I love books and I love libraries! Just walking into that quiet space, the smell of all the books, and the thought of all the knowledge and ideas is so peaceful to me. The wisdom and life experiences people have shared in their books are endless. I love to read on every topic and find that books inspire my life’s momentum! Most recently over the last 2 years, I have read many books on the subject of alcohol abuse. Some of the books are very personal accounts of people’s experiences with alcohol while other books go more into brain chemistry and the science of addiction. I find the more I read the more there is to learn about my journey into alcohol-free living. These books not only helped me stop drinking, but they are also the fuel to my sober momentum. ( library here )
Have you ever wanted to write a book? I don’t think I will but I do see my life unfolding like a great adventure/mystery novel. Recently my autobiography is about my movements through sobriety. If I were to write a book my first few chapters would be about my dark experiences with alcohol and the power it had over me. Still, stuck, frozen, and lost. The next chapters would be filled with bright energy and would have examples of my positive momentum, of my living alcohol-free. My sober momentum is definitely one of my great achievements in life.
There are books on the market that claim to have the answer to beating alcohol addiction, but in my experience the momentum to take you forward from your last day one, into long-term sobriety, is often fueled from within the pages of many books. This library has been compiled from the books that our Boom Rethink the Drink community has found to be the most helpful and inspiring, not just to stop drinking but to work through the first months and years of enjoying life alcohol-free.
We’ve included thoughts on these books from many of our community members, as well as links to related posts from our Boozemusings blog, Ted Talks, and interviews with the authors, favorite quotes, and links to each book’s page on Goodreads, where you can easily access a variety of sellers or libraries in your area that offer the book.
If you are looking for support to stop drinking, or inspiration to fuel your sober momentum, come talk to us in the Boom Rethink the Drink community. How Posting in the BOOM Community can help you Rethink the Drink
These first Four books are a great way to get started on stopping drinking if you are in early days.
Alcohol Explained by William Porter ( first five chapters free online here ), Staying Sober Without AA by Charles Deemer, This Naked Mind Control Alcohol by Annie Grace, Tired of Thinking About Drinking by Belle ( download the book in PDF for free here )
Below is a list of books that have been influential to our community. They are organized alphabetically by Author in Several Categories –
Each title is active. Tap the title for information about the book in our library below.
Biographies of Addiction and Recovery :
- Quitter: A Memoir of Drinking, Relapse, and Recovery by Erica C. Barnett
- A Tonic for Gin by Hannah Blackmore
- Mommy Doesn’t Drink Here Anymore Rachael Brownell
- Dry by Augusten Burroughs
- Nothing Good Can Come From This by Kristi Coulter
- Mrs D is Going Without by Lotta Dann
- A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
- The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray
- Blackout by Sarah Hepola
- The Recovering by Leslie Jamison
- Drink by Anne Dowsett Johnson
- Drinking a Love Story by Caroline Knapp
- Sober Mercies by Heather Kopp
- We are the Luckiest by Laura McKowen
- The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley
- Another Love by Amanda Prowse
- How to Lead a Healthier Happier Alcohol Free Life by Lucy Rocca
- High Bottom by Tamy Roth
- Unwasted my Lush Sobriety by Sasha Scoblic
- Girl Walks Out of a Bar by Lisa F. Smith
- Between Breaths by Elizabeth Vargas
- Don’t Let the Bastards Get you Down by Georgia W
- Quit Like a Woman by Holly Whitaker
Self Help Books and Books on the Science, Psychology and Sociology of Addiction :
- Alcohol Lied to Me by Craig Beck
- Tired of Thinking About Drinking by Belle
- The Easy Way to Stop Drinking Alcohol by Allen Carr
- Staying Sober Without AA by Charles Deemer
- The Cure for Alcoholism – The Unofficial Sinclair Method Book by Roy Escapa
- Her Best Kept Secret by Gabrielle Glaser
- This Naked Mind Control Alcohol by Annie Grace
- Chasing the Scream Johann Hari
- Being Sober by Harry Haroutunian
- 7 Weeks to Sobriety by Joan Mathew Larson
- Dopamine Nation Anna Lembke
- Biology of Desire by Marc Lewis
- In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate
- Trauma and the 12 Steps by Dr. Jamie Marich
- The New Science of Alcohol and Your Health by David Nutt
- Alcohol Explained by William Porter
Additional Books that have Inspired and informed our Community
- Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind by Judson Brewer
- The Way Out: A Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven Approach to Healing Chronic Pain Alan Gordon with Alon Ziv
- Liminal Thinking by Dave Gray
- The Body Keeps Score by Bessel van der Kolk
- A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
- The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
- 90 Seconds to a Life You Love by Joan I. Rosenberg PhD
- Spontaneous Happiness Andrew Weil
Books to Help You Stop Drinking and Fuel Your Sober Momentum :
We have tried to include as many of the books that have influenced members of our community as possible with posts, articles, quotes, and interviews that speak further to each book’s influence. Most of these books are a combination of addiction/recovery biography, science, and sociology. The “How to Stop Drinking” self-help style books and books on science, psychology, and sociology are often written by people who overcame problems with addiction. Some are traditional and focus on the disease theory and alcoholism, but most are more likely to suggest alternatives to AA.
Staying sober happily is not just about handling the cravings and adjusted brain chemistry – it’s about living life in your own skin and growing to love the feel of it. If you are looking for books to help you stop drinking or encourage you as you build sober momentum we hope that you will return to this list often. It will be updated as new books are published that inspire our community.
“I realized that my sobriety isn’t a limitation. Sobriety isn’t even a “have to” – it’s a superpower.”
Brene Brown – What Being Sober Has Meant to Me
by William Porter.
Alcohol Explained by William Porter is mentioned more than any other book in our community conversations. When I read Porter’s book I read the TRUTH about alcohol. Drinking is sheer lunacy. The lunacy is that the anxiety and stress we drink to relieve are often caused by the alcohol to begin with!
Alcohol is literal poison to our systems. It changes our thinking processes, poisons our cells, and changes the way our brains work. Alcohol ruins our skin, our livers, and our internal processing systems. It alters how our brain responds to stimuli. I was slathering Estee’ Lauder and Lancome on the outside, taking vitamins like crazy, working out at the gym, then pouring poison over the entire garden when the little plants were desperately trying to come up.
Alcohol Explained WOKE ME UP.
Porter helped me understand exactly the effects of alcohol on the brain and the body. He explains homeostasis, whereby the body will adjust to chemical imbalances, such as those produced by Alcohol to try and maintain equilibrium. He explains Tipping Points which are so important to understand if you’re going to get started and stay sober long-term.
It’s a great book to start with when you’re ready to stop drinking. It can get a bit repetitive but still worth the read. Alcohol Explained was the info I needed to make my quit stick. Basically, after reading Porter’s book I was just pissed off so bad that alcohol was controlling me, and I don’t like being controlled at all!
You can start reading this book for free and immediately by downloading the first five chapters from his website – 1st 5 Chapters Alcohol Explained Porter has written a second book as well that focuses more on questions about slips and relapse.
More great reading from William Porter
and in the
more thoughts on Alcohol Explained from our Boozemusings blog–
You can find options to purchase or libraries in your area that offer William Porter’s book at this link: Alcohol Explained – Goodreads
Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind
by Judson Brewer
I am a lifelong anxiety sufferer who drank mainly to cope with uncomfortable feelings. No matter how I may have dressed up my dependence on alcohol, the bottom line was that I used it (and a benzo), starting in my late 40’s, to medicate my sometimes crippling anxiety. In my 71 years I’ve had a ton of therapy (much of it very helpful). I’ve taken a variety of medications for insomnia and generalized anxiety disorder. Putting down my wine glass for good was the single best thing I ever did for my mental health.
