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When AA Doesn't Work For You: Rational Steps to Quitting Alcohol Paperback – January 1, 1992


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When AA Doesn't Work For You: Rational Steps to Quitting Alcohol + Rational Recovery: The New Cure for Substance Addiction + The Small Book (Rational Recovery Systems)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 329 pages
  • Publisher: Barricade Books; Subsequent edition (January 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0942637534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0942637533
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

According to the authors, the irrational thoughts and beliefs of the alcoholic--as opposed to the concept of "powerlessness" taught by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)--contribute greatly to alcoholism. Recognizing that AA may not work for everyone, they present a form of cognitive therapy known as Rational Emotive Therapy (RET). In RET, the alcoholic's irrational beliefs about drinking are consistently flushed out, challenged, and replaced with more rational ones. The authors also address "stinking thinking," a phrase coined by AA to describe the negative thoughts that often lead to relapse. Exercises in positive self-talk, creative imagery, and daily self-care are included. The ideas presented are similar to those found in a growing number of titles that offer alternatives to AA, including Jack Trimpey's The Small Book: Revolutionary Alternatives for Overcoming Alcohol and Drug Dependence (Delacorte, 1991). However, the information may be more beneficial when coupled with professional guidance. Purchase for self-help, psychology, and medical collections.
- Linda S. Greene, Chicago P.L.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

(1913-2007) Albert Ellis held M.A and Ph.D. degrees in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. He was the founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), the pioneering form of the modern Cognitive Behavior therapies. He was the president of the Albert Ellis Institute in New York, where he practiced individual and group psychotherapy, supervised and trained psychotherapists, and presented many talks and workshops at the Institute and throughout the world. He published over seven hundred articles and more than sixty books on psychotherapy, marital and family therapy, and sex therapy.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Easy and quick reading - I have just begun the book and was referred to it by Smart Recovery.
Jenny Rose
Ellis's REBT is a basis for SMART Recovery, and this book basically shows the REBT aspects of SMART.
A SMARTie
Now that I know it is a problem, it makes me feel like I wasted my money on the other eBooks.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 99 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
Virtually everyone knows of AA and its efforts to address problem drinking -- it is the largest, most visible and most accessible group, and the group that most entering recovery will either gravitate towards or be directed to by the therapy community. Yet, AA, for all of its benefits, doesn't work as a program for everyone -- particularly for those who are not spiritually inclined (and don't want to have to become spiritually inclined in order to recover) or those who are more cognitively-oriented people. There are thankfully alternatives to AA available for those who seek them out, and the "RET" (rational-emotive therapy) approach founded by Dr. Ellis, and which is the foundation of the SMART Recovery approach to recovery, is well outlined in this easy-to-read, easy-to-understand book.
The basic idea is very simple ... you are not powerless over alcohol as AA says but rather you are empowered, or exercising your power, every time you make a decision in life about anything, including the decision to drink. When you drink even in spite of the fact that your drinking is interfering with your life goals (as you define them) or causing you tangible problems (legal, financial, relationship, career, etc.), then you have a good sign that your decision-making process around drinking alcohol needs some examination. RET is a technique that helps the individual drill down into her cognitive processes and isolate the real mental issues underlying her decision to keep drinking under these circumstances. In particular, a lot of attention is paid to "stinking thinking", which in RET terms means underlying beliefs we may have about ourselves, the world around us and others that are irrational, self-defeating, and lead us to make the decision to drink.
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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 4, 1997
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is easily one of the best books on addictions around. Ellis and his co-author lucidly describe the dynamics of abusive and self-destructive drinking in such a way that the individual's self-responsibility is maximized and the "addiction excuse" eliminated. While this approach often brings wails of protest from persons still committed to drinking as much as they want to while still "looking good" (at least to themselves), in the long run it is precisely the honesty of the Ellis approach which is the most effective means around to overcome abusive, self-defeating and suicidal drinking habits. Ellis also looks at issues relating to life without alcohol, and in his typical "take no prisoners" approach using the principles of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, shows how to overcome the most common "after the party's over" problems of the ex-abusive drinker. This book is a must read if you either drink destructively yourself, or interact with an abusive drinker
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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By dave@snakebite.com on December 13, 1997
Format: Paperback
If the 12-steps aren't working for you, this book might. You don't have to have a disease, you don't have to be powerless, you don't need a higher power, you don't need to "recover" for the rest of your life. This book will show you modern methods to use to attain recovery from drugs or alcohol.
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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 1, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone who feels that the only self-help book that anyone ever needs is David Burns' "Feeling Good," I was charmed to learn that Albert Ellis was the vanguard thinker of this cognitive approach to all. And here I find it applied to abusive drinking! What a treat, and at a crucial time.
Basically, the book shows you how you can teach yourself to analyze thoughts about drinking and to re-channel your actions. I find its logic unquestionable. VERY, very accepting of people, it makes me feel markedly more tranquil just reading it.
This book is not only helpful, but it's funny, also. Ellis is a rather salty person, sprinkling his writing with expletives here and there, which makes this logical, very useful book a giggle right when I needed one. I have heard some say that he's too rough in his language, but I find it a refreshing change, and a necessary one in the face of the real crudeness of alcohol abuse and the life it entails.
In response to the other reviewer who suggests that somehow his brother's suicide was precipitated by Ellis (!), I simply have to recap his constant allusion to the idea that no one can "make" you do anything. You choose to do everything that you do. Obviously, some people are too disturbed to think through it (this man evidently was)-- but for those who can -- it's awesome.
I found this title in a mainstream bookstore, among tomes of 12-step books...a ratio I propose to change if I am at all able to do so!
I am going to buy another title on the next "click!"
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Mike B. on August 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
I've been recovering from alcholism for about 9 months now, and after a stint in an AA-oriented rehab I've been attending meetings on a regular basis. The problem is, I'm just not wired for all of the spirituality that's necessary for an AA recovery (according to AA, that is). I've got nothing against AA, I think it's a great organization; however, it's just not doing the job for me.

The ideas expressed in this book, stripped of all the RET jargon, are not new: ultimately, you are the one who chooses to drink, become aware of the thought processes involved and perhaps you will choose differently. That appeals to me. To be honest, I'm sick of fretting over the power alcohol has over me, and I like the idea that I have some control over my own destiny.

The book gets a little redundant after a while, and I wouldn't say the writing style is the easiest to follow, but the ideas expressed have really clicked with me. If you are an AA-believer, you will probably find this book somewhat offensive. If you are struggling with the AA concept, this book is certainly worth a read.
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