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Alcoholism is not an easy battle, especially if you think you’re alone. These books on alcoholism cover a wide range of perspectives, from those who have struggled with the disease personally to family members who’ve seen its effect first-hand. Whether you’re in search of a memoir, a novel, or a guide, we’ve compiled a list of informative and poignant books on alcoholism. Publishers’ descriptions included below.

Alcoholics Anonymous by Bill Wilson

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Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, who developed the organization’s twelve-step program. In 1939, they published this volume, which sets forth the cornerstone concepts of recovery and relates stories of those who have overcome alcoholism. Informally known as “The Big Book,” it has gone through numerous editions, and as a lifeline to millions worldwide, it is the most widely used resource for recovering alcoholics. This edition features an Introduction by Dick B., an active recovered member of the Alcoholics Anonymous Fellowship.

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Living Sober is an extremely informative book which does not offer a plan for getting sober but does offer us sound advice about how to stay sober.

Living Sober is an extremely informative book which does not offer a plan for getting sober but does offer us sound advice about how to stay sober. Basic, essential information from Alcoholics Anonymous. As the book states, “Anyone can get sober…the trick is to live sober.”

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

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The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The Glass Castle is truly astonishing-a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family

Dry by Augusten Burroughs

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You may not know it, but you’ve met Augusten Burroughs. You’ve seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twentysomething guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had two drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn’t really a request) of his employers, Augusten lands in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey Jr. are immediately dashed by grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click and that’s when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life–and live it sober. What follows is a memoir that’s as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is true. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a Higher Power.

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Drinking by Caroline Knapp

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It was love at first sight. The beads of moisture on a chilled bottle. The way the glasses clinked and the conversation flowed. Then it became obsession. The way she hid her bottles behind her lover’s refrigerator. The way she slipped from the dinner table to the bathroom, from work to the bar. And then, like so many love stories, it fell apart. Drinking is Caroline Kapp’s harrowing chronicle of her twenty-year love affair with alcohol.

Caroline had her first drink at fourteen. She drank through her years at an Ivy League college, and through an award-winning career as an editor and columnist. Publicly she was a dutiful daughter, a sophisticated professional. Privately she was drinking herself into oblivion. This startlingly honest memoir lays bare the secrecy, family myths, and destructive relationships that go hand in hand with drinking. And it is, above all, a love story for our times—full of passion and heartbreak, betrayal and desire—a triumph over the pain and deception that mark an alcoholic life.

High Price by Dr. Carl Hart

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High Price is the harrowing and inspiring memoir of neuroscientist Carl Hart, a man who grew up in one of Miami’s toughest neighborhoods and, determined to make a difference as an adult, tirelessly applies his scientific training to help save real lives.

Young Carl didn’t see the value of school, studying just enough to keep him on the basketball team. Today, he is a cutting-edge neuroscientist — Columbia University’s first tenured African American professor in the sciences — whose landmark, controversial research is redefining our understanding of addiction.

In this provocative and eye-opening memoir, Dr. Carl Hart recalls his journey of self-discovery, how he escaped a life of crime and drugs and avoided becoming one of the crack addicts he now studies. Interweaving past and present, Hart goes beyond the hype as he examines the relationship between drugs and pleasure, choice, and motivation, both in the brain and in society. His findings shed new light on common ideas about race, poverty, and drugs, and explain why current policies are failing.

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Eleven-year-old Cupcake Brown woke up on the bicentennial and found her mother still in bed. She struggled to wake her up, pushing and pulling until she managed to tug her mother’s lifeless corpse onto her own small body, crushing her beneath its dead weight. After squeezing out from under her mother, Cupcake calmly walked over to the phone and called her aunt Lori. “Lori, my momma’s dead.”

Here is the threshold of a hell for young Cupcake. Rather than being allowed to live with the man she believed to be her father–who turns out to have been her stepfather–she is forced into a foster home where the kids were terrorized, the refrigerator padlocked, and Cupcake sexually abused. She eventually fled the house, only to find herself wandering from misadventure to misadventure in the “system,” while also developing a massive appetite for drugs and alcohol, an appetite she paid for by turning tricks. She settled down in Los Angeles and found a home in the Crips, where she was taken in and befriended by gangsters like the legendary “Monster” Kody Scott. For the first time she found a family, but when Cupcake was blasted in the back with a 12-gauge shotgun, she was once more taken in by the system.

