Share 11 Powerful Stories of Addiction and What Comes After

11 Powerful Stories of Addiction and What Comes After

After several years in the Subsidiary Rights Department at Atria Books, Hilary Krutt now works as an editor at L&T, a brand publishing company. A former member of the Off the Shelf editorial board, Hilary continues to be an avid consumer (and sometimes reviewer) of contemporary fiction and memoir. She hails from Boston but currently calls Brooklyn home.

Millions of Americans are currently suffering from addiction, and countless more have lost their lives or a loved one to the disease. The following novels and memoirs are by turns harrowing, painful, and even humorous—and offer an ultimately hopeful perspective on the road to recovery and redemption that can follow one’s battle with addiction.


Dry
by Augusten Burroughs

When Augusten Burroughs woke up to an apartment so filled with glass bottles that he couldn’t forge a path through his living room, he was forced to confront his alcoholism. Burroughs, at risk of losing his job, landed in rehab, and after his thirty days began to reckon with his same drunken Manhattan life—and having to live it sober.

Dry
Augusten Burroughs

When Augusten Burroughs woke up to an apartment so filled with glass bottles that he couldn’t forge a path through his living room, he was forced to confront his alcoholism. Burroughs, at risk of losing his job, landed in rehab, and after his thirty days began to reckon with his same drunken Manhattan life—and having to live it sober.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Powerful Stories of Addiction and What Comes After

By Hilary Krutt | May 10, 2016

Close

Junky
by William S. Burroughs

In William S. Burroughs’s (no relation to Augusten) debut novel and cult classic, he fictionalizes his experiences using and peddling heroin in the 1950s into an engrossing work that dispatches its readers into the underworld of post-war America.

Junky
William S. Burroughs

In William S. Burroughs’s (no relation to Augusten) debut novel and cult classic, he fictionalizes his experiences using and peddling heroin in the 1950s into an engrossing work that dispatches its readers into the underworld of post-war America.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Powerful Stories of Addiction and What Comes After

By Hilary Krutt | May 10, 2016

Close

Lit
by Mary Karr

From the beloved author of THE LIARS’ CLUB, this memoir follows the self-professed black-belt sinner’s descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness—and her astonishing resurrection.

Lit
Mary Karr

From the beloved author of THE LIARS’ CLUB, this memoir follows the self-professed black-belt sinner’s descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness—and her astonishing resurrection.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Powerful Stories of Addiction and What Comes After

By Hilary Krutt | May 10, 2016

Close

Go Ask Alice
by Anonymous
A classic cautionary tale, this is the harrowing anonymous account of a teenager’s descent into addiction, recounted in the form of increasingly foreboding diary entries.
Go Ask Alice
Anonymous

MENTIONED IN:

11 Powerful Stories of Addiction and What Comes After

By Hilary Krutt | May 10, 2016

One Pill Makes You Smaller: Why Go Ask Alice Is Still Scary

By Suzanne Donahue | May 15, 2014

Close

Smashed
by Koren Zailckas

Eye-opening and utterly gripping, Koren Zailckas’s story is that of thousands of girls like her who are not alcoholics—yet—but who routinely use booze as a shortcut to courage and a stand-in for good judgment. Following her from her first sip of alcohol at fourteen to her decision to stop drinking in her early twenties, SMASHED is an astonishing literary debut.

Smashed
Koren Zailckas

Eye-opening and utterly gripping, Koren Zailckas’s story is that of thousands of girls like her who are not alcoholics—yet—but who routinely use booze as a shortcut to courage and a stand-in for good judgment. Following her from her first sip of alcohol at fourteen to her decision to stop drinking in her early twenties, SMASHED is an astonishing literary debut.

MENTIONED IN:

8 Favorite Memoirs from Instagram’s @BooksandPolkaDots’s Bookshelf

By Megan Gardner | January 6, 2017

11 Powerful Stories of Addiction and What Comes After

By Hilary Krutt | May 10, 2016

Close

Blackout
by Sarah Hepola

For Sarah Hepola, alcohol was “the gasoline of all adventure.” But when she began to black out with increasing frequency, she was forced to confront the repercussions of her drinking. This memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant, laugh-out-loud humor is the story of a woman stumbling into a new kind of adventure: the sober life she never wanted.

