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Addiction therapy for the cynical: Alice Williams on five books that helped her recovery

January 14, 2019

About the author:

Alice Williams is an author, freelance writer and yoga teacher. At nineteen years old she dropped out of university and lived in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal where she learned that even complete buttheads just want to be happy, so we should probably try and be nice to each other. Who knew? When Alice returned from Nepal, she finished her degree and worked low-level office and hospitality jobs to support her writing. Her first book, Would it kill you to say please?, was published in 2007. She celebrated this milestone by having a quarter-life crisis and becoming a yoga teacher. Alice lives in Melbourne with her partner and two young children.

Read our review of Bad Yogi here
Purchase a copy of Bad Yogi here

The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

I really want someone to start selling false literary book jackets I can slip over my secret self-help porn so I’m not embarrassed on public transport. This one I read when everything looked bleak and it had me high-fiving invisible fairies. Gabby Bernstein writes about spiritual stuff in an accessible way. I secretly love her.

Dry by Augusten Burroughs

For someone who’s written an addiction memoir, I don’t tend to read many myself. But this one is horrifically funny and … horrific. No matter how far you’ve fallen, you’ll feel better about yourself when you read this book. Burroughs is brutal, which is how I like it.

Healing the Shame that Binds You by John Bradshaw

Talk about self-help embarrassment – I hid this book under Infinite Jest (boring, in my opinion. Men love it.) for months. Not for nothing is this book a rehab classic. Warning –reading this book will make you intimately familiar with all the ways your family made you the hot mess you see in the mirror. Bastards! But it marked a turning point for me.

Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith

I read this when I was training to be a yoga teacher. Please don’t be put off by the fact that it talks about the chakras. If you (as a teacher suggested to me) view them as a metaphor for psychological states, it’s a great way decode and get the most out of all that gobbledy-gook yoga teachers talk about in class.

Adrian Mole: The Prostate Years by Sue Townsend

I can’t overstate how much I love Adrian Mole. An incorrigible snob who hates the Tories and lives in a pigsty next to his parents, Adrian Mole’s life is so depressing it is hilarious. Sadly, The Prostrate Years is his final outing.


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