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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609 Comments
  1. Ladybird 4 weeks 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

  2. DaveH 2 months 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/

    • Dellinaza 2 weeks 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 weeks ago

      Thank you!

  3. LauraMadrid 2 months ago

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

  4. macsma 2 months ago

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

  5. Finallyfreetobeme 2 months 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.

  6. MoiraHut 2 months 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!

  7. forestgirl 3 months ago

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

  8. KitK4t 3 months 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?

  9. Morna 3 months 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.

  10. loislane 4 months 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!

  11. StValentine 4 months 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 5 days 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 months 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 3 months 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 3 months 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 4 months 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 4 months 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.

  12. MsLil 4 months 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!

  13. ironjan 4 months 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.

  14. Time2BReal 4 months 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.

  15. n 5 months 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.

  16. Lauren409 5 months 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.

  17. momoftwoboys1219 6 months 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.

  18. K.Sarah55 6 months ago

    Hi all, New to this group with many failed attempts to kick the booze habit. Would appreciate book recommendations that may help. Thanks

    • Betame 6 months ago

      Hey, I totally understand the many attempts don’t look at them as failures but more as practice. With every attempt comes more understanding and determination.
      I’m only sitting on day 6 this time round but I’m I’m still trying and so are you so well done!!!!
      Something I’m finding is working/ helping this time round is podcasts and audiobooks.
      I have always struggled with taking time for my self and when I do I can’t focus on a book because the washing or another task is staring at me.
      Now I just put in my headphones and listen while getting those meaningless day to day jobs done.
      I am currently listening to Lotta Dann not only can I realate to pretty much everything she talks about she’s so easy to follow and quite the laugh.
      Best of luck in your journey and remember to take care x

  19. speedy1970 7 months ago

    The podcast Recovery Happy Hour is good. The host focuses on what life is like AFTER quitting.

  20. retired 7 months ago

    I loved the Easy Way for Woman to Control Alcohol on audible. I listened and took notes like I was in a class. It’s updated from the original book. The key concept is our culture has been brainwashed into believing the lie that drinking is normal and that anyone who can’t control this addictive substance is damaged (alcoholic). If AA isn’t your cup of tea, try this one.

  21. Felice19 7 months ago

    I really enjoy podcasts and listening as I walk. Alex and Lisa from “The Sober Experiment” are great- funny, real and very relatable. They often have interesting and fun guests. Also love “Love Sober” with Mandy and Kate. I also found Meredith Atwood’s book ” A Year of No Nonsense” and ” The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober” by Catherine Gray both great reads and really useful. Also of course Mrs D’s two books. There are so many gems around. Great that there are loads at the library or available as audiobooks too now. I find reading, listening and writing all really helpful tools for me. Thanks for your recommendations for others to look for, folks.

  22. Minkey 7 months ago

    I am currently reading The Wine o’clock myth and am so grateful for material like this book and thus website. It’s coming up to a year of my being sober and the positive change in my life is enormous. Thank you

  23. bacon 7 months ago

    I have started listening to the bubble hour podcast- and I love it!

  24. Learnon 8 months ago

    I bought The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober, today in the Works a bargain book store, for £3.00 brilliant price iam going to read it later. I highly recommend this book folks.

  25. JohnnyB 9 months ago

    This is day one of being sober. I’ve had lots of “day ones”. One of them turned into just under a year a few years ago. I feel pretty lost right now but as I approach my half century I know my life can’t carry on as it is.

    • Rosieoutlook 7 months ago

      Hi There
      You might find Jason Vale’s book Kick the drink … easily helpful. It changed my whole belief about Wine. Six years on I still can’t recommend it highly enough. Take Care🌻

  26. XstopWriting 9 months ago

    I write a sober blog with podcasts. My motivation is to try and help others experience the easiness in sobriety I experienced. It is not a popular belief, but it is one I feel very passionate about. On my website, I also have video discussions and conversations about sobriety. Come take a look.

