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Reading Material

August 4, 2014 318 comments

What are the the books, blogs, articles and other links that have helped you in recovery?

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  1. This is from the blog – http://momastery.com/blog/page/10/
    I am reading her book which came from this blog, she is really funny and maybe reading this will help someone today…
    Dearest Drunken Friend,
    It’s Day One. I have been where you are this morning. I’ve lived through this day. This day when you wake up terrified. When you open your eyes and it hits you . . . the jig is up. When you lie paralyzed in bed and shake from the horrifying realization that life as you know it is over. Quickly you consider that perhaps that’s okay, because life as you know it totally blows. Even so, you can’t get out of bed because the thing is that you don’t know how. You don’t know how to live, how to interact, how to cope, how to function without a drink or at least the hope of a future drink. You never learned. You dropped out before all the lessons. So who will teach you how to live? Listen to me, because I am you.

    You are shaking from withdrawal and fear and panic this morning, so you cannot see clearly. You are very, very confused right now. You think that this is the worst day of your life, but you are wrong. This is the best day of your life, friend. Things, right now, are very, very good. Better than they have ever been in your entire life. Your angels are dancing. Because you have been offered freedom from the prison of secrets. You have been offered the gift of crisis.

    Kathleen Norris reminded me last night that the Greek root of the word crisis is “to sift.” As in to shake out the excesses and leave only what’s important. That’s what crises do. They shake things up until we are forced to decide and hold onto what matters most. And what matters most right now is that you are sober. You owe the world nothing else. And so you will not worry about whether the real you will be brave or smart or funny or beautiful or responsible enough. Because the only thing you have to be is sober. You owe the world absolutely nothing but sobriety. If you are sober, you are enough. Even if you are shaking and cursing and boring and terrified. You are enough.

    But becoming sober, becoming real, will be hard and painful. A lot of good things are.

    Becoming sober is like recovering from frostbite.

    The process of defrosting is excruciatingly painful. You have been so numb for so long. And as feeling comes back to your soul, you start to tingle, and it’s uncomfortable and strange. But then the tingles start feeling like daggers. Sadness, loss, fear, anger, all of these things that you have been numbing with the booze . . . you start to FEEL them for the first time. And it’s horrific at first, to tell you the damn truth. But feeling the pain, refusing to escape from it, is the only way to recovery. You can’t go around it, you can’t go over it, you have to go through it. There is no other option, except for amputation. And if you allow the defrosting process to take place, if you trust that it will work, if you can stand the pain, one day you will get your soul back. If you can feel, it means there has been no amputation. If you can feel, you can hope. If you can feel, you are not too late.

    Friend, we need you. The world has suffered while you’ve been hiding. You are already forgiven. You are loved. All there is to do now is to step into your life. What does that mean? What the hell does that mean? This is what it means. These are the steps you take. They are plain as mud.

    Get out of bed. Don’t lie there and think – thinking is the kiss of death for us – just move. Take a shower. Sing while you’re in there. MAKE YOURSELF SING. The stupider you feel, the better. Giggle at yourself, alone. Joy for its own sake . . . Joy just for you, created by you – it’s the best. Find yourself amusing.

    Put on some make-up. Blow dry your hair. Wear something nice, something that makes you feel grown up. If you have nothing, go buy something. Today’s not the day to worry too much about money. Invest in some good coffee, caffeinated and decaf. Decaf after eleven o’clock. Read your daughter a story. Don’t think about other things while you’re reading, actually pay attention to the words. Then braid your girl’s hair. Clean the sink. Keep good books within reach. Start with Traveling Mercies. David Sedaris is good, too. If you don’t have any good books, go to the library. If you don’t have a library card, apply for one. This will stress you out. You will worry that the librarian will sense that you are a disaster and reject you. But listen, they don’t know and they don’t care. They gave me a card, and I’ve got a rap sheet as long as your arm. When practicing re-entering society and risking rejection, the library is a good place to start. They have low expectations. I love the library. Also church. Both have to take you in.

    Alternate two prayers – “Help” and “Thank you.” That’s all the spirituality you’ll need for a while. Go to meetings. Any meeting will do. Don’t worry if the other addicts there are “enough like you.” Face it – we are all the same – be humble.

