Even before I decided to stop drinking for good I’d begun getting stuck in with books about sobriety.
Living a life alcohol-free was a completely foreign concept to me until a few years ago.
Without meaning too, I’d created a life that revolved around drinking.
A lot of the time it seemed really fun. I’d go out after work for drinks with colleagues, dates in cosy pubs with wine and weekends were for boozy brunches with friends and nice evening meals with more wine.
But sooner or later it became less about having fun and more about drinking to cope.
“I don’t drink like everybody else, I drink to forget things about myself.” Ed Sheeran
I was drinking to ease my anxiety. And I was anxious a lot. And the next day hangovers, and often lack of memory from the night before, made me even more anxious.
For this – and many other reasons I often write about – I decided to stop drinking.
I know my life is better without alcohol. But it’s also very different and sometimes my motivation wanes.
Recently, I have found myself “meh” about this sober thing. I was full of thoughts like “is this it?” “Will my life be like this forever?” Regular readers will know that this is not like me. I tend to be so positive it can be annoying (especially on instagram). Sorry not sorry.
But seriously, thoughts like this are not conducive to a happy alcohol-free life.
I confided to my lovely friend Cath how I was feeling. Her response “you need to some sober literature” reminded me just how powerful books about sobriety had been on getting me started.
I love to read (see my post about life changing books for more recommendations) and reading books about sobriety help to normalise not drinking for me. They show me I’m not the only one going through this and offer new perspectives. I recently finished Unwasted on Cath’s recommendation and it was brilliant. I’m currently working through May Cause Miracles by Gabby Bernstein on Holly from Hip Sobriety’s recommendation in her list: 13 Books to Build a Holistic Recovery. So, I thought I’d put together a list of books a little review of each to inspire you if you’re feeling a bit low about not drinking.
Laurie’s note: I first wrote this post in 2017! 3 years later there are so many more sober books on offer … I’ve kept this updated with my favourites.
7 of my favourite books about sobriety:
Lovely Cath’s brilliant debut book. The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober is a game changer if you want to stop drinking – or are curious about a sober life!
Everyone deserves to have Catherine hold their hand as they navigate the new world of not drinking – whether exploring alcohol-free periods or going for full-on sobriety – and this book enables just that. Wise, funny & so relatable – it comes with my highest recommendation.
The Sober Girl Society Handbook is the book that I wish I had read in early sobriety. I was lucky enough to read an early copy and it filled me with so much excitement, joy and pride to be on this sober journey. Full disclosure that I know Millie in real life thanks to instagram, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this book is brilliant. I firmly believe this book should be given out in schools, and I’d recommend it being on your sober reading list too!
I loved Clare’s book so much and finished it in two days! I also interviewed Clare on the blog so if you fancy finding out more, you can read her not drinking diary.
This book is the bravely honest story of a year in Clare’s life. A year that started with her quitting booze and then being given the devastating diagnosis of breast cancer. By the end of the year she is booze-free and cancer-free, she no longer has a wine belly, is two stone lighter and with a life that is so much richer, healthier and more rewarding than ever before. She has a happier family and a more positive outlook. Sober Diaries is an upbeat, funny and positive look at how to live life to the full.
Sacha discusses her out of control drinking in an honest and yet humorous and light hearted way. She doesn’t gloss over or the dangers she got in to, but there is a nice balance between the drinking and her sobriety.
It’s beautifully written and I found her move into recovery, and how she described her relationships with the people around her and her changing relationship with herself inspiring and true to life
I’ll have to admit I skipped past her relapse fantasies, I found them dull and mildly irritating (there’s some resistance there somewhere!) That aside, it’s a great read if you’re after a new sobriety memoir!
Sarah has written a very accessible memoir for the modern drinking woman. It’s honest, poignant and at times I laughed out loud. I couldn’t put this down and read it in two days straight. I had it on my kindle and was picking it up at every opportunity. Her tale of reinvention really resonated with me. On the outside her life must have seemed glamorous, but the reality was very different.
A must read for anyone who suffered with blackout’s. It made me feel more normal, that I’m not alone and begin to understand the science of why I blacked out.
A mixture of memoir and report, I read this just before I stopped and I’m so glad it came into my life. The book does as it says on the tin, Dowsett Johnston explores the global epidemic of the reality of women’s risky drinking.
It is her story, but she weaves together anecdotes and research perfectly. It’s a powerful book and one to read for yourself if you want to stop drinking, have stopped drinking or are trying to support anyone stopping.
This book by Annie Grace is often described as a game changer by people on their not drinking journey. It is by far one of my favourite books about sobriety, but it is very different from the three prior books I’ve recommended.
This Naked Mind offers a new solution, it’s a report style book packed with surprising insight into the reasons we drink, it really began to open my eyes to the overwhelming role of alcohol in our culture.
“Annie Grace brilliantly weaves psychological, neurological, cultural, social and industry factors with her extraordinarily candid journey resulting in a must read for anyone who drinks.” << Amazon said it better than I could.
If you’re more of a listener than a reader, you can use my link to get a free audiobook with Audible. Just remember to cancel before the end of your first month if you don’t want to get charged and carry the trial on. If you’re still not sure which audiobook to choose after reading this, check out my post: 5 audiobooks to keep you occupied.