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Book Review: Living Sober

by Lisa T.


I was gifted with this little gem at one of my very first meetings.

At 70 pages, Living Sober is considered a booklet. It saved my backside several times in the early days, providing simple, practical answers and strategies to problems ranging from changing old routines to letting go of old ideas.

This book was a godsend to me. Unlike the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, or the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Living Sober is entirely practical, “do this” advice.

I needed LOTS of this type of guidance in the beginning, having lived a life of alcoholism and all the other -isms.

Alcoholic thinking had led to behaviors that kept me completely in the dark as to how to more appropriately navigate the day-to-day.

This book gives that kind of guidance.

Living Sober is entirely practical, “do this” advice.

In the earliest days of sobriety, I felt like my world had been completely upended. It was clear to me that I needed to do things— really everything—differently, but what to do, how to do it, where to begin—overwhelmed me. Every day presented challenges to my fledgling sobriety. Sometimes it felt like literally every five minutes I was facing the realization that I needed help to do things differently.

With headings such as Staying Away from the First Drink, Getting Plenty of Rest, Being Wary of Drinking Occasions and so on, one can quickly find a simple discussion and accompanying advice for dealing with or getting through common situations or feelings experienced in early sobriety. Aside from the calls to other women in the program that absolutely saved me during those early days and weeks, this book provided a clear foundation for keeping it simple.

The section and idea that provided me the strongest foundation and was simple enough for me to follow, even in my upended state, was the idea of Just For Today. By staying in today, one day at a time, the suggestion is that we “try living in the now just in order to stay sober—and it works.”

The other idea that landed in my baffled brain about being sober was not about constant focus on alcohol, rather it was about getting into action. With my activities previously centered around drinking and the thoughts and behaviors that come with the -isms, I needed clarity and literal directions about what to do with my time. This section gives a list that includes many activities I’ve carried into my long term sobriety; talking walks, reading, exercising, trying a new hobby, volunteering to do some useful service, and even, “taking a fling at something frivolous”!

Living Sober is available for free, online at the AA website under Literature, along with all AA publications.

Aimed at the beginner, the topics and style of Living Sober are so clear and approachable, anyone can find something useful here, and I have, many times.

Living Sober is available for free, online at the AA website under Literature, along with all AA publications.

Excellent guidance and information, even life-changing stories and strategies can be found in the many pages and volumes in the AA literature.

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