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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525 Comments
  1. BrianHenderson 3 days ago

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

  2. Liberty 4 days ago

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

  3. Frog 1 week ago
  4. Liberty 1 week ago

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

    Includes talks and guided meditations

    • greenfinger 7 days ago

      Love tara ❤️🙏

  5. k1W1 1 week 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

  6. JayPG 3 weeks ago

    Tired of Thinking About Drinking by Belle Robertson

  7. Sunshinydays 1 month 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.

  8. winston12345 1 month ago

    me, I use positivity reading life quotes and helpful tips and hints.
    it helps me stay positive no matter what is going on.
    I also use some bible literature. keeps me sane.
    good reading whatever the time of day the positivity literature.

  9. Tedthedog 1 month ago

    Oh opps posted too soon. Do have a look at Clare Pooleys Sober Diaries and her blog. Middle aged women of the world unite – she is pretty much my age and my story and I go back to her blog often.

  10. Tedthedog 1 month ago

    I have just finished reading ‘We Are The Luckiest’ (Laura McKowen) and am mid way through How To Quit Like a Women’ (Holly Whitaker). I came across these two women and there podcast Home (they aren’t doing this anymore). They are really different women and have quite different opinions. Laura is the more feeling and spiritual of the two, only my opinion of course! She really spoke to the deep shame I felt about drinking – as if she was in my body and head. She spoke to my heart. Holly sees feisty and really taking on the idea we get alcohol shoved down our throat. Her book is full of strategies and particularly focussed on the things you need to think about doing to strengthen yourself. Its not just about the booze.
    These books are quite new and I would recommend them if you are doing a read-a-thon.
    For me Alan Carr was the man – never doubt the decision.
    Go well all.

  11. true555 3 months ago

    Books: this naked mind, sober curious, drink, alcohol explained
    Podcasts: addiction unlimited, this naked mind and sober curious, Tara brach
    Apps: insight timer

  12. Soup 4 months ago

    Alcohol and the addicted brain: New hope for alcoholics from biogenetic research- Kenneth Blum
    This is an in-depth look at the effect of alcohol on the brain and the brain changes that can occur with regular consumption. Scared me sober.

  13. pgc1 4 months ago

    Allan Carr”easy way to control alcohol”(Don’t let the title fool you).
    This book really worked for me but it’s still just down to you to never drink another drop.

  14. AndyMack 4 months ago

    I’ve read and am a member of Alcoholics Anonymous .
    The literature is old but effective .
    The part which has been the most effective has been the fellowship of having and being surrounded by like minded people .
    It’s not for everyone but if you reach a point where you have no other option I would personally reccomend it .
    I would suggest trying all other options first because once you come it’s hard to walk away

  15. Trace3 4 months ago

    Annie Grace’s The Naked Mind
    The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober – Catherine Gray
    Alcoholics Anonymous – Bil Wilson
    Alcohol Explained – William Porter
    Recovery: Freedom From Addiction – Russell Brand
    One Breath at a Time – Kevin Griffin
    Between Breaths – Elizabeth Vargas
    Drinking: A Love Story – Caroline Knapp
    Blackout – Sarah Hepola
    Alcohol Lied to Me – Craig Beck

  16. delgirl68 4 months ago

    Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keys. Not a sobriety book as such, it is fiction. Marian is a lovely and hilarious writer. I’ve just listened to this on audiobooks and omg it hits me hard. I read it 20 years ago and recognised myself in there, I always knew the time would come one day where I would have to commit to being clean and sober. Listening to this book again I have (re)learnt much about myself. It’s about a chick who ends up in rehab and her denial with her addiction. It’s not a dark heavy read, some parts are laugh out loud funny, but the underlying message in there is crystal clear. I can’t recommend this book highly enough!

    • Whos-The-Lush 2 months ago

      I agree, great book and I also saw myself in it.

  17. Anonymous 5 months ago

    List of recommended books: The Lost Weekend; Blackout; Dry, Drinking: a Love Story; Girl Walks out of a Bar

  18. Gidget99 5 months ago

    SBS Australia had an excellent interview called Wine O’Clock about 2 years ago. It was a huge wakeup call for me. Not a book, but definitely worth watching.
    https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/1055513667523/insight-wine-oclock

  19. McLynnie 5 months ago

    This Naked Mind by Annie Grace (totally changed my mindset).
    Kick the Drink… Easily by Jason Vale (pretty much repeats what Annie says but worded differently).
    Mrs D is Going Without by Lotta Dann (it’s a memoir).
    A Happier Hour by Rebecca Weller
    The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley
    Lit by Mary Karr
    Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola
    The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray
    Dry by Augusten Burroughs
    Girl Walks Out of a Bar by Lisa F Smith

    A friend of mine recommended Refuge Recovery: A Buddhist Path to Recovering from Addiction, which I’m going to take a look at.

