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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577 Comments
  1. retired 2 days 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.

  2. Felice19 4 days 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.

  3. Minkey 2 weeks 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

  4. bacon 2 weeks ago

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

  5. Learnon 2 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.

  6. JohnnyB 2 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.

  7. XstopWriting 2 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.

  8. retired 3 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 4 weeks 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 2 months ago

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

  9. JuicyLucyisgoingsober 3 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

  10. Emmjay 3 months ago

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

  11. cathyhudson 3 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 2 months ago

      Yes! I love this book too 😀

  12. Feisty52 4 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.

    • gemurphy 1 month ago

      I loved that book!!

    • stacilynn84 2 months ago

      That is a FANTASTIC book!

    • pennylane123 3 months ago

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

    • Lovenlight 4 months ago

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

  13. newme 4 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/

  14. hellosoberme 5 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 2 weeks 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 5 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 5 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 5 months ago

      My story, too!

    • valp 5 months ago

      That is so brilliant

  15. ThePete 6 months 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

  16. Anonymous 6 months 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 3 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!

  17. Jacque 6 months 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.

  18. buckeyegirl 7 months 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

  19. BrianHenderson 7 months 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 6 months ago

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

  20. julieGZ 7 months 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.

  21. DaveH 7 months 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 3 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 4 months ago

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

    • Hellsbells 5 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 6 months ago

      Thanks for this – extremely helpful!

    • LaraK310 7 months 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.

  22. lululissa79 8 months ago

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

    • AmyED 5 months ago

      Love this book!

  23. BrianHenderson 8 months ago

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

    • KJMB 4 months ago

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

  24. Liberty 8 months ago

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

  25. Frog 8 months ago
  26. Liberty 8 months ago

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

    Includes talks and guided meditations

    • buckeyegirl 7 months ago

      love Tara

    • greenfinger 8 months ago

      Love tara ❤️?

  27. k1W1 8 months 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

  28. JayPG 9 months ago

    Tired of Thinking About Drinking by Belle Robertson

    • None 5 months ago

      Totally agree. I love Belle!!

      • dazzal126 5 months ago

        Belle is great!

  29. Sunshinydays 9 months 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 5 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 7 months 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 8 months ago

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

  30. winston12345 9 months 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.

  31. Tedthedog 9 months 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.

  32. Tedthedog 9 months 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.

  33. true555 11 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

  34. Soup 12 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.

  35. pgc1 12 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.

  36. AndyMack 12 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

  37. Trace3 12 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

  38. delgirl68 1 year 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!

    • Shellbells 5 months ago

      Just finished this book. Great read, and yes saw myself frequently.

    • Whos-The-Lush 10 months ago

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

  39. Anonymous 1 year ago

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

  40. Gidget99 1 year 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

  41. McLynnie 1 year 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.

  42. Jonas1116 1 year ago

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

    • DavidFS 1 year ago

      Hey @jonas, how are you doing now?

      • Jonas1116 1 year 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?

  43. MichaelrpG 1 year 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 12 months ago

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

    • truthangel 1 year 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.

  44. Shewolf38 1 year ago

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

  45. AllesNeu 1 year ago

    Alcohol Lie to Me by Craig Beck

  46. PabloArg 1 year ago

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

  47. Maureen 1 year 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. ??

  48. healthyishnix 1 year 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.

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