But it didn’t “fix” me. Living alcohol-free has brought challenges and opportunities for finding new ways to cope long-term without reverting to the numbing and destructive cycle of daily drinking I relied on for too many years. In the past 21 months, I’ve read widely about addiction and mental health. I’ve learned some helpful hacks (including tapping) for interrupting anxiety attacks. I do breathing exercises and meditate for at least a few minutes every day, and I get more exercise than I used to. All of it helps, and I’m thankful, but I ‘m not what anyone would call cured. I’m still me, for better or worse.
The new book Unwinding Anxiety, by Dr. Judson Brewer, has been blowing my mind on a daily basis while giving me practical, accessible, and science-based tools for dealing with anxiety and addiction that are very easy to apply.The author begins by laying a foundation of knowledge about the way our brains work, using the same basic information that Marc Lewis focuses on in The Biology of Desire.
You can find Brewer talking about his approach on numerous videos of varying lengths, and he has a good website full of free resources. The book is available on Audible and Kindle. Here’s the best overview I found. I recommend it for everyone who struggles with anxiety and/or addiction of any kind.
And from our Boozemusings Blog on alcohol and anxiety
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer William Porter’s book at this link: Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind
by Andrew Weil
Getting sober for some can really bring up anxiety, and some of us were drinking to push back anxiety and/or depression. Andrew Weil (America’s most famous integrative medicine doc) wrote a great book called “Spontaneous Happiness” (in the intro he said it has nothing to do with the title, guessing his publisher forced that for sales) and it’s all about ALL THE THINGS in our lifestyles that contribute to anxiety and depression.
He’s not against drugs BUT feels they are way over-prescribed and the medical/healthcare community knows very little to nothing about the other things that can mitigate issues and create a healthy balance. These topics are close to Andrew’s heart because he has dealt with a low level of depression for his entire life. It’s personal, and I think the book reflects that added treasure.
This is a FABULOUS book and of course caffeine and booze and sugar are huge contenders for screwing up our nervous system and brain chemistry balance.
He’s easy to read, unlike some healthcare folks, and filled with suggestions for lifestyle changes including breathing exercises and certain foods/supplements that can make a huge difference.
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Andrew Weil’s book at this link: Spontaneous Happiness
Tired of Thinking About Drinking
by Belle Roberston
Belle’s words are the words that I am most likely to share with someone in the early stages of stopping drinking. I read the first 100 days of her blog like an instructional manual in my first week sober. Belle is a Canadian living in France and a true sober hero. In addition to her book and blog, Belle works as a sober coach to many.
reading from Belle’s blog
Tired of Thinking About Drinking has helped me so much. I bought it on audiobook when I was going on a road trip, and have listened to it many times. Belle’s way of speaking about her experiences, what she has learned, and what has worked for the thousands of people she has helped really, speaks to me. It’s like she is a friend who has gone through the same things as me.
Posts inspired by Belle from members of our BOOM Community on our public Boozemusings Blog
I read Belle Robertson’s trio of books early in my quest to stop drinking: #1 How to deal with Wolfie and the drink now voice that lives in your head, #2 How to avoid another Relapse and what you can change going forward, #3 How to quit drinking when your Husband still drinks.
Belle has a clear, no-nonsense, no-bullshit approach to her coaching that appealed to me. I also subscribe to her free daily emails (she often includes free audio messages with her emails) at Tired of Thinking about Drinking.
Download the PDF of Tired of Thinking about Drinking for free, linked into the title while the offer lasts
“I wasted my life. And now, what little I have left, I want.”
Augusten Burroughs – Dry
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
by Eckhart Tolle
“A longstanding compulsive behavior pattern may be called an addiction, and an addiction lives inside you as a quasientity or sub personality, an energy field that periodically takes you over completely. It even takes over your mind, the voice in your head, which then becomes the voice of the addiction. It may be saying, “You’ve had a rough day. You deserve a treat. Why deny yourself the only pleasure that is left in your life?” And so, if you are identified with the internal voice due to lack of awareness, you find yourself walking to the fridge and reaching for that rich chocolate cake. At other times, the addiction may bypass the thinking mind completely and you suddenly find yourself puffing on a cigarette or holding a drink. “How did that get into my hand?” Taking the cigarette out of the packet and lighting it, or pouring yourself a drink were actions performed in complete unconsciousness.
If you have a compulsive behavior pattern such as smoking, overeating, drinking, TV watching, Internet addiction, or whatever it may be, this is what you can do: When you notice the compulsive need arising in you, stop and take three conscious breaths. This generates awareness. Then for a few minutes be aware of the compulsive urge itself as an energy field inside you. Consciously feel that need to physically or mentally ingest or consume a certain substance or the desire to act out some form of compulsive behavior. Then take a few more conscious breaths. After that you may find that the compulsive urge has disappeared for the time being. or you may find that it still overpowers you, and you cannot help but indulge or act it out again. Don’t make it into a problem. Make the addiction part of your awareness practice in the way described above. As awareness grows, addictive patterns will weaken and eventually dissolve. Remember, however, to catch any thoughts that justify the addictive behavior, sometimes with clever arguments, as they arise in you mind. Ask yourself, Who is talking here? And you will realize the addiction is talking. As long as you know that, as long as you are present as the observer of your mind, it is less likely to trick you into doing what it wants.”
At the moment for me, this is exactly right. I’ve read a lot of different books and authors, and attended many courses live and on-line but I now know that it all comes down to right here, right now. This breath in fact. I’m a very long way from perfecting this, simply because I forget. Forget to watch my breathing and reactions. I guess that is where a mindfulness or meditation practice comes in, training yourself so that you can catch yourself.
I’m not saying it’s easy, and I’m definitely not saying I’ve perfected this, but I’m the closest I have ever been.
Reading authors such as Eckhart Tolle and Michael A Singer, and in fact my entire life experience to date, has led me to my current belief that lasting peace is only obtainable by letting go of attachment. Attachment to addictive substances and behaviors, and the egoic mind.
This is of course a continuing journey….
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Eckhart Tolle’s book at this link: A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
Staying Sober Without AA
by Charles Deemer
I read this little e-book when I was about 6 weeks sober. It is 11 pages long and costs less than a euro. Most of the books I’d been reading up till then, were addiction /recovery biographies focused on stories of recovery through AA. I was immersed in the traditional disease theory of alcoholism, but Deemer’s little ebook, which offered quite a different message than AA’s, was full of AH-HA moments for me and it has been for most of the people I’ve recommended it to. Deemer helped me find my voice in sobriety as one of self-determination and independence.
more reading from our Boozemusings blog on Staying Sober Without AA by Charles Deemer
I really liked Staying Sober Without AA by Charles Deemer. This book was my first bit of quit lit and crucial for me in the beginning.
