Book worm, like me? Looking for new book recommendations?
Since A Happier Hour was published, I’ve received a ton of beautiful messages from readers, wanting to know my favourite books about sobriety and my suggestions for which ones they should read next.
The truth is, I became obsessed with reading books about this topic from the very start of my journey, and they continue to fascinate me now. In reading stories about addiction and sobriety, we uncover stories about what it means to truly experience the depths and pinnacles of the human spirit. In reading other people’s stories, we recognise our own.
So I’m excited to share some of my favourites with you! Here are a few I highly recommend…
My favourites in narrative form (one long story, as in A Happier Hour):
Dry: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs
I love Augusten’s writing style full stop, and even more so that this book explores both addiction and sobriety and the myriad of human emotions and epiphanies that we experience as a result:
“You see, even though back when I was drinking I thought nothing bad ever happened to me, something did. Time passed. A lot of time passed. In bars, at parties with people I didn’t care for. It was always the drink. It wasn’t about love or reading the Sunday paper in bed. Or housebreaking a puppy. Or anything that people call ‘life.’ It was about drinking. So actually, something bad, very bad, did happen to me. I wasted my life. And now, what little I have left, I want.”
Drunk Mom by Jowita Bydlowska
This author’s writing style is so unusual, I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first, only to discover that it perfectly suited the genre. A fascinating and frightening tumble of fragments and memories that left me breathless and wanting so much more for her.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
This book is a novel and pure fiction, but was so spot on, it gave me chills. I couldn’t put it down and couldn’t say it any better than Stephen King’s tweet: “The alcoholic narrator is dead perfect.”
My favourites written in traditional non-fiction form:
The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray
I love, love, LOVE the positivity, hope and optimism shared in this book, along with Catherine’s trademark sense of humour. I remember reading countless addiction memoirs in early sobriety, and was so disappointed when the vast majority of them ended abruptly just as the author stopped drinking. As though that was the end of the story of their lives. Which, of course, was exactly what I was afraid of.
This was precisely what inspired me to dedicate A Happier Hour to sharing the sobriety story, rather than the addiction part. Thankfully, Catherine’s book does the same. So many gems had me nodding in total agreement, and the ‘wearing a lot of white’ part had me laughing out loud in recognition.
Kick the Drink… Easily! by Jason Vale
By his own admission, Jason Vale is not a brilliant writer, nor is he particularly likeable in this book. But I do love his fresh perspective on the use of alcohol in modern society, and the excuses that keep us trapped. Unbrainwashing brilliance.
Blackout by Sarah Hepola
Haunting and harrowing. Home to such pearls as: “I left the clinic with the notion that alcohol was an escalating madness, and the blackout issue was the juncture separating two kinds of drinking. One kind was a comet in your veins. The other kind left you sunken and cratered, drained of all light.” and “The nights I can’t remember are the nights I can never forget.”
Recovery 2.0 by Tommy Rosen
I first came across Tommy Rosen through his annual ‘Recovery 2.0’ summit and loved his holistic approach to healing from and overcoming all addictions. Sober for more than 20 years, I love Tommy’s positive and practical approach to creating a life we don’t need to escape from. This book builds upon the AA 12 step program, but has a ton of helpful info to offer for everyone, including those who don’t necessarily resonate with the AA mindset or approach.
Why You Drink and How to Stop: A Journey to Freedom by Veronica Valli
Written by Addictions Therapist, Veronica Valli, this book peers into the reasons that some people drink the way they do. It explores how alcoholism is the symptom of a spiritual illness. Beautifully written, you’ll read with a growing clarity that leads to hope, and put it down knowing there is a solution.
Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein
I’ve been a fan of Gabby’s videos blogs and books for years, and loved reading a little more about her own personal journey into addiction, recovery, and what it took to completely rebrand herself and her life.
High Sobriety by Jill Stark
Written by a binge-drinking, Scottish-Australian Journalist, I love that this book is written like a long magazine article. A fascinating look into the history and politics surrounding Australia’s big-drinking culture.
Drinking – A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
A brave memoir, this book delves deep into Caroline Knapp’s destructive relationship with alcohol. An intense account of another woman’s battle with the bottle. I found myself reading several pages over and over as the true depth of their meaning sank in.
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Hosting a Book Club?
Recently a beautiful soul reached out to ask if we had any discussion questions about A Happier Hour that she could share with her Book Club sisters. And I was so inspired by the idea, we created some!
Gorgeously designed by Dom, you can now find your very own (free!) copy on the Book Bonus page (along with my favourite alcohol-free elixir recipes!). Click here and enter the first word from Chapter 9 as the password.
Happy reading, angel! x