  20. Jonas1116 5 months ago

    Hi all
    Day 14 and starting to struggle. Any recommendations for podcasts to motivate me to keep fighting the good fight?
    J

    • DavidFS 5 months ago

      Hey @jonas, how are you doing now?

      • Jonas1116 5 months ago

        Hi David
        I am alright. I broke on Friday and drank 5 beers after 21 days off. I am not beating myself up though. It’s a tough time of year to kick this habit! Managed to not drink today despite going out for dinner last two nights so I will take that point!
        How are you going David?

  21. MichaelrpG 5 months ago

    Until recently I read a lot of AA literature. However I find their negativity difficult to cope with so I am trying other avenues.
    I like Eckhart Tolle although it can be quite hard work.
    I have recently read Alcohol Lied to Me by Craig Beck. This is really worth a read because he makes the point over and over that alcohol is actually poison an the biggest con trick / illusion known to man.
    I have also read The Naked Mind and The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace.

    For me after many years of trying, some very difficult and painful, I am now of the mind set that I just DON’T WANT poison in my body.

    • AndyMack 4 months ago

      Could you explain to me what parts of AA literature are negative ?

    • truthangel 5 months ago

      Agree totally. When I got it that alcohol is a lethal poison, a con trick, it wasn’t hard for me to quit. I dont like being conned.

  22. Shewolf38 5 months ago

    Thank you all for the recommendations. I started reading the sober diaries. Funny how her story rings true…..

  23. AllesNeu 6 months ago

    Alcohol Lie to Me by Craig Beck

  24. PabloArg 6 months ago

    Alcohol explained
    Alcohol lied to me
    The unexpected joy of being sober
    This naked mind
    The alcohol experiment

  25. Maureen 6 months ago

    I think William Porter’s Alcohol Explained is the best for a simple easy to understand explanation of what alcohol does to the body and mind. I’ve read a lot of the others. Catherine Gray really is good for the nitty gritty of her worse times and the joy of her sobriety. I’m now listening to Mrs D on audible and doing Sober October. Well done to everyone who has cracked it. 👏💕

  26. healthyishnix 7 months ago

    Thanks to recommendations on here. I just started listening to Annie Grace’s podcast “This Naked Mind”. Have started at episode 1 (episode 210 has just aired this week) so that I could listen to the whole “journey”. Just finished episode 2 and it’s really great, she’s speaking my language, my behaviour, the relevance is uncanny and scary when you think how many millions of us are in this same boat.

  27. maude023 7 months ago

    Mrs D is going without : Lotta Dann
    Kick the Drink ….Easily: Jason Vale

  28. mkusch 8 months ago

    The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley, Alcohol Lied to Me by Craig Beck

    • mkhum 6 months ago

      I love The Sober Diaries I will probably reread as soon as I finish, which sadly will be soon.

  29. Simo 8 months ago

    Alcohol Lied To Me … I found this book really encouraging

  30. Betsy19 8 months ago

    The Unexpected Joy of being Sober – Catherine Gray

  31. MrsFruitTea 8 months ago

    The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley
    Alcohol Lie to Me by Craig Beck

  32. Jessica0676 8 months ago

    Friends I was 8 days sober n relapsed on day nine. But that was only one day. I still counted the 8 days sober n I counted day 9 the day after I relapsed.. Out of 14 days I’ve been sober 13 days n that’s progress. You don’t have to start over at 1 day. Count your sober days n if u relapse during that time just don’t count that as a sober day but please continue to count your sober days.. That’s what’s kept me going is knowing there is no day 1 again even after a relapse.. We all at the beginning relapse but don’t take away your success with one relapse.. It’s worked 4 me

  33. hugh mcfadden 9 months ago

    Booze Musings BOOM

  34. Hugh McFadden 9 months ago

    This Naked Mind

  35. ditchick 9 months ago

    Pinterest Affirmations on recovery plastered throughout the house..

  36. Ryantaiji 9 months ago

    “When things fall apart” Pema Chodron

  37. Dylan 9 months ago

    “Recovery — Freedom from our Addictions” by Russell Brand

  38. Bisok 9 months ago

    This Naked Mind
    The Alcohol Experiment
    The Biology of Desire

    • Maxie 9 months ago

      Thanks for the recommendations. I am going to go on the Barnes and Noble site today and order one or two.

