Sunday, November 24, 2013

BOOKS! (Something else to do besides drink)

When I first quit drinking it seemed like all I did was read about people who had gotten sober. I loved it. I loved the feeling of knowing that my story could turn out like Mary Karr's, or Caroline Knapp's. I can see why people go to AA- that spirit of camaraderie that comes from sharing a life experience can be a huge boost to your confidence when you start a new thing.

I still haven't made it to AA, but. I read a lot, a LOT, about being sober and being a person in general. I just found another great book that I'm about 1/3 of the way through. It occurred to me that I could put together a list of what I've been reading over the past almost year so that y'all can read them too.

In no particular order here they are:

Drinking: A Love Story Caroline Knapp

I read this so many times before I got sober, maybe once a year for like 13 years.

Unwasted Sacha Z. Scoblic

I read this early in my sobriety.

Lit: A Memoir Mary Karr

Another I've read over and over.

Mommy Doesn't Drink Here Anymore Rachael Brownell

This one helped me with the mom parts of my drinking life. It was such a relief to know I wasn't the only mom out there drinking and loving my family at the same time.

Drink Ann Dowsett Johnston

This is the new one I'm reading. I'm liking it because it is making my brain work about the word alcoholic vs. the word I think I really am that I haven't come up with yet.

Kick the Drink...Easily Jason Vale

Another one I read pretty early in my sobriety.

The TurnAround Mom Carey Sipp

This one helped with the mom parts too. We need a brave dad to write about the TurnAround Dad.

The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle

I haven't finished this one yet. It's full of big big stuff, so I have to digest it in bits. It gave me one of my biggest things I use when I feel overwhelmed or start obsessing about future problems: Reduce it to "What is the problem RIGHT NOW?" Solve that one (usually there isn't one), and not the ones I'm imagining or that have already happened.

The Gifts of ImperfectionDaring Greatly Brene Brown

Holy shit, I could not love her any more than I do.

Introvert Power Laurie Helgoe

I always thought I was a shy extrovert, and that being an introvert was a bad thing. It was so cool to read this and recognize that I am actually an introvert- and that that doesn't mean shy, or bad. It means I understand myself better. Cool.

Sober Is My New Drunk Paul Carr

Another early read.

Stop Being Mean to YourselfFinding Your Way HomeThe Language of Letting GoMore Language of Letting Go Melody Beattie

I've been reading her for years. You know, all the years I knew I had a problem but just kept right on drinking. Maybe it helped me not be worse that I was.

The Alchemist Paulo Coelho

Not one about getting sober, but life perspective.

The Happiness ProjectHappier at Home Gretchen Rubin

I don't think you have to be happy all the time, but I like books like this anyway.

Eat and Run Scott Jurek

This reminded me that anything is possible. ANYTHING. And that that anything possible wasn't just for other people, it was for people exactly like me. We all all possible people. Especially when we aren't drinking ourselves into oblivion.

MWF Seeking BFF Rachel Bertsche

Getting sober can mean needing different friends. This helped me sort out what my requirements are for a friend besides "You can drink as much as me."

This is HowDry Augusten Burroughs

I read "This is How" about five times last winter/early spring. "Dry" I haven't read this year, but I recommend it.

Traveling MerciesPlan BGrace(Eventually)Bird by BirdOperating InstructionsSome Assembly RequiredHelp, Thanks, WowStitches Anne Lamott

She is. The. Greatest. In my dream world she is my neighbor and she comes over for cornbread and tea and we talk about stuff and my soul fills up. In my real world she writes these amazing books that speak to my heart and my soul fills up.

Y'all comment and suggest books too. Many of us don't go to meetings, and books were and are my meetings when I need some sober shoring up.


  1. Go to my blog and search "drunk book". I have a lust too!

    I'm going to try Anne Lamott...never read her but I feel like I should. Eckhart is like that for me too...I have to read him slowly and digest. Melodie I'm on the fence about.

    Great list!!!


  2. Oh! Never read anne lamott? I think you will LOVE her.

  3. Ooh nice list.. might have to hunt some of these down.. I haven't read them. xxx

    1. Thanks! Hope you find some you like. Xoxoxo

    2. Now I am wondering why Sherry is on the fence about Melodie. I love her! Great list Amy....I have tons of Anne Lamott books, never read!!! recommended by Father Tom W. whome I AA/Alanon speaker/conference leader. Google him....he is funny and for me at least, hones in right at the heart. Not an author as much as a speaker....maybe you could find him on You Tube.


      Here you go....his story. its just his voice, no face, because its anonymous you know! lol And its almost an hour get comfy if you decide to listen. :o)

  4. would like to also add "Turnabout" by Jean Kirkpatrick. She also wrote "goodbye hangovers, hello Life" and maybe one other. She started Women for Sobriety, she is deceased, but the program still exists, which I am a member of and was sober for 5 years because of it.

  5. Great Great list, Amy.

    I love Annie Lamote's writing - just finished Stitches and loved it. I wish Brene' Brown was my best friend!! Imperfect Parenting and The Power of Vulnerability- Brene' Brown, on Audio are life changing! I think I have everyone of those books except a few and glad to have some suggestions. I have also enjoyed in those early sober months, Drinking Diaries Women Serve Their stories Straight Up, UnDrunk and Sober for Good - sorry don't remember authors on those, but can find later.
    Just pulled This is How off my shelf for a good read tonight.
    Thank you, Amy.
    Jenny G.

    1. You're welcome! I'll look for those. Xoxoxo

  6. Ok, so I haven't yet replied to your lovely email or commented on your last lovely post - which I meant to say I LOVED and it made me very happy to read. Truly, you have come so, so far. And I am so glad I have been able to watch you blossom from the sidelines through it all.

