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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677 Comments
  1. JPM 1 week ago

    Become a sober rebel – Louisa Evans
    The Outrun – Amy Liptrot -has been made into a film yet to be released in cinemas
    A Sober Year – Meredith Bell
    Sober Positive – Julia Carson

  2. Anonymous 3 months ago

    Hi Kristin – if your account is active and you receive an email notification about this post, can you please again message admin@livingsober.org.nz please and thanks.

  3. Kristin 3 months ago

    I am currently reading ‘Last Drinks’ by Maz Compton and finding it pretty good

  4. C Stuart 5 months ago

    New on the scene is My View of the Bright Moon. This is a touching, respectful and very realistic though fictional depiction of what alcohol does to us and our families and how the 12 step programs are lifelines. It’s set within the context of two brothers whose family secrets and the ongoing influence of their childhood piles up one Michigan summer and they both are close to imploding; each finds healing of their own and learn of the pain others are addressing with the means they’re using. Equine assisted therapy is a powerful theme running through the book as well. An ultimately uplifting book. A male friend who is a recovering alcoholic shared his reaction: ‘I was hooked to the story line right away, I felt tremendous empathy for the characters, and was visibly moved in parts. I know the gut-punch scene was the (spoiler comment deleted) episode but what had me reading through welled up prism eyes was the (spoiler comment deleted), perhaps predictably so with my background, but that really hit me!!’

  5. Teressa 7 months ago

    Hi I’m having trouble logging in, Fantail5, saying my email has already been used. Just wondering how I could fix. Thanks

  6. kayteeebee11 8 months ago

    i have found the podcast by Kirk Norcross and Dapper Laughs really inspiring.

  7. walt1473 9 months ago

    I read “Alcohol Explained” and “Alcohol Explained” 2 by William Porter. The books explained in detail the affect alcohol has on us and why we all eventually become addicted to it. Gave me some great insite into what’s going on with me and how I shouldn’t blame myself. It’s not a character flaw or moral weakness.
    Next I read “We Are the Luckiest” by Laura McKowan. In it she tells the story about her personal journey to her bottom and how she came back. Very insightful, inspiring and helpful.
    Also recommend Annie Grace “This Naked Mind”. I did her 30 day Alcohol Free program in the first days of my sobriety. I found it gave me some good tools to use in the early days of my journey.

    • Sandil 8 months ago

      Hi,
      I am in recovery for the last 24 years. The difference between recovery as opposed to sobriety becomes accountability – different from responsibility. Anybody who wants to stay sober has to find a way to stop drinking – whatever works. However, when I walk the path of recovery then I confront the damage I caused and repair whatever is possible. Those deep dark secrets which I though only I have, thinking I am an immoral and dysfunctional human being is spoken about at AA meetings by others. I soon realized that I am not alone and those things are symptoms of alcoholism – not the cause. Others have walked this path and did the same thing. I did what they have done, today, they are longer be deep dark secrets and I found a new freedom and a new happiness. I share those secrets today so that someone else who walks in is not alone any more.

      Ironically when I first joined the fellowship, I though I did not “really” hurt anybody – keep an open mind. AA gave me a new pair of glasses to clearly see the past and how I life each day one day at a time. Sobriety is freedom from alcohol. Sobriety is freedom from self.

  8. RSW 9 months ago

    I found this article on anger in early sobriety, which might be of interest to anyone feeling particularly crabby!

    https://joinmonument.com/resources/anger-early-sobriety/

    • Blueskye 7 months ago

      I found this really helpful, thanks for posting!

  9. manifestselflove 11 months ago

    I’m reading alcohol lied to me. X

  10. Erin 12 months ago

    I LOVE anything and everything AA .. It has literally saved my life!! I have been in and out of the program for 13 years and oy have a little over 2 sober this time,.but before this time I had I always had reservations and would only “work” MY VERSION of program (reading parts of the big book but not all, skimming steps alone instead of working them with a sponsor refusing to get a sponsor, etc) but this time I had the gift of desperation and was willing to do WHATEVER they told me to!! The WHOLE thing WITHOUT QUESTION and when they talk about the promises coming true it is the biggest understatement in the world. I live and breathe for.this program now 🥰 and can’t imagine any other way of life for myself or.my family today!

  11. JeremiahF 1 year ago

    Getting Sober is one thing, and Living Sober is The Big thing…

    Coincidentally, there is a Great Book with the same Name as this Blessed Website, ” Living Sober”.

    In My first days of Sobriety 2275 daze ago, My Sponsor had Me read a chapter at a time, then We talked about it. Now, this is what I do with the People I Sponsor.

    Just for Today…

    Easy does it.

    Peace For You.

  12. Alexaloveday 1 year ago

    I enjoyed watching The Dry TVNZ on demand. Funny at times, full on drama and reinforced my resolve…and was a bit escapist at the same time

  13. brighteyes29 1 year 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.

    • Mrs.P 1 year ago

      Love Laura McKowens’ “we are the luckiest”. Listening to again on Audible, she realeased a new book, ‘Push Off’ looking forward to that one too.

      • Tianda 1 year ago

        Excellent book, Push off from here, by Laura McKowen. I just finished reading it. Left me with such admiration for her courage to write so honestly. I also read We are the luckiest. I would recommend both.

  14. Raybelinda 1 year ago

    Sorry Letter to Relapse is episode #95

  15. Raybelinda 1 year 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

  16. BigG 1 year 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.

  17. Louie1978 2 years 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?

    • Stu 10 months ago

      only one book to read “But Im only a social drinker” a guide to coping with alcohol- Dr Robert Crawford who ran Queen Mary Hospital for addicts for years/ hope this helps.

  18. Buggles 2 years ago

    I just listened to Blackout on audiobook, highly recommend.

  19. Loriluv 2 years 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.

  20. JStewy 2 years 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 2 years 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.

  21. seniorbloke 2 years ago

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

    • Feisty52 10 months ago

      I really enjoyed this one, too.

  22. soberit 2 years 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 2 years ago

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

  23. LiveLifeNow 2 years 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

  24. seniorbloke 2 years 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)

  25. newme 2 years 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

  26. themeowmix 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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

  27. bkasik 2 years 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

  28. bkasik 2 years 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

  29. Lucy 2 years 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 ..

  30. Lucy 2 years 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

  31. chrissysobernow 2 years 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

  32. chrissysobernow 2 years 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.😉

  33. Rosa1 2 years 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.

  34. sibby 2 years ago

    Russell Brand Gabor Mate and Ekhart Tolle are brilliant.

  35. Debsinthegarden 2 years ago

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

  36. Antoinettte 3 years 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

  37. PeterM 3 years 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

  38. SugarBelly 3 years ago
  39. Audi-girl 3 years 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 3 years 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.

  40. Chris53 3 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 2 years 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

  41. Aeon 3 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 3 years 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 3 years ago

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

  42. macsma 3 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

  43. Audi-girl 3 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 3 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

  44. MichelleO664 3 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 3 years ago

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

  45. Ebbie Lifweard 3 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 3 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.

  46. Ladybird 3 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

  47. DaveH 3 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 1 year 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 3 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 3 years ago

      Thank you!

  48. LauraMadrid 3 years ago

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

  49. macsma 3 years ago

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

  50. Finallyfreetobeme 3 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.

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