    Get Out Of The House. If you have nowhere to go, take a walk outside. Do not excuse yourself from walks because it’s cold. Bundle up. The sky will remind you of how big God is, and if you’re not down with God, then the oxygen will help. Same thing. Call one friend a day. Do not start the conversation by telling her how you are. Ask how she is. Really listen to her response, and offer your love. You will discover that you can help a friend just by listening, and this discovery will remind you that you are powerful and worthy.

    Get a yoga DVD and a pretty mat. Practice yoga after your daughter goes to bed. The evenings are dangerous times, so have a plan. Yoga is good for people like us, it teaches us to breathe and that solitude is a gift. Learn to keep yourself company.

    *When you start to feel . . . do. For example – when you start to feel scared because you don’t have enough money….find someone to give a little money to. When you start to feel like you don’t have enough love. . . find someone to offer love. When you feel unappreciated, unacknowledged . . . appreciate and acknowledge someone in your life in a concrete way. When you feel unlucky, order yourself to consider a blessing or two. And then find a tangible way to make today somebody else’s lucky day. This strategy helps me sidestep wallowing every day.

    Don’t worry about whether you like doing these things or not. You’re going to hate everything for a long while. And the fact is that you don’t even know what you like or hate yet. Just Do These Things Regardless of How You Feel About Doing These Things. Because these little things, done over and over again, eventually add up to a life. A good one.

    Friend, I am sober this morning. Thank God Almighty, I’m sober this morning. I’m here, friend. My son is eleven. Which means that I haven’t had a drink for just about twelve years. Lots of beautiful and horrible things have happened to me during the past twelve years. And I have more or less handled my business day in and day out without booze. GOD, I ROCK.

    And today, I’m a wife and a mother and a daughter and friend and a writer and a dreamer and a Sister to one and a “sister” to thousands of readers… and I wasn’t any of those things when I was a drunk.

    And I absolutely love being a recovering alcoholic, friend. I am more proud of the “recovering” badge I wear than any other.

    What will you be, friend? What will you be when you become yourself? We would love to find out with you.

    1. Today is the 1st day of many attempts to give up. I have this voice in my head that tells me just 1 drink tonight wont hurt but i know it will because 1 drink will lead to 2-3 bottles of wine. I am scared I will give in to this voice tonight.

      1. I am also day 1…….. it is only 12pm …. lets get through this day and night…. im just going to continue to read these blogs etc….. going to focus on distraction and look forward to waking up tomorrow morning feeling proud of myself and clear headed !!!!!!!! Just like you I always tell myself.. il just have the one wine, then of course the bottle is gone! like total evaporation! and you say to yourself, one bottle is only really 3 glasses anyway (3 huge goblets) One day at a time….. we can do this! loves xxx

      2. I can so relate to that Maddie. It is Sunday 14/10/2017 and I want to give up alcohol. I have had one bottle of wine and want to do so much during the days.

      3. Shannon, I haven’t reached day 1 yet. I am stalling. I have beer and wine in my home to get me through tonight. Me too. One will lead to drinking for the rest of the night until I pass out.

    2. This brings tears to my eyes. Beautifully written. I’d like to express more of what this means for me, having been able to read this today, sometimes words do not do feelings justice. Thank you, thank you, thank you

    1. me too, reading Alan Carr was a turning point for me….I only intended to cut down! life changing…also Jason Vale very good for me…plus he got me into juicing and giving up chocolate at the same time I stopped drinking! Can’t believe this is me!!
      still got a bit to go on other junk food though.I find it is easier to cut out than cut down on unhealthy things…a work in progress

  2. The memoir ‘Blackout’ by Sarah Hepola is fantastic. First half a rollicking drinking memoir, second half a fantastic recovery memoir. This is one of the main reasons I love this book, there is LOADS about the recovery process… the ‘getting sober’ bit of the story. Usually so many memoirs are just the car crash drinking/drugging story and then a tiny blip at the end about giving up. This book spends many chapters on what the author went through in redefining her life and her self-image after drinking. She’s a fantastic writer, and brutally honest.

