Quit literature, popularly knows as ‘quit lit' is a mixture of memoirs, self-help, and psychological or scientific study books about different relationships with alcohol, and what it takes to stay alcohol-free.
Quit lit supports those who want to readdress their relationship with alcohol, allowing the reader to see from new perspectives, offering tips and tricks, and reassurance that you are not alone in your quest for a healthier lifestyle.
As the alcohol-free movement gains momentum, so too has the popularity of this relatively new category of books. It is worth mentioning that in their short history, these books have been rather divisive. For every 10 people who swear by the power of a well researched, powerfully written guide, there are probably at least three or four who will read one chapter before searching out the nearest charity donation bag.
To not-quite-paraphrase an old children’s rhyme; when Quit Lit is good, it’s very, very good; but when it’s bad, at least you’ve got yourself a new doorstop. Sorting the wheat from the chaff when it comes to Quit Lit and alcohol isn’t easy. There’s a lot of it around, but it’s still a reasonably burgeoning market, compared to – for example – the saturated self-help landscapes of low-carbing.
The good news? There are some useful books out there that can genuinely help you during your OYNB journey. The even better news? We’ve rounded up the best of the best to save you the trouble.
Our top five ‘quit lit' recommendations:
‘Blackout – Remembering The Things I Drank to Forget' by Sarah Hepola
This raw, uncompromising account of Hepola’s personal story of alcohol addiction is occasionally extremely funny and sometimes intensely affecting. An American journalist, the author swerves between cringing anecdotes, painful episodes and insightful truths. This book isn’t a ‘toolkit’, but Hepola’s honesty and no-holds-barred narrative as she finally quits drinking will be an inspiring read for many.
‘Easy Way to Control Alcohol' by Allen Carr
Allen Carr is a household name when it comes to Quit Lit – and with good reason. His methods are easy to follow and have been shown to be startlingly effective. Carr presents compelling new perspectives on the nature of addiction and prompts the reader to discover the tools that they already possess to beat it. For many readers, the process of giving up alcohol under Carr’s tutelage is positive and empowering.
‘The 28 Day Alcohol-Free Challenge' by Andy Ramage and Ruari Fairbairns
You’ll probably recognise the names of the co-authors here, but you might not have got around to reading their practical and upbeat book yet! The Quit Lit market tends to be heavy on the personal journey front – often from a female perspective – with fewer offerings that focus on an accessible plan to getting on with the business of quitting booze. This inspirational guide does just that, and throws in plenty of sound health and wellbeing advice to augment your efforts. The 28 Day Alcohol-Free Challenge is the nearest thing to a Quit Lit toolkit and will appeal to a broad readership keen to apply some structure to their AF journey.
‘The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober' by Catherine Gray
There are shades of the aforementioned Sarah Hepola’s book about the first part of this author’s journey – drunken exploits, precarious risk-taking and even waking up hungover, in a prison cell. However, this account of giving up booze places equal literary weight on the life changing benefits of sobriety. Being sober is reframed as the more desirable, exhilarating way to live your life. Driving home the message behind her book’s title, Gray is emphatic and colourful about how much better life is without alcohol – a missive that many people on a OYNB journey will be able to relate to.
‘Alcohol and You – 21 Ways to Control and Stop Drinking: How to Give Up Your Addiction and Quit Alcohol' by David Lewis
CBT and motivational therapist Lewis has written a no-frills guide to quitting alcohol, based on his years working with clients in addiction therapy. No personal journey here – the advice is based solidly on identifying the level of alcohol dependence in question and the options available to anyone cutting down on booze or giving up altogether. A realistic, non-judgmental and supportive read for anyone who prefers facing facts and finding solutions.
Best seller or in the bin?
In truth, Quit Lit is as subjective as any other type of reading. Like plenty of other books, what works for your best mate (or 500 happy Amazon reviewers) might leave you cold.
The good thing about Quit Lit is that even if the whole book might not align with your individual needs, often there is a useful takeaway of sorts – a kernel of truth or a new way of looking at a situation that resonates. That’s often how Quit Lit seeks to succeed – creating a spark of recognition that has the potential to grow into something more. If a good book can change your life, then a good Quit Lit book has the potential to transform it!
This is a very small selection of books on a big subject. If we’ve missed one that you think would be a brilliant recommendation, why not post it within the OYNB communities? Alternatively, email us at [email protected] so we can include it in a future Book Club blog!
An entrepreneur and former senior oil broker, Ruari gave up drinking after excessive consumption almost cost him his marriage, and worse, his life. Going alcohol-free improved his relationships, career and energy levels, leading to him founding OYNB to provide a support network for others.
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