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R4R @ Rutgers: Reading for Recovery: Memoirs

R4R is a resource geared towards those interested in the use of bibliotherapy, i. e., guided reading, for substance use problems. It was created at the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies Library in 2015-2016 with the help of an ALA Carnegie-Whitney grant.

Highlight: Memoirs

Memoirs: Literature

Acclaimed, funny, heartbreaking and controversial accounts of addiction and its aftermath, these works present with great immediacy the struggles of individuals with alcohol and substance abuse.  Bibliotherapy’s power lies in the opportunity it offers readers to relate to someone facing similar challenges, and when the story is told firsthand, the link between reader and writer is all the more intimate.  Reflecting an array of backgrounds and personal circumstances, these memoirs are united by the common thread of the author’s struggle with – and triumph over – addiction, making each one of potential interest and use to the bibliotherapy reader.

Memoirs: Family Relationships

Memoirs about the impact of addiction and recovery on family relationships, and of family relationships on addiction and recovery, these works look at how individual families coped with the toll of substance abuse.  Just as the effects of addiction are never limited to the person suffering from it, the use of bibliotherapy need not be limited either.  These books offer a great entry point for the family and friends of those suffering from addiction to learn more about the disease and about the part they can play in helping to combat it.       

Memoirs: Celebrity

In a culture transfixed by the lives of the rich and famous, celebrity memoirs that address the topics of alcohol and substance abuse head-on offer a chance for bibliotherapy readers to see that addiction truly knows no boundaries.  In many cases having been driven to addiction at least in part by the difficulties of navigating their celebrity, the authors of these works have turned their fame into a vehicle to increase awareness about substance abuse issues. For the bibliotherapy reader, a celebrity memoir offers the opportunity to hear the story of someone instantly recognizable, and therefore relatable.