  3. I have just started reading a new book called Blackout:Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola. I’m about halfway through and I have to say this book is brilliant. I was definitely a blackout drinker and it only just occurred to me recently how much damage I have done to myself. I didn’t really hurt anyone else with my drinking, and I though really because if that, that there wasn’t harm done. But really that shows my lack of self esteem – my total lack of self regard to really believe it didn’t matter if I couldn’t remember huge chunks of my life. It’s frigging scary.
    Anyway I highly recommend this book to anyone and I’ll write more about tit when I finish – which will probably be tomorrow as I can’t put this book down!

    1. This book is probably the most meaningful sobriety book I’ve read. If you were a blackout drinker then pick this book!!!!! It’s also the first book that’s made me think that my alcohol “problem” is actually “alcoholism”, a term I’m struggling with. It’s really a big umbrella word though, definitely not a one size fits all label

    2. I think I will look into this book too. I am defo dealing with a combo of issues ( I am sure most people on here are) that stem from when I was young. I have a separate airplane just for my baggage….lol.

    3. Thanks @delgirl68, I am always on the lookout for an interesting read. I have just downloaded on my Kindle and am going to get my nose stuck into it!!!
      Have you read any of Lucy Rocca’s books? (Glass Half Full and How to lead a happier, healthy and alcohol free life)

  4. For anyone who would like a wonderful book and workbook about Buddhism and meditation as it applies to the 12 steps, check out books by Kevin Griffin. I have just started with them and am really enjoying the intersection between mindfulness and recovery. Highly recommended!

  5. Two thoughts on books that I found interesting and helpful but that aren’t self-help books, because I can get a bit sick of that genre, even though I do read lots of that, too:

    Olivia Laing’s “The Trip to Echo Spring” was a great read if you’re someone who gets caught in the myth that people need wine to be creative. I needed that.

    Also, Ann Leary’s novel “The Good House” is a stark depiction of the inner life and denial of alcoholism. Plus Leary is a great writer, and the book is smart and funny.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation on The Good House. I stayed up 3.5 hours past my usual bedtime to finish it because it was such a good read.

    2. Loved The Good House!! Also, Ann Leary is Denis Leary’s wife, FYI. Also loved All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner. It is about prescription drugs, a novel centered around a family, and there are A LOT of similarities this book. Addiction is Addiction, right? Also loved New York Times culture writer David Carr’s book, The Year of the Gun. Great read and so honest. Non fiction.

    3. I loved #The Good House#. Its actually the book that made me start to see I had a problem. I actually emailed Ann Leary to thank her and she emailed back to thank me and to encorage me to stay sober.

  6. Hi friends – I am using all my allotted Amazon Free Days to give away my new book This Naked Mind between today and 11/25. I want to get this book to everyone who needs it this holiday season. The link is here: http://amzn.com/B016JP45PU – Get a free copy and share it if you would. Much love! – Annie Grace

  7. Blog: tired of thinking about drinking
    Movie: lipstick and Liquor
    Podcast: Bubble Hour
    Book: Jason Vale- Quit the drink
    Best free go to meditation- all yoga nidra on soundcloud
    Best Quick Fix if you feel emotionally STUCK- Kia Miller Kundalini Yoga ( if you aren’t in California you can find on website Yoga Glo and do an online class)

  8. I just found a book called, Unwasted: My lush sobriety, by Sascha Scoblic. It’s hilarious in places, and sobering (if you’ll excuse the pun) in others. What I like, though, is that it really looks at the thing that often knocks us off our perch – who am I without drink? She honestly examines this question and the years it took after going sober to really figure out who she wanted to be, and how to make life happen.

    1. I just read this book – it was as if someone had written about me in my late-20s – early-30s and just transplanted the story to the US. I could tell you equivalent anecdotes of the dodgy situations she got herself into; nights when I’ve abandoned seldom-seen friends for a party and a shag; and plenty of all night binges.

      It made me reflect about a lot of my past – particularly my university years and how I allowed my social group to be shaped entirely by whether people got shit-faced or not. Also the amount of lost potential in my career during my 20s and 30s.

      Would definitely recommend this to any ‘party-girl’ type drinkers.

