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Reading Material

August 4, 2014 408 comments

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

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  1. I just ordered Mrs D Goes Without, Rewired, and The Happiness Trap. I will post feedback after I read them. Any recommendations of which to start reading first?

  2. 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

  3. I’ve just read the best book ever about emotions and how to approach them. This is the book I have been looking for since I got sober. It is targeting and answering all my questions about how to manage emotions. It’s called The Happiness Trap and it is by Russ Harris. It is based on the style of psychotherapy he does called ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and it is bloody brilliant!! The blurb on the front of the book says: “The mindfulness based program for reducing stress, overcoming fear and creating a rich and meaningful life.” It is full of practical tips and easy to follow techniques on how to accept your emotions and detach from your thoughts about them – how to recognise the observing you and the thinking you and distinguishing between the two. How to not always believe your thoughts are real, don’t let them hook you and carry you away into an inner dialogue which is unhelpful, don’t try to over analyse them, don’t seek answers to tough emotions or try to fight them or deny them. One of the tips he gave which I love so much is to say to yourself whenever you have a fear-based through or hear a limiting self-belief in your mind ‘thank you mind’ .. ‘thank you mind for that unhelpful thought but now I am going to get on with what I am doing’.. i.e. you detach from the thought, thank your mind for creating it (in a warm but slightly condescending way!) and then you move on to the task at hand. Also asking yourself often ‘Is this a helpful thought?’. So often we create so much bullshit with our thinking!! Highly highly recommended…

    1. Thank you for the recommendation, @Mrs. D. Sounds like just what I need right now! I have been unconsciously buying in to everything my thoughts are telling me, and I think I’ve just figured out that its been the key to why I’ve been self-sabatoging my recovery time and time again. And thanks for this wonderful site! I”m going to get this one right away!

  4. Just finished Why You Drink and How to Stop:Journey to Freedom by Veronica Valli. Highly recommend it! Have also read all the Jason Vale, Allan Carr etc which were great. Another good one was High Sobriety by Jill Stark.

  5. Allan Carr’s easy way to stop drinking book. It changes the way you look at alcohol and you don’t feel like drinking after reading this book. He also helps you not feel like you are deprived or giving anything up. A great tool to go back and read as needed.

  6. I’m reading “The Recovery Book” right now. I’m only on Chapter 1 though so I will have to get back to you all with my reviews haha.

  7. 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.

  8. “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

  9. 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. 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.

    2. 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)

    3. 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

  10. A really good book I’m reading right now is called “My friend Leonard” by James Frey. It’s really making me see how someone else has given up alcohol even though they are dealing with a hard, raw life.

  11. 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!

    1. Gazza – Part of the problem is that it is of course written in the language and from the perspective of 1930s America. Many times you can find an AA group that is a “big book study” meeting. Remember AA only requires a desire to stop drinking to attend. So you could just try those meetings.

      I’ll be honest it took me a while for it to start clicking but now I think it a terrific book on the state of alcoholism and how to potentially recover

  12. Isn’t it awful when you have belly full of wine the night before and you crave savoury food – I find it so stressful as trying to keep weight off. My last night of drinking is tonight and my first day of sobriety is tomorrow.

  13. Some of the local colleges and community support groups now have mediation classes. I took a class that was an hour once a week and loved it. I learned different ways to meditation and we’d practice as a group. My class was in the afternoon and was all women (7). But, she had an evening class with men and women. You might want to try it.

  14. I read ” The Empty Room” By Lauren B. Da. It’s fiction but seemed real and a rather fast read. I’m now reading “Drinking: A Love Story” which is nonfiction. It’s a little heaver and I’m about half way thru. I’d recommend them both as a lot of it hit home.

  15. I read some time ago in the toolbox about drinking hypnosis but I cant find the message now. Does anyone know of any.? I have trouble sleeping and thought hypnosis may help. Especially non drinking hypnosis.

    1. Hi anonymous I just asked in the members feed if anyone knew and got this reply from @noelle “Yes. I wrote the details down and have been using it . I downloaded the app. The mans name is Andrew Johnson. There are a series of podcasts. The one I am using is quit drinkng. I’ve only had time to listen to one session so far but I thought it was good. Will listen to the rest.” hope this helps!

  16. A fantastic book on Meditation for beginners and experienced meditators. Meditation- An in-Depth Guide. Ian Gawler and Paul Bedson. Xx

  17. Here are a few I’ve found useful over the years… outside of AA literature, especially the “Big Book” Alcoholics Anonymous which I still think is the best book I’ve ever read about alcoholism and recovery.

    First – John Bird “How to Change Your Life in 7 Steps”. He founded The Big Issue which has become massive institution in the UK for helping homeless people improve their situation. He himself states he has been a thief, prison inmate, artist and poet. This is a short book with some great advice in it – the thing I really learnt from this was “Don’t play the Victim”.

    Next a legendary book which I avidly read and learnt from in early recovery. M Scott Peck’s A Road Less Travelled. Really excellent practical advice on dealing with life. I lent it to a good friend in AA once – he gave it back the next week. I said “Have you read it all?”. He said “Didn’t need to. I read the first sentence which said “Life is hard”. Can’t disagree with that. All I needed to know. Best self-help book I’ve ever read!”

    The Twelve Step Warrior – Peter Skillen. If you want to read an uplifting recovery story showing you what can be achieved when you turn your life around in recovery read this. Terrifically uplifting and inspiring.

    Finally a book that whilst it is poignantly sad given how it ended up being written but again has so many uplifting moments and I found it really useful to look at my old behaviours and get some perspective on being grateful and working my recovery. I unreservedly recommend Stuart:A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters which was also a brilliant dramatisation by the BBC with Benedict Cumberbach playing Alexander some years ago. The book is a (largely) reverse chronology of a chaotic drug addict’s life showing how Stuart Shorter ended up sadly losing his life when the 11:15pm train to King’s Lynn hit him near his home on 6th July 2002. Deeply moving.

  18. 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. 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

    2. 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 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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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

  19. 10% Happier by Dan Harris (Nightline and Good Morning America news anchor)
    “How I tamed the inner voice in my head, reduced stress without losing my edge, and found self-help that actually works”

    Really liked his concrete explanations about meditation. Loved even the first sentence, “I initially wanted to call this book the voice in my head is an asshole.” He explains how to quiet our nasty internal narrator through mindful meditation. His research included interviews with Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, and many scientists. Meditation finally makes sense to me now!

    1. I’m on Day 9 now, after many, many Day 1′s. Like many others I’m reading books on sobriety like mad. I liked Liz Hemingway’s, “I Have to Stop Drinking!” and Lucy Rocca & Sarah Turner’s “The Sober Revolution: Women Calling Time on Wine O’Clock” and “Sober is the New Black” by Rachel Black. I’m waiting for Mrs D’s book to come in the mail soon; looking forward to it!!