Reading Material

It's very important that we throw everything at getting sober in the early days, and that includes soaking up as much material as you can related to recovery. This Sober Toolbox is a space for telling others about the great books, blogs, podcasts, articles and other resources that have helped you on your way. If you're looking for more discussion, interactions and feedback, head inside our Members Feed. That's where the real-time conversations take place.

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658 Comments
  1. brighteyes29 1 day ago

    I really loved A happier Hour (Bex Weller), The Joy of Being Sober (Catherine Gray). I’m currently in the middle of We Are the Luckiest (Laura McKowen).

    Definitely open for suggestions as I find reading these stories really helps.

  2. Raybelinda 2 months ago

    Sorry Letter to Relapse is episode #95

  3. Raybelinda 2 months ago

    I am nearly 5 months in and in the first few days I found a podcast by American woman Angela Pugh. AddictionUnlimited.com It was a game changer for me especially the episodes covering high functioning alcoholism, are you convincing yourself you’re not an alcoholic etc and episode #75 Letter to Relapse. We are all such a different journey and I am grateful for the variety of online content. Happy Sunday sober whanau x

  4. BigG 2 months ago

    I’ve started reading The Small Book by Jack Trimpey so far so good, I all so recommend Control Your Anxiety by Albert Ellis. Great books.

  5. Louie1978 4 months ago

    What are your top five books for someone who only drinks moderately (not a black out drinker), but doesn’t even want that in their life?

  6. Buggles 5 months ago

    I just listened to Blackout on audiobook, highly recommend.

  7. Loriluv 5 months ago

    HI. I’m on day 3. I’ve been wanting to live a sober life for years. After a huge blow out with my sister and 2 dinners out at a restaurant, having to leave in the middle of them because I was so drunk & couldn’t keep my eyes open (the light hurt them) I am making the change. The biggest hurdle I will be facing is socializing with my family and friends. That’s all we do is drink, eat & bullshit. I’m grateful for this website and for the suggestive reads. I will be searching for one this weekend.

  8. JStewy 5 months ago

    I heard Dr. Anna Lembke, on the Sober Powered podcast episode 76, talking about her book, “Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence.” I have since started reading it. That podcast opened my eyes to how beer has really affected my brain–she discusses the science of how alcohol affects dopamine. What I thought was helping me was in fact hurting me very badly.

    • ispanno 4 months ago

      Yes @JStewy I heard that too! I must listen again as there was so much to take in. I thought it was really interesting about how to reset homeostasis using discomfort, eg psychological challenges, things we find difficult. So good to hear this knowledgeable neuroscientist explain things simply. Good idea to post about it on here.

  9. seniorbloke 8 months ago

    Would like to add “Tired of Thinking About Drinking” by Belle Robertson

  10. soberit 8 months ago

    I just finished The Wine O’Clock Myth – our very own Lotta Dann
    I have read all three of her books and love her as a brave inspirational woman who is now helping so many struggling with addiction.
    Thank you Mrs D for speaking out loud about the alcohol myth and its ugly truth for those of us that are working hard to take the rosy coloured glasses off.

    • Nanc 7 months ago

      I love all of Mrs D’s books! Mrs. D Us Going WO was hugely helpful wildly entertaining!

  11. LiveLifeNow 9 months ago

    I really enjoyed Sober Lush: A Hedonist’s Guide to Living a Decadent, Adventurous, Soulful Life, Alcohol-Free by Amanda Eyre Ward and Jardin Libaire. It is filled with what we can add to our lives vs. what’s been ‘lost’. The descriptive words used to pack a lunch, explore – LIVE just moved me. And, while I love so many quit lit books, this was different.

    https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/49349150

  12. seniorbloke 9 months ago

    My Top 10

    10. Mindful Drinking (Rosamund Dean)
    9. A Happier Hour (Rebecca Weller)
    8. Sober is the New Black (Rachel Black)
    7. Drink (Ann Dowsett Johnston)
    6. Unwasted (Sacha Z Scobic)
    5. The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober (Catherine Gray)
    4. Kick the Drink (Jason Vale)
    3. Mrs. D is Going Without (Lotta Dann)
    2. The Sober Diaries (Clare Pooley)
    1. A Drinking Life (Pete Hamill)

  13. newme 9 months ago

    I found this article really good:

