Alcoholics Anonymous was founded on June 10, 1935 by two men who were simply trying to free themselves of their bondage to alcohol. Since then, the fellowship has grown to include over two million current active members located in over 180 different countries. (1)
The fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous has been passed down generation after generation largely due to the book Alcoholics Anonymous. This book, affectionately nicknamed the “Big Book”, ensures that the fellowship can continue for the newcomer.
Here we take a look at the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
What is the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous?
Alcoholics Anonymous, aka the Big Book, is the basic text of the fellowship Alcoholics Anonymous. After Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935, the founders realized they would need a basic text in order to help the fellowship grow.
Bill Wilson, the co-founder of AA, began working on the basic text in April 1938.
Bill Wilson largely wrote the Big Book, with other early members contributing smaller parts. (2) Since its publication in 1939, the Big Book has been one of the all-time best selling books. It exceeded the 30 million copies sold mark around 2010. (3)
How is the Big Book structured?
The Big Book is essentially split up into two major sections. The first 164 pages essentially describe what an alcoholic is and an outline of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. The second part of the book contains personal stories from members of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The goal of these stories is to provide a broad idea of what the membership is like, by the sharing of their experience, strength, and hope.
The Big Book has had four different editions published over the years. The first 164 pages outlining the fellowship, however, have remained largely untouched. The primary difference between these editions is the personal stories included in the second half of the book.
How should I read The Big Book?
Over the years, the tradition has been to go through the Big Book with a trusted mentor from the program known as a sponsor. For people considering whether they have a problem or not, it is recommended to read the first four chapters.
These chapters essentially explain alcoholism as AA sees it, and may help any prospective members decide if they want to join the fellowship or not.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.