Alcoholics Anonymous

Hardcover, 1955

Call number

613.8 AA



Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing: New York (1955), Edition: 2nd Revised, 575 pages


Known as the "Big Book," the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous has helped millions of people worldwide get and stay sober since the first edition appeared in 1939. Opening chapters articulate A.A.'s program of recovery from alcoholism - the original Twelve Steps - and recount the personal histories of A.A.'s co-founders, Bill W. and Dr. Bob. In the pages that follow, more than 40 A.A. members share how they stopped drinking and found a new healthier and more serene way of life through the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. Whether reading passages at meetings, reading privately for personal reflection, or working with a sponsor, the Big Book can be a source of inspiration, guidance and comfort on the journey to recovery. This Fourth Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous has been approved by the General Service Conference.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member AlexTheHunn
While it may not be great literature, I can state that the book was instrumental in saving my life. Therefore, I hold a special fondness for it. This work, the product of Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson, has helped millions of people around the world find a way from the throes of addition to alcohol. It
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may seem hokey and dated, but it works.
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LibraryThing member peonygoat
The basic and monumental text of the self-named 12-step program. The first part is a description of what happens when one gets sober, including Bill W's story; the second part is stories of people who recovered from alcoholism. The AA program has many 12-step "spin-offs".
LibraryThing member andyray
This is as holy a gospel as the Buddhist teachings, the Old and New Testaments, the Quoran, or the Upandishads. If it weren't for this 12 step program (which is almost exactly like first century Christianity and first century Mahayana Buddhism) I'd be dead or in prison now instead of enjoying the
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reading and writing of books.
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LibraryThing member webweber
A book of pure genious. Has assisted thousands in overcomeing alcoholism and other addiction.
LibraryThing member tambourini
AA's 12 Steps are a real, spiritual solution to living with /recovering from ANY problem!
LibraryThing member jimmaclachlan
This edition differs from the previous ones only in an extra introduction & some updating of the stories at the end - as usual. The basic text & page numbers of that text remain unchanged. Good news for those with a 'Little Red Book' or other guide/index to the Big Book.For those unfamiliar with
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the Big Book, it's the instruction set for the AA program. The wording is a little dated, but it is the instruction set for the most widespread self-help program in the world. AA is the basis of all other 12 step programs, most of whom changed the program only slightly to fit the addiction of choice - narcotics, cocaine, gambling, sex, etc.. Many have problems with the 'God' concept, swearing AA is a religious program. They have a point, although it doesn't have to be, as many have proved. AA tends to pick up the 'religious flavor of the group - people have trouble separating spirituality from religion. The book was written by Christians & loosely based on the tenets of an earlier Christian organization (the Oxford Group, now defunct). Non-Christians should read & come to terms with the chapter, "To the Agnostic" before jumping to conclusions. Those with an open mind can work the AA program without a belief in the Christian or any 'God'.While most chapters are devoted exclusively to the alcoholic, there are chapters to the family & employer of the alcoholic, as well. Anyone who knows an alcoholic or anyone who suffers from an addiction, would do well to read this book. It offers an insight into the mind of the alcoholic both before & after sobriety is achieved, as well as practical advice to those that live with him/her.
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LibraryThing member adpaton
The very title - The Big Book - sounds so cheesy, so all-American [especially since at the time it was written the book really wasn't all that big and by today's standards its positively minute. It's only one volume, for Heaven's sake] that I'd sooner put faith in one of those Eat all your
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favourite fattening foods in huge quantities and Lose Weight Hand over Fist type books.

So when I was told I needed the Big Book to stop drinking I reluctantly purchased a copy and hied off the a Big Book meeting. It was unlike anything I've ever been to before and the book is nothing short of a miracle.

The author, Bill Wilson, was a hopeless alcoholic and non-practising Christian when he recieved divine inspiration and, having joined the Oxford group, bought the still-suffering alcoholic Dr Bob Smith to sobriety. The two men together founded alcoholics Anontymous in 1935.

One of Dr Bob's best friend was a Catholic priest, Father Edward Dowling, and he flirted with the church for many years without actually converting because, he said, AA could not be seen to ally itself to any one faith. Both Bob and Bill were Christians however, and the Big Book is a true reflection of the essence of Christ's teachings.

Surprisingly though, Jews and other non-Christians also see the book as being spiritual and encapsulating the messages of love central to their beliefs, while even athiests can recognise the humanist principals of treating others decently and doing the next best thing, and have no problem - after initial reservations - embracing the Big Book whole-heartedly.

