My Sober Bookshelf: “Undrunk” by A.J. Adams


It should come as no surprise that as an alcoholic, I have a hugely obsessive personality. Which means that when there’s a topic that seizes my interest, I read everything about it that I can lay my hands on.

When I finally admitted I was an alcoholic and started participating in Alcoholics Anonymous, I loaded up on all the AA literature (most AA meetings will have copies of The Big Book and The 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, or you can find them online). I hit the library for books on alcoholism, addiction and recovery. I scoured my local Goodwill stores and favorite used book stores for even more AA literature. (Goodwill has proven a fabulous source for this, by the way…)

Because the two dozen or so books on my nightstand just aren’t enough, I’m always in search of new titles on this subject. And I recently discovered a new book, Undrunk: A Skeptic’s Guide to AA, by A.J. Adams. I found it online and even though I hadn’t read it yet, I told my friend T. about it, when she was contemplating getting into AA.

After she read it, she passed it on to me, and I can only say that I wish it would have been around 14 years ago, when I first tried to stop drinking. Back then, I barely gave AA a chance before deciding it just wasn’t for me, mainly because I didn’t understand it and was far too skeptical of the program and its potential to help me.

Undrunk explains everything from the history of the program to how to find and attend meetings to how to get a sponsor – information that would have helped a very frightened and confused me all those years ago. Adams – based on his own experience – also addresses the questions, preconceptions, and doubts that a reluctant newcomer might harbor. Best of all, he does it in a light-hearted, self-deprecating manner.

It’s a good, helpful read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who might be contemplating getting sober in AA.


8 Responses to “My Sober Bookshelf: “Undrunk” by A.J. Adams”

  1. Hey Adam, I have been to AA since march of 2009 and today I have 145 days sober and you are so right that I thought I was not one of those guys, but the mere fact is that I am and I’ve been getting more involved in my program.

    Great book I will purchase this book, I’m not a skept anymore but any good information is always good and you mention that you’r alway looking for more books and information about this illness, I’ve been doing lots of research on the internet and created a website, Blog, forum for others like you and I to get help and information.

    There are some really good article I have posted on my site os fi you happen to know anyone looking for information please send them to or go to my blog here at

    Thank you, I see there are many folk out here that are doing the work, The main program on my site I use in conjuction with my AA program and that is one big reason I’m 145 days sober today.

    Again, Thanks for posting

  2. Someone in a meeting the other day mentioned how much they enjoyed The Thinking Person’s Guide to Sobriety (I think that’s right). Have you read that one? If so, did you like it? If so, can I borrow it?


  3. 3 Mary W.

    Oh my gosh! I remember how many books on alcoholism I read in my first year sober! I was looking for the difference,not the similarities. Eventually, I went on a spiritual kick and got everything that was read by the Oxford Group as well.

    And, I have found that even though I should have stuck the first time I came to AA, I had to want this program for me. We stay here when we are finally sick and tired of being sick and tired.

    Keep reading. Just don’t drink today.


  4. 4 Sharon

    I also have read about *every* book there is. I have read the Thinking Person’s Guide to Sobriety (by Burt Pluymen) I found it very helpful πŸ™‚ I love this new book written by a Quaker on the Serenity Prayer… “The Wisdom to Know the Difference: When to make a change and when to Let Go” by Eileen Flanagan. It is very practical based on the Quaker belief of “Let your Life speak”. I have been attending a Quaker Meetinghouse myself because Quakers “get” the notion of a “divided life”… alcoholism is the best example of a “divided life” that I know of.

    *Thanks* for keeping this blog up… I enjoy it πŸ™‚

  5. You sound like a definite book junkie, like me. πŸ™‚

    I just ordered this from Amazon, and have been obsessively checking the mail box for it, awaiting it’s arrival. I have that obsessive gene, too!

    Sounds like just the book I need at this moment… are there any other titles like this you recommend?

  6. I’m obsessing over the recovery memoirs at the moment. Once I finish “A Drinking Life” by Pete Hamill, which is very good, I’m going to delve into “Note Found in a Bottle” by Susan Cheever, which just came in the mail yesterday.

    The NY Times just dubbed “Lit” one of 2009’s top ten books. Here, here.

  7. 7 Sharon

    Here are my favorites…

    Understanding the High-Functioning Alcoholic: Professional Views and Personal Insights by Sarah Allen Benton ( A *must buy* if you think you are too high functioning to be an alcoholic… expensive and worth it)

    Staying Sober: A Guide for Relapse Prevention by Terence T. Gorski ( really helpful with relapse)

    Understanding the Alcoholic’s Mind: The Nature of Craving and How to Control It by Arnold M. Ludwig ( gives insight into the “thinking”)

    Drinking: A Love Story by Carolyn Knapp (she died at 40 with lung cancer 😦 )

    The Easy Way to Stop Drinking by Allen Carr
    (has a wonderful analogy using a “pitcher plant” in nature of how we get “sucked” into a drinking life. Died in 2006 of lung cancer at 72)

    Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions by Gerald May (describes addiction in a very nonjudgmental way with a spirituality focus)

    The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning by Ernest Kurtz
    (uses world religions and storytelling to talk about the spirituality of AA)

    Happy Hours: Alcohol in a Woman’s Life
    (realistic perspective of women’s drinking)

    Sober for Good: New Solutions for Drinking Problems — Advice from Those Who Have Succeeded by Anne M. Fletcher M.S. R.D.
    ( she interviewed people … called “masters”…and presents her findings… what worked and what didn’t)

    Beyond the Influence: Understanding and Defeating Alcoholism by Katherine Ketcham
    (Lots of really important info about what alcohol does to the body)

    White Knuckles & Wishful Thinking: Learning From the Moment of Relapse in Alcoholism and Other Addictions by George Manter Duwors
    (I found lots of gems in this one)

  8. 8 C

    Wow – what fabulous resources! How I wish I’d had this list many, many years ago! Good to have it now, though. Thanks to all for sharing your favorite titles. Can’t wait to dive in to the ones I haven’t read yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: