Quit Lit: 10 of our favourite sobriety books about quitting drinking alcohol

Quit Lit: 10 of our favourite sobriety books about quitting drinking alcohol

Items included in this blog post have been hand-picked and curated by our editorial team but we may earn commission if you purchase something through the links provided.

Books glorious books. Whether you’re looking to stop drinking, starting to think about changing your relationship with alcohol or in need of more alcohol-free inspiration, diving into sober books (affectionately known as quit lit) is a great place to start.

With so many great books on sobriety to choose from, a Google search can be overwhelming and an hour reading Amazon reviews even more off-putting. But don’t worry, we’re here to help out! The team at Sober Girl Society has curated 10 of our favourite sober books so you can spend less time searching and more time reading.

In no particular order, our current favourite sober books are:

1. The Sober Girl Society Handbook: An empowering guide to living hangover free by Millie Gooch

Okay, okay – we know it’s a shameless plug … but we couldn’t honestly write about our favourite sober books without nodding to our founder Millie’s debut. We’d be missing an opportunity to plug the SGS manual. (She didn’t write this blog post though – we promise!) A blend of memoir and sober survival guide, The Sober Girl Society Handbook is a sassy self-help guide with a fundamental message: you can be happier and way more fulfilled when you ditch the alcohol and reclaim the steering wheel of your life. Filled with trademark SGS wit, alongside Millie’s anecdotes and tips from fellow sober girls, The Sober Girl Society Handbook is like having a sober best friend in your bag (or the bath, on the tube, you get where we’re going …).

“As the saying in the sober community goes, ‘Alcohol is the only drug that you have to justify not taking.’ And that is the most important point: alcohol is a drug.” – Millie Gooch, The Sober Girl Society Handbook


2. The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray

This is the book SGS founder Millie credits with her sobriety after downloading it on Audible on a particularly nasty hangover (her words)! The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober is a blend of memoir and self-help. It goes beyond Catherine’s drinking story to deep dive into escaping the alcohol-matrix and embracing a life of sober joy.

“When people become addicted to alcohol, it’s seen as their failure. They didn’t pass the ‘moderate use of an addictive drug’ challenge. They failed at drinking! Society expects us to regularly use an addictive drug, without becoming addicted to it. Alcohol is the only drug where, the second you stop taking it, you’re seen as being too weak to handle it. It’s truly bizarre.” – Catherine Gray, The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober


3. Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston

Ann Dowsett Johnson’s book is one of the first that provides an in-depth exploration of the relationship between women and alcohol. In her book, a blend of personal narrative and investigative research, she explores the problem drinking that many women keep hidden and the rise of “big alcohol” deliberately targeting women to drink more and increase their profits. This book is both brave and highly educational, and it may well light a sober fire in your belly.

“For most, booze is a loan shark, someone they trusted for a while, came to count on, before it turned ugly.” – Ann Dowsett Johnston, Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol


4. This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol: Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life by Annie Grace

Jampacked with insight into why we drink, This Naked Mind is a book that can lift the veil on the role alcohol plays in society. Blending together psychological, neurological, cultural, social and industry factors, This Naked Mind is a persuasive take on life alcohol free. A must read for the sober and sober curious!

“Alcohol erases a bit of you every time you drink it. It can even erase entire nights when you are on a binge. Alcohol does not relieve stress; it erases your senses and your ability to think. Alcohol ultimately erases your self.” – Annie Grace, This Naked Mind


5. Drink?: The New Science of Alcohol and Your Health by David Nutt

Stepping away from personal narrative, Drink? by David Nutt is an investigative take on the impact alcohol has on our health and society. David Nutt is a scientist with hands-on experience treating patients and medical research career spanning 40 years, his book has the answers to the questions you’re too afraid to ask and covers alcohol’s impact on mental health, sleep, hormones and fertility. This is the book to choose when you want the facts on alcohol, it can help you make informed decisions about your future drinking (or not-drinking) habits.

“The impact of alcohol on health is profound. Up to half of all people in beds in orthopaedic wards are there because of alcohol-related injury and at the weekends the A&E departments of our hospitals are filled with people who are drunk. Alcohol and medicine are inextricably entwined in the same way as money and banking.” – David Nutt, Drink?


