The best books about addicts, addiction, and the damage it does

S.C. Sterling Author Of Teenage Degenerate: A Memoir that Explores the Depths of Methamphetamine and Drug Addiction
By S.C. Sterling

Who am I?

I was a teenage drug addict, starting with alcohol then gradually moving onto marijuana then onto crystal meth. I wrote a memoir about my year as a methamphetamine that details my drug usages, and how it nearly destroyed my life and everyone around me.

I wrote...

Teenage Degenerate: A Memoir that Explores the Depths of Methamphetamine and Drug Addiction

By S.C. Sterling,

Book cover of Teenage Degenerate: A Memoir that Explores the Depths of Methamphetamine and Drug Addiction

What is my book about?

In 1996, Scott was nineteen and lost in adulthood with an endless job and no future ambitions. Teenage Degenerate is his story about drug addiction, music, and growing up. Over the course of ten months, he quickly descends into the dark and dangerous world of crystal methamphetamine. Scott experiments with crystal meth in a dark, deserted parking lot in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, and soon after his crew of misfits will do almost anything for their next high. One by one, family and friends disappear, and he is left alone with a decision to continue fighting or give up. This is his struggle to reclaim a normal life and the search for something real.

Teenage Degenerate is a vivid, heartbreaking, and harrowing story that explores the depths of addiction.

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The books I picked & why

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

By Hunter S. Thompson,

Book cover of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Why did I love this book?

Hunter S. Thompson is one of the best American writers of the last fifty years, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the pinnacle of his writing. I return to this book every few years, and I’m always amazed at his ability to convey the depiction of a drug-fueled frenzy. This cult classic of gonzo journalism follows the journey of Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo as they travel to Las Vegas in search of the American Dream, all while consuming almost every narcotic known to man. Buy the ticket, take the ride.

By Hunter S. Thompson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like, "I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive ..."'

Hunter S. Thompson is roaring down the desert highway to Las Vegas with his attorney, the Samoan, to find the dark side of the American Dream. Armed with a drug arsenal of stupendous proportions, the duo engage in a surreal succession of chemically enhanced confrontations with casino operators, police officers and assorted Middle Americans.

This stylish reissue of Hunter S. Thompson's iconic masterpiece, a controversial bestseller when…

Book cover of The Basketball Diaries: The Classic about Growing Up Hip on New York's Mean Streets

Why did I love this book?

The Basketball Diaries is an uncensored view into the teenage life of Jim Carrol. It details his life in 1960s New York City as a high school student, a basketball player, and a heroin addict. It is a beautiful book about the dark and haunting reality of teenage drug abuse. Teenage Degenerate has many parallels with The Basketball Diaries and was an inspiration while I was writing my own book about my personal experiences as a teenage drug addict.

By Jim Carroll,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Basketball Diaries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The urban classic coming-of-age story about sex, drugs, and basketball

Jim Carroll grew up to become a renowned poet and punk rocker. But in this memoir of the mid-1960s, set during his coming-of-age from 12 to 15, he was a rebellious teenager making a place and a name for himself on the unforgiving streets of New York City. During these years, he chronicled his experiences, and the result is a diary of unparalleled candor that conveys his alternately hilarious and terrifying teenage existence. Here is Carroll prowling New York City--playing basketball, hustling, stealing, getting high, getting hooked, and searching for…

Leaving Las Vegas

By John O'Brien,

Book cover of Leaving Las Vegas

Why did I love this book?

A truly heartbreaking book about an alcoholic who travels to Las Vegas to drink himself to death, and the prostitute who falls in love with him. It’s a haunting story about addiction, but also a tragic love story. I feel this book is one of the best depictions of alcoholism, and how it can ultimately destroy you. The tragic story extended into real life as the author committed suicide a few weeks after signing the film rights. It is a hard read, but that’s what makes it amazing.

By John O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Leaving Las Vegas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A re-issue of John O'Brien's debut novel, a masterpiece of modern realism about the perils of addiction and love in a city of loneliness.

Leaving Las Vegas, the first novel by John O'Brien, is the disturbing and emotionally wrenching story of a woman who embraces life and a man who rejects it.

Sera is a prostitute, content with the independence and routine she has carved out for herself in a city defined by recklessness. But she is haunted by a spectre in a yellow Mercedes, a man from her past who is committed to taking control of her life again.…

Book cover of Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town

Why did I love this book?

This book examines the meth epidemic in rural towns of middle America. It is an amazing piece of investigative journalism that focuses on the seemly ordinary residents of Oelwein, Iowa, and exposes the reasons behind the epidemic. It details everything from production to distribution and includes stories from users, cooks, dealers, law enforcement, social workers, and family. It is an eye-opening account of what can happen when jobs go away and factories close up and leave town for good. I have family members from a small town, and this book is never far from my thoughts.

By Nick Reding,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Methland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize
Winner of the Hillman Prize for Book Journalism

Named a best book of the year by:
the Los Angeles Times
the San Francisco Chronicle
the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch
the Chicago Tribune
the Seattle Times

"A stunning look at a problem that has dire consequences for our country.”-New York Post

The dramatic story of Methamphetamine as it comes to the American Heartland-a timely, moving, account of one community's attempt to confront the epidemic and see their way to a brighter future.

The bestselling book that launched meth back into…

Requiem for a Dream

By Hubert Selby Jr.,

Book cover of Requiem for a Dream

Why did I love this book?

Another book about addiction and the American dream that manages to be beautiful and painful. This is perhaps the hardest book I have ever read, but also one of the most rewarding. It was dark and depressing, but a brilliantly written portrait of addiction. The way addiction sneaks up on you, and how it can become all-consuming; living and breathing the addiction. It was a very intense novel and one that stuck with me long after I finished the final page.

By Hubert Selby Jr.,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Requiem for a Dream as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Harry Goldfarb, heroin addict and son of lonely widow Sara, cares only about enjoying the good life with girlfriend Marion and best friend Tyrone C Love, and making the most of all the hash, poppers and dope they can get. Sara Goldfarb sits at home with the TV, dreaming of the life she could have and struggling with her own addictions - food and diet pills. But these four will pay a terrible price for the pleasures they believe they are entitled to. A passionate, heart-breaking tale of the crushing weight of hope and expectation, Requiem for a Dream is…

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