    [Excerpt]: ““Anxiety is very much characterised by a fear of negative evaluation – ‘I might say the wrong thing; I might embarrass myself’,” Lim says.
    Such social anxieties, prevalent in more individualistic societies like Australia’s, eventually lead to greater alcohol consumption, US researchers found in a 2008 study.
    So, turning the alcohol tap off was not simply about finding new friends in alcohol-free zones, but unpacking my approaches to friendship and confronting the social anxieties that necessitated drinking in the first place.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/apr/10/can-you-make-friends-without-alcohol-it-took-me-a-year-to-say-yes

  14. themeowmix 11 months ago

    I have read every memoir out there from women overcoming their alcohol addiction. Most of them are awesome and I’ve even re-read a couple because they resonate with me so much. I did give a male author a chance though (lol sorry it took so long guys), and wow what an inspiring story! ‘Wasted’ by Michael Pond is such an incredible story of how alcohol sneaks into your life and can destroy it like it did him. He was even a Psychotherapist and could not see inward what he was doing. No amount of hitting rock bottom got him sober. The book talks about alternative therapy which is quite interesting and delves into the brain chemistry. It was quite an eye opener and even more so it hit me on another level as he is a fellow Canadian living a similar life to me and the book showed me just where I could have ended up if I stayed on the path I was following.

    Other, Sarah Hepola “Blackout – Remembering the things I drank to forget’. Elizabeth Vargas ‘Between Breaths” is the first book I ever read about drinking and extreme anxiety. “Drinking, a love story” Carolyn Knapp.

    And of course, I have read Lotta Dann’s ‘Mrs. D is going without’ and have recently just started her “Mrs. D is going within’ which I am looking forward to finishing.

    • Homeandaway 11 months ago

      HI, I loved Drinking a Love Story, Caroline Knapp, I was so sorry she died. Did you read the book her dog walking buddy wrote about their friendship? I also enjoyed Dry, Augusteen Burroughs, he’s quite funny too

      • sibby 10 months ago

        Dry is brilliant! I read it again in rehab which was hysterical as I could relate in real time. Laughing at yourself is the best

  15. bkasik 1 year ago

    Some of my favorite books are:
    This Naked Mind (thank you Annie Grace for getting me started and opening my mind!)
    Alcohol Explained 1$2
    Alcohol Lied to Me
    The Sober Diaries
    & Quit Like a Woman
    They are all brilliant in their own right, but I especially adore this article by Holly Whittaker,

    https://www.hipsobriety.com/home/2017/8/20/yes-alcohol-is-making-you-look-like-shit

  16. bkasik 1 year ago

    Some of my favorite books are:
    This Naked Mind (thank you Annie Grace for getting me started and opening my mind!)
    Alcohol Explained 1$2
    Alcohol Lied to Me
    The Sober Diaries
    & Quit Like a Woman
    They are all brilliant in their own right, but I especially adore this article by Holly Whittaker, author of that last one:

    https://www.hipsobriety.com/home/2017/8/20/yes-alcohol-is-making-you-look-like-shit

  17. Lucy 1 year ago

    Unexpected joy of being sober is one of my go to books in my tool box.. just order unexpected joy of the ordinary.. looking forward to starting that one ..

  18. Lucy 1 year ago

    Unexpected joy of being sober is one of my go to books in my tool box.. just order unexpected joy of the ordinary.. looking forward to starting that one

  19. chrissysobernow 1 year ago

    I have found this song very impactful in my journey to sobriety. Demi Lovato struggles with substance abuse and she has a whole album outlining it.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OloERKU4VMg
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vORIohoI4m0

  20. chrissysobernow 1 year ago

    I have found many different books that together have aided in my process

    Escaping the Evil Clown-Craig Beck
    Alcohol Lied to Me-Craig Beck
    Unfu*k Yourself- GaryBishop (not targeted at alcohol directly, but good for the process)
    The Easy Way to Control Alcohol-Allen Carr
    This Naked Mind-Annie Grace
    The Alcohol Experiment-Annie Grace
    Healing the Addicted Brain-Harold Urschel
    The Power of Now-Eckhart Tolle (again not directly related to alcohol abuse, but good for the process)

    I enjoyed all of these (as audiobooks). To be honest some of them I believe may have been hard to get through otherwise. With the Audiobook, I listen on my way to and from work, while doing clothes, on walks, etc. As a working mom of two, I don’t have time to sit and read cover to cover but this way I can focus on each book while taking care of business.😉

  21. Rosa1 1 year ago

    This is not really reading material but I found it super helpful to listen to podcasts by Annie Grace at This Naked Mind, and follow her free 30-day Alcohol Experiment, where participants watch videos with information about the effect of alcohol on our brains and bodies, the alcohol industry, and have a chance to get curious and reflect on our drinking. I am now at day 43 AF, which was much easier than I expected, thanks to this programme. You can go on to join a paid programme, but you can also repeat The Alcohol Experiment, if you want. https://learn.thisnakedmind.com/the-alcohol-experiment-registration The approach is friendly, relevant, science-based and avoids labels, shame and blame. The podcasts answer a lot of the questions I see here eg how to handle social situations, unsupportive partners etc.

