Our annual book reviews are getting longer and longer: this 2021 sober and mindful drinking books review has the biggest number of new releases we’ve ever featured. Sober books, or “quit lit” is becoming a busy category in the book world with more of both personal stories and self-help books appearing every year. And there are also books for the sober curious and mindful drinkers.
With so many books on offer, often with quite similar content, it may be hard to choose what to put first on your mindful drinking or quit lit reading list. Once you’ve read this review, you can have a browse in your bookshop or online to take a closer look at any book that you fancy. In addition, I’ve also tried to indicate why you might want to choose each book with a “Read this if…” recommendation. And of course you can’t do any harm by reading several books in a row, in fact the more you read the more you learn, and more inspired you will be to change your habits.
Finally, in this annual review, we also wanted to remind you of some already published books that will also make for great Christmas presents and which we can recommend for your January reading list.
Millie Gooch: The Sober Girl Society Handbook
You may know Millie Gooch from Instagram, where her Sober Girl Society is one of the biggest teetotal accounts. Still in her twenties, Millie is one of the younger quit lit authors. Her handbook has three main parts: Breaking up with Booze, Reaping the Rewards, and Navigating the New Normal. The first part is an introduction. The second part covers the many benefits of an alcohol-free life, with special emphasis on mental health and wellbeing. The third and longest section discusses many topics on living a sober life, from friendships to going out, dating to activism.
The Sober Girl Society Handbook has less to say on the actual process of quitting, the emphasis is more on living a better sober life. And it covers many topics often ignored elsewhere, like LGBTQIA+ and ethnic minority sober girls.
Read this if: You are a younger sober person.
Janey Lee Grace: Happy Healthy Sober
Janey Lee Grace is not only a pop star and TV and radio personality, but also the author of several books on healthier living. And she is familiar to Club Soda members from our Mindful Drinking Festival talks and panel discussions. In her latest book (out in February 2021), Janey tells her story of giving up drinking. Along the story, she provides a good toolkit for anyone wanting to quit too.
In the second part of Happy Healthy Sober, Janey covers several healthy living topics. These range from physical and mental wellbeing to nutrition and alcohol-free drinks. She has also included little snippets of tips from experts in many fields.
Read this if: You are looking for a more holistic approach to quitting drinking and getting healthier.
Simon Chapple: How to Quit Alcohol in 50 Days
How to Quit Alcohol in 50 Days is Simon Chapple’s second book. We reviewed his first, Sober Survival Guide last year. How to Quit Alcohol in 50 Days is structured as 50 short chapters, to be read one per day. The 25 days in the first part are on the first steps to quitting, or preparation before actually giving up. Following that, the second part of another 25 days is on how actually to stop drinking once you’re ready to do it.
The first half of the book works on shifting your mindset on drinking and creating a commitment to quit, by covering different aspects of alcohol and how we behave around it. And the second half of the book has more practical advice. In addition, there are small exercises throughout the book. Simon also recommends daily journal writing as part of your journey of quitting.
Read this if: You would like a structured path to giving up alcohol.
Hilary Sheinbaum: The Dry Challenge
The subtitle of the Dry Challenge, by New York based writer and journalist Hilary is How To Lose The Booze For Dry January, Sober October, And Any Other Alcohol-free Month. This is a more lighthearted take on temporary sobriety, which does not assume that you are even thinking of a longer sober sprint than one calendar month.
Topics covered are the ones you would expect to find in a book about dry months. Hilary starts with the reasons why you might want to attempt taking a month off booze. This is followed by the benefits you can expect to see, how to start planning for your month, and tracking your progress. There are chapters on dealing with peer pressures, ideas on how to do social media to help you along, and dealing with friends and family, dating and some basics on alcohol-free drinks.
Read this if: You’re thinking of a dry month challenge.
Ruby Warrington: The Sober Curious Reset
Ruby’s previous book, Sober Curious, was included in our 2019 review of sober and mindful drinking books. Subtitled Change the Way You Drink in 100 Days or Less, Ruby’s new book takes the sober curious theme a bit further.
The 100 days of the subtitle consist of Ruby’s observations on sobriety, and exercises you can do to move on your own journey. There’s no judgement, just helpful thoughts and insights helping you discover what sober curiousity means for you.
Read this if: Sober curious feels like the best way of describing how you feel.
Annie Grace: The Alcohol Experiment (Expanded Edition)
Annie Grace is known for her This Naked Mind books and programmes. In fact, her books are always among the most commonly recommended by Club Soda community members. This book is a new edition of her 30-day alcohol-free challenge. It has about a hundred additional pages, including daily journalling prompts. We reviewed the original Alcohol Experiment book here.
Read this if: You are looking for a highly recommended method of giving up alcohol.
More sober and mindful drinking books from 2020 and beyond
Club Soda Community: How to Be a Mindful Drinker
Our very own book was published a year ago, but is not going out of fashion. How to Be a Mindful Drinker is for anyone considering a change in their drinking habits, whether you plan to cut down, stop for a bit, or quit.
Read this if: You want to change your drinking habits but are not quite sure where you want to end up.
David Nutt: Drink? The New Science Of Alcohol + Your Health
We already reviewed Drink? The New Science Of Alcohol + Your Health in detail earlier this year. But as it is such a good book it is worth mentioning again. It is also unique in covering the science of alcohol. The book is written by Professor David Nutt. He has spent a lifetime researching the impact of alcohol and other drugs on human health and wellbeing. In other words, you would struggle to find a more reliable source on the facts. And once you know the facts, you are able to make up your mind on whether and how much you want to drink.
Read this if: You want the facts about alcohol.
Maz Compton: The Social Rebellion
The subtitle of this book from a couple of years ago is “True Freedom Begins with a Cheeky Month Alcohol”. The first half of the book is an Australian version of the quitting alcohol story, with plenty of wisdom. It is told through Maz’s life story which includes, among other things, working as a video jockey for MTV. The second half contains more advice on taking a 31-day break from booze. These are in the form of 31 chapters to be read daily, with practical tips, inspiration and missions.
Read this if: You are thinking of quitting, but want to do a month sober first to try things out.
Simon Eastwood: Adventures in Sober Land
Simon’s book was included in our last year’s review of quit lit books. But it is worth mentioning again as one of the more rare sober books written by a man. Simon tells his sober journey in stories from over the years – some are very funny, others are serious. You can get a feel for Simon’s writing style from a guest blog he wrote for Club Soda on accepting uncomfortable feelings.
Buy this if: You want to read a male sober journey.
Looking for more 2021 sober and mindful drinking book recommendations, including all the Club Soda community favourites from the last few years? You can find them all on our Amazon shops in Amazon UK and Amazon US.