You can find options to purchase Staying Sober Without AA Here – Charles Deemer Staying Sober Without AA on Goodreads
Mommy Doesn’t Drink Here Anymore: Getting Through the First Year of Sobriety
by Rachael Brownell
When I was in my first month sober back in 2015, Rachael Brownell’s book was one in a stack that I devoured each day to help me get through wine o’clock without succumbing to my Siren’s song that I “wasn’t that bad”. There have been many books and blogs written on the subject of women and alcohol addiction in the 13 years since Racheal’s book was published in 2009 and some are masterpieces in the genre. As with every biography of addiction and recovery, I could relate to some parts of Rachael’s story and not to others, but no book has spoken to what I felt as eloquently as Rachael in passages like the one below that I typed out 7 years ago to share with other women just like me.
it takes a special kind of insanity to pick a fight with a time of day
I live at the intersection of postmodern Supermom and gypsy spirit. Freedom and liveliness and passion are more easily crammed into my busy schedule if I have a few drinks. Hell, the drinks are my liveliness and passion, my proxy for living a life more than cleaning floors and cooking grilled cheese sandwiches…I’m Alice in Wonderland with three small children, tight jeans, and a huge mortgage. I can shrink down, or rise up, with a few drinks or a magic pill. For me and other mothers like me, the Supermom fantasy has morphed from bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan into something far more dangerous, destructive, and dark .successful career, soul mate marriage, well-adjusted children who also incidentally speak a second language and are advanced in math and science. Who wouldn’t drink with this kind of pressure? Who wouldn’t want to die?……….
…I am not drinking anymore. I repeat it to myself over and over until I almost mean it, but it doesn’t sink in. It feels like pretending. I say ” No Thank You ” to the ghosts in my head. I go to meetings every day, sometimes twice, and I try to avoid the rhythm of my old habit, like being alone with the kids without a plan in the afternoon and evening or the end of the day when we’re all tired and hungry, when they’ve wiped the floor with me and what I need more than oxygen is quiet and rest, but there won’t be quiet and rest for hours and hours. These are the hours of my drinking. And now these are the hours when I practice breathing and reading and resting and talking to 12 step friends and my therapist instead.
Until getting sober, I never countered my kid’s unending demands on my time with healthy boundaries…..I simply complied with most of their demands and drank the feelings of exhaustion and resentment away…..I need to come up with a different plan, one that involves asking for help and admitting when I’m down for the count. After all, it takes a special kind of insanity to pick a fight with a time of day…..
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Rachael Brownell book at this link : Mommy Doesn’t Drink Here Anymore: Getting Through the First Year of Sobriety
by Anna Lembke MD
Psychiatrist Dr. Anna Lembke’s new book, Dopamine Nation, explores the brain’s connection between pleasure and pain. It also helps explain addictions — not just to drugs and alcohol, but also to food, sex and smartphones.
“Living in this modern age is very challenging,” Lembke says. “We’re now having to cope with: How do I live in a world in which everything is provided? And if I consume too much of it — which my reflexes compel me to do — I’m going to be even more unhappy.”
“I urge you to find a way to immerse yourself fully in the life that you’ve been given. To stop running from whatever you’re trying to escape, and instead to stop, and turn, and face whatever it is. Then I dare you to walk toward it. In this way, the world may reveal itself to you as something magical and awe-inspiring that does not require escape. Instead, the world may become something worth paying attention to.”
I just finished this book and highly recommend it! As a scientist the neurology behind drinking and addiction fascinates me, and shines a strong light on the dark shadows of misunderstanding – Knowledge is power
“The rewards of finding and maintaining balance are neither immediate nor permanent. They require patience and maintenance. We must be willing to move forward despite being uncertain of what lies ahead. We must have faith that actions today that seem to have no impact in the present moment are in fact accumulating in a positive direction, which will be revealed to us at some unknown time in the future. Healthy practices happen day by day.”
Fresh Air with Terry Gross interview with Dr Anna Lembke : In ‘Dopamine Nation,’ Overabundance Keeps Us Craving More
Dr. Anna Lembke: Understanding & Treating Addiction | Huberman Lab Podcast #33 :
Anna Lembke On The Neuroscience of Addiction: Our Dopamine Nation | Rich Roll Podcast :
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Anna Lembke’s book at this link Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence
Quitter: A Memoir of Drinking, Relapse, and Recovery
by Erica C. Barnett
I recently read Quitter: A Memoir of Drinking, Relapse, and Recovery by Erica C. Barnett, a talented political reporter based in Seattle. Her story really brought home to me how very hard it can be to know what you need to do, and yet to be physically and mentally incapable of doing it. If you are trying to stay sober and have struggled with sticking to your commitment, I highly recommend reading this book.
I know from experience that trying to quit drinking and then relapsing starts to erode your confidence. If you haven’t quit successfully, how do you know you can? Alcohol is the ultimate long con. You try to walk away but keep getting pulled back, and every time you do, alcohol is there to tell you – “why even try? It will always be like this.”
If Erica Barnett can do it, you can do it. If I can do it, you can do it. Do not ever quit quitting.
What lies on the other side of alcohol use disorder is pretty much everything. I have recovered my health, my relationships, and my excitement for this beautiful life. No, my life isn’t perfect and it never will be. I read a Glennon Doyle blurb about one of her early AA meetings where an older woman told her (paraphrasing) that the goal of life is not to feel happy, it’s to feel everything. And sober you will, so prepare for that.
I do think it’s really important to own my own narrative. I wanted to reclaim the story. And it’s not just my story. This is a story of so many people, and so many women in particular who are sloppy and messy and difficult and do things they are not proud of. We are taught to believe that women aren’t messy the way that we are, don’t do things that are embarrassing. By reclaiming that, I’m also saying: You have permission to be a screw up. You have permission to not be perfect.
Erica C. Barnett in Crosscut.
One year ago today I decided I was done with alcohol. Like so many of us in this Boom Rethink the Drink Community, I had decided that LOTS of times before. After embarrassing myself with work friends, getting sick after a party, or just graying out a beautiful weekend with zero to show for it.
This time my quit is sticking. It gets better. It keeps getting better. And when it’s not great, I am so much more prepared to handle and manage it.
Please don’t give up. The journey can be difficult but it will also be amazingly rewarding.
Alcohol is not your friend and never was.
More Thoughts on QUITTER A Memoir of Drinking, Relapse, and Recovery
By Erica C. Barnett:
Erica Barnett shakes-up and stirs the conversation around alcoholism and addiction – NPR interview by Sonya Harr
Relapse is Part of My Story – The Shair Podcast with Omar Pinto
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Erica C. Barnett’s book at this link: Goodreads – Quitter : A memoir of Drinking, Relapse, and Recovery
Being Sober: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting To, Getting Through, and Living in Recovery
by Harry Haroutunian
Dr. Harry is a physician at the Betty Ford clinic in the United States, a recovered alcoholic, and a long-term member of AA. His focus is traditional disease theory and 12 step recovery, which is not my cup of tea, but this book was was an important read for me in my first month sober. Dr. Harry helped me understand WHY it was so hard to have fun at the beach with my kids and our friends when I couldn’t share the cold white wine at lunch, and he helped me understand that if I stuck to sober that feeling of being denied the spice of life would pass. Haroutunian’s book is engaging, clearly written, and easy to understand. It is one of the classics of traditional AA literature.
From Being Sober
The disease of alcoholism and drug addiction affects one of our more precious organs:the midbrain ( more appropriately called the survival, or reptilian, brain)…The mid-brain dictates survival behaviors: to move away from danger and toward food; to breath in and out; to eat and to rid the body of waste; and, of course to procreate. These survival behaviors require reinforcement so that they are repeated over and over again by generations to perpetuate the species. That reinforcement comes in the form of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that, when released by the brain simply makes us feel great……..Drugs of choice affect the midbrain by causing it to release 2 to 10 times more dopamine than natural rewards do……Over time, our brain, overwhelmed by repeated surges in dopamine and other neurotransmitters, adapts….The result is addiction
….once we establish high dopamine requirements, normal pleasures-a day with the kids, a beautiful sunrise, a painting, or good music- don’t seem to satisfy the midbrain’s requirements for reward.
