The Best Books On Sobriety for 2024

Reading books on sobriety and listening to podcasts is what helped me most in the weeks and months just after I stopped drinking alcohol.

Even before then, when I was wishing I could stop drinking but not believing I could, some of these books on alcohol really helped to kick me along the path towards kicking the booze.

If you are sober curious, or have recently stopped drinking in 2024, then here are the books which I recommend for you. Most were published between 2013 – 2023, and then there are others published or to be published in 2024.

I’ve been alcohol free for a few years now. I still go back to read some of these sobriety books, just to remind myself of where I was and also to remind myself that I am in excellent company. Many very smart people have been overtaken by alcohol, then found their lives improved when they stopped drinking.

You’ll find all sorts of books listed here. Some are pretty hardcore books on alcoholism with stories to make your hair stand on end. Others are more about grey area drinking, which is the category I was definitely in.

New in 2024

Published in Feb 2024 by Pantera Press

A Thousand Wasted Sundays

A hilarious and heartfelt memoir about partying, parenting and sobriety.

By Victoria Vanstone

Victoria Vanstone is the host of the Sober Awkward podcast and she runs the Cuppa community which I am a member of. I really wanted to love this memoir – and I did! I read Vic’s book over two days, lounging on my sofa with a cup of tea and my faithful hound, Maisie.

As a reader, I was swept along by Victoria’s story, the youngest child in a boozy party-loving family, her very early start as a regular drinker, friendship breakups, a short stay at university and then many, many years of travelling all over the world. As a woman I could relate to so much, as a drinker I cringed in recognition and as a lover of wandering and escape, I loved her travel disasters and joys.

As both a reader and a writer, I was impressed by Vic’s dual narrative structure; she starts chapter one as a young child, chapter two starts the story of motherhood, beginning with a positive pregnancy test. Then each narrative thread continues in alternating chapters. This is not easy to do!

The first thread is her life from childhood in Reading until the time she gets pregnant – the spectacular drinking story. The second motherhood narrative is the sobriety story… well, in the end it is, via many hangovers and much guilt and suffering.

Thank goodness for those children! And that wonderful psychologist whose 12-week program helped Vic leave alcohol behind.

Throughout the book, there is the most hysterically funny storytelling and many bon mots and phrases which are just spot on. Much of the humour is bawdy, very British, and no doubt will offend many people. (Vic says her father must never read it.)

There is also pathos, trauma and some deeply moving writing, especially about the immediate aftermath of the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami in Thailand. I had to cuddle the dog as I had a cry. Vic’s writing about an appalling, manipulative arsehole boyfriend made me feel fury on her behalf. She writes well about her personal disintegration in the face of it. Maisie and I cheered when she left that man for good.

Vic really did give drinking a red hot go. Her stories made my hair stand on end. Drug taking was also a reckless pursuit, and I was so bloody grateful to read about her decision to give up that shit. She could have died many times, she could have lost everything. But she didn’t… and as a sober woman, Vic has spend years and years encouraging other people to try a sober life, whilst showing that you can have an excellent time sober and that life retains all its laughs…. even when it’s deeply imperfect.

It’s the humour in this book which sets it apart, and the rollicking no-holds-barred storytelling Well done, Vic!

Look how many notes I made! I am sure I will go back and re-read this book soon.

Beyond Booze

Beyond Booze, from sober coach Sarah Rusbatch is a life-affirming how-to book, with plenty of real-life stories both from the author and from many of the women she has coached. This is unashamedly a book for women. It delves deep into the lifestyle many women find themselves in these days, with too many stressors and not enough support and self-care.

Sarah is aiming to coach the reader, as she does her clients, to find more small pleasures in their lives and to connect more deeply to themselves, so that they can more easily let go of alcohol.

I enjoyed the fact that Sarah writes very honestly about her own drinking:

Drinking, in fact, had become why one and only hobby. The only thing I did with any spare time, and the only thing I did to counter the fact I barely even had any spare time. I was rarely without a glass in hand if it was past 5 p.m. and I was at home……..On the outside, no one thought I had a problem, but inside I was in turmoil.