    I also listen to Rachel Hart’s Take a Break podcast, which takes a slightly different tack but is also good https://rachelhart.com/podcast/

    Bonus side effect of switching from alcohol to elderflower and other syrups with soda etc: My teenage nieces also enjoy pre-dinner mocktails.

  22. sibby 1 year ago

    Russell Brand Gabor Mate and Ekhart Tolle are brilliant.

  23. Debsinthegarden 1 year ago

    Just started reading Mindfulness – how to find peace in a frantic world.

  24. Antoinettte 1 year ago

    Kia ora sober whanau

    It was this article I stumbled upon recently, which recommended a number of ‘quit lit’ resources including Mrs D is Going Without which is how I found myself here (just finished reading Mrs D and loved it!).

    https://www.goodto.com/wellbeing/how-to-stop-drinking-alcohol-521760

    I have read Allen Carr’s books (really helpful) and have a number of the other recommendations winding their way to me through the post (which seems to be very slow in this lockdown).

    Can’t wait to get stuck in!
    Ant

  25. PeterM 1 year ago

    I am at day 21 and feeling good. Have found the following back a great companion – ‘The Alcohol Experiment’ by Connie Grace. Available from akld libraries as an audio book.
    Makes a lot of sense. https://share.libbyapp.com/title/4172038

  26. Audi-girl 1 year ago

    I’m over the 50 day mark for staying sober and also quitting Cigarettes. I’m wondering about counselling, I haven’t had the nerve to attend AA Is there other forms of support to help with recovery and continued soberity which has been successful?

    • Marilyn 1 year ago

      Counselling would be great, I am a Drug and Alcohol Counsellor, you can find a specialist in your area by contacting the Drug and Alcohol Helpline 0800787797. Don’t go it along, getting support will be invaluable to you.

  27. Chris53 2 years ago

    I have read Catherine Gray’s ‘The Unexpected Joy of being Sober’. I really enjoyed it and later l followed up with ‘The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary’. It’s a really good book to read after as it explains our brain always looking for the up and why it’s more in tune with the negative and so much more. It’s about after we gain sobriety, we can gain so much pleasure and peace in a more simple and ordinary ways.
    It’s a fast moving read and l’ve had to go back and reread bits because of the style of writing. I found it really funny, and helpful.

    • Lucy 1 year ago

      Unexpected joy of being sober is one of my go to books in my tool box.. just order unexpected joy of the ordinary.. looking forward to starting that one

  28. Aeon 2 years ago

    This is a documentary about addiction. Lot’s of people talking about their experiences. I found it very interesting (although I thought the background music was a bit distracting).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljU4X_YggTU

    • Marzbarz 1 year ago

      This was excellent. Thank you for sharing. It has made me think beyond the surface and I’ll be looking deeply now at the why for me.

    • Aeon 2 years ago

      Talking Addiction Feature Documentary 2021 (a Carey-Cole production)

  29. macsma 2 years ago

    These are my bibles:
    All of LOTTA DANNs books – Mrs D is Going Without
    Mrs D is Going Within
    The Wine O clock Myth
    ANNIE GRACE – The Naked Mind
    RACHEL HARTs -podcasts

    There are many others Im going to read. Next up JASON VALE

  30. Audi-girl 2 years ago

    I’m days 15 into the sober planet, super happy with the way I’m feeling and some of the physical changes. My skin is starting to look, my tummy is starting to change, my doughnut around my tummy button is disappearing lol!
    No change on the scales which is a bummer! Would have thought with a calorie deficit this would change?
    I’m still getting killer headaches though is this normal? I’m wondering if this could be the side effects of Naltraccord?

    • Drunkenmama 2 years ago

      Hi Audi. I’m day 10 and going gym and swimming. Feel greAt. All the same body changes. But no weight change , but that’s all good! I still get headaches and a dizzy feeling in mornings like I’ve forgotten to take anxiety medication. It’s actually my brain adjusting from the chemical imbalance from lack of
      Gin at 9.30am. Im taking a liver detox supplement good health and my stomach is working guard to heal !! We got this x

  31. MichelleO664 2 years ago

    We Are the Luckiest by Laura McKowen is a beautifully written, brutally honest story of Laura’s addiction to alcohol. Insightful and wise, Laura’s story will resonate with anyone who has or continues to struggle with drinking while providing wisdom and knowledge from experience that is invaluable to your recovery process! I bookmarked many pages and return to this book often to recharge my commitment to staying sober.

