Best Books to Quit Drinking Alcohol (Updated for 2023)
Let’s be honest quitting anything addictive, especially something like alcohol is hard. Alcohol has become so ingrained in our society and typically dominates many of our social engagements with friends and family. Self- help books will assist you in kick starting your quit drinking journey and are an excellent resource to read by themselves or in conjunction with hypnotherapy sessions for abstaining from alcohol.
It is well publicised that binge drinking (typically defined as drinking five or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion for men or four for women) greatly increases health risks. This 2018 study found that consuming more than five alcoholic beverages a week could raise the risk of a stroke and heart diseases. More startling is that the according to research from the National Institute of Alcohol, Abuse and Alcoholism in the United States one in 10 deaths among US adults is contributed to by alcohol. Clearly this is a big issue in our society and many people want to change their relationship with alcohol - if you feel the same you are not alone!
Should you quit alcohol altogether or moderate instead?
It has been well publicised that excessive drinking does long term damage to your body both physically, mentally, and emotionally. Many people can learn how to moderate their drinking successfully if they fall into a mild or moderate alcohol use disorder bracket and do not have a physical dependence on alcohol. However, for others quitting alcohol may be a better option if they fall into the severe alcohol disorder bracket.
Also, if you have tried moderating your alcohol consumption numerous times before and have not managed it, then then quitting alcohol is your logical next step. If you think that you may have a physical dependence on alcohol you should seek medical advice first, before ceasing alcohol consumption. Reading a book or googling something is not a substitute for seeing your doctor, so if you wish to stop drinking then please ensure you speak to a doctor as the first step.
Want to find about more about moderating alcohol? I also wrote a book review of my Best Books for Alcohol Moderation.
What to look for in a quit drinking alcohol book?
Like any self-help books there can be both good and great books out there, so what makes a great self-help book for alcohol abstinence? Here are a few key points I like to look for when choosing a book to help quit alcohol for good,
- Has the author taken this journey themselves?
- Does the author give you actionable steps to take or tools to use to aid in your quit or stop alcohol journey?
- How has the author gained their experience in this field? Is the author a practicing therapist or conducted research on quit drinking alcohol?
- What do other readers and book critics think of their book and techniques they advocate?
So, with the above points considered you can find my favourite books to help you quit alcohol for good. Please remember to take notes along the way through each book and try to do any exercises that are detailed. You might find that a book you end up purchasing doesn't really resonate with you, please don't despair I have read many books on changing behaviours and you will resonate with some authors and their strategies or tools and not others.
The key is to not give up on your abstinence goals and try another book from the list below or from the many books that are released each year.
By Stanton Peele
While this book isn't specific to quitting alcohol, it is an excellent book to give you a values-based framework and practical set of skills to work apply to addictions like alcohol or other addictive substances or behaviours. What I like about this book is that it doesn't put the reader in a state of guilt, shame or fear which conveys that you are powerless to free yourself from the grip of alcohol or that you have a disease, the approach other '12 step type' programs typically take. The author cleverly draws on research conducted by different scientific studies over time and takes the perspective that being once addicted to something does not mean always addicted, giving many people light at the end of a dark tunnel in terms of freeing themselves from unwanted habits for good.
I found this book inspirational and it resonated with me as it really makes you think about your values and life goals and how quitting alcohol will help you achieve them. This book empowers you to take control of your life and learn how to put your addiction behind you.
By Catherine Gray
Written as more as a memoir with practical advice rather than a detailed 'how to guide', the author provides a raw yet humorous account of her journey to giving up alcohol. Catherine does not leave out any details when describing the downward spiral of her life before giving up alcohol with experiences that many who have gone through alcohol issues will relate to. The author also writes about how much better her life has become since getting sober and how she adapted to the changes with a strength and positivity that is inspirational for those wishing to follow suit.
This is a book that really makes you reflect on your own lifestyle and why you may also want to take the leap to quit alcohol. Overall, it is a well composed, short but to the point book that helps reinforce your commitment to begin a quit drinking journey.
By Allen Carr
Allen Carr is well known for his bestselling stop smoking book - The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. Allen has taken his 'easy way' to quit any addictive substance and now tackled how women can stop drinking for good by removing their desire to drink altogether. Allen begins the book by challenging readers why they believe they get some benefit from drinking alcohol in the first place and then starts to break down any common misconceptions and traps about alcohol and the drinks industry. Ultimately the book aims to change the way you think about alcohol and the perceived benefits that come with consuming it, once these perceptions have been broken you will view alcohol in a completely different light.
The book is well written and interspersed with personal stories from people who have gone on the journey to quit alcohol. While the book doesn't offer as much of a structured approach as 'The Truth About Addiction and Recovery' it does an excellent job of addressing the major fears everyone has deep down in relation to quitting alcohol.
By Jack Trimpey
After many difficulties in trying to overcome a twenty-year alcohol addiction in AA, social worker Jack Trimpey developed his own approach to quitting alcohol. Rational Recovery is a step by step approach to help you change the way you think about your alcohol consumption. As opposed to viewing yourself as a permanent addict who has befallen a “disease” that leaves you powerless, you take control of the addiction. A key part of the approach is observing thoughts and feelings about drinking. Those thoughts that support continuing use are termed the Addictive Voice (AV), part of the unthinking midbrain and those thoughts that support abstaining are you.
According to Trimpey when you recognise and understand the AV, then you can see it as not part of you but “it” and detach yourself from its grasp. The book is extremely helpful for those who like many, have mixed feelings about giving up alcohol and how such thoughts may be resolved. The book is written in a compelling and supportive style and offers a good alternative to twelve step programmes, empowering the reader to learn stronger self -control and to increase their health and wellbeing.
Do you have a favourite self-help book for alcohol abstinence that you found really useful too? Please leave a comment below and I will try to include it in another future blog post.
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