Addiction memoirs are becoming ever so popular. It seems a boatload of recovering addicts want to tell their story. Although, simply because you write your memoir does not mean you must publish it for millions to read. Writing a memoir can be a therapeutic and intense lesson when looking at one’s life. Writing in itself is self-healing. This is due to the fact that some people can easily relay deep emotions that they otherwise do not feel comfortable sharing with people. Writing an addiction memoir is an amazing recovery tool that any person involved first hand with addiction should consider doing.
What Is A Memoir?
A memoir is an author’s personal account of a specific time in their life. That being said, an addiction memoir would take place during the author’s addiction. To me, the best memoir’s include the person’s recovery as well.
While I do not associate with Narcotics Anonymous and the 12 Step Program, one of the steps (the 4th step) does involve the recovering addict writing their own personal story (memoir). This will give the person a chance to get real, completely raw, and honest with them self. This helps addicts since addiction and dishonesty go hand in hand. Addicts are manipulative and deceiving, even to themselves. Some even view addicts as delusional. As a recovering addict, I can vouch for others saying this because I personally have justified the things I did with delusional thinking. We rationalize everything we do even though it truly does not make any sense.
Benefits of Writing An Addiction Memoir
As a person in recovery, writing your very own addiction memoir can have multiple benefits. While writing a memoir may not be for everyone. it is great for many. For example, if you love writing but do not like sharing your story or thoughts with other people. Then this is the perfect way for you to take a good hard look at yourself, how you perceive things, to see how you have grown, and what lessons you have been able to learn.
- Including your recovery success and triumph in the memoir can be inspiring for people in active addiction.
- It helps you to get out all of your thoughts and emotions of what led you to use drugs.
- The therapeutic values are incredible, it is a way for the person to finally put that part of their life behind them. You have a written testament of the downfalls you faced, the struggle, the magic moment of clarity, and the success you now have.
- Taking a long hard look at yourself can justify how much recovery has changed you for the better.
- It’s a rewarding experience. Just another item to check off your bucket list.
- Writing a personal memoir gives you a detailed account of the worst time of your life. You may notice or realize things that you never did before. Believe it or not, you can actually learn a thing or two about yourself.
The Downsides To Your Memoir
- If you plan on publishing your addiction memoir, remember to change the names of the other people you mention in the book. This way you can not be legally held responsible for slandering someone’s name even if it was not intentional.
- Every person has a different interpretation of the same event. As I just stated above, if you mention other people in your story then they could feel that you are being dishonest about the events that took place. That is when other people may consider it slander.
- In some cases, you can’t give detailed events because you simply do not remember. I know when I drank, I drank myself into blackout status, I can’t recollect the actual events. So, say that. Don’t make it up as you go.
Be honest with yourself if writing an addiction memoir. It will help you to see the error of your ways. If you find that it’s bringing forth emotions that you are not ready to handle then, stop. This may not be a recovery tool for you. Maybe it’s simply not stable enough in your recovery to write a memoir yet.
Steps in Writing Your Own Addiction Memoir
- Make sure you are emotionally stable and in a good place in your recovery. Writing an addiction memoir will bring up painful experiences. You do not want these instances to be a potential for relapse. Instead, they should bring up feelings that you never want to experience again. An understanding of how bad it was and how good it now is.
- Make a rough draft. As with any writing that others may see, you must write a rough draft. This should include all the fine details of your addiction. Plus, the details of your recovery. This will bring up emotions and hurt. If it’s not painful then chances are you weren’t truthful about the experience.
- Once you feel it is complete. Time to edit, go back over your draft. Leave out details if you choose to, change names, places, etc. In your heart, you will know what to leave in and what to leave out.
- Above all else, the most important thing to remember is, to be honest. Lying about your addiction and your recovery is never good. It does nothing but proves that you are still being in dishonest. That being said, dishonesty is a trait of relapse for those in recovery. You need to take a good hard look at your life to try to discover why you are fabricating your experiences.
You do not have to let anyone else read your memoir. The writing experience itself is rewarding. It gives you something to look back on. If you don’t want other people to read it, then don’t. You don’t have to publish it. It’s yours. It’s your past, what led you to become the person you are today in recovery.
Personal Addiction Memoir
I am in the process of writing my own addiction memoir. It’s going to be a longer process than I initially imagined. Writing is an absolute passion of mine. I feel comfortable writing my story down instead of verbally sharing it. Just as I hate talking on the phone yet, I don’t mind texting. For me, written words can say so much. You can convey all you need to through writing. It’s a personal outlet for me.
Writing about my past brings tears to my eyes. Just as every other recovering addict, I wish I could go back in time. Although, we all know that you can not change the past. Learn from it so you are not destined to repeat it.
What To Include In Your Addiction Memoir
Of course, there were good times in addiction. If there wasn’t we would have never become a full-blown addict. Although, it is clear that the bad definitely outweighs the good. Using becomes a daily necessity instead of a fun time. You don’t have to leave out the events that were funny, or the times you were enjoying life to its fullest. That’s part of your story.
Remember, you must include the pain, the sadness, the disgrace, and the torture as well. You must make others see why we continue to use other than the obvious physical addiction. Likewise, include why this addiction brings you to your knees, asking God for forgiveness.
One thing that I do not like about addiction memoirs that I have read is that people tend to leave out the recovery part. Some addiction memoirs do not even end in recovery. This is due to the fact that people delight in other people’s misery. The publishers recommend leaving out the recovery aspect so, it’s more appealing to readers. Not as an actual learning tool.
On the other hand, an addiction can also end with an overdose or untimely passing of the main person. In that sense, the addiction memoir may have originally been written by the author but had to be finished by another person,
As a recovering addict, I love to read about other’s recovery, how they got there and how they maintain their sober life. Even how they managed to create a life after the chaos of addiction. (Sound familiar, yeah that’s what this blog is about). That is how my addiction memoir will be, both my addiction and my recovery up until current day. If you want a sneak of my memoir, sign up here. Not only will you see a personal example of an addiction memoir if you’ve never read one but, you are getting a preview to the soon to be released memoir!
Hope and Inspiration
My absolute favorite addiction memoir is two books by Marni Mann. The first book in the series is Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales and the second book is Scars of A Memoir. If you are looking for a good read about heroin addiction and recovery, Marni Mann has created a must-read addiction memoir series. If you can’t borrow it from the library then I would consider purchasing it. Of course, Amazon is the cheapest.
I hope these books, including my memoir sneak peek influence and inspire you to write your own memoir. Don’t write a memoir thinking about becoming famous.
Write a memoir from the heart so that you are able to take an honest look at yourself. You will be able to see the strong and amazing person who you have become. Plus, all the trials and tribulations you had to endure and how you overcame them.
Sometimes, people need to hear your story. Your story just might prevent your past from becoming someone else’s future.
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