Alcoholics and drug addicts are often accused of choosing their fate, but there is little free will involved in addiction….
I’ve never heard an alcoholic say to his family ” Good night. I’m going out. Save a little cash for bail money. I plan to have my fifth DUI tonight.”
For the person with the genetic propensity to develop addiction, the first drink is a choice…but addiction is not a choice…it’s a disease with a target organ , a cause, and a set of symptoms. It is chronic and organic. It relapses. It remits. It is cunning, baffling, and powerful,…interrupting the pattern and making real change takes honesty, courage, and surrender.
It also means grieving the loss of our best friend…..
Related Reading from our Boozemusings Blog How to Override your Lizard Brain and For Those Struggling to Stop Drinking : Overriding your survival instincts or Walking through the Ring of Fire
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Harry Haroutunian’s book at this link : Being Sober: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting To, Getting Through, and Living in Recovery
Chasing the Scream
by Johann Hari
Chasing the Scream is a profound read! Johann Hari vividly tells the story of prohibition and the trauma to our societies inflicted by our current war on drugs. It is heartbreaking to see clearly spelled out, how we have been led into a model that causes so much more pain and suffering and continues to energize addiction and discrimination, racism, and abuse of basic human rights. An absolutely fascinating perspective and historical account, one which gave me many moments of deep thought on how I can lead and champion drug reform going forward.
Thoughts on Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think
Posts on the theme of connection from our Boozemusings Blog The Opposite of Addiction is Connection
“the core of addiction doesn’t lie in what you swallow or inject—it’s in the pain you feel in your head. Yet we have built a system that thinks we will stop addicts by increasing their pain. “If I had to design a system that was intended to keep people addicted, I’d design exactly the system that we have right now,”
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Johann Hari‘s book at this link : Goodreads – Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
We also recommend Johann Hari’s book Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions
I see drinking as a deep CRAVING, which we can’t switch off, until we do. We have to figure out what we REALLY crave, and for me, that’s CONNECTION. Johann Hari’s book “Lost Connections” is great, I highly recommend it!
Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget
by Sarah Hepola
What a marvelous book! I’ve read a few books in the Quit Lit genre since I stopped drinking, and they’ve all spoken to me in one way or another, but I really connected with this one. I was also a blackout drinker. More and more frequently as time went on. I thought I was the only one. Just like her, I would initially joke about my blackouts, but over time they became more embarrassing. I have been having the hardest time with sex in sobriety and among many other things her book helps explain that.
related reading from our Boozemusings Blog : Walking Away from the Wine o’ Clock Routine
Sarah Hepola in Jezabel magazine : Ask a Former Drunk: When Do You Know You Have a Problem?
Interview with Sarah Hepola on NPR’s Fresh Air : A Path From ‘Blackout’ Drunkenness To Sobriety And Self-Acceptance
“People who quit drinking become terrified they will lose their power. They believe booze makes them the people they want to be…Alcohol is one hell of a pitchman, and perhaps his greatest lie is convincing us we need him, even as he tears us apart.”
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Sarah Hepola’s book at this link Goodreads – Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget
Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction
by Elizabeth Vargas
“I’ve never felt so lonely as I did, back when I was struggling with alcohol. It’s a very, lonely, dark place, and anything that I can do, to help people get through that, because there is light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.”
I highly recommend this read if you deal with anxiety on top of alcoholism. I seriously sat down and read it in a day. It was THAT good. Totally relatable!!
more reading from our Boozemusings Blog on Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction
Elizabeth Vargas’s Podcast : Heart of the Matter
Interview from MSNBC : Elizabeth Vargas opens up about her recovery from alcohol addiction
Getting sober is SO much harder than staying sober. Why do you keep doing the hardest part over and over?
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Elizabeth Vargas’s book at this link : Goodreads Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction
90 Seconds to a Life you Love
Joan I Rosenberg Phd
This is a how-to guide for building the emotional strength, confidence, and resilience to help deal with the most difficult emotions. Dr. Rosenberg intrigued me with her thoughts that emotions only last 90 seconds. At one point she describes core shame and basically described me. So often we feel something but really don’t know what the feeling is….like failure. Feeling like a failure isn’t an emotion but feeling disappointed in how life has gone actually is an emotion. I have suppressed emotions and when they came up I drank to squash them back down. If you’re unsure of your emotions and how to handle them without alcohol, I highly recommend this book for that reason.
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Joan Rosenberg’s book at this link : Goodreads – 90 Seconds to a Life You Love: How to Master Your Difficult Feelings to Cultivate Lasting Confidence, Resilience, and Authenticity
by Dave Gray
In his book Liminal Thinking, Dave puts out 6 principles to create the change you want by changing the way you think – we’ve added links to posts from our Boozemusings Blog that offer some perspective on how these principles correspond with staying sober.
1. Beliefs are models. What does it mean to be an Alcoholic?
2. Beliefs are created. Write Your Own Narrative
3. Beliefs create a shared world. How Do You Stay Sober When Your Friends Encourage You to Drink?
4. Beliefs create blind spots. From Sober Curious to Sober Courageous
5. Beliefs defend themselves. Sobriety is a Dirty Word
6. Beliefs are tied to identity. Changing my Alcoholic Mindset
As he says below in the illustration, you don’t have to believe a hypothesis in order to test it. All you have to do is act as if it were true and see what happens. Ask yourself How would I act if I Believed this were true Fake it till you make it.
You can find options to purchase or libraries in your area that offer Dave Grays’s book Liminal Thinking here: Liminal Thinking
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
by Eckhart Tolle
Many people reference Eckhart Tolle, whether they are trying to stop drinking or simply working away from anxiety and depression. He hits some really deep truths about depression and just has a way of framing the human condition that I find personally and deeply relatable.
Tolle talks about aspects of rising from depression in a way that I had never heard. He answered questions that I had had for years, after being told by a mother who was sick of my depression, that my state of mind was a choice and that I needed to find a way to be happy. She never figured it out for herself but she hoped I could…which is a terrifying thing for an adult to tell a depressed 16-year-old.
Tolle showed me there is a toxic side to that that can make one feel like they are “doing it to themself”. He woke my ass up so to speak. But I had to listen to him a LOT so I recommend getting this on Audible. I have ADHD and reading is relaxing but novel and not a sustainable practice for me to absorb content…but that is MY BRAIN
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Lucy Rocca’s book at this link: The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
How to lead a happier, healthier, and alcohol-free life – The Rise of the Soberista
by Lucy Rocca
I read Lucy’s book back in 2015 when I was struggling to stop drinking. It was her voice that was the first that helped me see myself not as an anomaly, but as part of a growing group of women who were functional in every way all day, and then habitually drinking too much each night. She showed me that sobriety did not have to be a life sentence or a ball and chain, but freedom. Lucy started one of the first online support communities for people who want to stop drinking and are looking for an alternative to AA and has written several other books. She is also a podcaster and a sober coach.
more from Lucy Rocca in the Guardian
“Maturity has much to do with self-discovery and exploration of self, but I think for those of us who have lived through and emerged out the other side of addictions, the need and desire to understand ourselves is particularly strong. As a regular and heavy drinker, I thought I was outgoing, flirtatious, bubbly, a little bit of a daredevil, something of a maverick.”