I am sure many readers can relate to that and to Sarah’s writing about the exhaustion of trying to moderate. She explains that there is a lot of work to be done to look hard at the reader’s life and then make a plan to improve it, in every way. But she promises:

This deep journey of self discovery is where we will go, together.

Sarah has done her research and quotes many writers and academics as she explains what alcohol does to the female body and how ubiquitous it has come, especially the mummy wine culture. She devotes a lot of time to showing many ways to deal with the inevitable stress of modern life, alcohol free. She has a chapter on romantic relationships when sober and another on socialising.

Sarah address the reader directly: “What’s your fun plan? she asks, and she ends the book with Chapter 9, titled: ‘Value your life! Creating a life that prioritises what you love.’

Sarah brings her enthusiasm and energy, and her expertise as a sober coach to this book, encouraging readers to use it as a guide to making their life much, much better. This book is especially a call to arms for mothers, exhorting them to put their own needs first, learn to manage their lives well and then take care of others.

We can’t find freedom from booze if we don’t have any other tools for managing stress in our modern world, because stress isn’t going anywhere soon.

Even as a mother of young adults who has been sober for over four years, I still need reminders of this top notch advice!

This how-to book falls into the self-help category and is a warm hug from an expert friend who has the energy and the love to encourage readers to change their lives, ditch alcohol and find freedom.

books on sobriety cover of the sober diaries book

The Sober Diaries

How one woman stopped drinking and started living

by Clare Pooley

This one is up top because it’s the book that really helped me. I related so much to Clare Pooley, she could have been writing about me. And if she could do it, surely I could? And I did.

This book started as an anonymous blog delightful titled Mummy Was A Secret Drinker. In the blog Clare detailed her struggles as she stopped drinking alcohol. In the book she has added more backstory.

This is a seriously funny, insightful and heartfelt book.

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober

by Catherine Gray

A classis of the quit lit genre. Catherine is a single woman whose drinking spirals out of control. Reading this made my mummy boozing seem very lightweight! Her struggles, her rock bottom and then her ups and downs as she quits the booze are well-written and uplifting.

This Naked Mind – Annie Grace

Annie Grace faced her own alcohol emons and when she stopped drinking, she explored the causes rather the the symptoms of our cultural and social fixation ith alcohol. Her book was one of the earliest overviews, explaining how alcohol affects us physically, psychologically, emotionally and socially.

Alcohol Explained – William Porter

This book is a thorough examination of how alcohol affects the body, especially the brain. I found it quite hard to read at first (I was using the Kindle app on my phone though) but it did pack a punch as there was lots of information which was new to me. I am re-reading it this year and also read his second book too.

Here’s how William Porter describes his book.

Its purpose is to provide an understanding of alcohol consumption, alcoholism and addiction generally, and to provide a practical solution for those wanting to quit.

Porter, William. Alcohol Explained (William Porter’s ‘Explained’) (p. 8). Kindle Edition.

High Sobriety

by Jill Stark

First published in 2013, High Sobriety by Scottish-Australian journalist Jill Stark is one of the earliest Aussie quit lit books. The 10th anniversary edition Higher Sobriety came out in 2023, with chapters at the end updating Jill’s story.

A massive New Year’s day hangover prompts this health reporter, who has been a heavy boozer since she was a teenager, to take three months off alcohol. This turns into a year off the grog when she is commissioned to write a book.

Jill Stark had reported on Australia’s love affair with alcohol for years and she brings all her journalistic experience to this book, which chronicles Australia’s drinking history since colonisation. She also tells her own drinking story, from her early years growing up in Edinburgh, to her move to Melbourne in her 20s and on to her mid-30s.

Jill is very open about how much she misses drinking in the early months, whilst also finding she can still go out and have a great time. Backing up all her own personal stories with information from experts, this is a really comprehensive book.

I won’t tell you what happened after that first year and in the 10 years following, the new chapters are fascinating, and informative too.