    • NomoEthanolPoison 1 year ago

      Just stared reading it a couple of days ago. Vet good so far. Thanks for sharing.

  32. Ebbie Lifweard 2 years ago

    Rachel Hart’s podcast: Take A Break (Take a break from drinking).

    I think that Rachel Hart’s non-absolutist approach to drinking and and recovery (‘taking a break’) has what has been a really helpful guide for me. Removing the shame/judgement towards my past actions/reactions, creating a better relationship and understanding of my brain and also focusing on developing a neutral relationship towards alcohol have really helped me.
    I always found ‘counting days’ and focusing on abstinence as ‘the way forward’ fueled my desire to drink even more, so having a focus on understanding and being curious about what’s going on behind my urges (actually embracing them and seeing them as opportunities to learn about my own brain/thought patterns) has been a lot more helpful in cutting back and being able to live without alcohol.

    • macsma 2 years ago

      Thanks for that recommendation. Im realising my behaviour around alcohol is the same with food and probably other things too so keen to learn more about whays happening ” behind thr scenes” too.

  33. Ladybird 2 years ago

    Wow I’ve just come across a big bunch of ME on this blog. I’m new, and I’m bloody scared, day 4 (again!) but determined. I love audio books. I listen when I’m driving, gardening, cooking. I’ve also started listening to hypnotherapy on YouTube before I go to sleep. If anything it helps me fall asleep. Will post tomorrow .. day 5. Thanks for the suggestions of some of these books. And hello to all the other day 4ers out there.
    Love Ladybird

  34. DaveH 2 years ago

    “Sobrietry: The skill and practise of stopping drinking and staying stopped” is now available to read online for free. I’ll make an eBook version downloadable soon.
    https://lyingminds.sixboats.co.nz/sobrietry/

    • DaveH 3 months ago

      I really didn’t like the way some of this read so I re-wrote it. It is now called “Make it stop: An Insiders Guide to Recovery”.It can be read online or downloaded here: https://lyingminds.sixboats.co.nz/make-it-stop-contents/

    • Dellinaza 2 years ago

      Hi DaveH – I have tried to get your book. However all I get are purple and pink blobs going across!Am I doing something wrong? Thanks.

    • Buckeyeone 2 years ago

      Thank you!

  35. LauraMadrid 2 years ago

    Clare Pooley’s sobe diaries is great! I just finished it

  36. macsma 2 years ago

    Just started reading The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley. Inspirational funny sad punchy story of her struggle

  37. Finallyfreetobeme 2 years ago

    I recommend a book by Kate Bee (of The Sober School) called How to Go Alcohol Free (100 Tips for a Sober Life). It’s a little book and a quick read, but it touches on a lot of points that are worth remembering.

  38. MoiraHut 2 years ago

    Highly recommend ‘Never Enough-the neuroscience and experience of addiction’ by Judith Grisel. It’s written so well and makes complicated neuroscience accessible as well as covering all drugs not just alcohol. Game changer!

  39. forestgirl 2 years ago

    I highly recommend ‘Quit Like a Woman’ by Holly Whitaker. A fierce, funny, feminist book about getting sober. Very very inspirational and empowering.

  40. KitK4t 2 years ago

    Some of my favourite reads are: “Wasted” by Michael Pond, which does get pretty dark but its very well written, and “Girl Stumbles out of a Bar” by Lisa Smith. Both are very raw and real which is what I love to see in memoirs about addiction; it’s not pretty after all. Any other recommendations?

  41. Morna 2 years ago

    I have just started “The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray. Am really identifying with it and find it very raw, real and honest. Validating as well and so good to hear those thoughts are not just heard by me, nor is the dishonesty to self and others.

  42. loislane 2 years ago

    Reading Mrs D on ebook and The 30 Day Sobriety Solution by Canfield and Andrew’s – the perfect inspiration to keep going. Feeling strong and motivated and tremble at the thought that I may just get to know the person inside that I’ve kept locked away w the numbing effect of alcohol. Hello me, I want to know you!