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Lucy Rocca’s book at this link : Goodreads – How to lead a happier, healthier, and alcohol-free life: The Rise of the Soberista
This Naked Mind Control Alcohol
by Annie Grace.
When I started reading books to help me stop drinking, my first life changer was This Naked Mind, and then Alcohol Explained. Both books helped change my whole mindset about drinking alcohol, which I had always considered luxurious, well-deserved self-care. I now think of alcohol as poison. Period.
More resources from Annie Grace
More thoughts from our BOOM community on our Boozemusings blog on Annie Grace
Link to Annie’s free Alcohol Experiment 30-day online program that many of our community members have used and recommend
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Annie Grace’s book here : Goodreads – This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol: Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life
“For a long time, when it’s working, the drink feels like a path to a kind of self-enlightenment, something that turns us into the person we wish to be, or the person we think we are. In some ways the dynamic is simple: alcohol makes everything better, until it makes everything worse.”
Drinking a Love Story
by Caroline Knapp
Many have been helped by Caroline Knapp’s book, Drinking: A Love Story.
To me, she is the definition of quiet determination, strength, and beauty.
She overcame her addiction, wrote her memoir, fell in love with a dog, and wrote a book about that too, and recently thereafter found out her world was ending. She was in her early 40s and was diagnosed with lung cancer without much time left. She didn’t turn back to the bottle, she honored her life and was present right until the end. Married the man she had loved for years.
more reading from our Boozemusings blog – Alcoholic Analogy: Pickles and Cucumbers
‘The real struggle is about you: you, a person who has to learn to live in the real world, to inhabit her own skin, to know her own heart, to stop waiting for life to begin.’
I have read a lot of sober literature this summer and it really has helped my resolve. I think that Drinking a Love Story might have been one of the best “Quit Lit” books I’ve read yet. It’s funny, I didn’t think I was that much of a drinker. I knew I’d been drinking too much lately, but when I read some of the things she did – e.g. buying little nips at a corner store to ensure she had “enough”, or watching the wine being poured and feeling jealous if someone had more than her – I see myself. I did this for years.
‘There’s something about sober living and sober thinking, about facing long afternoons without the numbing distraction of anesthesia that disabuses you of the belief in the externals, shows you that strength and hope come not from circumstances or the acquisition of things, but from the simple accumulation of active experience, from gritting the teeth and checking the items off the list, one by one, even if it’s painful and you’re afraid.’
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Caroline Knapp’s Book Drinking a Love Story at this link – Goodreads Drinking a Love Story
If you would like to listen to Drinking a Love Story it is available here on Youtube
The Biology of Desire
by Marc Lewis
“I’m convinced that calling addiction a disease is not only inaccurate, it’s often harmful. Harmful, first of all, to addicts themselves. While shame and guilt may be softened by the disease definition, many addicts simply don’t see themselves as ill, and being coerced into an admission that they have a disease can undermine other—sometimes highly valuable—elements of their self-image and self-esteem. Many recovering addicts find it better not to see themselves as helpless victims of a disease, and objective accounts of recovery and relapse suggest they might be right. Treatment experts and addiction counsellors often identify empowerment or self-efficacy as a necessary resource for lasting recovery.”
I read Marc Lewis’ book The Biology of Desire when I was 8 months sober. It was the last of many books that I read that year on the topic of addiction and recovery. One of the interesting things about Marc’s book was that unlike the other books I had been reading it did not help me stop drinking, or inspire me to stay sober, but rather explained the awesome, unexpected growth that I was experiencing in recovery. It explained why my recovery felt quite a bit more like an adventure than a chore. Not recovery – discovery!
The Biology of Desire examines how our brains can evolve and change if we break the isolation of addiction by reaching out creatively to evolve. It offers positive reflections on the experience that people can have by connecting with generosity of spirit, rather than retreating in resentment, when they stop using drugs and alcohol to numb out.
As I read the book, rather than imagining the possibility of what Marc was describing, I recognized my experience in his words. I responded YES! That is exactly what’s happening right now! My brain was growing and evolving as I wrote my way sober in a creative community, and Marc explained why through the science of neuroplasticity.
His definition of neuroplasticity is so easy to grasp, and I love what he has to say about brain changes at the end of that long second paragraph.
“. . .a very important question is simply this: what does the brain do in addiction? But before trying to answer that question, we need to understand how brains change normally. In fact, brains are supposed to change. Brain change—or neuroplasticity—is the fundamental mechanism by which infants grow into toddlers, who grow into children, who grow into adults, who continue to grow. Brain change underlies the transformations in thinking and feeling that characterize early adolescence. In fact, developmental neuroscientists estimate that “as many as 30,000 synapses may be lost per second over the entire cortex during the pubertal/adolescent period.” Brain change is necessary for language acquisition and impulse control in early childhood, and for learning to drive a car, play a musical instrument, or appreciate opera later in life. Brain change underlies religious conversion, becoming a parent, and, not surprisingly, falling in love. Brains have to change for learning to take place. Without physical changes in brain matter, learning is impossible. Synapses appear and self-perpetuate or weaken and disappear in everyday learning. Learning alters the communication patterns between brain regions and builds unique configurations of synapses (synaptic networks) that house knowledge, skill, and memory itself. The connection between learning and brain change has been studied for more than a hundred years: it was reasonably well understood by the 1940s, and the search for specific cellular mechanisms continues today. Whether repairing the damage caused by a minor stroke or altering emotional processes in the wake of trauma, neuroplasticity is at the top of the brain’s resumé.
To repeat: proponents of the disease model argue that addiction changes the brain. And they’re right. It does. But the brain changes anyway, at every level: gene expression, cell density, the concentration and location of synapses and their fibres, even the size and shape of the cortex itself. Of course, neuroscientists who subscribe to the disease model must know that brains change with learning and development. So they must view the brain change that accompanies addiction as extreme or pathological. In fact, they would have to show exactly that in order to be convincing. They would have to show that the kind (or extent or location) of brain change characteristic of addiction is nothing like what we see in normal learning and development, or even in the more extreme transitions people go through when they fall in love or have children. But that’s where they step onto thin ice. The kind of brain changes seen in addiction also show up when people become absorbed in a sport, join a political movement, or become obsessed with their sweetheart or their kids. The brain contains only a few major traffic routes for goal seeking. Like the main streets of a busy city, the same routes get dug up and paved over time and time again, no matter who’s in charge. ”
From Marc Lewis’s blog – Befriending the part that wants to get high and Meditation and IFS: similar places, different paths
From our Boozemusings Blog on Marc Lewis and neuroplasticity: My Beautiful Mind at 1,000 days Sober and How I Became Alcohol-Free – Thoughts on Neuroplasticity and Neurogenesis
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Marc Lewis’s book at this link: The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease – Goodreads
The Way Out: A Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven Approach to Healing Chronic Pain
by Alan Gordon with Alon Ziv
If you used alcohol as a quick-acting analgesic for chronic pain, you might want to take a look at this book. The book got enthusiastic blurbs from (among others) Andrew Weil, Gabor Maté, Sharon Salzberg, Judson Brewer, and Annie Grace, who called it “quite possibly the most important pain book ever written.”
At 2 1/2 years AF (alcohol-free), I decided to try a different kind of sober reward that’s in line with my 2022 goal of increased self-compassion. First, after checking it out pretty thoroughly, I got myself an annual subscription to Curable, an app-based program for chronic pain control. I heard a podcast episode there that really impressed me and led me to buy this book.
So far it’s blowing my mind and making me feel like I may have finally found something that’s going to work for two different chronic pain conditions I’ve been carrying around for a number of years. I’m a big believer in the mind-body connection, but I wouldn’t have been able to put all this research-based information into systematic practice on my own.
