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Waiting: A Nonbeliever's Higher Power Paperback – April 21, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 77 ratings

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  • Waiting: A Nonbeliever's Higher Power
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Editorial Reviews


Most 12-step programs insist that connection to God or a higher power is necessary for overcoming debilitating addictions. But how does this work for nonbelievers? Best-selling author and award-winning journalist Hornbacher carefully crafts a memoir of her recovery from alcoholism to answer this very question. Connecting each step toward freedom from addiction to months of the year, the author shows how the path to spirituality without God can bring forth healing and wholeness. This involves a process of 'waiting,' slowing down, opening to the stillness and quiet, waiting for answers within. This form of waiting prepares a path for personal grounding that can make us self-sustaining versus needy. Hornbacher's version of spirituality, although without a God being, contains a high regard for the spirit of life and a deep faith in the value of connecting and sharing with others. Her personal experiences reveal the preciousness of self-acceptance and gratitude, and comfort gained through comforting others. An extremely valuable offering for individuals attempting recovery through 12-step programs while questioning God-centered faith and organized religion.

— Susan DeGrane

(Susan DeGrane Booklist)

Waiting: A Nonbeliever's Higher Power
Marya Hornbacher. Hazelden, $14.95 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-59285-825-5 

How should an atheist approach the Alcoholics Anonymous program? Writing with affecting prose and remarkable honesty, Hornbacher (Wasted) examines the 12 Steps as a nonbeliever, wrestles with a process that promotes connection to a higher power that may not exist, and is able to find a sober and spiritual life that is independent of God. Arranged so the months of the year parallel the 12 Steps, Hornbacher takes readers through the depths of addiction to moments of sober but solitary reflection, and eventually toward a recovery marked by spiritual purpose and a desire to help others. An atheist referring to "spiritual steps, leading to spiritual experiences" may raise eyebrows, but the author persuasively shows that a personal spirituality is indeed within reach. This work may be invaluable for individuals facing addiction or a crisis of faith, or for anyone having problems squaring the practicality of AA with its religious language. The bottom line seems to be that living a healthy life in the service of others is spiritual enough. (June)

(Publisher's Weekly)

About the Author

Marya Hornbacher is the author of two best-selling nonfiction titles, Madness: A Bipolar Life and Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia. She has also authored a recovery handbook, Sane: Mental Illness, Addiction, and the 12 Steps, and a critically acclaimed novel, The Center of Winter.

An award-winning journalist, she lectures nationally on eating disorders and writing. She lives with her husband in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 7.8 ounces
  • Paperback : 168 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1592858252
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1592858255
  • Product Dimensions : 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Publisher : Hazelden Publishing; 1st Edition (April 21, 2011)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 77 ratings