  27. retired 9 months ago

    I recently reread Allen Carr’s “Easy Way to Control Alcohol” . I read this book for the first three plus years ago after a recommendation from this site. Over these years my drinking has gone from destructive, to manageable, to periods of being AF. I also have read many other books with a similar perspective. I have never been successful in AA and Carr is a counter to the idea that the drinker is damaged. Only spiritual path is a solution.

    Carr’s argues that alcohol is a poison. The drinker is no different than any other person, it’s the addictive quality of alcohol that is the problem. There is no upside to drinking. He ends the book with a roadmap to get you out of the maze of alcohol addiction. Don’t read just the end! Read the entire book and follow the instructions. It took time for me to fully embrace the concept but once I did, it has been great.

    • whamigirl 8 months ago

      Carr’s book has been transformative as well as Naked Mind. The damaged construct of AA has always been problematic for me as that is the construct I have lived in my entire life. It is the boat I have drifted in forever and reading Carr’s book and Naked Mind feels like landing on shore in a land where it is possible to believe one does not have to swim against the tide a shame forever. As a woman who has defined herself against everyone and anyone’s opinioin of her and been controlled by those opinions- mostly male since birth- I think the idea of having to “admit I was powerless” over one more thing- kept me in the cycle of binge drinking. I know it works for many and I may eventually put it in my tool box, but for now- I am going to use this space, continue reading and therapy. Feeling grateful.

    • TracyC 9 months ago

      Just rereading this book now, never read it til the end, this time I am fully embracing it!

  28. JuicyLucyisgoingsober 10 months ago

    Hi there, I’m new to the group, I’m Lucy from the uk and I’ve been sober for over 7 months. I love my latest Mrs D book, the Wine O’clock Myth from Lotta. My all time favourite is the sober diaries by Clare Pooley who writes like I talk. I still need to read lots of blogs, books and articles to keep me in this sober life. Happy Wednesday from the Uk x

  29. Emmjay 10 months ago

    Kia ora, Has anyone read ‘On the Wagon’, by Lennox Nicholson? Keen to receive thoughts before placing a reserve

  30. cathyhudson 10 months ago

    I have just finished reading The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober by Catherine Gray. I found it to be amazingly helpful and am grateful she took the time to tell her story.
    I would recommend it to all and I am sure there are parts in the book that will resonate with everyone.

    • SassQueen 9 months ago

      Yes! I love this book too 😀

      • KJMB 7 months ago

        I have read and reread that book, it is the first one I have totally related to. I will be re reading it again to get myself on the right path

  31. Feisty52 10 months ago

    I read all the sober stuff I can. I’ve just finished ‘We Are The Luckiest’ by Laura McKowen. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea,
    but I really enjoyed it.

    • beultimate 4 months ago

      LOVED this one too!

    • gemurphy 8 months ago

      I loved that book!!

    • stacilynn84 9 months ago

      That is a FANTASTIC book!

    • pennylane123 10 months ago

      I loved this book! It was beautiful and crushingly honest.

    • Lovenlight 10 months ago

      I’m going to check that out! Thank you!!

  32. newme 11 months ago

    This blog post really resonated with me, as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), who struggles with loud noises, loud music and bright lights etc.

    I’m Sensitive, and I Drank to Turn It Off
    https://highlysensitiverefuge.com/i-drank-to-stop-being-sensitive/

  33. hellosoberme 12 months ago

    I decided I needed to look at my relationship with alcohol and figured taking a break from it would be a good start. I started by reading The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace. By the time I finished the book in two days I realised I needed to completely cut alcohol out of my life, for good. That was 37 days ago. I have no desire to drink again. Since then I am reading every sobriety book possible.

    • maxxAF 7 months ago

      I read Control alcohol by Annie Grace enjoyed the read at an early stage of my abstinence.I have now joined a Rational recovery group which has been very interesting .Provides you with some great resources .

    • KerrieBear 11 months ago

      I read a day everyday, and once this 30 days is over. I will begin reading it again for another 30. I am so much more attuned to my emotions and how my cravings are triggered.

