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It perplexes me there are so few reviews of this great book. Last time I checked, there were eight -- at least it's double digits now.
It perplexes me because this book has saved literally millions of lives. For anyone struggling with alcoholism, this is the way to get sober. The principles of the program can -- and have been -- applied to just about any addiction. This program is the foundation of Cocaine Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and every other 12 step program. This is where it all started.
My pastor mentioned in church just today how the sprituality of people who've been in 12 step programs is sometimes especially striking. That's true. It's because if a person follows the 12 steps, they will find it a life-changing experience. They will not be exactly the same person they were when they started. For more on this, see a passage in the book known in the program that took its name from the book's title as "the promises."
If you read this book, also read the accompanying 12 Steps and 12 Traditions volume. The two go together -- though if you read only one read this one.
The book is especially helpful in dealing with the issue of a higher power.
The book goes way beyond what someone will find in a typical AA meeting. A person who is attempting sobriety needs this book, a sponsor and the meetings.
This is, statistically, the best shot there is at sobriety. This book and the program it spawned are an extraordinary gift for those who choose to accept them.
The newcomer might find the book somewhat dated. Stick with it. It's worth it. And, as time goes by, it will become clearer and clearer.
This is not the 4th (current) edition of this book revised in 2001 or even the 3rd edition, revised in 1976. I think it may be the 2nd. If you want to follow along with your group reading the stories you may want to get an up to date edition. If you just want to get sober this will do!
It does have an indexed table of contents, but you cannot search the text and it has no page numbers, a big sin in any group / meeting, whether it's AA, OA, etc. If you can't cite pages or get citations from others, you're going to run into trouble. If you just want to read, you're good. As noted in another review, yes, this appears to be an old edition, the 2nd edition from the mid 1970s. If you're looking for a version for the meetings, this is not your book. As of this writing in December 2011, the current edition is the 4th edition from 2001 (ISBN 978-1-893007-17-8).
I read the AA Big Book and joined Overeaters Anonymous thinking I was a compulsive overeater. Perhaps I would have been an alcoholic, but my body chemistry never tolerated alcohol, smoking or drugs, so I was spared that. It turned out the weight problem was also a body chemistry thing, and the time I spent in diligent application to the 12-step program led me to realize I wasn't a compulsive overeater after all.
Reading the AA Big Book was fantastic for me, and I recommend it to anyone. If you are not an addict, it will certainly not harm you to try a 12-step program. You are likely to come out, as I did after 10 months, with a deep respect for what these programs do. Miracles are everyday events in these groups.
Some of the people who have written reviews here resisted the tenets of AA because they are unwilling to submit to a higher power. That's human nature. Anything else is itself a miracle.
My concerns about AA prior to reading the book were the opposite. I am a Christian and I was under the impression that the 12 steps are in conflict with that. Such is not at all the case. No one is going to try to hypnotize you!
Nor is a 12-step program going to tell you to avoid medical help. One of AA's founders was a doctor, and right from the start AA began saving lives that doctors knew they could not save. It still happens in AA, daily.
If you are ready to be inspired, read this book. You will understand yourself and other people better. If you don't feel ready to be inspired, maybe you need to read it even more.
I noticed one of the reviews complained about archaic language in the book. It's not that archaic. You don't need a glossary to read it, as you do with the King James Bible or Shakespeare!Read more ›
This is the indispensable basic text book of recovery. The stories in this copy of Alcoholics Anonymous are from the 2nd Edition, and therefore may present some 'new' stories to readers of the 3rd or 4th Edition. What a bonus!
Textbooks are for studying, and it's wonderful to have this indispensable material available for review in a variety of forms. Kindle is just one more way that the message of hope is being carried.
"If recovery doesn't come first, nothing comes second."