Updated: Jun 29
When I decided to quit drinking, I had a HUGE fear that I would lose all of my friends and nobody would want to hang out with me. Whenever I got together with my close friends, there was usually some sort of drinking involved, whether it was wine and boardgames or cocktails and karaoke. After work, my coworkers and I would connect with drinks at a local bar after a long shift. Even at family gatherings, the bonfires were usually accompanied by hard seltzers. It seemed like all of my connections involved drinking to some extent, and I was terrified of what that meant for my social life. I'm not religious by any means, so joining AA didn't really appeal to me. However, I knew that I needed someone to relate to while I went through this journey into sobriety, so I turned to sober literature! Books were (and still are) essential to my progress in my sobriety. They remind me that I'm not alone (nor crazy) throughout this experience. Below are some of my favorites! You can click the title's or the images of the books to be directed to their links on Amazon!
1. This Naked Mind - Annie Grace
This book is perfect for those who are sober curious. It was one of the first books I read in my sobriety, and it helped me change the way that I thought about alcohol. This book reveals the subconscious associations we have towards alcohol, and the novel uncovers the reasons why we drink. Throughout the book, Annie Grace provides the psychological and neurological components regarding alcohol use, and taps into how society supports alcohol dependency. This book helps to remove the psychological dependence we have on alcohol, so you can learn how to not crave it. Instead of actively trying to avoid alcohol, this novel encourages you to find freedom in never having to drink again!
2. The Sober Diaries - Clare Pooley
This is my most recent read, and it brought so much inspiration to my life! Clare Pooley does a fantastic job explaining the highs and lows of sobriety on a day to day basis. Written like a diary, she explains her story getting sober, and ways that she used to cope. Like me, Clare felt she needed a sober community of like-minded people, so she decided to blog about her experience, which eventually turned into a book! I had always wanted to write a blog, but this book really pushed me to make that idea a reality. This is a book about a mother who realized she wanted to show up better for her children and for herself. This book was highly relatable, and did an excellent job explaining the emotional rollercoaster that sobriety entails.
3. The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober - Catherine Gray
This Great Britain novel explores sobriety in a high reflective manner - Catherine Gray's unconventional writing style takes you through her journey of mishaps she had while drinking, to a better booze-free life. She explores ways to cope without alcohol, and dives deep into topics such as sober dating and sex, and the transformation of your body and mind once alcohol-free. This book helped me deal with the shame I had surrounding mistakes that I had made drunk, as it sheds light on the humanity that we all share. This is an easy read, and is especially nice for those who don't have too much time on their hands. This topic-by-topic style novel is moving, lighthearted, and remarkably transparent.
4. We Are the Luckiest - Laura McKowen
We Are the Luckiest by Laura McKowen is a humble story of a woman who felt she had two lives - the external one where she was successful in her business, hosted dinner parties and playdates for her daughter and was fairly athletic; and the internal one, where she dealt with nightly blackouts, hangovers, and crippling anxiety. This novel emphasizes that it's okay to fail a few times before really getting it right, and that we're human after all. McKowen's perspective is so important because it highlights how everybody deals with sobriety differently, and ultimately there is no one-solution-fits-all. If you've ever felt hopeless about wanting to quit but are having a hard time, this book is a gentle reminder to give yourself grace while getting up and trying again.
5. Raising the Bottom - Lisa Boucher
This was the first book that I had ever read when I quit drinking, and it had a huge impact on me. Lisa Boucher touches on her childhood trauma surrounding alcohol and her genetic disposition to addiction. Going from career to career, husband to husband, Lisas story draws attention to how dangerous alcoholism can become and how it can take a turn for the worst. Her touching story is a courageous example of taking back control over her life and changing her narrative. Going through AA, Lisa touches on how community, spirituality, and the twelve steps are critical to maintaining sobriety. For those who have trauma surrounding a family members alcoholism, this story is deeply moving.
Each of these stories helped me get through my early stages of sobriety, and made me feel less alone throughout the process. Whether you are simply sober curious, have already given up the bottle, or want to drink in moderation, these books are great at addressing the impact that alcohol has on our minds, hearts, and bodies. I'm always looking for more sober literature, so if you have any additional books that you've read on sobriety, please feel free to drop them in the comments below!