Finding Solace In Stories: Recommended Reads While Recovering

Reading on the Beach

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A different reality is always good. A hallucinatory state, even better. For most addicts, it’s all about a means to an escape. And once a person is sober, it’s all about saying goodbye to well-loved characters and a comfortable setting. It’s about saying goodbye to an alternate universe (and one that’s quite lovely, thank you very much). For a lot of people (and this is not an exaggeration), sobriety is a bit like dying or at least killing a part of yourself. In any case, the road to sobriety is not unlike venturing out into a vast, unknown universe. If you or someone you know is done with (or about to finish) a stint in a sober house, the real world could just be on par with Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. 

Without further ado, here are our top picks for readers in recovery.

1. Marian Keyes – Rachel’s Holiday
This is a story that will appeal to lovers of the “chick lit” genre. Although this genre is getting a lot of flack for being what it is, there are a lot of gems to found within this genre. This one’s a great example. In Rachel’s Holiday, we see makeup, clothes, and addiction. The protagonist could be just like any other woman who is capable of asking the right questions because she’s aware that she needs help. This book is almost masking as a light read but when viewed through different lenses, it is as multilayered as any recovery story could ever be.

2. Mark Leyner – Et Tu, Babe
Now, this book is not for the faint of heart. It’s not exactly a book about addiction but the language, the way the story is written, and the overall feel of the book is just like rummaging through a person on LSD. If escapism is what you want, then this book will surely provide it. Mark Leyner is famous for being loved & adored or completely abhorred. It’s rare to be in the middle when it comes to this author. Almost all his stories mention popping pills or drinking one too many alcoholic drinks and is never sorry for doing those things.

3. Donald Barthelme – Sixty Stories
The Don as he is sometimes called is a master of collage. His stories feel like collages and feels as if the result of one too many drug sprees. His stories are bordering on experimental and like Leyner, it’s either you get him or you don’t. His readability level borders on a 9 out of 10 – not exactly light reading material.

4. Irvine Welsh – Trainspotting
This is a classic novel about drug addiction and the culture that surrounds it. If you’re not much of a fan of reading, the movie version is excellent and can provide insight despite its gritty nature.

5. James Frey – A Million Little Pieces
Recovering addicts and addicts alike usually don’t care for this book because it seems too fantastical for a supposed memoir. In fact, this book is infamous for being a bit of a fraud. Read this book knowing that it’s a fictitious or embellished memoir about drug addiction and you will see this book as a gem.

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