To say a piece of writing is divinely inspired reeks of either anachronism or charlatanry: however, for a work to have save so many lives and to be all things to all men who really need it, argues the interception of a higher power. A wonderful work for everyone, not just alcoholics - not just addicts, unless your addiction is to living a good life.
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LibraryThing member ceilmary
The basic text for alcoholics who are using A.A. as the basis of their recovery. It was written in simple prose (for the time; now some of the grammar and concepts are dated and need to be explained to younger members). It explains the disease concept of alcoholism, and outlines a basic spiritual
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program that enables alcoholics to keep their disease in remission with the use of a spiritual program.
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LibraryThing member jlawshe
Hard to call this book 'good,' but it's certainly functional.
LibraryThing member johnkuypers
If you never quite knew what the bottom of the barrel looked like, this book will take you to hell and back. Thank God for that.
LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
This is the "Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous--its basic text. At the core are the "12 Steps" and "Twelve Step" programs are legion--including Overeaters Anonymous--which I was a part of for a time. I'm not saying there isn't wisdom in the twelve-steps. But it's very much God-based. Even though I
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found a Atheist Group in my area, that aspect of the program was very hard for me to translate into secular terms. Making an inventory of your faults, making amends, promptly admitting when you're wrong--these are all good, healthy and healing things--for yourselves and others. But half the steps cite God--and too often the program as I experienced it had uncomfortably cult-like aspects and I drifted away from it. And goodness knows, the whole concept of "addiction" and "abstinence" are hard to translate when you're dealing with a substance--food--you can't really make a clean break from. And I think making food the enemy--as an addiction model does--is not in the end the way to go about gaining a healthy relationship with it--at least not for me long-term.

So my relatively low rating reflects my personal reaction and experience with a Twelve Step Program--even though I know millions have claimed this book and its principles saved their lives. And so pervasive are Twelve-Step groups, I'd argue that cultural literacy alone means you should be familiar with this book. And certainly many of the personal stories in this book are harrowing and riveting--and inspiring.
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LibraryThing member uufnn
This is the 4th and currently authorized edition of the Big Book for alcoholics, friends, family members and employers of alcoholics, or just those interested in the topic. The A. A. Program is based on belief in and reliance on a "Higher Power." Chapter four speaks directly to agnostics. This work
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includes a forward and the forwards from each of the three previous editions. The appendices include: the A. A. Tradition, spiritual experience, the medical view on A. A., the Lasker Award, the religious view on A. A., How to get in touch with A. A. and the twelves concepts (short edition) of A. A.
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LibraryThing member PJCWLibrary
This book and theTwelve and Twelve, plus the fellowship changed my life.
LibraryThing member Auntie-Nanuuq
I'm reading this because many of my friends & my loved one live the Steps, and I want to understand better what is going on in his life.

The book is at times difficult to read, because of how it is written, which is more of a "stream of consciousness" style.

Some parts, I can not get into, but I find
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that if I just open the book to a random page and read, then there is some piece of knowledge/information there for me that I happen to need at the moment.

The "Big Book" has saved many lives...and I really believe that those of us who have loved ones living the steps could benefit from reading the book as well.
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LibraryThing member smallself
As flawed as it is to compare people, since it doesn’t *really* matter, I think that the common alcoholic actually lives a worse life that you learn less from than those involved with the “epic” sort of sins of history. I know that might come off as just sounding like I’m trying to trash
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people, but as part of my holistic studies, I just think that acquiring a few lesser virtues and abusing and misusing them is actually better than acquiring fewer or no virtues and just falling apart because you have no idea how to live. There are certainly gradations of the disease, but at its worst it brings you to a total loss of virtue and even in more moderate gradations tends to be more perverse than simply being legalistically pure but lacking charity. You can be “as pure as angels but as proud as devils”, and down that road lies “epic” sin, but you cannot really be as impure as devils but as humble as angels, although you can be in denial about that. To the alcoholic, it’s all about me— this “I” that cannot pull itself together enough to live.

“Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt”, it’s widespread, and it’s the greatest barrier. Once you can remind yourself what addiction is, whether it’s alcohol, the great classic addiction, or something more obscure, you can remind yourself that it’s not actually worth the price it imposes. Constantly you will forget; repeatedly you must be reminded.
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LibraryThing member Andy_DiMartino
Enjoyed having it read to me for a change of pace
LibraryThing member kencf0618
Great cast of characters. Plot is good if formulaic. Definitely if not definitively therapeutic.


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