15 of the Best Books to Stop Drinking Alcohol
There are plenty of alcohol recovery books out there to help get and stay sober. Reading is a superb way of using up the free or spare time left whenever you stop drinking alcohol, and what better way to use it than to read and research tools, tips, insights and techniques on how to grow in recovery? Literary resources and information are great for staying motivated and inspired. Sometimes referred to as “quit lit,” books provide valuable insights, personal stories and scientific knowledge to help you stay sober.
We’ve curated a list of the 15 best books to help you quit drinking, and there are diverse perspectives and strategies in here that might just help you towards a healthier, alcohol-free life.
They are in no particular order of our preference.
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
by Gabor Maté
Dr. Gabor Maté’s compassionate investigation of addiction offers a unique perspective on the root causes of substance use and misuse. He delves into the connection between addiction, trauma and the human need for resilience. “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” provides a voice of understanding and generosity for those seeking deeper insights into addiction and the underlying pain that causes it.
Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book
by William G. Wilson (Bill W.)
Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book is a momentous work in the field of addiction recovery. First published in 1939, it outlines the principles and steps of the 12 Step recovery program that has helped countless people overcome alcoholism. While the book may feel dated and rigid to some, it continues to be a valuable resource for understanding the foundations of Alcoholics Anonymous and the power of community support in achieving sobriety. All other 12-Step programmes are based on this incredible book.
Dry: A Memoir
by Augusten Burroughs
“Dry” is a powerful biography by Augusten Burroughs, where he shares his personal experience with alcoholism and the path to recovery. The account explores the challenges of dealing with addiction and the complexities of the recovery process including detox and early recovery. Burroughs’ honest portrayal of his journey offers readers a relatable perspective and a deeper understanding of the struggles faced by those battling alcoholism.
Stash: My Life in Hiding
by Laura Cathcart Robbins
In Stash, Robbins provides a raw and unfiltered glimpse into her life as a Black woman grappling with addiction. This honest memoir sheds light on the unique challenges faced by people from marginalised communities within the context of addiction and recovery. Robbins’ story serves as a reminder that addiction does not discriminate, and that addressing the specific needs of different communities is essential in reducing stigma and promoting healing.
We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life
by Laura McKowen
Laura McKowen, the founder of The Luckiest Club, presents a straightforward and relatable account of her own journey to sobriety. In We Are the Luckiest, she delves into the hardships, loneliness and fear that often accompany the early stages of sobriety. This book is particularly meaningful with women, addressing topics that are often left unspoken. McKowen’s words offer a sense of freedom and empowerment, reminding us that we are not alone in our struggles.
This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life
by Annie Grace
Annie Grace’s book takes a deep dive into the psychological, neurological, and social influences that shape our relationship with alcohol. Grace challenges the societal norms surrounding alcohol and exposes the marketing tactics that perpetuate the idea that drinking is necessary for relaxation and enjoyment. By providing a fresh perspective on alcohol, Grace helps readers to break free from the grip of alcohol addiction and discover a life of freedom and happiness.
The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober
by Catherine Gray
Catherine Gray shares her personal journey of recovery in The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, offering practical tools and insights to navigate the early stages of sobriety. Gray tackles the common misconception that life without alcohol is dull and unfulfilling, illustrating the joy and richness that can be found in an alcohol-free lifestyle. This book serves as an empowering reminder that choosing sobriety is a courageous decision that can lead to a more vibrant and meaningful life.
Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Deep Connection, and Limitless Presence Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol
by Ruby Warrington
Ruby Warrington challenges the societal norms around alcohol consumption in Sober Curious. This book explores the concept of questioning our relationship with alcohol and the benefits of embracing a sober lifestyle. Warrington provides practical advice for navigating social situations, finding alternative activities, and creating meaningful connections without relying on alcohol. Sober Curious encourages readers to explore the possibilities of a life free from the constraints of alcohol.
Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol
by Holly Whitaker
In Quit Like a Woman, Holly Whitaker shares her personal story of recovery while critiquing the societal forces that perpetuate the obsession with alcohol. Addressing the unique challenges faced by women in a drinking culture, Whitaker challenges the traditional recovery narrative and offers alternative approaches to sobriety. Her thought-provoking insights and empowering message make this book a must-read for anyone questioning their relationship with alcohol.
Quit Drinking Without Willpower
by Allen Carr
Allen Carr, renowned for his successful methods in helping individuals quit smoking, applies his approach to alcohol addiction in Quit Drinking Without Willpower. Carr offers readers a step-by-step guide to escaping the alcohol trap without relying on sheer willpower. His technique aims to remove the desire to drink, providing a painless and effective path to regaining control over one’s life. Quit Drinking Without Willpower offers a refreshing perspective on breaking free from alcohol addiction.
Push Off From Here
by Laura McKowen
In her book, Laura McKowen explores nine essential ideas to remember throughout the recovery journey. McKowen emphasizes that addiction is not a moral failing, but a shared experience that requires compassion and support. Through a collection of stories and advice, she encourages readers to embrace radical honesty and let go of illusions of control. Push Off From Here serves as a powerful reminder that healing is a continuous process and that progress is not always linear.
by Sarah Levy
This memoir delves into the complex and often messy nature of addiction. Levy recounts her personal struggles with alcoholism and the transformative journey she embarked on to find freedom and self-discovery. Her story offers a profound exploration of the impact of addiction on one’s life and the power of personal growth and reinvention.
Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget
by Sarah Hepola
Sarah Hepola’s book is a deeply honest and at times humorous memoir that sheds light on the dangers of alcoholism and the numbing of emotions through excessive drinking. Hepola’s candid account highlights the transformative power of confidence, vulnerability, creativity, and authenticity. Blackout is a compelling read for anyone seeking inspiration and a deeper understanding of the journey to sobriety.
Drink: The Intimate Relationship between Women and Alcohol
by Ann Dowsett Johnston
Ann Dowsett Johnston’s book sheds light on the connection between drinking, trauma, and the pressure on women to “have it all.” By combining personal stories, interviews, and sociological research, Johnston offers a candid and informative exploration of the complex relationship between women and alcohol.
The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease
by Marc Lewis
Cognitive neuroscientist Marc Lewis challenges the traditional view of addiction as a disease. Drawing on his own experiences with substance misuse, Lewis explores the habitual reward loop in the brain and the potential for creating new neural pathways to overcome addiction.