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Reading Material

August 4, 2014 383 comments

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

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    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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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!!

  9. Turnabout: New Help for the Woman Alcoholic by Jean Kirkpatrick is the best sobriety book I have read. She started the sobriety group I am part of called Women For Sobriety. These are the core statements of the group, but it includes much more. It really has changed who I am. 



    1. I have a life-threatening problem that once had me.

    I now take charge of my life and my disease. I accept the responsibility.

    2. Negative thoughts destroy only myself.

    My first conscious sober act must be to remove negativity from my life.

    3. Happiness is a habit I will develop.

    Happiness is created, not waited for.

    4. Problems bother me only to the degree I permit them to.

    I now better understand my problems and do not permit problems to overwhelm me.

    5. I am what I think.

    I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.

    6. Life can be ordinary or it can be great.

    Greatness is mine by a conscious effort.

    7. Love can change the course of my world.

    Caring becomes all important.

    8. The fundamental object of life is emotional and spiritual growth.

    Daily I put my life into a proper order, knowing which are the priorities.

    9. The past is gone forever.

    No longer will I be victimized by the past. I am a new person.

    10. All love given returns.

    I will learn to know that others love me.

    11. Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.

    I treasure all moments of my new life.

    12. I am a competent woman and have much to give life.

    This is what I am and I shall know it always.

    13. I am responsible for myself and for my actions.

    I am in charge of my mind, my thoughts, and my life.

    To make the Program effective for you, arise each morning fifteen minutes earlier than usual and go over the Thirteen Affirmations. Then begin to think about each one by itself. Take one Statement and use it consciously all day. At the end of the day review the use of it and what effects it had that day for you and your actions.For some, it has proven helpful to use a notebook for recording the sequences of the day and the statement’s effects upon you.


    Copyright: Women for Sobriety, Inc.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. The best book I found was Sober is the New Black by Rachel Black. I could have been reading about myself. I also dip back into it whenever the going gets tough and it never fails to inspire me. Highly recommended.

  13. 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)

  14. 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 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.

    2. 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.

  15. I have just read “All or Nothing” which is a rip-snorter of a memoir by a very successful young chef in the States (Jesse Schenker). One of those books you read and can’t believe the author made it out of their debauchery alive let alone with enough brain cells to actually write a book! Boy was he big into pills and needles etc. It rips along and is really compelling, he seems very honest and upfront. I would have liked more about the getting-sober process and what it’s like to be in recovery and how he works at it but that’s how I always feel after reading a lot of these memoirs. Still a great read.

  16. I’ve just finished reading ‘A Piece of Cake: A Memoir’ by Cupcake Brown.
    I was so encouraged by her story! She is candid and writes in a clear engaging way about her addictions and her recover. Points about recovery that have become embedded in my mind are:
    Having supportive team – people to whom you can explain what you need and who are willing to pick up the phone when ever you call for help or just to talk or to weep etc, and that won’t judge or criticize etc
    Being honest about emotions and be committed to learning How to have that kind of honesty and courage (her story is a great demo)
    That no matter what sad story I have and what my wounds are, I can be more courageous and more self-accepting/loving and do what I dream of doing in life!
    It’s so motivating! Recommended reading :-)

  17. This is a really good article about mindfulness and how it helps us deal with addictive behaviors… “Mindfulness helps individuals pay careful attention to their cravings, such that they can see what they are made up of – thoughts and body sensations. Importantly, with this awareness, they can notice cravings as they arise, see how they change from moment to moment (instead of lasting “forever” as some of my patients have described), and as a result, stay with them and ride them out instead of acting on them. Also, paying attention helps individuals see clearly what they are getting from their behavior in that moment.”

    1. Wow interesting. When I gave up smoking which was a major for me I remember reading about negative and positive reinforcement. I changed my thinking from smoking being adding something positive to the environment (me) to the cigarette only being a tool to stop the negative feelings ie withdrawal. The turnaround in thinking helped me hugely because I was looking forward to the day when I’ didn’t experience the withdrawal. Rather than the notion I was depriving myself of something.
      It did come eventually!

    1. Great talk, I feel very irked by the alcohol industry in general, its a hard slog against all that pressure. Am hoping it will go the way of tobacco, but too must invested.

  18. 1. Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp (underlined more than most of my textbooks).
    2. The Bubble Hour podcasts (keeping me sober).
    3. The movie The Anonymous People
    4. And for all around peace, anything by Thich Nhat Hanh.