At 16, her stepfather reenters her life and engineers an “emancipation,” in which the courts declare her an adult and free her, finally, from the child welfare system. Cup takes advantage of her new freedom to start a drug-dealing operation with her stepfather, who also manages a stable of colorful prostitutes. Soon she meets a man, falls in love, and gets married. He convinces her to get a real job and learn to speak proper English–but he also abuses her and introduces her to crack cocaine. Cupcake flits from job to job, miraculously, given that she never fails to show up without some cocktail of narcotics floating in her system.

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She hits rock bottom when, in desperation, she steals crack from her drug dealer. He beats her nearly to death, rapes her, and then leaves her body behind a dumpster. Cupcake wakes up days later, not sure of how she ended up in this state and from that moment begins to turn her life around. She was adopted by a lawyer who ran the law firm where she “worked,” and slowly he assisted her in kicking the habit–with the help of an eccentric group of fellow addicts who became, at last, a family to her–and catching up on her education. With the support of her new family, she eventually goes all the way to law school (although not without a few additional misadventures along the way) and joins one of the top law firms in the country.

Cupcake’s story is an inspiring, at times hilarious, often disturbing, and deeply moving account of a singular woman who took on the worst of contemporary urban life and survived it with wit and a ferocious will. It updates classic memoirs like I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Makes Me Wanna Holler, and gives a bold and gritty spin to contemporary memoirs like Boutique winter Dress Divided by Casual amp;M H Finding Fish. At the center of it, Cupcake is a charming and inspiring narrator through the inferno of her life.

Lit by Mary Karr

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Mary Karr’s bestselling, unforgettable sequel to her beloved memoirs The Liars’ Club and Cherry — and one of the most critically acclaimed books of the year — H Casual Divided by amp;M Dress Boutique winter Lit is about getting drunk and getting sober; becoming a mother by letting go of a mother; learning to write by learning to live.

The Boston Globe calls Lit a book that “reminds us not only how compelling personal stories can be, but how, in the hands of a master, they can transmute into the highest art.” The New York Times Book Review calls it “a master class on the art of the memoir” in its Top 10 Books of 2009 Citation. Michiko Kakutani calls it “a book that lassos you, hogties your emotions and won’t let you go” in her New York Times review. And Susan Cheever states, simply, that Lit is “the best book about being a woman in America I have read in years.”

Blackout by Sarah Hepola

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But there was a price. She often blacked out, waking up with a blank space where four hours should be. Mornings became detective work on her own life. What did I say last night? How did I meet that guy? She apologized for things she couldn’t remember doing, as though she were cleaning up after an evil twin. Publicly, she covered her shame with self-deprecating jokes, and her career flourished, but as the blackouts accumulated, she could no longer avoid a sinking truth. The fuel she thought she needed was draining her spirit instead.

A memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant, laugh-out-loud humor, Blackout is the story of a woman stumbling into a new kind of adventure–the sober life she never wanted. Shining a light into her blackouts, she discovers the person she buried, as well as the confidence, intimacy, and creativity she once believed came only from a bottle. Her tale will resonate with anyone who has been forced to reinvent or struggled in the face of necessary change. It’s about giving up the thing you cherish most–but getting yourself back in return.

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Between Breaths by Elizabeth Vargas

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From the moment she uttered the brave and honest words, “I am an alcoholic,” to interviewer George Stephanopoulos, Elizabeth Vargas began writing her story, as her experiences were still raw. Now, in Between Breaths, Vargas discusses her accounts of growing up with anxiety-which began suddenly at the age of six when her father served in Vietnam-and how she dealt with this anxiety as she came of age, to her eventually turning to alcohol for relief. She tells of how she found herself living in denial, about the extent of her addiction and keeping her dependency a secret for so long. She addresses her time in rehab, her first year of sobriety, and the guilt she felt as a working mother who had never found the right balance.

Honest and hopeful, Between Breaths is an inspiring read.

Fiction

Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard

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The New York Times bestselling author of Sweater Boutique Boutique Sweater Pullover winter Worthington Pullover winter winter Worthington Boutique 6YXPX and After Her returns with a poignant story about the true meaning — and the true price — of friendship.

Drinking cost Helen her marriage and custody of her seven-year-old son, Ollie. Once an aspiring art photographer, she now makes ends meet taking portraits of school children and working for a caterer. Recovering from her addiction, she spends lonely evenings checking out profiles on an online dating site. Weekend visits with her son are awkward. He’s drifting away from her, fast.