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Alan Gordon’s book at this link: The Way Out: A Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven Approach to Healing Chronic Pain
Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk
by Heather Kopp
I loved Heather Kopp’s book ‘ Sober Mercies’. I listened to the audiobook A LOT. I could relate to a lot of her story. I’m filled with shame & remorse when I think about the risks that I took to selfishly indulge , drown myself in booze. Driving, sneaking. Sneaking whilst driving !!! I cringe. I thank my lucky stars. Whatever you want to call it. I got away with it. For years I got away with the deceit & lies. I was never stopped and breathalyzed. The fear! Taking risks in life can be healthy and worthwhile. There was nothing healthy in my choices back then. I plead with you to avoid taking those risks. I could have lost everything. Join me today in choosing freedom from the lies that alcohol promises.I am grateful for small mercies. My life is quiet. My life is sober. And that’s ok 😘☕️
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Heather Kopp’s book at this link : Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up with a Christian Drunk – Goodreads
The New Science of Alcohol and Your Health
by David Nutt
I was an occasional binge drinker thinking of taking a break and then trying to moderate my drinking. This book is what made me decide to go alcohol-free completely instead of just taking a break.
A TERRIFYING new “legal high” has hit our streets. Methylcarbonol, known by the street name “wiz”, is a clear liquid that causes cancers, liver problems, and brain disease, and is more toxic than ecstasy and cocaine. Addiction can occur after just one drink, and addicts will go to any lengths to get their next fix – even letting their kids go hungry or beating up their partners to obtain money. Casual users can go into blind RAGES when they’re high, and police have reported a huge increase in crime where the drug is being used. Worst of all, drinks companies are adding “wiz” to fizzy drinks and advertising them to kids like they’re plain Coca-Cola. Two or three teenagers die from it EVERY WEEK overdosing on a binge, and another TEN from having accidents caused by reckless driving. “Wiz” is a public menace – when will the Home Secretary think of the children and make this dangerous substance Class A?”
Interview with Prof. David Nutt on How Big Alcohol Controls Everything – Deep Dive into Alcohol
An absolutely brilliant, 45 minutes long, podcast between Dr. David Nutt and Dr. Gabor Mate, about addiction, ayahuasca, harm reduction, and natural medicines to help heal the deep traumas so many of us now hold Trauma and Stress with Gabor Mate
and from the Guardian Former government advisor David Nutt says alcohol is more damaging than harder drugs
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer David Nutt’s book here: Goodreads – Drink?: The New Science of Alcohol and Your Health
7 weeks to sobriety
by Joan Mathews Larson
This book addresses the underlying anxiety and depression that for some of us, have been a huge, undetected, area of concern (even preceding alcohol). It includes lots of quizzes to help you work out what kind of drinker you are and a 2-week detox program along with suggestions for many supplements to help heal your body and get you back to normal. Years after reading this I still take some of the nutrients suggested at bedtime (Magnesium, Evening Primrose Oil, L-Glutamine). Published 20 years ago, but still relevant!
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Joan Mattew’s book at this link : Seven Weeks to Sobriety: The Proven Program to Fight Alcoholism through Nutrition – Goodreads
Nothing Good Can Come from This: Essays
by Kristi Coulter
People sometimes say, “I don’t want to read a book about drinking.” And I tell them that it’s not really a book about drinking. It’s a book about giving up the one thing you thought you had to have and what you do when you no longer have it.
She is just such a smart writer, I was glued to every page. Kristi isn’t afraid. She just calls them as she sees them. This gem of a book makes you laugh while dealing with serious stuff – great for this first period of sobriety! I love her idea that the hole we feel inside (and try to fill up with booze and other stuff) is perhaps, in fact: just a space! If you haven’t read her book of essay’s Nothing Good Will Come of This, do check it out!
interview with Kristi BUILDING THE MUSCLE: A CONVERSATION WITH KRISTI COULTER
and from Boozemusings I dreamt that Kristi Coulter was my Therapist
“You are perilously close to having the life you’ve always wanted,” she says. “It’s not surprising to me that you would panic.”
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Kristi Coulter’s book at this link : Nothing Good Can Come of This – Goodreads
The Easy Way to Stop Drinking Alcohol
by Allen Carr.
I would consider Allen Carr to be one of the pioneering self-help authors and his book is still very relevant today. He also wrote the “Easy Way to Stop Smoking” in 1985 and both books stand the test of time. Many of the authors on this page stopped drinking after reading Allen Carr and then evolved his ideas for the 21st century.
more thoughts on Allen Carr’s book The Easy Way to Stop Drinking Alcohol –
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Allen Carr’s book at this link : The Easy Way to Stop Drinking – Goodreads
The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath
by Leslie Jamison
From The New Yorker – Leslie Jamison’s “The Recovering” and the Stories We Tell About Drinking What the literature of alcoholism suggests about the nature of addiction.
“It seems there are two kinds of American writers. Those who drink, and those who used to.”
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Leslie Jamison’s book at this link : The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath
In The Realm of the Hungry Ghosts
by Gabor Mate
Related reading from on our Boozemusings blog The Hungry Ghost : Evolving Away from Childhood Pain
“The inhabitants of the Hungry Ghost Realm are depicted as creatures with scrawny necks, small mouths, emaciated limbs and large, bloated, empty bellies. This is the domain of addiction, where we constantly seek something outside ourselves to curb an insatiable yearning for relief or fulfillment. The aching emptiness is perpetual because the substances, objects or pursuits we hope will soothe it are not what we really need. We don’t know what we need, and so long as we stay in the hungry ghost mode, we’ll never know. We haunt our lives without being fully present.”
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Gabor Mate’s book at this link: In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction – Goodreads
Drink The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol
by Anne Dowsett Johnson
more reading – The Women Who Empowered me to Drop the Wine o’ Clock Routine and from the Guardian by Anne Dowsett Johnson Women, we’ve got to talk about our drinking
the richer the country, the fewer abstainers and the smaller the gap between male and female consumption
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Ann Dowsett Johnston’s book at this link : Drink -Goodreads
by Augusten Burroughs
“And in my mind, this settles the issue. I would never drink cologne, and am therefore not an alcoholic.”
Augusten Burrough’s addiction/recovery biography Dry was one of the books that kept me going in my second month sober. I read the book over 7 years ago but remember it as a 5 out of 5 among the books that helped me stay sober. Not just sober but sober with a positive attitude, a laugh, and a smile.
“I sit there and think how it isn’t fair that I can’t drink at all, even a little. I realize I have crammed an entire lifetime of moderate drinking into a decade of hard-core drinking and that is why. I blew my wad.”
Augusten’s book is as much a love story as it is an addiction/recovery bio. It’s about falling in love with the wrong guy and suffering the loss of the right guy and then falling in love with life after crawling out from under a pile of bottles.
Falling in love with life is exactly what my sobriety has turned out to be.
Augusten dries out in rehab and works the steps in AA like most of the authors of the biographies I read during my first three months sober. I’ve never been to an AA meeting and don’t really ever want to attend an AA meeting but I did want to in my early months alcohol-free. I wanted a sponsor who was wise and calm and reflected the radiance of sobriety like the ones I read about in these books.
“Freshly brainwashed from rehab, I carry the bottle into the bathroom. I hold it up to the light. See the pretty bottle? Isn’t it beautiful? Yes, it’s beautiful. I unscrew the cap and pour it into the toilet. I flush twice. And then I think, why did I flush twice? The answer, is of course, because I truly do know myself. I cannot be sure I won’t attempt to drink from the toilet, like a dog.”
