It's a beautiful, sunny day! It's DAY 3 of my no-booze March, and I'm feeling great and super-motivated.
Over the past few years, I've been really interested in learning about alcohol use, abuse and addiction.
I've always been a fairly regular drinker with an insatiable appetite for cider and wine.
I wanted to know: what is the correlation between what I FEEL and what I DO?
How often (and not always consciously) am I turning to alcohol to soothe an emotional or psychological problem?
How can I incorporate more efficient and healthy ways of coping with daily stresses?
Side note before proceeding: Alcoholism is a serious, potentially fatal disease. I am not a doctor and do not suggest that people with serious addictions can simply read a book and be cured. Professional intervention and treatment are critical and irreplaceable.
OK, now, having said that, let's jump into the books that have really helped me over the years:
1. Codependent No More by Melody Beatty
2. Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
I read this book last September. I had just come home from a very boozy (albeit very romantic) week in Paris with my boyfriend. It was the perfect opportunity to swap wine for sparkling water and curl up with this gem. Knapp tells the tale of her journey from casual drinking to full-fledged alcoholism. The language she uses to describe her drinking- the shame after having had too much to drink, battling hangover anxiety far too regularly- really resonated with me. Not only is her story personal, it's relatable. This book allowed me to see what my drinking triggers were, and how easily it is to fall down the rabbit hole if you don't practice responsible drinking.
3. The Sober Revolution: Women Calling Time on Wine O'clock by Sarah Turner and Lucy Rocca
This is the book I read right after finishing Drinking: A Love Story. I was sort of on a sober-book-club-binge: and it was really fun! Reading stories about people overcoming addiction (of any kind, really) is super-inspiring on many levels. This book is a triumphant compilation of stories, written first-hand by alcoholic women of all walks of life. Although a little big on the Jesus-references (I'm unashamedly not a follower of the Catholic tradition), I put that aside, because, it is a positive, easy-to-read book. One thing that really shocked me was how badly edited it was! This book was FILLED with typos that made me want to pull out a red pen and start correcting.
4.Emotional Sobriety by Tian Dayton, Ph.D.
I'm super excited about this book, and I haven't even finished it yet. Firstly, it's filled with lots of scientific backing. Written by a doctor, this book explains in detail how trauma is physically stored in our bodies' limbic systems. Our limbic system is an intricate collection of nerves and pathways in the brain that control many of our basic drives and emotions. Dr. Dayton explains how unresolved childhood trauma, PTSD or relationship trauma physically stay in our bodies. When trauma is unresolved, the brain reaches for self-medicating adaptors that help ease the discomfort. Addictive and compulsive behaviour is explained thoroughly in this book. Furthermore, Dayton equips the reader with tools and tips on how to remove harmful escape patterns and replace them with more adequate, emotionally sober techniques. How awesome is that?