The overall message and plan of action of Alcoholics Anonymous was first spread to the world in 1939 with the publication of the basic text (aka the Big Book) Alcoholics Anonymous. Today, literature still provides the backbone of recovery and the general guideline to the various fellowships that have sprung up in the years since.
AA literature is essential for both those new to the fellowship and those who have been around for a while. The following texts can be purchased for cost at most meetings or at aa.org.
Alcoholics Anonymous (1939)
Affectionately known as the “Big Book”, Alcoholics Anonymous was written by the AA founder Bill W. and outlines the basic program of the Twelve Steps. The basic text is essentially broken into two parts. The first part tells Bill W.’s personal story, provides a description of the alcoholic, and outlines how the program works.
The second part contains several personal stories from founding members to present members. The Big Book is typically read the first time with a sponsor, and then subsequently with future sponsees.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (1953)
Also referred to as the “12 and 12”, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions was written by Bill W. and goes in depth with each step and tradition. The steps serve as the backbone of recovery, while the traditions keep the fellowship going year after year. This text often serves as the primary reading for both twelve step and twelve tradition meetings. A sponsor also often uses it with a sponsee as supplement reading to the basic text when going over the steps.
Living Sober (1975)
For most with substance abuse problems, the alcohol/drugs become a part of nearly every aspect of their lives. Once sobriety has been achieved, many find themselves struggling to adapt to this new way of life. Living Sober addresses these issues with simple suggestions for staying sober a day at a time.
Daily Reflections (1990)
The Daily Reflections takes an excerpt from various AA literature as the reading for each day of the year. The book has become a popular tool for many people in recovery to begin each day with a daily reading. Some meetings even use the daily reflection as the main topic for the meeting each week.
As Bill Sees It (1967)
This book collects various writings from Bill W.’s life and indexes them by a host of topics related to recovery. Like the Daily Reflections, many meetings have been created that use As Bill Sees It as the primary reading. Members pick a topic (e.g. relapse, craving, etc), read from the book, and discuss the readings.
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age: A Brief History of AA (1975)
Alcoholics Anonymous has been a grassroots fellowship for over eighty years now, all without any sort of promotion. Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age details the history of how the fellowship was formed and became the large organization it has grown into today.
Alcoholics Anonymous and the countless fellowships that have spawned from it exist without promotion or any sort of central leadership. This is primarily made possible through the literature discussed above. 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.