While Hollywood doesn’t always create an accurate portrayal of addiction on film, the written word has been the source for some truly remarkable stories about the lives of those who struggle with drugs. The following represents some of the most realistic, moving portrayals of drug addiction ever published. Each book presented here represents a different look at addiction and how it impacts our lives.
Great Books about Drug Addiction
The Basketball Diaries (Jim Carroll, Fiction), Carroll’s autobiography about growing up with a heroin addiction in 1970’s New York City remains one of the most harrowing looks at the hopelessness felt by young addicts. Made into a film with Leonardo DiCaprio in the starring role, the story illustrated how a tough environment and conflict-filled home life can often lead to drug use.
A Million Little Pieces (James Fry, Memoir/Fiction), when author Fry was “outed” for faking many of the details in his harrowing memoir, it seemed like the author had little credibility left. But further research into his story found that a large percentage of his story was true -including his lifelong battle with drug addiction.
Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through his Son’s Meth Addiction, an unflinchingly honest book about a father’s struggle with his son’s crystal meth addiction. Beautiful Boy has not been on shelves for long, but it is already considered essential reading for any parent whose child is engaged in substance abuse.
Valley of the Dolls (Jacqueline Susann/Fiction), Although it has been much-maligned and parodied throughout the years, this tale of bored suburban housewives who numb their emotional pain with drugs was actually ahead of its time. Author Susann likely had no way to know that it would predict the epidemic levels of prescription drug addiction we are experiencing today.
Go Ask Alice (Anonymous, Memoir), Still hailed today as classic young-adult literature, this fictionalized memoir was written in 1971 and tells the tale of a young teenage girl who becomes addicted to drugs. The book has been used throughout the years as drug awareness propaganda because of the rapid journey the protagonist takes from experimentation to full-on addiction.
Junkie/Junky (William S. Burroughs, Memoir), This 1953 masterpiece is still considered the most detailed representation of the day-to-day life of a heroin addict. Burroughs used free-form prose to describe the ups and downs of heroin addiction, and what it felt like to always be chasing “just one more fix.”
By providing a window into their experiences, the authors have helped educate us on the potential dangers of substance abuse and the damage it can inflict -without having to live through the same difficult experiences they did.
Individuals with a drug addiction who want to write the next chapter of their life can find treatment and healing at Michael’s House. Located in Palm Springs, California, Michael’s House is a residential alcohol and drug rehab center that focuses on a “whole body” approach to treatment that delivers real results.
For more information, contact Michael’s House today at 760.548.4032.