About the Book Alcoholics Anonymous

In the 1930s — before there were more than 118,000  A.A. groups around the world — chronic alcoholics had few places to go to meet with newcomers and others.

Instead, someone who wanted to get sober, either met someone else with the Alcoholics Anonymous book, or they would mail the New York office and had one delivered to them.

The alcoholic would read the book, follow what it said, and get sober. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous gave newcomers an outline or blueprint to create a new design for living. It helped newcomers develop a life that would rocket them into a new dimension.

In the first forward of the book, it states its purpose: “To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book.”

The reason the Big Book carries so much weight in A.A. is that it has the directions to get sober. People today still follow their suggestions and still get sober.


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The Big Book is a Text Book

The book is not a story or a novel. Actually many recovered alcoholics say it is their textbook. It needs to be studied and understood so the reader can get and stay sober.

The Preface of the book even states this: “Because this book has become the basic text of our Society and has helped such large numbers of alcoholic men and women to recovery, there exists strong sentiment against any radical changes being made in it. Therefore the first portion of this volume, describing the A.A. recovery program, has been left largely untouched.” xi, Alcoholics Anonymous

The first 164 pages of the Big Book are the basic text. The first 164 pages explain the alcoholic problem and how to solve it.

Because it helped so many people recover, the Alcoholics Anonymous organization did not change it. However, some of the stories after the first 164 pages have been updated and changed as time has passed.

What’s Inside the 164 Pages

The first 164 pages address the problem alcoholics have to face.

For example, in the Doctor’s Opinion, which comes before chapter one, states that alcoholics have lost the ability of choice in drink.

It states the chronic alcoholics have a phenomenon of craving when they start drinking.

And the ease and comfort that comes from the first drink cause alcoholics to not know the difference between the true and the false.

The first 164 pages also discuss the differences between a normal drinker, a hard drinker, and a real alcoholic. It addresses people who have concerns about a God or a higher power. And then the book begins to give a solution to the problem of alcoholism, which is the 12 steps.

The first 164 pages are the nuts and bolts of the program. They provide directions to get sober. It also explains the principles we need to have to become recovered and to stay sober.