I remember really understanding for the first time in reading Augusten’s story, that the best person to help someone trying to stay sober was someone who had done that, was doing that, themselves, and that ultimately, one day sober was better than 1,000 days drunk.
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Augusten Burroughs’s book at this link : Dry – Goodreads
Alcohol Lied to Me
by Craig Beck
Craig Beck’s book was life-changing for me. He explains that people addicted to alcohol are no different than people that get addicted to heroin or whatever other drug of choice. The only difference is that in our society, alcohol is not viewed as such an addictive drug. It changed my whole way of thinking.
more from Craig Beck – Happy Sober Podcasts
I Love what Craig Beck has to say!!! Very helpful since I’ve been obsessed with having wine after I’ve reached 100 alcohol-free days. I learned from one of his podcasts that I am a problem drinker who is “psychologically” addicted not physically. Which is good in a way because I have the power to change that part!!! My SUBCONSCIOUS had been busy creating a HABIT of drinking, no matter how much my CONSCIOUS (willpower) tries to tell myself to quit. We are not weak and we do NOT lack willpower, we just need to change our unconscious mind by creating NEW HABITS! I’ve learned that few people are actually PHYSICALLY addicted to alcohol after 2 weeks of NOT drinking.
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Craig Becks book at this link : Alcohol Lied to Me: The Intelligent Way to Escape Alcohol Addiction
“The global wellness economy is estimated to be worth four trillion dollars. Four trillion dollars. We are on an endless and expensive quest for wellness and vitality and youth. And we drink fucking rocket fuel.”
Holly Whitaker – Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol
Girl Walks Out of a Bar
by Lisa F. Smith
An addiction memoir of someone who seems completely in control while being radically out of control. So many of my friends and family had NO IDEA how much I was struggling with alcohol. This book made me feel like I wasn’t alone.
You can find options to purchase or libraries in your area that offer Girl Walks out of a Bar here – Girls Walks Out of a Bar Goodreads
Trauma and the Twelve Steps
by Dr Jamie Marich
For people who are interested in examining different approaches to the 12 steps Trauma and the Twelve Steps has changed my outlook radically! I have PTSD, and this book makes more sense than the 12 Steps by themselves.
Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions
by Russell Brand
‘’We have been told that freedom is the ability to pursue petty, trivial desires when true freedom is freedom from these petty, trivial desires.’’
Love him or loathe him, he has been outspoken about his sobriety, and our drinking cultures; breaking down stigmas and he speaks captivatingly on the subject.
“The feeling you have that ‘there’s something else’ is real. What happens when you don’t follow the compulsion? What is on the other side of my need […]? The only way to find out is to not do it, and that is a novel act of faith.”
You can find options to purchase or libraries in your area that offer Russell Brand’s book here : Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions – Goodreads
Mrs. D is Going Without: I used to be a boozy housewife. Now I’m not. This is my book.
by Lotta Dann
My first attempt to get sober was in 2013. I was inspired by a blog I read written by Lotta Dann called Mrs. D is Going Without. Lotta is very funny and motivating. She wrote a book by the same name as her blog and I loved it. She has written two more books since then. Lotta organized the blog posts of her first year sober by month. I found it so helpful to read about her experiences while going through many of the same things she did. Her first book, Mrs. D is Going Without, is written about her first year of sobriety by month also. It is basically the blog posts which an editor organized and put into a book. I recommend reading a few of the blog posts and see if you like her style of writing. I found it so helpful in the early days.
Recent Interview with Lotta Dann on The Bubble Hour Podcast THE BUBBLE HOUR LOTTA DANN AND THE WINE O’CLOCK MYTH
You can find options to purchase or libraries in your area that offer Lotta Dann’s book at this link : Mrs D is Going Without – Goodreads
by Tamy Roth
related reading from her website Tammy Roth, PhD
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Tamy Roth’s book at this link : High Bottom: Letting Go of Vodka & Chardonnay
The Sober Diaries
by Clare Pooley
I first encountered Clare Pooley’s writing on her blog Mommy was a Secret Drinker. Anyone that describes getting sober as an obstacle course that leads to a field of bunnies, gets my vote.
From Clare Pooley’s blog The Obstacle Course
The Sober Diaries, like Clare’s blog, is funny, disarming, and honest. I can wholly relate to the constant restlessness Clare describes from her drinking days. She always wanted to be somewhere else. She only felt completely at peace when she had a drink in her hand. Rather than being mindful and in the moment she was always concentrating on what was next.
I thought that the constant restlessness I felt was just part of who I was. I now understand that when I was drinking, because my base level of dopamine had dropped due to abuse of alcohol, it caused me to feel restless. I was never at peace, always feeling that something was missing. Sobriety, on the other hand, is bringing me this beautiful gift of being at peace in the moment.
What a revelation!
IT’S OK TO NOT ACCEPT YOU’RE NOT OK.
Clare talks in her book about how at a certain point in her sobriety she dug out a picture of herself at age 10. She looked closely at this girl in the photo and said out loud (paraphrasing)…
Do I want this girl to drink anymore?
Do I want her to nurse hangovers full of shame and regret?
Do I want her hate herself?
How can I take care of her now?
What can I do today, to honour her hopes and dreams?
We all have that chance now. To take care of that 10-year-old girl or boy in us. Things go wrong in life and we can’t always protect that small person, but there is ALWAYS time to change the narrative.
“That’s the thing about the wine witch. She cuts brilliant lives short, and ensures that others are only half lived. She makes children grow up thinking it is normal for adults to drink all evening, every evening. She fixes it so mothers are woken up in the middle of the night by a stranger telling them their only child was found dead in a ditch, next to someone she barely knew.”
Make that 10-year-old self of yours proud. Xx
MORE FROM CLARE POOLY ON MAKING SOBRIETY LESS SHAMEFUL :
” When you become addicted to Smoking, they blame the NICOTINE. When you become addicted to Alcohol they blame YOU. Alcohol is the only drug you have to justify NOT taking.”
You can find options to purchase or libraries in your area that offer Clare Pooley’s book at this link : The Sober Diaries: How one woman stopped drinking and started living
The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober
by Catherine Gray
Reading The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober has given me plenty of tools to use in stopping drinking. It’s been especially useful for me is understanding addictive voice recognition, the voice of Ill-logic that wheedles its way into my thoughts and encourages me to drink, you know the one: ‘you deserve it’, ‘your an adult and everyone else is doing it, go on, have fun!’, ‘your alone, go get some booze, it’s your time!’. Catherine gave her voice a name, Voldemort which allowed her to personify and ultimately resist. I like that idea!
“Drinking has become our socializing mother tongue.”
You can find options to purchase or libraries in your area that offer Catherine Gray’s book at this link: The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober
The Globalization of Addiction – A Study in Poverty of the Spirit
by Bruce Alexander
You can find options to purchase or libraries in your area that offer Bruce Alexander’s book at this link: The Globalisation of Addiction: A Study in Poverty of the Spirit
Her Best Kept Secret : Why Women Drink—And How They Can Regain Control
by Gabrielle Glaser
There are two books that I read back to back when I first stopped drinking in 2015. One by Anne Dowsett Johnston – Drink- and the other by Gabrielle Glaser – Her Best Kept Secret. Drink spoke to traditional recovery through AA and Her Best Kept Secret spoke out against the toxic patriarchy of the AA tradition. I read the two books over a three-day weekend and they helped me understand the culture I’d been raised in. A culture that taught me I should be perfect, I should be able to do everything and that alcohol was the panacea to all my stress. Other books have been written on that theme since those but they were the trailblazers. I found Glaser’s book to be excellent! It did not encourage me to try moderation but helped me see that I was not ever going to be able to be a moderate drinker and didn’t need to feel that AA was the only place where long-term sobriety could be achieved.
