When 15-year-old Cat moves to a new town in rural Michigan, she’s ecstatic to find a friend in Marlena, a beautiful, pill-popping neighbor. It would be really easy to simply gloss over the pivotal, seeping role of alcoholism in this book, being as it is, a truly gripping murder story. Today it is widely considered to be a landmark in early feminist literature, but its frank depictions of addiction within marriage are just as deserving of acclaim. Motherless (her mother died in childbirth), Esch’s brothers swirl around her, she is a sort of default parent to the youngest. To say that this book is about alcoholism is to discount all of the other things it is also about: poverty, depression, divorce, the death of a child. Bruno’s complete lack of contact with reality makes his alcoholism seemingly beside the point, but as the story progresses, I find my sympathies shifting as Bruno becomes more and more helplessly imprisoned by his disease. Created by Grove Atlantic and Electric Literature. The first book on this list was the one to really set my mind toward easing off the alcohol. There are also the self-help books, the AA manuals, the well-meaning but often dry (no pun, and so on) tomes to help one acquire clarity and consistency in a life where addiction often creates chaos and disorder. Marlena’s dark habits worsen, though, and she ends up dead within the year. By the time she was an adult in a big city, all she did was drink. Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life, Drink: The Intimate Relationship between Women and Alcohol, Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol, Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family. Her father is the one who drinks: in some parts of the story, he barely figures, and when he figures, he is often drunk and violent. This is the draw of staying in a marriage far beyond its expiration date, after all: even a nightmare can be comforting once you recognize its shape. Often, when we think of books about addiction and specifically alcoholism (in my case), we think of important, tell-all works of nonfiction. Hurricane Katrina is on its way, and Esch’s family is struggling. Then I told myself it was because I was a journalist working the night shift. I thought the point of drinking was to lose hours of your life to darkness. We're giving away a $250 gift card to Barnes and Noble! Trigger warnings: addiction and alcoholism, amid other mental illnesses. Before. In college, my friends and I joked that it’s not alcoholism until you graduate. She writes intimately about how she lived in denial and kept her addiction a secret for so long, and what her time in rehab and first year sober was like. November's Best Reviewed Memoirs and Biographies, Ryan Chapman on Maggie Nelson, Martin Amis, and James Baldwin, November's Best Reviewed Science, Technology, and Nature Books, Five Books That Make You Feel Uncomfortable Under Your Skin, November's Best Reviewed History and Politics Books, The End of Things: My Favorite Islands in Crime Fiction. I have found it very interesting and useful in doing more research on the topic. For what is known as a “domestic tragedy,” Louise Erdrich managed to create something incredibly beguiling and beautiful. I know it’s bad—so that means I’m different, right? Reading these books about alcoholism and recommending them to you is part of my personal therapy process. Between Breaths is a raw look at her life with anxiety and alcoholism, two monsters perfectly intertwined in her life from a young age. Fox: When Dealing with Serious Medical Conditions, A Little Laughter Helps. Reminder: You are more than your addiction. When Laura McKowen quit drinking, she kicked and screamed. And the drinking turned into blackouts. She wasn’t self-medicating and was able to truly feel her feelings and live honestly. Work events, brunch, baby showers, book club, hair salons—the list of where to find booze is endless. The book was so upsetting to her sister Charlotte that, after Anne’s death she passed on the chance to have it reprinted, and the book was neglected for a really long time. Thank you for signing up! Cupcake Brown was 11 when she was orphaned and placed into foster care. But then she falls for Booker, and her aunt Charlene—who has been in and out of treatment for alcoholism for decades—moves into the apartment above her family’s hair salon. Elizabeth Vargas, former ABC 20/20 anchor, revealed on air that she’s an alcoholic. Then I realized it doesn’t have to be that way. And then she got writing. 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