Quit Like A Woman

by Holly Whitaker

I really enjoyed this book. The writer is very strong in her options, critical of AA and of patriarchal approaches to recovery from addiction. Holly Whittaker was young and totally went for it with her drinking, she was not a mother at the time of her drinking, so this is one that mums like me might not relate to so much, but it’s well worth reading and has great information and universal messages.

Mrs D is Going Without

by Lotta Dann

Lotta Dan wrote a secret blog when she stopped drinking and much of it is in this book, as well as her thoughts and feelings about the time before and after she stopped drinking. Lotta Dan lives in New Zealand and was a classic mummy wine drinker, often making herself pretty ill even as she worked, mothered and studied.

This book is honest and searing, and shows very well all the challenges that happen in the early weeks, months and years of sobriety. It is highly relatable. Published in 2014, this book is as relevant today as it was 10 years ago. If you are a mother who drinks too much wine and need a story about someone you will relate to, here it is.

Lotta Dann has written several books since this first one, but do start here.

Woman of Substances

by Jenny Valentish

Jenny Valentish is a journalist and author, brought up in the UK and now living in Australia. Her descriptions of drinking and throwing herself into drug culture makes me feel like a total beginner. She interviews many experts and brings a lot of factual information into her own story of addiction and recovery.

Jenny runs the podcast Spirit Levels, which pressure-tests the wellness industry. Interesting listening!

Glorious Rock Bottom

by Bryony Gordon

This memoir of alcohol and cocaine addiction will make your hair stand on end. Even after she became a mum, Bryony could not let go… but eventually she did, doing an outpatient rehab program which is fascinating to read about.

The Outrun

by Amy Liptrot

This is a literary standout amongst quit lit books, so beautofully written. It describes the author’s collapse into addiction in London and then her recovery, and a return to the Orkneys where she was brought up. Highly recommended for its beautiful prose, profound insights and gorgeous nature writing.

Dry

by Augusten Burroughs

A witty and beautifully written literary memoir, Dry was written before Augusten Burroughs best known book ‘Running With Scissors’but was published afterwards. A drinker and drug abuser of of heroic, catastrophic proportions, Augusten Burroughs writes of his collapsing ability to work and live anything like a normal life, his employer’s intervention and a stay in rehab, followed by the death of his lover and a spectacular swan dive off the wagon.

The writing about hangovers and the madness of drinking will light up your brain cells and, hopefully, put you off ever putting yourself through it all again.

Dryland – One Woman’s Swim To Sobriety

by Nancy Stearns Bercaw

If you love travel, swimming and sober stories, you’ll adore this book.

Books On Sobriety — How-To Guides

Euphoric

by Karolina Rzadkowolska

This is a how-to guide and a personal story rolled into one. Karolina explains why her life is much better without the booze, and all the horrors that ethyl alcohol wreaks on our bodies in Part 1. Then Part 2deals with alcohol and Your Mind and Soul, the psychological and spiritual damage and the benefits to stopping. Part 3 is an 8-week plan to ditch the booze and gain confidence and health.

You can find Karolina on her Instagram page at @euphoric.af and her website EuphoricAF.

Allen Carr – Easy Way To Stop Drinking

A classic which has led to other books, including one that is written for women. Allen Carr has passed away but the books live on and are being updated and improved by others.

This and the other stop drinking books are step-by-step guides, with clear information about what alcohol is doing to you and why to stop. Readers are encouraged to start reading even when they are still drinking.

Jason Vale – Kick The Drink Easily

This is a book which has stood the test of time, as popular today as when it was first published in 2011. Many people swear by this book and it remains one of the most popular books on sobriety – quite rightly.

On My List

Tired of Thinking About Drinking: Take My 100-Day Sober Challenge by Belle Robertson

Rational Recovery by Jack Trimpey

I hope that you have found this list of the best alcoholism books and grey area drinking books helpful. Please do add in a mention of other books that you have found helpful in the comments below.

I will add to this list of books on sobriety regularly, so do pop back!

Find the best sober holidays and vacations here.

Read more about my own journey to sobriety here.

Find excellent sobriety resources for Australia at Sober In The Country here.

Looking for a great book about sobriety and alcohol free reading?

Click here to read my favourite book list for 2024.

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