Lately, I’ve had some folks reach out asking what books have helped me the most through my sober journey. Honestly, all of them! But here are five that stand out the most (thus far)-
- Girl Walks Out of a Bar: A Memoir by Lisa F. Smith (www.lisasmothauther.com)
I’ve read this one twice and would happily read it again! Something about the way that Lisa tells her story just grabs ahold of my heart.
Although she was at a different place in her life- a single, working professional (lawyer)- when she called time on her substance abuse, I connected with her. Her feelings of entrapment, the countdowns until the next “fix,” and the progression lie deep within me. She, herself, realized that something had to change. Her “secret addiction” could be no more, and she set out to grab ahold herself and life for all the better.
She is an inspiration and well known in the recovery community more than 10 years after her decision to get sober.
- This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol: Find Freedom, Discover Happiness and Change Your Life by Annie Grace (thisnakedmind.com)
Funny thing about this book is I somehow thought it would give me permission to drink, again. So I put off reading it for a loooonnnngggg time. However, this book, bar none, has aided the most in my sobriety.
Annie breaks alcohol down! She explains numerous misconceptions and challenges the reader to think about why it is that we drink. Alcohol is a toxin; we’re essentially poisoning our bodies to handle stress, guilt, a long day, a celebration, etc. She points out that social drinking has an underlying agenda. Like, aren’t we really just wanting to get together with each other for the company? For the memories? For the laughs and deep conversations? Why then do we use alcohol as the crutch to make all that happen?
I can honestly say that this book did exactly as promised- it removed any desire I once had to drink. I can’t look at alcohol in the same light anymore, and I’m grateful for the knowledge bestowed upon me in this read.
- Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction by Elizabeth Vargas
From once anxious gal to another, this book was phenomenal! I felt so many connections to Elizabeth in this book, and she challenged me to open my eyes to when and how my anxiety started.
This book made me feel less alone in moments of sheer panic and how we find our own ways to stuff it, avoid it, etc. She’s an incredible writer, and the fact that she’s in the public eye sharing such an honest piece of herself is inspiration alone! Definitely worth a read!
- Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton (momastery.com)
A good friend of mine whose taste in books is top-notch recommended this book to me when she heard about my struggles (last year). My dear friend did not disappoint AT ALL with this one! So good and fun to read!!
Glennon shares many personal stories including her struggles with an eating disorder, drugs, and alcohol. She motivates the reader to see that we can conquer all things hard (i.e. addiction, motherhood, marriage) and come out on top. We just have to face our own reality and be authentic! We’re human! Life is tough, but we’re strong at heart. This book is a wonderful, entertaining and inspiring read, for sure!
- Living Sober by Anonymous
This book was gifted to me at my second AA meeting during my sobriety stint last year. Although I am not an AAer (this time around), I did find this book to be incredibly helpful during the early days of sobriety.
Basically it provides very useful tips on specific situations and feelings. Topics include anger and resentment, loneliness, taking it easy, social drinking, eating something sweet, being good to yourself, etc. It provides the reader with a sense of direction in those first few days, weeks, and months. It’s a good starting point and can help to spur ideas of areas where to dig deeper.
I’ll definitely add to this list as I keep turning pages, mostly because of the impact that reading has had on me. Reading has become a daily habit/hobby and has really helped me to feel less (sometimes more) crazy. I’m in awe of writers who can completely drop their guard and share their most personal stories. Authenticity at it’s finest!
What books have had the greatest impact on YOU? What are your favorite (recovery, personal growth, spiritual, etc.) reads? What would YOU recommend to the world?