    • Shellbells 12 months ago

      Fantastic book. Totally changed the way I feel about alcohol. Thought it is still a struggle to kill off that crummy wine witch

    • nevertooold 12 months ago

      My story, too!

    • valp 12 months ago

      That is so brilliant

  34. ThePete 1 year ago

    One of several recovery video’s, hope it helps. I found early recovery a nightmare despite having much help.
    https://youtu.be/8ScRM5on_kY

  35. Anonymous 1 year ago

    William Porter’s “Alcohol explained 2” and Annie Grace’s “This Naked Mind” are an amazing combo in terms of facts, being easy to read and practical. The sobering facts about alcohol laid out really clearly. I’ll be re-reading both books for sure!

    • Ms.JK 10 months ago

      Loved William Porter’s Alcohol Explained! It was so eye-opening for me. Knowing the science and physiology behind what happens when we drink made it so much easier to quit!

      I started with Annie Grace’s 30 Day Alcohol Experiment (online) and that *saved* me! And she is who introduced me to William Porter’s book! I love that Annie’s 30 Day Alcohol Experiment is free – so gracious of her! I learned a ton and it… just… made… sense! I think knowing the “why’s” of what we are feeling physically and emotionally help prepare us for success when becoming alcohol-free!

  36. Jacque 1 year ago

    The book that convinced me to quit drinking even before I had decided it was time, was Quit Like a Woman by Holly Whitaker. I started it while trying to “cut down” and had quit completely by the time I was half-way through it, and I never drank again.

  37. buckeyegirl 1 year ago

    I found this book highly recommended from a recovered blogger. Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself
    Melody Beattie (Author) Recorded Books (Publisher) 4.6 out of 5 stars 3,695 ratings #1 Best Seller in Alcoholism Recovery

  38. BrianHenderson 1 year ago

    I have sent 6 bottles of disinfectant to Donald Trump. If it can cure Covid-19 according to him, it can cure him.

    • MrsSadFace 1 year ago

      Best laugh I’ve had in days. Thank you!

  39. julieGZ 1 year ago

    ‘This Naked Mind’ by Annie Grace started me off seeking sobriety, some of the info was frightening- what alcohol/ethanol does to our bodies. This book turned me around and gave me confidence to easily turn away from heavy drinking.

  40. DaveH 1 year ago

    “Lying Minds” can be read online here. https://lyingminds.sixboats.co.nz/2020/03/11/lying-minds/ “This book describes alcoholism and the processes in our brain that support the onset and growth of addiction. These are described to enable the reader to understand the whole span of the problem, anticipate its actions, and recognise what will and will not be effective in combating it. It is written to help those needing to stop drinking and anyone helping someone in that position.”

    • Emmjay 10 months ago

      Hi DaveH, thanks so much for making this available. Have just discovered, as well as your blog and both resonate with me. New morning ritual is to read a chapter and let the info percolate.

    • Ann Squire 11 months ago

      Very interesting book, I’m really getting a lot from it!

    • Hellsbells 11 months ago

      Thans David- Your book has really helped- ive been able to convince myself for years that I only have a small problem with wine as its never escalated, in fact become better over the years. I can control my social drinking and have never escalated past the one bottle of wine stage of drinking alone, which is where I started 30 odd years ago. Im semi- open about this, so decided Im pretty normal, and have had a successful career and good relationship with my child. Reading your book has shown me how much I isolate myself socially, and choose wine over resolving issues that bother me, and thats a problem I dont want to take into my retirement in 5 or so years. So thank you- also really like the chapter on relapses- so true that counting days isnt really recovery.

    • Anonymous 1 year ago

      Thanks for this – extremely helpful!

    • LaraK310 1 year ago

      This particular reading is really helping me. I’ve read a few of the mainstream popular books out there right now but something about the science of how this is affecting my body is really hitting home with me. Thank you for sharing.

  41. lululissa79 1 year ago

    Ahhhh, day 70 and The Sober Diaries by Claire Pooley is exactly what I needed. Real, written with humour and reassuring.

    • AmyED 11 months ago

      Love this book!

