The Best Alcoholics Anonymous Books to Read

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited : October 20, 
2020 
| 4 Sources



There's plenty of alcoholics anonymous books about, we take a look at the ten most popular.

alcoholics anonymous

There is a considerable number of Alcoholics Anonymous books that have been published over the years, many praising the organization and a sizable minority criticizing it. Literature published by A.A. World Services, Inc. is a treasure trove of resource for the recovering alcoholics and for anybody who wishes to know more about Alcoholics Anonymous, its history and how it actually works.

Alcoholics Anonymous has its own publishing house in order, it is said, to maintain AA's integrity, which is, for the program, a good thing.

However it can also mean that a critical eye is not cast over some of their output.

However, there is also plenty of other Alcoholics Anonymous literature written by people about AA. This is not published by AA's own press so it can have a more balanced approach.

You can read about the critical variety elsewhere, here we concentrate on the ten books that are essential reading for anyone involved in the Alcoholics Anonymous program.

The Top Ten Alcoholics Anonymous Books


1.The Big Book of AA

Naturally, the leader in Alcoholics Anonymous books would have to be the Alcoholics Anonymous - Big Book.

The original Big Book was first published back in 1939.

The book told the story of Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous.

They shared their own personal experience with alcoholism as well as giving many practical tips that helped them find and maintain sobriety.

This remains the most famous and most read of the Alcoholics Anonymous books as the entire tenets of the organization originate with that text.

The Big Book has since been updated and revised to reflect changes in language and popular culture. The current version was published in 2001.


2. Twelve Steps and 12 Traditions

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions is another of Bill Wilson's works.

Published in 1953, this was a collection of Wilson's essays that explained the twelve step program in detail.

These steps had just been formally adopted three years earlier. This book is often used during Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

There are certain meetings that involve reading a step or tradition from it and discussing how it relates to each individual participating in the meeting.

These meetings, that use this specific book, are generally called 'Step Meetings' or 'Tradition Meetings'.


3. Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age

Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age was published in 1957.

This book is a history of how AA came to be and what they stood for.

This is one of the Alcoholics Anonymous books that helped to spread awareness of the group's goals and philosophies.


4. Daily Reflections

Daily Reflections is a book along the principles of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

A short meditative essay is provided for daily reading, each written by an AA member.

There are many books similar to this, each having a daily inspirational/educational thought or quote to help those in recovery.

This one, however, is specifically written by and for Alcoholics anonymous participants.


5. Living Sober

Living Sober is one of the Alcoholics Anonymous more practical guides.

Rather than simply sharing stories, this book offers real guidance for living a life free of alcohol.


6. As Bill Sees It

As Bill Sees It is an anthology of writings by Bill Wilson, one of the founders of AA.

It remains one of the more popular selections in the Alcoholics Anonymous books on offer.

It can be very cathartic to realize that alcoholism's effects on the individual and those around him or her are the same today as they were seventy years ago.


alcoholics-anonymous-booksPhoto by form PxHere

7. Came to Believe

Came to Believe is one of the Alcoholics Anonymous most popular inspirational readings.

As with other volumes of Alcoholics Anonymous literature, this was compiled from writings of AA members.


8. Experience, Strength and Hope

Experience, Strength and Hope is another compilation of stories of the personal experiences of AA members.

Many of the publications from AA literature have drawn from personal stories of members.

The purpose of this is to encourage members to relate to others' experiences of alcoholism and recovery.

This is so they can see that they and their problems are not 'special' and that recovery from alcoholism is a very real possibility whatever circumstances they are currently going through.


9. The Language of the Heart

The Language of the Heart contains an anthology of stories and articles that Bill Wilson wrote for The Grapevine magazine through the years.

These stories highlight the evolution of the group through time.


10. Dr. Bob and the Good Old-timers

Dr. Bob and the Good Old-timers tells us of the other founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. Bob Smith, as well as the early history of AA and how it grew.

Alcoholics Anonymous Literature, or more precisely that published by the program's own publishing house, is specifically aimed at recovering alcoholics participating in the Alcoholics Anonymous program.

The books are not examples of outstanding literature, they are not trying to be.

They are written with the sole purpose of encouraging alcoholics in their fight against alcoholism. Even though Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the biggest mutual-help organization for people battling with alcohol abuse, its specific ideas that sustain and encourage behavior change are badly understood.

So don't expect an objective analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous if you buy one of the above books. If this is what you want then read The Ten Best Critiques of Alcoholics Annoymous.


Alcoholics Anonymous Literature, or more precisely that published by the program's own publishing house, is specifically aimed at recovering alcoholics participating in the Alcoholics Anonymous program.

The books are not examples of outstanding literature, they are not trying to be.

They are written with the sole purpose of encouraging alcoholics in their fight against alcoholism. Even though Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the biggest mutual-help organization for people battling with alcohol abuse, its specific ideas that sustain and encourage behavior change are badly understood.

So don't expect an objective analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous if you buy one of the above books. If this is what you want then read The Ten Best Critiques of Alcoholics Annoymous




Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 


Hello!

I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More



Sources:  

Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A. Literature. https://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/aa-literature

Book Authority. 100 Best-Selling Alcoholism Books of All Time. https://bookauthority.org/books/best-selling-alcoholism-books

NCBI. Helping Other Alcoholics in Alcoholics Anonymous and Drinking Outcomes: Findings from Project MATCH*. December 21, 2010. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3008319/

Al-Anon Family Groups. Conference Approved Literature (CAL). https://al-anon.org/for-members/members-resources/literature/feature-publications/


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