The house next door to Dr. Bob’s house in Akron Ohio is filled with books. Books they used in early AA, when they were forming the program, before there were any AA books. My little corner of AA is generally afraid of books that aren’t A.A. approved. A confused newcomer, the thinking goes, could be turned off by one of these books, given the wrong idea about AA, driven away to drink and die, all because of a non-approved book. Groups are afraid even to use, it seems, the “original” text of the Big Book because it is not, alas, AA approved.
I’m an extreme liberal when it comes to books, no doubt, and if someone talks of banning it I try to make sure to read it. But in AA I’m afraid that using only “approved” books narrows our world and cuts us off from our history.
Carole and I read non-approved books that helped form the program. We learn a lot about the history of AA and the concepts that helped form it. For me, after 30 years of sobriety and 36 years of attendance at AA meetings, these books add interest and depth to the program and they help me understand it more completely and love it more dearly. These books didn’t hurt the program when it was starting, they helped it, and I believe they can help it now.