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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  1. lululissa79 2 years ago

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

    • AmyED 1 year ago

      Love this book!

  2. BrianHenderson 2 years ago

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

    • KJMB 1 year ago

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

  3. Liberty 2 years ago

    Having trouble sleeping (pandemic anxiety):

  4. Frog 2 years ago
  5. Liberty 2 years ago

    Tara Brach: Pandemic Care Resources:

    Includes talks and guided meditations

    • buckeyegirl 1 year ago

      love Tara

    • greenfinger 2 years ago

      Love tara ❤️?

  6. k1W1 2 years ago

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

  7. JayPG 2 years ago

    Tired of Thinking About Drinking by Belle Robertson

    • None 1 year ago

      Totally agree. I love Belle!!

      • dazzal126 1 year ago

        Belle is great!

  8. Sunshinydays 2 years 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 1 year 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 2 years ago

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

  9. winston12345 2 years 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.

  10. Tedthedog 2 years 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.

  11. Tedthedog 2 years 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.

  12. true555 2 years ago

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

  13. Soup 2 years 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.

  14. pgc1 2 years 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.

  15. AndyMack 2 years 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

  16. Trace3 2 years 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

  17. delgirl68 2 years 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 1 year ago

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

    • Whos-The-Lush 2 years ago

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

  18. Anonymous 2 years ago

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

  19. Gidget99 2 years 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.

  20. McLynnie 2 years 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.

  21. Jonas1116 2 years ago

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

    • DavidFS 2 years ago

      Hey @jonas, how are you doing now?

      • Jonas1116 2 years 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?

  22. MichaelrpG 2 years 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 2 years ago

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

    • truthangel 2 years 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.

  23. Shewolf38 2 years ago

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

  24. AllesNeu 2 years ago

    Alcohol Lie to Me by Craig Beck

  25. PabloArg 2 years ago

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

  26. Maureen 2 years 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. ??

  27. healthyishnix 2 years 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.

  28. maude023 2 years ago

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

  29. mkusch 2 years ago

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

    • mkhum 2 years ago

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

  30. Simo 2 years ago

    Alcohol Lied To Me … I found this book really encouraging

  31. Betsy19 2 years ago

    The Unexpected Joy of being Sober – Catherine Gray

  32. MrsFruitTea 2 years ago

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

  33. Jessica0676 2 years 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

  34. hugh mcfadden 2 years ago

    Booze Musings BOOM

  35. Hugh McFadden 2 years ago

    This Naked Mind

  36. ditchick 2 years ago

    Pinterest Affirmations on recovery plastered throughout the house..

  37. Ryantaiji 2 years ago

    “When things fall apart” Pema Chodron

  38. Dylan 2 years ago

    “Recovery — Freedom from our Addictions” by Russell Brand

  39. Bisok 2 years ago

    This Naked Mind
    The Alcohol Experiment
    The Biology of Desire

    • Maxie 2 years ago

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

  40. brendab 2 years 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 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

  41. Dixiemama 2 years 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

  42. mollyroxanne 2 years ago

    This Naked Mind.

  43. nessibnzl 2 years ago

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

  44. Dylan 2 years 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

  45. bestself 2 years 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.

  46. Redheadrocks 2 years ago

    This TED about addiction is a goody too!

  47. TheBee 3 years 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.

  48. Anonymous 3 years ago

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

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