn out “quality work” despite the expensive habit. As is the case with addictions, he has his own share of lowest of lows (one example is shooting up a dose in the hospital while his firstborn was being delivered) and hells. He colors the disturbing reality of his addiction in a hilarious way. He finally managed to quit after going through the hellish spiral that a lot of those with substance abuse issues undergo.

 Born to Lose: Memoirs of a Compulsive Gambler (Bill Lee)

Lee’s story somehow affirms observations that compulsive gambling is no different from drug addiction. He has gone to such lengths to keep his gambling habit going. Even a beloved baseball card collection (which he started at age nine) was not spared from the blackjack tables. Lee also details the horrid feelings that arise with every loss, as well as the hopelessness that eventually paved the way to personal and financial ruin. Thet was until he embarked on a recovery program that ultimately got him back on track to a good life.

Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood (Koren Zailckas)

Young women with drinking issues may resonate with Zalickas’ personal account of her own alcoholism. She reveals what lies beneath her dependence on alcohol. Her case stemmed from a lack of confidence and emotional pathos. Zailckas also shares how she decided to finally get help and end the destructive loop she kept going through.

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