    But I just had to say thank you for this list! Me too on the reading! And me too on the currently reading Drink and finding it very, very interesting. I have read many of these and some of my very faves are here. Isn't it funny how most of us have read Drinking A Love Story multiple times? Truly it speaks to the core of what being a woman too in love with wine is like. It makes me soooo sad she got sober only to die of lung cancer a few years later - just tragic.

    The Power of Now and Gifts of Imperfection were on my want-to-read so thanks for the reminder - I just downloaded samples to my Kindle.

    A few to add to this list…

    The Sober Revolution by Lucy of Soberistas. Have you read that? If not, you must. Lovelove Lucy.

    Unhooked I found interesting

    Under the Influence/Beyond the Influence - good for scary/real wake up call about alcoholism

    Dry, Augusten Burroughs - oh wait, you have this already. LOVE ALL his books.

    LOVE Anne Lamott too. I have Bird by Bird by my bed awaiting a reread for like the fifth time in my life but I haven't actually read Travelling Mercies or some of the others. To be honest, the faith stuff put me off a bit as I am totally non-religious. Which of her books did you find focused most on her alcoholism/recovery?

    I'm also reading and liking Being Sober, though it does have a bit too much of an AA focus for my liking.

    I am always looking for new sober books and I especially want some encouraging positive ones to load up my Kindle with for the inevitable tough spots over my trip away over the holidays, so bring 'em on peeps!


    1. Thanks! I'm really liking Drink.

      About the religion thing- Anne Lamott is quite faithful, but in a pleasant way. She gives me the courage to have my own version of faith and believe. One of the things getting sober has done for me is give me the ability to accept my need for some sort of spirituality. I think you will love all her other stuff. Try it. :)

      David Sedaris is good for some funniness for your trip.

      Now go answer my email. :)


    2. Oh I LOVE Sedaris too. LOVE LOVE. Yes, I might get his latest for my trip. Ok, email is coming your way I swear but it may be tomorrow as I need to get myself off Facebook and the blogosphere and get some work done today! xxxx

  7. Funny how this works...I JUST finished ordering yet another recovery book from and then I come here and read about your book list. I am at work (I know, I shouldn't be ordering books online when at work...) so I can't look at my bookshelf now, but it's teeming with recovery books...many I have still yet to read. I buy tons of them and they collect dust. I do get to them, though.

    But yeah, I love reading them too. Some of them are on your list...I think almost every one has Drinking: A Love Story. I used to read that drunk...ha ha.

    And Anne Lamott? She's one of my her.

    Thanks for this!


    1. You're welcome! I lived for reading about sober people when I first started out.

  8. I'm new to this site. My husband told me about it. I have been sober since July27th I believe that is 120 day today. Your story is very similar to mine. I'm doing good and I feel great. I don't miss drinking at all. But, things in my life have definitely changed, all for the better. You realize who your true friends were. You realize how much everyone else drinks. My husband came home after seeing your site and told me I had to go on it that you used to drink Proseco too! My husband is my biggest supporter! I can honestly say, I love my sober life! I would love to connect with you, like you not many people know about me. I would love to be able to talk to someone. Thanks for doing this blog it is great! Jennifer

    1. Jennifer, hope you got my email. :) Thanks for commenting.

  9. Great list, Amy!

    I too read "Drinking" nearly every year--usually around the holidays, so I'm due for a read.

    Mary Karr's "Lit" was great, but she also had two "prequels":
    "The Liar's Club" (which is my fave of the three) and then "Cherry." Looks like she also has a couple of books of poetry out too, I didn't realize!, so I'll def be looking into those.

    Just got Lamott's new "Stitches" and Mary Oliver's new poetry book "Dog Songs." LOVE LOVE LOVE them both.

    For another sober book, Jill Kelly's "Sober Truths: The Making of an Honest Woman" was one of my favorites (along with "Drinking" and "Dry"). Link is here:

    Hope all is well, xo, Christy

    1. Thanks for the suggestions. Ooooo, Mary Oliver. I love her. I'll check out Jill Kelly too. All is well. :) Thanks. xoxoxo

  10. Thanks for this list Amy. I've taken a break from writing, just feeling like it's time for me to open up to some lessons so this is perfect timing. I agree with you about Anne Lamott, I read Traveling Mercies years ago, I found it in the religious section at B&N, it was not what I expected at all. She wrote about her addictions and getting sober and her very personal conflict with faith, her story sounded like mine and it kept coming back to me for years before I finally decided to get sober. And Bird By Bird??? Masterpiece.

    1. I would love it if she wrote her getting sober story.

  11. Thank you for your story in Good Housekeeping. I too have been struggling. I never drink everyday but when I do I become someone I am not. I too exercise regularly, have a successful job, and five beautiful children. However, I have done a lot of damage to my family and my husband has said today he has had enough. Our anniversary is December7 and after reading your article and reading that part to my husband we both had tears in our eyes. I have not had a drink for almost two weeks. At times it is hard at others I am fine...I used wine as a clutch and poor coping method...I want to have my family back, win their trust, and be able to move forward with them into the future

    1. Keep going, keep going! Getting sober is hard, but so so worth it. Be gentle with yourself, email me- I will answer. :)

      I am so proud of your two weeks! That is a huge amount of time when you're used to having wine to deal.


  12. I also love The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. I'm just finishing up her ecourse on the first 5 chapters of this book through In our art journal we had to do pages on "things that made us want to numb" and "things we used to numb ourselves." Brene said she had stopped drinking 18 years ago and this motivated me to try again. A few days later I read your article in GH. Thanks for doing the list. I just started reading Drinking: A Love Story. BTW I've been sober over three weeks.