These books gave me the perspective and knowledge needed to help me quit for good.
“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” — Jim Rohn
Some people absolutely hate reading.
I have to be honest, I never really understand why because it has always been a joy for me, but I do understand that there are people who have trouble with reading for reasons outside of their control, e.g. dyslexia.
When I was younger, having the ability to leave the boredom and simplicity of my small bedroom in Waycross, NC, and travel across the world to faraway mystical and imaginary places was like magic to me.
As I got older into my teens, learning about real places and all the things the world had to offer was equally magical.
Then as I got even older after college, understanding that all the different lessons and information I needed to be able to achieve my dreams were mostly in a book was like unlocking the secrets to life itself.
It is for this last reason that reading has continued to be so dear and valuable to me in my adulthood and why it has always been something that I put at the top of my priority list daily.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that at the outset of my alcohol-conscious journey, it was to this medium that I turned my efforts to learn as much as I could about alcohol, how it affects people in different ways, and any tips or strategies to quit.
I have learned a lot along the way and would not be where I am now on my journey had it not been for all the knowledge and motivation I received from all that content.
Understanding that everyone may not have the time or the desire to read as much as I do, I thought it might prove beneficial to just share the top five books that I’ve read so far on my AC (alcohol-consciousness) journey to help others discover it for themselves.
5. Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
For those used to reading fiction and find non-fiction a bit “heavy,” this is a good place to start, as it outlines the story of Caroline’s life in more of a novel form. The story flows smoothly, is very funny at times, and is a light and easy read.
Carol navigates the story-telling to include solid information as it relates to alcoholism, addiction, and the process that so many people go through before being able to finally say no more.
Carol relays her personal story of understanding of why her addiction started, what it finally took for her to admit she needed help, and what it took for her to finally overcome it after numerous attempts.
Overall, a good light read for those looking for something a bit more entertaining and educational at the same time.
4. Alcohol Lied to Me by Craig Beck
I like this book because it’s a quick and easy read (approximately 152 pages) and is written in a manner that is very digestible for the reader.
Craig breaks down how he came to understand that his drinking was a problem that he was hiding under the guise of being a wine connoisseur and dives into many of the social and psychological pressures that encourage it.
He relays how many times and different ways he tried to quit and explained that it was only when he truly got “real” with himself that he was able to do so. He touts a method of quitting that doesn’t involve group meetings or declaring oneself an alcoholic to be successful.
Instead, it is more focused on the source of the problem, as opposed to the symptoms.
It’s a book that will introduce individuals to some of the physiological and societal traps of alcohol and gives Craig’s take and strategy on how to overcome it.
3. Drink?: The New Science of Alcohol and Your Health by Professor David Nutt
While this book does at times read a bit like a conspiracy novel as Professor David Nutt relays how he was fired as the Chair of the UK Government’s Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs when he declared alcohol as more dangerous than ecstasy and LSD to society.
As you would expect from the director of the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit in the Divison of Brain Sciences at Imperial College London, Professor Nutt dives deep into the science of what alcohol does to the body and mind over time.
The book doesn’t give explicit strategies on what one should do to quit or overcome drinking as much as it just relays the points of the negative aspects of alcohol on our lives in a very matter-of-fact manner.
It does give various options and paths to quit, so the reader is aware of them.
David explores the various effects alcohol has on the person who decides to over-indulge, as well as extrapolates that to the effect it has on our society and world as a whole.
He makes you not only think about what alcohol is doing to you, but how the world would perhaps be much better off if we all drink less or abstained completely.
2. Sober for Good by Anne M. Fletcher
I chose this book because I think it is very much in the spirit of what we try to accomplish here at AINYF.
AINYF is a publication powered by its readers and the average person giving advice and perspective, as well as sharing what has worked for THEM in hopes that it can help someone else.
We all have our own journey, and there are often no silver bullets.
In this book, Anne interviews a number of different people who solved their drinking problem in their own way and shares a number of myth-busters that shatter some conventional ways of thinking.
She uses a heavy dose of science to back up the anecdotes shared by her contributors and ultimately lands on the truth that there is no single path for any one person to get sober.
This is a great read that encourages the reader to know there is no “wrong” way to get sober if it works.
1. This Naked Mind by Annie Grace
Anyone that has read some of my work on AINYF knows that I attribute my long-term alcohol-consciousness to Annie Grace.
I remember telling my wife when we landed in Dublin after the 10-plus hour trip and I had consumed about half of the book that I didn’t know if I was ever going to drink again.
By the time we landed back in Atlanta 10 days later, and I had finished it, I had decided that my decision to stop drinking was final.
While all the other books above do a fair job of diving into the science behind what drinking does to you and how it damages your physiological and mental stability, this book is the first one that really explained to me how scientifically alcohol CREATES the need for itself over time.
The question then changed from “if” I was going to become dependent on alcohol to “when,” and, for me, that was enough to say that the “friend” that I had enjoyed for so long was not worth what the future inevitably promised if I didn’t give it up.
There are a lot of books that combine the science and social pressures of what alcohol does to you, but no one does it quite as well as Annie in this book.
It will truly open up your eyes to what you’re doing to yourself and where you could be heading if you don’t stop and put yourself on a different path.
Conclusion: Read for knowledge…read for insight…read for strength.
The decision to quit can be very challenging for many, as stopping something that has taken such a strong psychological hold on you is not something that can happen overnight.
However, if you are willing to take the time to dive into the mounds of great information out there that will give you great perspective and tips on how to do this, you’ll increase your chances dramatically.
It doesn’t have to be one of these five, but hopefully, this list gives you a good place to start.
Just pick one up and start reading…or listening to the audio version.
Either way…just don’t try to figure it out alone.