  39. brendab 9 months ago

    The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, tells my story in a hundred different ways, no sugar coating about the affects of my drinking on family, relationships, work and of course me..shows a way out and the importance of connection with others, having a support group of other people who are sober was so important for me, once I stopped drinking for 9 years but didn’t know anyone else who didn’t drink so felt very “other” and ultimately went back to drinking to belong ..that worked out as badly as you would expect..now I have that through AA and it makes me so much more comfortable and resilient…I love the stories at the back of the book, particularly the Australian edition, as I am an Aussie too…take what you need and leave the rest…also Dry by Augusten Burroughs, humorous but also tells the deadly serious story of alcohol addiction and the benefits of sobriety..good luck to everyone…doesn’t matter where or how you find a sober community, but to me it is critical to getting through the darkness..addicts are v sensitive and isolation kills us IMO..B

  40. Dixiemama 10 months ago

    This Naked Mind by Annie Grace
    Alcohol Lied to Me by Craig Beck
    The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray
    Drink by Ann Dosset Jones(?)
    Alcohol Explained by William Porter
    Blackout by Sarah Hepola

  41. mollyroxanne 10 months ago

    This Naked Mind.

  42. nessibnzl 10 months ago

    Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book & Daily reflections
    The unexpected joy of being sober – Catherine Gray
    Mindfulness and the 12 steps – Therese Jacobs-Stewart

  43. Dylan 10 months ago

    Under the Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism, by James Robert Milam and Katherine Ketcham (Amazon). Provides compelling insights into the physical and mental effects of alcoholism. Reviews: “The most important breakthrough in alcoholism since the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935.”—Ron Fagan, founder & director, Ceder Hills Alcoholism Treatment Center; “A landmark . . . A must for anyone concerned about drinking.”—Alcoholism, Journal of the American Medical Society on Alcoholism and the Research Society on Alcoholism; “Vital, simple, world-changing information.”—Co-Evolution Quarterly

  44. bestself 11 months ago

    New member and I want to thank all of you for these recommendations. I will need these books and pod cast’s as I enter this bright new world.

  45. Redheadrocks 11 months ago

    This TED about addiction is a goody too! https://youtu.be/OJY4GkpRc7U

  46. TheBee 12 months ago

    I’ve also read Kristi Coulter’s ‘Nothing Good Can Come from This’, Sacha Scoblic’s ‘Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety’ – all harrowing and amazing journeys of self-discovery and courage, but by far and away my favorite as it resonates completely with my own journey is Ruby Warrington’s ‘Sober Curious…’ biography – how to give up something one loves and that hasn’t destroyed our lives or anyone else’s, but just made us realise that life without it IS probably better but it is, after all, a potent drug.

  47. Anonymous 1 year ago

    Thanks for the tip. ? Will download it tonight on my Kindle. ?

  48. AmyB 1 year ago

    This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol by Annie Grace (she also has a podcast)

    This book has seriously changed my life. It has changed my life more than any other book, therapy, counselor, class, doctor, or addiction specialist ever did, combined.
    One of my initial hesitations with the book was the fact that it contradicts a lot of the central tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous. I did get sober with AA at one time of my life, but never liked that I had to introduce myself as an “alcoholic” like I was a flawed human being and could only be saved with a “higher” power. Well, the truth is that AA operates on the assumption that there is nothing wrong with alcohol, only with alcoholics. If AA works for you that is wonderful, but for some of us that’s not the case.

    There’s something about Annie’s book that almost immediately caused a complete shift in my thinking. She talks about how society and the liquor industry have manipulated us into thinking there is somethings wrong with us if we choose not to drink. When we chose not to drink alcohol we can sometimes be pitied, questioned, thought of as a prude when in reality we are choosing to be healthy and not pour deadly poison into our bodies. Her book introduced me into a complete psychological mind shift.

    She’s genuine and talks about her own experiences. I am so thankful that I found this book and her podcast.

    • hugh mcfadden 9 months ago

      Same here… Fantastic and liberating…

    • Gingergal 12 months ago

      Allen Carr has a very similar approach and has helped me stay sober for 9 months in the psst

    • truthangel 1 year ago

      It has changed mine too . Its painted a whole new picture of alcohol by revealing the deep truth about it. No doctor or counselor could explain it like she does. I tried AA years ago and It wasn’t for me at all. Was sober for 3 years but always felt defective and abnormal. Works well for some though.

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