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Updated: Recovery Books on My Radar

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Reading has been my favorite pastime since before I could only technically read. Though, I couldn’t make out the words on the page I would tell my parents vivid stories using the images in the picture books spread out on our laps. I ate up stories and when I could finally read, I ate up words. I’ve used books as balms, safety nets, havens, break-up cures, gifts, to educate, to understand, to love, and to cry. Books are my bibles and the authors I love, I worship. Below, find eight books that have resonated with me in the last few months. The last two books I list I haven’t read, but either the pitches and/or the reviews have moved me to the point that I know I’ll include them as my “best of” for some time to come.

In On Writing, Stephen King says:

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

Your journey starts now.

1.

Abandon Me by Melissa Febos

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When I first read this book, I read it in awe, taking in every tidbit of information Febos wrote articulately, gut-wrenchingly, and perfectly about. I felt every word in my bones. This is the kind of book that I’ll hale as a favorite for the rest of my life. Those in recovery and those just trying to get through life, will find a friend in this memoir, composed of essays that will feel timely, encouraging, and having you nod your head throughout it’s 336 pages.

Our favorite stories can be like lovers. Make sense to me, we ask them. Make sense of me. Here, fix these hurting parts. And stories do, sometimes better than our lovers.

2.

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Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp

A book that I avoided reading with vigor, until it dropped into my lap serendipitously at the library. I read in tears, at once, and with excitement. Set in Boston, the late Knapp writes about her struggle to quit drinking, meditating on the reasons she kept going, but always returning to why sobriety felt right. 

When you quit drinking you stop waiting.

3.

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I’m Just Happy to Be Here by Janelle Hanchett

This book had me laughing out loud and crying in turn. I stayed up late finishing it, clutching it in my hands when I reached the final page. Hanchett writes vulnerably about her experience.

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4.

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My Fair Junkie: A Memoir of Getting Dirty and Staying Clean by Amy Dresner

Dresner is one of my favorite people in the recovery world. I had the pleasure of texting briefly with her when we were both at the same event. Her book had me nodding along, excited to hold such a gift in my hands. Buy her book sooner than later.

5.

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This is How by Augusten Burroughs

This book is a book that sits very close to my heart as it’s one of the first talking pieces my now almost-wife and I had. I was reading it when we first started talking, staying up late to quote excerpts back to her. She bought it, and now our copies sit side-by-side on our bookshelf. It is a book of hope, redemption, a book that reminds you that your shortcomings are universal. You’ll instantly fall in love with Burroughs.

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6.

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From The Catholic Catalogue

Blackout: Remembering Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola

Another book I held off reading and I’m not sure why. Hepola’s story felt familiar at once. I enjoyed the vivid imagery, the like-mindedness, and how she told her story. 

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Want to Read: 

7.

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The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison

I first read Jamison in college. Since then, I’ve read Empathy Exams twice and seen Jamison speak in person once. The Recovering has been on my radar for quite some time and I even own a copy of her book. I plan on diving in just as soon as I have the time as I know her words have touched many and I honor/love her bravery.

But what’s amazing about recovery is that it acknowledges a certain kind of unoriginality—no one is as exceptional as she thinks she is—while also making room for difference. –From Jamison’s Paris Review interview

8.

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How to Be Loved: A Memoir of Lifesaving Friendship by Eva Hagberg (Forthcoming in Feb. 2019)

Serentipitiously, this book made its way into my inbox yesterday. One of my boss’s passed on the pitch he received and I instantly jumped on it. It sounds like the perfect book to dig into this winter. Hagberg writes from a place of dealing with her declining health, addiction, as well as relationships. I appreciate the title and what sounds like a vulnerable look into a difficult time. 

*All images are from the publishers/authors websites unless otherwise noted. 

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