This book review will definitely be the first of its kind here on Reflections of a Book Addict. As an avid reader of the website, you would know that we mostly read novels and watch movies. Recently, the opportunity arose for me to read a novel all about living soberly. For some odd reason, I thought it would be a great book for me to read because it seemed to be different than anything I have ever read and reviewed for this blog. Sober Identity Tools for Reprogramming the Addictive Mind by Lisa Neumann is a self-help book that contains tools to help you get sober and live an active life as a sober individual. Neumann uses her own experiences as an alcoholic (and now a recovered alcoholic) to help you truly understand your life and what it can become with focus and determination.
This book is not a memoir or a story saying all alcoholics should follow these certain steps to guarantee sobriety. The book is written to help the reader with the different steps of recovery, as well as explaining how you should learn to live with your new sober self. She breaks the book down into six parts: the six tools you should use in looking at your new life. The six steps are: the observation, the process, the essentials, the competencies, the partnerships, and the basics. All of the six play an integral part in the recovery process: the observations entails that you observe your behavior and see what needs to be changed. The process represents how you change the behavior, and the essentials instruct you on how to change your life in order to achieve happiness (and also a discussion on the science behind change). The competencies talked about the steps one must take in order to be a competent person, free from alcohol and truthful to themselves. The partnerships dives into the partnership with ourselves and our own self motivation, and lastly the basics ties everything together and gets into the basic steps one takes to get sober. All of these parts tell a separate story, but one must be aware of all the different six steps in order to get sober.
My favorite part of this book by far was the inner dialogue that Neumann had between two distinct voices in her head. In the introduction when Neumann was explaining how the book was written, she said that everybody has two voices in their head. Voice A is their lower self, the one who struggles and questions whether or not they could get and stay sober, and then there’s voice B, who represents the way they were meant to be in the eyes of the creator. I thought by adding these conversations Neumann added a personal level to the self-help book without turning it to an autobiography. I really enjoyed reading the progression of these dialogues because they go from pre-sobriety to complete sobriety over almost seven years. You got to see how her voices changed through the different stages. Voice A tried to drag her down and tell her she’s not strong enough and that she should go back to drinking, and on the other hand voice B was always her voice of reason even at the pre-sobriety stage. Voice B always said what she didn’t want to hear, yet needed to hear. For example, in the early stages of her sobriety when voice A was questioning whether or not it could or stay sober or why it even got sober in the first place, B was telling her that she should just focus on today. Not tomorrow, not a month from now, focus on your recovery today and then when tomorrow or next month comes focus on it then. Even though I am not a recovering alcoholic, I think this is a good mantra to have for life. Don’t focus on problems or bumps in the road that may occur tomorrow or a month from now, focus on today, then move to tomorrow, and next Friday only when it’s actually next Friday. My favorite of the inner dialogues was definitely dialogue six (out of seven), in which she had been sober for 367 days. In this particular dialogue her voice A was telling her that since she had been sober for one year, she could go back to drinking (something her voice A had mentioned in an earlier dialogue), but her voice B was so strong and confident that it didn’t even want to drink. It really showed the progress of her recovery and how strong she really was when she wasn’t dependent on alcohol. It made me smile because it was one of the dialogues where she truly seemed happy, and happy people are always better than sad people!
In all, I really enjoyed reading this book. I thought it was an interesting tool to read as a non-addict because it made me understand the mindset of the addict without telling one’s personal story. I think this is a great tool which should be read by recovering and recovered addicts, as well as those who are going through the journey with them. It also made me question my voice A and voice B, not from the perspective of an addict, but from the perspective of my own self-doubt. Voice A is telling me I can’t do something and my sometime too quiet Voice B telling me I can do anything I want to do. Overall, it’s an awesome read that everyone should pick up when they have a chance.
4 out of 5 Stars
Sober Identity by Lisa Neumann
Balboa Press (2011)
Paperback: 156 pages
Special thanks to Jessie from Author Solutions for sending over my review copy!