    2. I love this book too it’s incredible isn’t it! I love how she describes herself as thinking she was this “fabulous rockstar partier” who was actually so naive and disconnected from reality and what actually matters in life. Hit the nail on the head for me.

  9. I went a bit mad on reading sobering books. Typical of my addictive personality I suppose. I started off with Mrs D of course and then, in this order:
    Allen Carr, The Easy Way to Stop Drinking
    Jason Vale, Kick the Drink Easily
    Jill Stark, High Sobriety
    Gretchin Rubin, The Happiness Project
    Sarah Turner and Lucy Rocca, The Sober Revolution
    Rachel Black, Sober is the New Black
    And in between I visit blogs. Right now I’m searching Amazon trying to decide what to read next. I’m 64 days sober today and I’ve spent a lot of that time reading and gaining confidence that this is the right choice for me and that I can do it. Each and every one of those books has helped me in some way so I recommend them all.

    1. Please add to your list:
      Rational Recovery by Jack Trimpey – this book is a great complement to Allen Carrs book, helps explain that voice in your head that has tempted you to drink! And The Law of Sobriety by Sherry Gaba/Beth Adelman, helps once your sober.. great feelgood, positive ‘happy to be sober’ read :)

    2. Drunk Mom
      Drinking: A Love Story
      Ann Dowsett-Johnston’s book ‘Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol’
      High Bottom
      Why You Drink and How to Stop
      Just a few to be going on with! I, too read obsessively in my early days. I’m now nine months sober!

  10. Hi Everyone

    The books I found helpful in my early recovery were Tommy Rosen’s Recovery 2.0, and A Thirst for Wholeness by Cristina Grof. And I was reading so many sober blogs! They really helped a lot.

    I also read a good book called Drink by Ann Dowsett Johnston, and she has a Ted Talk you can watch


    Her thing is about the relationship between women and alcohol, and also explores how we have been marketed to by alcohol companies.

    Good Luck everyone!

    1. This was very emotional for me to hear. I so much like her. I was drinking to cope, have fun and get num to avoid my emotional pains. Chidren will help put the reality mirror in-front of you. Recently One of my 7 yrs old son said to me “Mommy you like wine as much as I like lemonade”. Best wake up call.

  11. Some of my faves are:

    Drinking: A Love Story, Caroline Knapp – a classic for a good reason. I have read this multiple times and it hits me hard every time.
    The Sober Revolution, Lucy Rocca & Sarah Turner
    Dry, Augusten Burroughs
    Under the Influence – good wake up call about the realities of alcoholism
    Beat the Booze – was a soft landing when I was first confronting my drink problem
    Sober for Good – interesting stories about different ways people got sober
    And of course… Mrs D is Going Without :)

    1. Hi Lilly — I read “Under the Influence” as well — and thought “darm im stuffed” when I realised all the nuero science behind alcoholism — still there was some sense of relief in that. Another one I read about 6 months ago was called “Drunk Mum” by Jowita Bydlowska (she is a journalist for the Huffington Post and this book Is her memoir) – that’s an interesting insightful read too –:-)

    1. That book is, in your face. You know, Marion Keyes is now sober. Which is very inspiring. She has a new baking book out where she talks a little about her sobriety.

  12. Some Dr Dan Siegel links.. first this 3 1/2 minute clip on ‘Our Power To Change’ really great for those of us who are having to majorly change our thinking and beliefs around alcohol (and ourselves & the world) ..and how absolutely it is possible to do that at any age or stage of life..
    Then moved to this one just over five mins long about ‘Mindsight’ very interesting about how empowering it is for individuals to become very conscious of their thoughts and brain patterns etc, how the mind can change the brain itself (not sure I summarized that very well but have a listen if you are interested).. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP_06n5y72g
    This one is even better on how to develop mindsight (just under 5 mins long) .. it’s very powerful on the power of parents to help kids develop mindsight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2pdN7dQIgM
    And Finally (!) this one is ‘on recreating our past in the present’ and is also very good on finding an inner calm and authenticity that might be at odds with what we were taught when we were young (that led to chaotic or disconnected adulthood) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzI5vLBrX8A

