The best books about addiction from a former party girl

Anna David Author Of Party Girl
By Anna David

The Books I Picked & Why

Rachel's Holiday

By Marian Keyes

Rachel's Holiday

Why this book?

This book blew my mind when I first read it because I had no idea there could be such a thing as a hilarious novel about addiction. I will never forget this line she has in it about how recovery groups will be comprised of “middle-aged men in sweaters.” It was also the first time I realized that people in recovery outside of the US were just as hilarious as those here. The story is a fun sort of Bridget Jones romp if Bridget loved cocaine and men in leather pants but it’s the voice—self-deprecating, self-aware, and funny AF—that’s always stuck with me.


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Girl Walks Out of a Bar: A Memoir

By Lisa F. Smith

Girl Walks Out of a Bar: A Memoir

Why this book?

This gave me a story that I had no personal experience with—walking around as a successful person during the day (in her case, a lawyer) while managing a secret life of addiction. It’s great storytelling combined with insightful commentary on addiction and I believe was responsible for opening many people to the idea of being high-functioning while also struggling with addiction.


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Permanent Midnight: A Memoir

By Jerry Stahl

Permanent Midnight: A Memoir

Why this book?

This is the Holy Grail of addiction memoirs, as far as I’m concerned. It came out years before memoirs about addiction became a “thing” and remains the darkest and funniest addiction memoir in existence. I read it years before I was able to face my own issues with addiction and it did the perfect job of entertaining me so that I didn’t even consciously realize it was teaching me lessons that would save my life.


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Money: A Suicide Note

By Martin Amis, Bert Krak

Money: A Suicide Note

Why this book?

While technically not a book about addiction, Money is actually 100% a book about addiction. It’s also my favorite book ever written—one I re-read often. There’s simply no living writer with a skill for language like Martin Amis. I mean lines like “Unless I specifically inform you otherwise, I am always smoking a cigarette”? Genius. Saying his apartment smells like “batch” (for bachelor)? Referring to his teeth problems as a pain on his Upper East Side, while walking around Manhattan? I could go on forever about how much I love this novel; what other novelist would include a character named Martin Amis who annoys the protagonist—and also, a bit, the reader? The lead character—John Self—bottoms out not just on addiction but also on life and the fact that the humor keeps you laughing throughout combined with the utter darkness of the story makes it one of the best books in existence.


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Soberful: Uncover a Sustainable, Fulfilling Life Free of Alcohol

By Veronica Valli

Soberful: Uncover a Sustainable, Fulfilling Life Free of Alcohol

Why this book?

Veronica is one of the original voices out there talking about addiction and recovery—and it shows in this book. While the book shares personal experience, it also calls on her years as a psychotherapist and recovery coach. And yet, unlike most addiction and recovery books out there, it references many of the other leaders in the recovery movement—everyone from Gabor Mate to movies that touch on recovery.


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