Unwasted my Lush Sobriety
by Sacha Z. Scoblic
“I want to live a big life, where every moment goes unwasted.”
more reading – If the world were coming to an end would I drink?
“Bottom isn’t skid row or the heartbreaking sound of a child coughing; bottom is just where you happen to be when you stop tunneling and start climbing.”
A Million Little Pieces
by James Frey
A Million Little Pieces was a book that struck me like a film that leaves you walking out in complete silence over its powerful effect on your thoughts.
more reading from our Boozemusings blog on A Million Little Pieces – That Voice
The first addiction memoir I ever read was James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces”about a decade ago. He took artistic license with facts and manufactured a lot of drama (isn’t that just what addicts do?) but I still loved it. I was spiraling in the isolation and shame of just starting to think I had a problem and here was someone who actually got it!
“Everything I know and I am and I have seen felt done past present past now then before now seen felt done hurt felt focus into a something beyond words beyond beyond beyond and it speaks now and it says.
You can find options to purchase or libraries in your area that offer James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces at this link Goodreads A Million Little Pieces
We Are the Luckiest
by Laura McKowen
I found Laura Mc Kowen‘s book We are the Luckiest, one of the most moving (audio) books I have ever come across.
more reading from our Boozemusings Blog You Can’t Skip the Beginning but That’s Ok and Inspired by the Radical Magic of Living Life Alcohol-Free
“It’s supposed to be difficult. It’s supposed to take everything you have. It’s supposed to take longer than you want and to change you, completely. This often won’t feel good when it’s happening, but nothing worth having ever does.”
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Laura McKowen’s book at this link : We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life – Goodreads
Quit Like a Woman; The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol
by Holly Whitaker
I just started reading Quit Like a Woman and I’m already obsessed. Only one chapter in and I can’t turn the pages fast enough.
more reading from our Boozemusings Blog Inspired by the Radical Magic of Living Life Alcohol-Free
It’s a good mix of data, cultural commentary, and memoir. And, it’s definitely not just for women!
“We love to protect alcohol and our right to consume it, and to vilify people who can’t handle it. We venerate the substance; we demonize those who get sick from using it.”
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Holly Whitaker’s book at this link: Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol- Goodreads
The Body Keeps Score
by Bessel Van Der Kolk
The Body Keeps Score is full of hope for recovering from trauma – the underlying pain that has driven many of us to alcoholism. It beautifully sets out the neuroscience of trauma. Trauma by definition is unbearable and intolerable and most of us try to push it out of our minds, spending our lives acting as if nothing happened, but it takes tremendous energy to keep functioning while carrying these burdens – they have driven us to kill the pain with drink which is killing us in other ways and even adding to our trauma. This book switched a floodlight on for me in terms of understanding the massive impact trauma had on my life, and it gave me so much hope and tools to drive recovery to health and peace.
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer this book at this link: The Body Keeps Score Goodreads
A Tonic for Gin
by Hannah Blackmore
Thoughts on A Tonic for Gin by Hannah Blackmore from our Boozemusings Blog – A Tonic For Gin.
You can find options to purchase, or libraries in your area that offer Hannah Blackmore’s book at this link: A Tonic For Gin: A Refreshing Look At Life Without Alcohol Goodreads
The Cure for Alcoholism – the Official Unofficial Sinclair Method book
by Roy Eskapa
I have been a problem drinker since my early 20s. I tried rules; cutting down, only drinking on weekends, taking a month off. I’m nearly 39, at 36 I got 6 months of sobriety under my belt, life couldn’t have been better. Then I thought, it’s been 6 months surely my brain has healed….I relapsed on New Years’ 2018.
This year I got my sober momentum back in January & life got amazing again. It was nearly 6 months sober when I started thinking about drinking. But awful experiences from the past had taught me I CAN NOT DRINK……’ this is my thing & it will always be my thing’ (Sarah Hepola).
I decided to give the Sinclair Method a go, I got a prescription, waited an hour & had some wine….I had 2.5 glasses & tipped the rest down the sink. I had my handbrake back!
I continued to drink, making sure I had the Naltrexone 1 hour before. Initially, it was exciting, yes you can get a bit buzzed but you don’t get the surge of dopamine. Slowly you begin to dislike the taste & your brain begins to rewire itself.
I got my script at the beginning of July & I have reached what they refer to in ‘Sinclair language’ as extinction. Now when I think about having a drink, I have a physical reaction. It’s like when you think about sucking a lemon. When I think about drinking I get a foul taste in my mouth & feel disgusted.
This doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re thinking about trying it, join ‘The Sinclair Warriors’ Facebook group and see the successes & failures. If you have lots of sober time behind you, hold that sacred!
Read Dr Roy Eskapa’s book in blog format here
More on the Sinclair Method
by Amanda Prowse
This is one heck of a read about alcoholism and recovery. We often debate and discuss about who or what is an alcoholic and for some of us (me included) we reject that term. I think it’s a spectrum but if it’s taken too far in either case, it can cause unbelievable heartache, collateral damage and loss of everything dear including life itself. It would seem that for some people the alcohol addiction experience seems way off the charts, like it’s in a different world almost from day one, compared to many others who seem to have had a more habitual slide into a deepening problem. Romily, one of the main characters in the book is without doubt a full blown alcoholic. This book is excellent and hard to put down but just a word of warning if you’re in the early days of stopping drinking, some of the descriptions about Romily’s reactions to drinking and anticipating a drink are very graphic; I can see how these descriptions could induce a craving so just to be aware.
Romily’s addiction and how it’s described in this book very much fits with the disease model – this wasn’t my experience at all; for me, drinking habitually was a learned strategy to manage emotions that I needed to un-learn.
You can find options to purchase or libraries in your area that offer Amanda Prowse’ book at this link: Another Love – Goodreads
A Drinking Life- A Memoir
by Pete Hamill
Don’t let the Bastards Grind You Down – 50 Things Every Alcoholic and Addict in Early Recovery Should Know
by Georgia W
This was one of the first books that I read as part of my early sobriety work that broke that spell and shifted my thinking about drinking to thinking about not drinking. It is a terrific little book but I almost wrapped it in brown paper when I took it out of the house because of the title. Alcoholic? Addict? Me!? Those were words that I could not own. Certainly not in public.
Reading Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down was my first experience with someone bravely telling their story and reaching back with tips and lessons that they had learned and I am so grateful to the author for getting me started on sober. But reading that book was also my first experience with knowing that something about the language of the twelve-steps and Alcoholics Anonymous was not going to work for me.
more reading How I Overcame my Fear of Sober Forever
You can find options to purchase or libraries in your area that offer Georgia W’s book at this link: Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down: 50 Things Every Alcoholic and Addict in Early Recovery Should Know, or How to Stay Clean and Sober for the First Year of Recovery from Addiction and Substance Abuse- Goodreads
It’s true that the beginning can feel unspeakably rough and raw. But the beginning is also the stuff of miracles, of subtle and massive shifts, of learning and growing and questioning
Laura McKowen – We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
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More Reading on Sober Momentum From our Boozemusings Blog :