  43. StValentine 2 years ago

    I am on day 9. I have managed without support so far but heard of this book/website. My husband knows but keeps saying “just have one wine” and I told one friend at a BBQ on Saturday who tried to justify mine, and her own, drinking as “I know I drink too much but I’m not doing any harm and I like my life” but I didn’t like mine when I was drinking, I didn’t like the way Valentine’s Day ended either. On Valentine’s Day I realised that I CAN’T have just one drink, I drink the bottle. I’m worried that my friends won’t support me in this, I’ve always been the party girl, the one who organises everything, tomorrow is my wedding anniversary, I would usually celebrate with an entire bottle of bubbles. I’m about to download some of the recommended reading and focus on that and making my son proud, I regret so much about my behaviour when raising him, I want him to see that I can be a better Grandmother, a sober one!

    • Atawhai 2 years ago

      Thank you. My wife does not get it either. She still offers me alcohol. I repeatedly say ‘Not for me thanks’. It is becoming tiresome, but I cannot change her. I can only change myself.

      A quote I read on this site is ‘I like myself better when I am sober’.

      I am staying sober for myself, not for anyone else.

    • macsma 2 years ago

      Hi Ive only read1 book so far The Sober Diaries but its so real and also very funny even though the authors dealing with all this stuff which is hard! We hae to have a chance to laugh as well as cry!

    • Fantail74 2 years ago

      Hi StValentine, when I read your post I thought you were talking about me. I hope you got through your anniversary. We all know too well of the shame and guilt we feel after a session. Great motivation for being sober, is our children. Kind wishes

    • Morna 2 years ago

      Hey @StValentine how you going? Day 8 for me. Hope you got through Valentines day okay and have stayed strong for yourself. Your post was incredibly validating for me, as I too feel similarly and drink similarly. So awesome to hear it isnt just me. Thanks for your words and let me know how you are going 🙂

    • RunnerJ 2 years ago

      Hi @stvalentine, how is going for you? It’s okay to look after yourself and if that means no alcohol, it’s no one else’s business. I have found that when friends and family offer me a drink, and I say no thanks, they feel like they have to justify their own drinking. It’s none of my business what others think of me and my decision to get healthy in mind, body, and spirit. Congrats on your decision!

    • Hitman 2 years ago

      Hi @StValentine, this is actually the sort of situation that would cost me my friendships. I feel so strongly about my not drinking that if someone was badgering me to drink (because misery loves company) it wouldnt take long and I wouldnt associate with them anymore. My health is more important than someone that doesnt care about my health. My wife understands what I am trying to achieve and after a couple of comments from her initially she now gets it 100% that I am not going to drink. My marriage would be over if she was trying to get me to drink all of the time.
      Well done on day 9 and keep it up.

  44. MsLil 2 years ago

    I found The Biology of Desire by Marc Lewis a good read. Having read an assortment of quit lit in the early days this one resonated at the right time.

    There is so much good literature out there and I choose the books that are written from a place of inquiry and that question our social norms. I also enjoy reading other peoples stories especially the ones that tell of the struggles before they changed their relationship with alcohol. These keep me close to the place I was in not so long ago!

  45. ironjan 2 years ago

    i’ve been thinking about “WILD” by Cheryl Strayed a lot lately. read the book and saw the movie with Reese Witherspoon. enjoyed them both. it’s not a self help or educational book, just a bio story about a woman who beat her addiction by hiking the pacific crest trail. i liked it and you might too. you might get some value or strength from it.

    • Pollyrue 1 year ago

      Great recommendation!

  46. Time2BReal 2 years ago

    Thank you for all these wonderful reading suggestions! Reading, journaling and drinking medicinal teas (especially things like dandelion root detox) are going to be my chosen coping mechanisms and go-tos during weak moments on this journey. I love reading the success stories and practical “How To” tips best.

  47. n 2 years ago

    I just read Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington and I really connected with parts of it. Highly recommend, free on the Auckland Library app Libby.
    I’m on day 35 (quit after Xmas day) and feeling good. First time posting here.

  48. Lauren409 2 years ago

    Currently, I’m reading a few. Ofcourse, “Mrs D. Goes Without” and “The Wine O’Clock Myth”. I also read “I can stop you from drinking” by Craig Beck and “We are the luckiest” by Laura McKowen (This one was AMAZING). Another good one is “From Alcohol to God” by Catherine Findlay. God speed everyone.

  49. momoftwoboys1219 2 years ago

    This is my first day here. I read Mrs. D’s Going Without by Lotta Dann and Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley before making today – Day 1. I love the idea of a Sober Toolbox to chase away the Wine Witch that comes with 5pm. Will think of different things to try – definitely subscribed to many of the Podcasts recommended here and will listen while cooking dinner for the kids and closing out the day.

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