  13. I’ve read quite a few recently! Apologies if these have already been mentioned but :
    I read Alan Carr’s book a few years ago, and recently read Jason Vale’s “Kick the Drink” – both of these books are very similar, so go for one or the other, I would say. Also, who here hasn’t read Lotta Dann’s book – It was brilliant for me and I could really relate to it and found inspiration in it. Finally, a really interesting read which explores the reasons why we drink and focuses on spirituality and emotional wellbeing is “Why you drink and how to stop” by Veronica Valli – Not only is this useful for an alcoholic to read, it’s equally useful for those who live with or are worried about an alcoholic friend or relative.

  14. “Mommy Doesnt drink here anymore” by Rachell Brownell

    Great read for all those middle aged mums who juggle all the usual crap and use that ever increasing volume of wine to “cope”. Quite confronting but honest and gives you a warm fuzzy feeling.
    Enjoy x

  15. Allen Carr’s “The Easy Way To Stop Drinking” was very helpful. Like Jason Vale he also worked really hard to get inside my brain and make me see alcohol in a completely different way than society has had me see it all my life. It offers you nothing, it doesn’t make anything better, it tastes awful, no drinker is in control of their intake we’re all just alcoholics in waiting, you’re not giving anything up, you’re gaining so much. He talks about the ‘critical point’ being when the drinker has two parts of their brain working just as strongly as the other. One part wants to drink as often and as much as you want, the other part now sees your drinking as a problem. I got to that point two years before I gave up! But he says the problem is that both parts when working make you miserable, they work in complete opposition to each other. So the only solution is to stop drinking but doing it by (what he calls) the ‘willpower’ method doesn’t work as you’ll still feel miserable that you’re depriving yourself of something desirable. You have to use his method (which is what I’ve been doing!) and retrain your brain to realise that you’re not giving anything up you are freeing yourself of something you don’t want or need.

    1. I really liked the concept of it, that you don’t need to replace it with anything (as with smoking) because you are freeing yourself from something that you don’t need. I found that both books warn you that you only have one shot with this method ( I probably got that wrong) . Also that you had to have a drink to mark the end of drinking. This did two things for me , convinced myself if I failed that was it and whenever I read these books I was already off it and would have to buy a drink which I didn’t want to do!! Talk about negative thinking! Anyway no more!!

    2. Yep, Allen book was a get key to my sobriety. That and Jack Timpany “Rational Recovery” Both really, really help turn your mind around on your perceptions of alchol.

    3. This is how I stopped drinking. I read some of the book and went to an Allen Carr workshop in the U K. I was sceptical but I haven’t drank since and it has not been difficult at all. I think his method works

    4. Oh my goodness! Talk about hitting the nail on the head. Once I made my mind up to quit for a year, I stopped having the battle in my mind. Then I returned to wine, and the battle begun again within me. Which then causes a really unsettling feeling within yourself and the knowing that ‘I think I have a slight prob when it comes to alcohol’. So reading the two parts work in complete opposition to each other, makes so much sense. As I ‘m sure that’s what most of us would experience. Thanks so much once again Lotta for giving your energy and time and sharing your knowledge with us all. :) Have a great weekend

  16. This is not a book, a blog or an article but a documentary: “My Name Was Bette: The Life and Death of an Alcoholic”

    I found I could stream it on Amazon (free if you are a prime member but it’s worth paying for). It’s two grown women telling the story of their alcoholic mother. Not only is the story impactful enough on it’s own but then they provide tons and tons of information on what damage alcohol causes to your health, to your body. The go through all of the body and it was an eye opener for me. Many of the health issues I was having I could directly link to alcohol. I watched it twice and will watch it again. It’s part of my tool box. If it’s removed from prime, I’ll buy it.

  17. Your comments were so refreshing and really inspired me on this first day of sobriety. I am hoping to celebrate one month of being sober on my birthday, Feb. 26th! I look forward to reading more of your comments! :-)

  18. The bubble hour podcast is very helpful. Unpickled blog, and the recovery revolution podcast. I also tune into the addiction and dependencies program on Sirius’s Dr. Radio. That is always REALLY helpful.