A Book Club About Much More Than Quit Lit

Four years ago I followed an article on how to stop drinking to an online community called BOOM. My early days in the Boom Rethink the Drink Community were life-saving. I devoured every post shared in the app, and I unabashedly shared my story, my fears, and my eventual success. I also found a new favorite genre of books: quit lit.

Quit Lit?

According to Wikipedia, Quit Lit is

 a literary genre of autobiographical apologia, issued publicly, when leaving a job or industry, particularly the academic field.

Interesting … but that’s not the Quit Lit that I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the books that spoke to me when I was struggling every day to learn how to live alcohol-free. Reading about people who had similar (or worse!) drinking stories made me feel less alone. And reading about their victories in staying sober made my own long-term sobriety feel within reach. 

Jump to our Book Club Discussions here

In The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, the first book we discussed in our book club this year, there are two lines in the short preface that summarize why I wanted to create a book club in Boom. The first is when the author Catherine Gray remembers that, in early sobriety, she wrote out her conflicting desires on drinking in secret sober groups online. She says, “After writing, I felt a lot less like drinking.” That’s what has kept me connected to Boom. The feeling that I finally found a place where I could vent and confess and not feel ashamed. Knowing that I could overpower the triggers if I put them in posts in Boom. Learning in the community that there are people who have done the work and say they would do it again and again and again.

I will paraphrase Gray’s last sentence of the preface as to why I am here –

it is these spaces that got me, and keep me, joyfully alcohol-free

Community and quit lit were, and are, my keys to enjoying sobriety long term. The combination of Boom, reading, and writing has been a huge part of the reason I am coming up on 4 years AF, and a book club seemed like a great way to keep me active in the community and keep my commitment to my own journey. Throughout my time in the Boom community, the book recommendations have been fabulous. And, there have been powerful discussions on a variety of types of reading. The one thing I thought could help would be to form a space within our community where we gathered and collaborated on one title per month.

We are halfway through the inaugural year of the Book Book Club, and I could not have imagined it would be this much fun! There are many ways this club has transformed due to its collaborative nature. One is that we have a different host each month – I love how this expands the types of books we read and the types of discussions we have. It’s not all about quit lit.

I also think our decision to attempt to make the conversation applicable to ALL, even those who are not reading along, has helped with its success. There is no pressure and no shame in saying, “I haven’t read this, but I can relate because…” The goal of the BBC isn’t to see how many books we can read, but to see how much we can grow together and continue to find inspiration everywhere to stay on this AF path.

“Day in the Life” and “WHOA – THAT SOUNDS LIKE ME.”

from our Discussion of Clare Pooley’s Sober Diaries

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