If you are looking for a good read, and are interested in both fiction and autobiographical stories that relate to addiction and recovery, there are some great works out there. As you probably well know, there are many artists, writers and performers who have struggled with substance abuse, mental illness and other issues. The fact that creatives are often plagued with addiction and depression is no secret. Many of these stories are deeply personal accounts of the author’s experiences with addiction and recovery, and here you will find stories that range from heartbreaking and poignant as well as horrifyingly humorous and witty.


The Basketball Diaries

Author: Jim Carroll
You may have seen the movie, but if you get a chance to read this book you will see the stark difference from the Hollywood version to the real deal. The Basketball diaries is not a feel-good story, however it is a painfully honest and extremely well-written account of a teenage boy’s experiences with life on the streets of New York City. It starts off with him early on and follows the progression of his addiction.

Scar Tissue

Author: Anthony Kiedis
A moving and inspiring work from Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis, Scar Tissue is an autobiographical tale that spans Kiedis’s early teen years living with his father through the early days of the band, various exploits, successes, failures, bottoms, attempts to get clean and his tremendous growth and change.
Whether you are a fan of the Chili Peppers or not, you will no doubt find this a refreshing, honest, hopeful and entertaining read.

Portrait Of An Addict As A Young Man

Author: Bill Clegg
The gripping and somewhat indulgent tale of a successful young literary agent who throws away his career, savings and relationship for an all-out crack binge. This book has the author taking the reader through various levels of his addiction as well as his past, his childhood and the connections between all of the above.


Author: Melvin Burgess
Written as a gripping, gritty young adult novel, “Junk” is one of those tales you just can’t put down, even though it can be painful to read. The story follows Gemma and Tar, a young teen couple in love who decide to run away from home to London, where they become a part of the anarchist punk scene and are introduced to heroin. The downward spiral is heartbreaking and honest and well-written and will keep you turning the pages.

Pill Head

Author: Joshua Lyon
The all-too common story of prescription painkiller abuse is the topic of this story told by journalist Joshua Lyon. Today’s painkiller problem is rampant, and many who read this tale will no doubt relate to the ease with which the author obtained pills and became addicted. The story follows him through his addiction and recovery, creating a story of not only addiction but also hope.

Running With Scissors

Author: Augustin Burroughs
This tale is not solely of addiction, although it plays a part. But it brilliantly captures the chaos that is frequently found alongside it. This book touches on so many issues including mental illness, sexuality, child abuse and abandonment, victimization and resilience. The writing is a amazing and humorous and gut-wrenching all at the same time.

Prozac Nation

Author: Elizabeth Wurtzel
This is really a story of depression. It is relevant to anyone who has suffered from chronic mental illness and had trouble getting through day to day life. The attempts to “fix” it with anything from drugs to sex to self-harm are something that many an addict in recovery can relate with. Addiction and mental illness in one form or another often go hand in hand, and while this book has mixed reviews from some who feel that her tale is a bit self-indulgent, it is an important book for anyone who has ever struggled to understand what full-blown depression, as opposed to just feeling down, is really like.

Most of these books represent someone’s story and experience. While these people are professional writers, they no doubt found the process of producing these books to be cathartic. You may not plan to write a novel anytime soon, you can harness the power of writing for yourself by keeping a journal and writing down your thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams. You may want to write a memoir, or simply keep a daily log of what’s going on for you in your recovery. Try it!

Getting Help For Addiction

Broadway Treatment Center is an inpatient treatment center that offers cutting edge treatments and therapies for men and women who are struggling with addiction. Our program is set in a warm, welcoming and supportive environment. We offer life skills training, counseling, jail diversion and more. Call our program at (714) 400-2048 today to learn more.