When she meets Ava and Swift Havilland, the vulnerable Helen is instantly enchanted. Wealthy, connected philanthropists, they have their own charity devoted to rescuing dogs. Their home is filled with fabulous friends, edgy art, and dazzling parties.

Then Helen meets Elliott, a kind, quiet accountant who offers loyalty and love with none of her newfound friends’ fireworks. To Swift and Ava, he’s boring. But even worse than that, he’s unimpressed by them.
As Helen increasingly falls under the Havillands’ influence—running errands, doing random chores, questioning her relationship with Elliott—Ava and Swift hold out the most seductive gift: their influence and help to regain custody of her son. But the debt Helen owes them is about to come due.

Ollie witnesses an accident involving Swift, his grown son, and the daughter of the Havillands’ housekeeper. With her young son’s future in the balance, Helen must choose between the truth and the friends who have given her everything.

The Patrick Melrose Novels by Edward St. Aubyn

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Edward St. Aubyn has penned one of the most acclaimed series of the decade with the Patrick Melrose Novels. Now you can read all five novels in one volume: Never Mind, Bad News, Mother’s Milk, Some Hope, and At Last.

By turns harrowing and hilarious, this ambitious novel cycle dissects the English upper class. Edward St. Aubyn offers his reader the often darkly funny and self-loathing world of privilege as we follow Patrick Melrose’s story of abuse, addiction, and recovery from the age of five into early middle age.

The Patrick Melrose Novels are “a memorable tour de force” (The New York Times Book Review) by one of “the most brilliant English novelists of his generation” (Alan Hollinghurst).

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

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More than 35 years since its original publication, Ceremony remains one of the most profound and moving works of Native American literature, a novel that is itself a ceremony of healing. Tayo, a World War II veteran of mixed ancestry, returns to the Laguna Pueblo Reservation. He is deeply scarred by his experience as a prisoner of the Japanese and further wounded by the rejection he encounters from his people. Only by immersing himself in the Indian past can he begin to regain the peace that was taken from him. Masterfully written, filled with the somber majesty of Pueblo myth, Ceremony is a work of enduring power.

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The Lost Weekend by Charles Jackson

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The classic tale of one man’s struggle with alcoholism, this revolutionary novel remains Charles Jackson’s best-known book — a daring autobiographical work that paved the way for contemporary addiction literature.

It is 1936, and on the East Side of Manhattan, a would-be writer named Don Birnam decides to have a drink. And then another, and then another, until he’s in the midst of what becomes a five-day binge. The Lost Weekend moves with unstoppable speed, propelled by a heartbreaking but unflinching truth. It catapulted Charles Jackson to fame, and endures as an acute study of the ravages of alcoholism, as well as an unforgettable parable of the condition of the modern man.

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Sasha Jensen has returned to Paris, the city of both her happiest moments and her most desperate. Her past lies in wait for her in cafes, bars, and dress shops, blurring all distinctions between nightmare and reality. When she is picked up by a young man, she begins to feel that she is still capable of desires and emotions. Few encounters in fiction have been so brilliantly conceived, and few have come to a more unforgettable end.

Crooked Little Heart by Anne Lamott

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With the same brilliant combination of humor and warmth that marked Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird, her two bestselling works of nonfiction, Anne Lamott now gives us an exuberant richly absorbing portrait of a family for whom the joys and sorrows of everyday life are magnified under the glare of the unexpected.

The Fergusons make their home in a small California town where life is supposed to resemble paradise, but for thirteen-year-old Rosie (last seen in Lamott’s beloved novel Rosie), reality is a bit harsher.  Her mother, a recovering alcoholic, is still beset by grief over the early death of her first husband.  Rosie’s stepfather is a struggling writer plagued by doubts and hilarious paranoia. And Rosie, aching in the bloom of young womanhood and obsessed with tournament tennis, finds that her athletic gifts, initially a source of triumph, now place her in peril, as a shadowy man who stalks her from the bleachers seems to be developing an obsession of his own.

Written with enormous emotional honesty, inhabited by superbly realized characters, riotously funny and wonderfully suspenseful, Crooked Little Heart is Anne Lamott writing at the height of her considerable powers.

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Alice McDermott tells the story of Billy Lynch within the complex matrix of a tightly knit Irish American community, in a voice that is resonant and full of deep feeling. Charming Billy is a masterpiece about the unbreakable bonds of memory and desire.

Charming Billy is the winner of the 1998 National Book Award for Fiction.

Which of these books would you recommend? Share in the comments!