Blackout
Sarah Hepola

For Sarah Hepola, alcohol was “the gasoline of all adventure.” But when she began to black out with increasing frequency, she was forced to confront the repercussions of her drinking. This memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant, laugh-out-loud humor is the story of a woman stumbling into a new kind of adventure: the sober life she never wanted.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Powerful Stories of Addiction and What Comes After

By Hilary Krutt | May 10, 2016

Close

The Night of the Gun
by David Carr
From the late journalist David Carr, this is a revelatory memoir of his years as an addict, chronicling his journey from crackhouse regular to columnist for The New York Times.

The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Walls
Jeannette Walls and her three siblings spent much of their childhood fending for themselves in a dismal West Virginia mining town, neglected by their alcoholic father and flighty mother. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that, despite its profound flaws, gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
The Glass Castle
Jeannette Walls

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose stubborn nonconformity was both their curse and their salvation. In this astonishing memoir—the basis of the forthcoming film starring Brie Larson—Walls recounts how her family’s dysfunction left her and her siblings to fend for themselves, weather their parents’ betrayals, and finally find the resources and will to leave home.

Read a review of THE GLASS CASTLE here.

MENTIONED IN:

Readers’ Choice: The Top 10 Books on Off the Shelf Right Now

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 16, 2017

Happy Birthday to Us, Happy Reading to You: 13 Books We’re Giving Away

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 20, 2017

You’ll Want to Read This Book Before You See the Movie

By Lauren Fern Watt | March 6, 2017

11 Books That Remind Us There’s No Place Like Home

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 3, 2017

11 Powerful Stories of Addiction and What Comes After

By Hilary Krutt | May 10, 2016

13 Important Stories to Celebrate Banned Books Week

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 1, 2015

Close

Tweak
by Nic Sheff
This New York Times bestselling memoir of a young man’s addiction to methamphetamine tells a raw, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful tale of the road from relapse to recovery.
Tweak
Nic Sheff

This New York Times bestselling memoir of a young man’s addiction to methamphetamine tells a raw, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful tale of the road from relapse to recovery and complements his father’s parallel memoir, "Beautiful Boy".

MENTIONED IN:

11 Powerful Stories of Addiction and What Comes After

By Hilary Krutt | May 10, 2016

Everyone’s Addicted to Something: Books to Help You Pick Your Poison

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 15, 2014

Close

Carry On, Warrior
by Glennon Doyle Melton
Glennon Doyle Melton knows what it means to embrace both the messy and beautiful parts of herself. In this hilarious and poignant collection of essays drawing on her personal struggles with addiction, motherhood, and marriage, she offers advice to readers for building better lives in our hearts, homes, and communities.
Carry On, Warrior
Glennon Doyle Melton

Hilarious, moving, and profoundly personal, this candid reflection on the messiness of motherhood, marriage, and friendship reminds women that they’re not alone. With honesty and great warmth, Glennon Doyle Melton asks us to stop trying to live perfectly, and start living bravely and kindly instead.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Powerful Stories of Addiction and What Comes After

By Hilary Krutt | May 10, 2016

7 Books to Help You Reorganize, Reinvent, and Rejuvenate

By Emma Volk | October 6, 2015

Close

Leaving Dirty Jersey
by James Salant

In stark prose infused with heartbreaking insight, wicked humor, and complete veracity, Salant provides graphic descriptions of life on crystal meth - He details the slang, the scams, the endless craving, the paranoia and, psychoses, and weaves them into a narrative that is breathtakingly honest and authentic. A compulsively readable, superbly told story that is shocking precisely because it could happen to almost anyone.

Leaving Dirty Jersey
James Salant

In stark prose infused with heartbreaking insight, wicked humor, and complete veracity, Salant provides graphic descriptions of life on crystal meth - He details the slang, the scams, the endless craving, the paranoia and, psychoses, and weaves them into a narrative that is breathtakingly honest and authentic. A compulsively readable, superbly told story that is shocking precisely because it could happen to almost anyone.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Powerful Stories of Addiction and What Comes After

By Hilary Krutt | May 10, 2016

Everyone’s Addicted to Something: Books to Help You Pick Your Poison

By Off the Shelf Staff | May 15, 2014

Close

Thank you for joining our email list!

If you create and Off the Shelf account, you'll be able to save books to your personal bookshelf, and be eligible for free books and other good stuff.

Click here to create your free account.