Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Drunk Books

When I first got sober and was too chicken-shit to go to an AA meeting, I leaned heavily on both online resources (AA Online) as well as what I affectionately called in my Nook, "Drunk Books".  In fact, I am sure that I would have never stayed sober if I hadn't, by the grace of God, found, read and reread these books.  I think they saved my life.

It started a few years back with one of Augusten Burroughs' books (I've read most of his books).  There's a passage in "Dry: A Memoir", when the protagonist (presumably Burroughs) goes to an AA meeting and a woman gets up and tells her story.  Her story was my story.  Especially the part about how she was the first to arrive at every party and the last to leave.  I remember thinking, "Oh my.  I do that.  Does that mean I have a drinking problem?"  A seed was planted and I, thankfully, let it grow.  I also fell in love with drunk books.

During the time I was struggling with getting sober (in other words I was chronically relapsing), I saw Jane Velez-Mitchell on Oprah (I think) talking about her book, "iWant: My Journey from Addiction and Overconsumption to a Simpler, Honest Life".  The more she spoke, the more I knew I had to read that book even though I didn't want to read that book.  I really, really did not want to read that book.  I read it.  I got sober soon after reading it. 

Whenever I'm in search of a book to help me figure out my head, I go to the bookstore and wander.  This isn't difficult because I LOVE bookstores.  Eventually I find myself staring at a shelf of books and I choose one...okay, let's be clear...God chooses one, and it ends up being exactly what I need.  That's what happened when I found "Drinking, A Love Story" by Caroline Knapp.  This book became so important to my sobriety that I asked the hubs to read it.  It's the book that convinced me to stay sober and at least give this whole non-drinking thing a shot.  Like the woman in Dry, she was me and although I hated it and it made me sad and scared the shit out of me, I also knew I wasn't alone.  I mean, if someone as talented as Carolyn Knapp could get sober and get her shit together then so could I.

Over the last three years I have read many, many drunk books. Here are just a few...

Diary of an Alcoholic Housewife Brenda Wilhelmson
Mommy Doesn't Drink Here Anymore: Getting Through the First Year of Sobriety Rachel Brownell
Unwasted: My Lush Sobriet… Sacha Z. Scoblic

The Interventionist Joani Gammill
Parched Heather King
Drunkard: A Hard-Drinking Life Neil Steinberg
And I've finally purchased one for which I waited a long time.  The Drinking Diaries is a wonderful blog that is a place for women to share their drinking thoughts and opinions (pro and con) without judgment.  They have been working on "Drinking Diaries: Women Serve Their Stories Straight Up" for quite a while.  It's a collection of stories about how alchohol has touched the lives of women all over the world.  I downloaded it today and I can't wait to dive in and read it.
Let me say that I'm not getting paid for mentioning any of these titles.  These are just books that I read and that helped (help) to keep me sober.  If you haven't read them and you're looking for a resource then I highly recommend any or all of these and, if you don't find something in this list just Google it, you'll find something that will help.
Just know that no matter where you are in your journey with your monster, you are never, never alone.  And sometimes that's all we need to make it through the day, one at a time.
“There's something about sober living and sober thinking, about facing long afternoons without the numbing distraction of anesthesia that disabuses you of the belief in the externals, shows you that strength and hope come not from circumstances or the acquisition of things, but from the simple accumulation of active experience, from gritting the teeth and checking the items off the list, one by one, even if it's painful and you're afraid.”
~ Caroline Knapp


  1. I loved both of those books too. I could relate so much to Knapp and her upbringing and the death of her parents. Such. A. Good. Book.

    And "Dry." OMG. Starbucks as a higher power. Loved it.

    Thanks for the other titles too. Read most, but missed a couple. "Sober Truths, The Making of an Honest Woman" by Jill Kelly, PhD was another one of my favorites.

  2. Hi Sherry, I think you've just given me an idea. I'm gonna go and look on-line. It certainly won't do any harm, thanks, with love x

  3. I agree, the CKnapp book is extraordinary. I'm re-reading it because my mate in Australia is reading it so we're going to have a long-distance book club about it. Problem is, i can't narrow it down to any themes or ideas because the whole book resonates.
    Dry - Brilliant and funny.
    Cheers for the other suggestions, Sherry. I'll put them on my list.

  4. I have read most of this books too! They helped sooooo much that first year. I still love to read sobriety books. It's like a new friend once you find one. "Dry" is one of the best. And like you I have read almost everything by Augusten Burroughs. I love his soul barring prose! I am going to check out this new book that you spoke about, and by the way thanks for being you!

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