6. Quit Like A Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol by Holly Whitaker

The book that queen Christy Teigan credits with her sobriety, Quit Like A Woman is a bold take on what it’s like to stop drinking as a woman in today’s world. When author Holly Whitaker tried to quit drinking over 8 years ago, she found the recovery modules she encountered “archaic and patriarchal”. This sober book chart’s Holly’s journey in her own recovery, whilst considering the role alcohol plays in society and in particular the lives of women. A sober call to arms, and well worth adding to your bookshelf.

“Spending a night out drinking is akin to dismantling every piece of protection we have—our cognition, our decision making, our reaction time, our memory, our standards, our voice. If we thought about alcohol in this way—as something that undermines our collective momentum and personal agency and vitality and self-worth—what would that mean for us? What if we all rejected the poison—then what? I’ll tell you what: world domination, bitches.” – Holly Whitaker, Quit Like a Woman


7. Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola

If you are drinking a lot, blackouts might have become a regular occurrence in your life – perhaps even the sign of a really good night out. In her memoir, Blackout, Sarah Hepolla illustrates why there’s nothing funny about blackouts and that when you blackout you are experiencing alcohol-induced amnesia. If you are looking for a read to help you feel less alone, whilst illustrating the harm of alcohol, this is it. We also love how Sarah dismantles the story of alcohol providing confidence and instead reminds us that it takes away our power and agency.

“Addiction was the inverse of honest work. It was everything, right now. I drank away nervousness, and I drank away boredom, and I needed to build a new tolerance. Yes to discomfort, yes to frustration, yes to failure, because it meant I was getting stronger. I refused to be the person who only played games she could win.” – Sarah Hepola, Blackout


8. Love Yourself Sober: A Self Care Guide to Alcohol-Free Living for Busy Mothers by Kate Baily and Mandy Manners

If you feel stuck in “mummy wine o’clock” and are a parent questioning your relationship with alcohol, this is the sober book for you. Kate and Mandy are sober mums on a mission to break the booze pattern in mothers and their book empowers readers to make informed choices around alcohol and drinking. Combining positive psychology, coaching methods and workbook features, Love Yourself Sober is a supportive book that will help you centre your self-care and make the changes that are right for you.

“As you begin your sober journey, it’s vital to focus on self-care. Life is a balancing act physically, mentally, and emotionally and we can easily become depleted and imbalanced … Self-care is essential to a life you love sober, so we encourage you to look at your self-care level and keep it as a focus, adding to it as you go along.” – Kate Baily and Mandy Manners, Love Yourself Sober


9. Mindful Drinking: How Cutting Down Can Change Your Life by Rosamund Dean


ober curious or keen to try mindful drinking? Rosamund’s book could be your perfect match. Using mindfulness can be a useful way to reduce your drinking and this book offers a way to make alcohol-free days feel fun and joyful, rather than a chore. It also includes a 28 day Clean Break programme to help you make a clean break from booze and reset your habits. Moderation isn’t for everyone, so if you are struggling with problem drinking this probably isn’t your first choice. But as a way to cut down your drinking, it can help you drastically change your drinking habits.

“Mindful drinking is exactly what it sounds like: it’s the opposite of drinking without thinking.” – Rosamund Dean, Mindful Drinking


10. The Sober Lush: A Hedonist’s Guide to Living a Decadent, Adventurous, Soulful Life–Alcohol Free by Amanda Eyre Ward and Jardine Libaire

This is the guide to sober fun and living your best alcohol-free life you have been looking for. The Sober Lush is a guide to living a fun, sensual life without alcohol. It shares ideas and plans for sober joy including leaving parties early, creating non-alcoholic cocktails, first (and more) dates sober and (if it takes your fancy) setting up your own at-home beehive. If you’re feeling bored or discontented with your booze-free existence, this is one of the best sober books to pop in your basket. You’ll find inspiration for more sober adventures.

“Meditation is like sobriety in that it doesn’t make everything perfect but helps us be okay with how everything is.” – Amanda Eyre Ward and Jardine Libaire, The Sober Lush


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.