Amy C. Willis
Books for Sobriety & Life
Updated: Mar 27, 2020
If you know me or have been following my content for a while, you know that I absolutely LOVE reading. It is such an incredible opportunity to learn, gain new perspectives and skill sets, while also growing and stretching yourself. And if you live in a decent-sized community, chances are you live near a library, which means that you can do a lot of your growing for free! And if libraries aren’t your jam, thank the heavens for Amazon Prime and having new books in your hands < 24 hours later.
I have always been an avid reader but have really leaned into my affinity for reading over the last 5-10 years or so. As a Sobriety & Mindset Coach, it’s incredibly important to me to be a knowledgeable resource for my clients so reading, knowing and understanding the latest in my industry and area of expertise is essential. I spend countless hours on study, personal and professional development, training, coaching and therapy not only so I can be knowledgeable but also so I can continue to grow and show up as the best damn coach for my clients. I treat reading like an essential, non-negotiable part of my job, because it is!
This stack is a collection of some of the books that have been most influential in my own development and recovery journey and reflects books that I often recommend to clients. I recommend books because I know how powerful they can be in #transformation.
But here's the thing about #books (or podcasts, for that matter): they are only powerful tools of transformation if you take what you learn and APPLY it in your life. If you read it, toss it on your bookshelf and walk away, you will remain unchanged, as though you hadn't read the book to begin with. But if you take the lessons, reflect on them, and actually put those lessons into practice in your life, this is when the ✨MAGIC✨happens! I know it sounds obvious but it's wild to me how many people read development books like fiction - as though it's a story to enjoy and then forget about. Not the case with recovery and development books!
As you can see, I have included many books in this collection that are not specifically about #recovery or #sobriety and here’s why: creating transformation in your life and designing a life that you love is not just about not drinking. It would be amazing if we stopped drinking and everything else fell into place. But that’s not usually what happens. In the absence of numbing your feelings with #booze, life - including unexpected curveballs that throw you off kilter - is going to continue to happen. Which means that you are going to need to develop some skills and have some tools on hand so that you can manage whatever life throws at you. It’s about developing and strengthening your coping muscles and mechanisms and this is where the other development books come in.
Some of the key tools that I’ve grown and developed over the years through reading and a deep commitment to personal growth include: being able to engage in challenging conversations; understanding the importance of, communicating and holding boundaries; a strong recognition of and commitment to personal responsibility; understanding and practicing integrity in all areas of my life; understanding the importance of being truly present (aka not drinking to take me away from whatever I didn’t want to deal with); the value of authentic connection to myself and others. I could go on but I think you get the idea. These tools came out of my commitment to developing myself, in addition to and beyond my relationship to #drinking.
I know that I am waaaaaayyyyy more equipped to manage and handle my life because of the books I’ve read, the lessons I’ve learned and applied and the tools I’ve honed over the years. It really is all about the learning and the application.
I should also say that as amazing as books are, they have their limitations. If, for example, you have been struggling with your relationship to booze solo, keep finding yourself in the same patterns of behaviour and books have been your main source of support and insight, then it’s probably time to expand your recovery tool belt to include things like joining a community of women in recovery (in-person or online), speaking to a counsellor or therapist, working with a health coach, increasing the amount of accountability you have in your life. There’s no shame in asking for help or recognizing that you can’t do this alone.
The takeaway: books are an incredible tool for transformation if read, learned and applied directly into your life. And they are one of many resources that can support growth and massive change in your life, both in your recovery and beyond. If you’re looking to expand your recovery tools, check out my article on some of the other outlets I used to reach and sustain sobriety.