  42. BrianHenderson 1 year ago

    The unexpected joy of being sober by Catherine Gray is a good read.

    • KJMB 11 months ago

      That book is fantastic, I am reading it for the second time. Written with so much honesty.

  43. Liberty 1 year ago

    Having trouble sleeping (pandemic anxiety):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5akULIUnZwI

  44. Frog 1 year ago
  45. Liberty 1 year ago

    Tara Brach: Pandemic Care Resources:
    https://www.tarabrach.com/pandemic/

    Includes talks and guided meditations

    • buckeyegirl 1 year ago

      love Tara

    • greenfinger 1 year ago

      Love tara ❤️?

  46. k1W1 1 year ago

    Free sites for while in lockdown I know of two gl.com have free yoga, Oprah and Deepak have released a free 21day meditation and Soundstrue.com have a series on resilience

  47. JayPG 1 year ago

    Tired of Thinking About Drinking by Belle Robertson

    • None 12 months ago

      Totally agree. I love Belle!!

      • dazzal126 12 months ago

        Belle is great!

  48. Sunshinydays 1 year ago

    just breath

    I have learnt some interesting and helpful tips on how to relieve anxiety and lower stress. Here are a few of them.
    Breathing and anxiety: our bodies need an optimal level of between 35 and 45 CO2 (out air) in our systems. If we don’t have these levels we will feel anxious, agitated and unfocused.When your breathing rate increases and you breath in more O2 (in air) because of anxiety, fight or flight panic, this causes your CO2 levels to drop. If this is continuous then your body will adopt a new normal level of 24 to 28. Causing you to be in a constant agitated, anxious state and finding it hard to focus. When it drops even further to between 20 and 22 you have a panic attack and hyperventilate.So if you can raise your CO2 levels to normal, you will not have to live with the side effects. To do this you adopt the paper bag tool. You don’t actually need a paper bag. You just cup your hands over your face and breath in and out causing you to breath in more CO2 from you breathes out. Do this a few times a day for a longish period of time and your CO2 levels will rise to optimal.

    Water on your face: The reflex of immersion in mammals is a reflex that is triggered when the face comes into contact with cold water in order to optimise breathing, thus creating physiological reactions that allow our bodies to feel better. Some of the physiological effects that cold water creates are bradycardia (decreased heart rate) and peripheral vasoconstriction which allows more oxygen to reach the heart and brain by contracting the blood vessels.

    All this gives us a relaxation effect and makes us feel better. So whenever you feel tired or stressed, throw few splashes of cold water on your face to get some energy!

    Weight on your lap: Many people like the feeling of pressure against their body and find this pressure relaxing and calming. Deep pressure is thought to help reduce the physiological arousal associated with anxiety by acting on the autonomic nervous system (ANS).
    The ANS has two components: the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic division is responsible for the body’s fight-or-flight response. When activated by stressful situations, it increases functions like your heart and breathing rate, causing physical symptoms like a pounding heartbeat and shortness of breath. The parasympathetic division is the sympathetic’s chill twin: It helps you conserve and restore energy by slowing down functions like your heart and breathing rate. Basically, the theory is that weighted things on your lap can provide deep pressure that may dampen your fight-or-flight response and encourage relaxation.

    • VARR 12 months ago

      So helpful, thank you, am actually concentrating on breathing now, have a purring cat on my knee, that would count as a weight. Bliss.Alcohol causes my anxiety to get so much worse, the day after drinking with friends is just anxiety overload, Just horrible, I’ve just realised the pattern. Covid has intensified this. Breathing and give up alcohol is my plan now, oh and patting the gorgeous cat on my knee. I feel I can give up the alcohol now I’ve found this site and support, I was lost to know how to even start before, thank you

    • julieGZ 1 year ago

      This is brilliant info, thank you. Sometimes my heart rate is up, and I can’t sleep when it’s higher. I’ll try the cupped hands suggestion tonight.

    • moonwillow 1 year ago

      From all the research I have done on my panic disorder that actually works you are bang on. Great helpful resources.

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