Revealed: The World’s Best Books On Sobriety And Quitting Drinking + Live Q&A
If you’re going through recovery, know that you’re not alone.
An estimated 22 million Americans are currently going through some form of recovery. That includes recovery from opioids, alcohol, and other substances. Knowing this number can grant comfort to those who feel isolated or understood.
Something else that helps that journey become easier? Reading healing books on sobriety.
Because many people have been in your shoes before, there are also several books that can be honest, uplifting, and useful for those battling addiction. The following books offer insight, advice, compassion, and companionship. They help reduce the stigma and start the conversation.
If you’re searching for an inspiring list of books on sobriety, look below.
The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley
This book by Clare Pooley describes, “How one woman stopped drinking and started living.”
Pooley didn’t know whether she was an alcoholic. She just knew that her alcohol intake was progressing, causing her to peruse the web at night, asking questions such as, “Am I an alcoholic?”
Pooley attempts to quit drinking right as she has a devastating breast cancer diagnosis. But, she pushes through—and by the end of the year, she is sober. Along the way, she asks and answers several questions about sobriety, such as:
- What if my partner still drinks?
- What will I tell my family and friends?
- How will I have fun at parties?
And so on. For an honest look at one woman’s perspective, give this book a try.
The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray
For many people battling alcohol addiction, the last thing they expect to feel once sober is joy—but Gray challenges you to see for yourself.
In this novel by Gray, we see what life after addiction looks like. When sobriety is the norm and hangovers are nonexistent, what does life look like?
For one, it illuminates society’s drink-pushing agenda. It also shows how people can still manage difficult break-ups and tough family gatherings. It highlights our strengths as individuals to live sober, healthy, and challenging lives—because life isn’t always easy, and that’s okay.
For a personal story with insight from medical professionals, this might be the book for you.
Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola
Many individuals who use alcohol find that alcohol is “the gasoline of all adventure.” The same goes for Sarah Hepola.
In this book, Hepola approaches drinking from an interesting perspective—that of an enlightened, strong, twenty-something with every right to stay at the bar until the last call. Her memoir reads like someone picking up the mess after their evil twin came through like a hurricane.
Sick of playing detective after a long night of drinking, Hepola attempts to get sober. In the meantime, she finds that much of her creativity and confidence came from within—not the bottle—offering hope for a sober life.
The Easy Way to Control Alcohol by Allen Carr
Allen Carr got his start helping people to quit smoking.
In this book, Carr uses similar tools and lessons from his first book and applies them to quitting alcohol. He confronts why people drink, as well as offers clear, step-by-step instructions on how to stop.
If you’re stuck in the “alcohol trap,” have grand illusions about alcohol, or have psychological dependence, then Carr intends to help you get out.
The Recovering by Leslie Jamison
In this book by Leslie Jamison, she writes about “Intoxication and Its Aftermath.”
The Recovering takes a multi-faceted approach, weaving in a personal memoir, literary criticism, and journalistic reportage. It takes everything you thought you knew about addiction and approaches it in a new way. In a strangely meta way, Jamison discusses the stories of alcoholics—ourselves and others—and what we hope to get out of them (plus, what happens when they fail us).
She also discusses the “recovery movement” as a whole. What is this movement’s history, and how did it develop as it did, bringing us to where it is today? She attempts to look at the movement in its entirety, looking at “the story of addiction and recovery in America writ large.”
Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington
In this book by Ruby Warrington, she attempts to answer the question: “What would life be like without alcohol?”
The title illuminates some of the advantages of quitting, including:
- Limitless presence
- Blissful sleep
- Deep connection
- Greater focus
If that all sounds too good to be true, Warrington wants to prove that it isn’t. She uses a combination of personal narrative, interviews with medical experts, and research to highlight why life without alcohol is just simply better.
Dry by Augusten Burroughs
This memoir by Burroughs, author of other books, such as Running With Scissors, highlights how regular, ordinary people can get lost in the throes of alcohol. An individual needn’t be rich, or glamorous, or famous to experience addiction. In fact, it can plague the people you see everywhere—at the grocery store, your favorite restaurant, at work.
In this story, Burroughs is sent to rehab by his job. If he thought rehab was bad, he realized it was nothing compared to living his life after rehab—in the same city, doing the same things, but sober this time.
With wit, honesty, and tenderness, Burroughs examines a life that’s drastically different (and strangely the same) after one gets sober.
These Books on Sobriety Teach Some Worthwhile Lessons
When you’re going through recovery, it can quickly feel like you’re doing it alone.
But when you read these books on sobriety—whether heartfelt, illuminating, encouraging and at times, sad—you’ll realize that you’re not alone, that others have been there before you. They want your recovery to be successful. Sometimes, this simple push in the right direction can help more than you’d expect.