Books about AA, by AA, and about alcoholism.


A Death in the Family by James Agee.  More here.

Alcoholics Anonymous:  The Story of how Many Thousands of Men and Women have Recovered from Alcoholism by Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age: A Brief History of Alcoholics Anonymous by Alcoholics Anonymous

As Bill Sees It : Selected Writings of AA’s Cofounder by Alcoholics Anonymous    One of my favorite AA approved books, it has short passages taken from the writings of Bill W.  There is stuff from the tried and true Big Book and 12 and 12, but also snippets taken from speeches and letters and Grapevine articles, that kind of thing.  Some of them have stayed with me down the the years as things I’ve internalized and remembered.

Bill W : A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson by Francis Haritgan

Bill W : My First 40 Years – An Autobiography by Bill W

Blame by Michelle Huneven

Came to Believe by Alcoholics Anonymous

Carry This Message by Joe McQ

The Common Sense of Drinking by Richard Peabody

Daily Reflections : A Book of Reflections by AA Members for AA Members by Alcoholics Anonymous

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King.  Danny from The Shining grows up and joins AA.  I found this to be a good portrayal of AA, even if some of the things the story-teller thinks are ubiquitous are not.  For example, oldtimers sitting in the back of the room is not something I’ve experienced, which is a shame, because I would like that.

Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers : A Biography, with Recollections of early A.A. in the Midwest by Alcoholics Anonymous

Dry by Augusten Burroughs (more about this here)

Dryland by Nancy Stearns Bercaw.  A sobriety memoir interesting in that the author lived in many different countries and faced the logistics of drinking all around the world.  No information, though, on how she stopped drinking (except for cold turkey) or how she stayed sober.  (more here)

Go Ask Alice by Charlotte Sparks

The Greatest Thing in the World by Henry Drummond

The Little Red Book by Anonymous

Living Sober by Alcoholics Anonymous

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore.  A devastating portrait of alcoholism in a different time and place.  A book that makes me very grateful for recovery and a program of recovery.

Magical Thinking : True Stories by Augusten Burroughs

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Not God : A History of Alcoholics Anonymous by Ernest Kurtz

Pass it On : Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers by Alcoholics Anonymous

Pass it On: The Story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. Message Reached the World by Alcoholics Anonymous

Seeds of Grace by Molly Monahan.  Written anonymously by a nun with long time sobriety in the program, this gives an interesting interpretation of the program through a Catholic perspective.  There are some advanced religious ideas in here that I hadn’t encountered before.  It helped my understanding of both the program and the Roman Catholic religion.

Smack by Melvin Burgess

Smashed by Koren Zailckas.  More here.

Terry by George McGovern.  more here.

The Social World of Alcoholics Anonymous by Annette R. Smith, Ph.D.  An interesting study of, among other things, how “loners” and “joiners” fare in having success in AA.  It also talks about phases of membership that I hadn’t considered before.

The Soul of Sponsorship : The Friendship of Father Ed Dowling, S.J. and Bill Wilson in Letters by Robert Fitzgerald

The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions by Alcoholics Anonymous

Undrunk by A.J. Adams.  Subtitled A Skeptic’s Guide to AA, I found it to be occasionally funny and certainly harmless.  It might help folks get through the doors into meetings.

While the World Watched by Carolyn Maull McKinstry.  This contains an interesting description of how the author overcame alcoholism through faith without AA.

Women Pioneers in 12 Step Recovery by Charlotte Hunter

8 thoughts on “Books

  1. I see “Not God” on your list, by Ernest Kurtz. I would also strongly recommend “The Spirituality of Imperfection”, by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketchum. I have given more than a dozen copies of that book to friends of mine. It really helped to me forgive myself for my shortcomings, and to accept the fact that God loves me just as I am.

  2. Dr. Sleep got me back into the rooms after a 7 year relapse. My higher power cleverly kept prompting my conscious throughout the book, LOVE the AA references. By the end of the book I had returned to the rooms. 5 months later,(by the Grace of God) I am still sober.

  3. “Out of The Wreck I Rise” Neil Steinberg and Sara Bader. A wonderful collection of quotations about us and by us (alcoholics and addicts.) Amazing and eloquent. I have been sober in our fellowship for over thirty years, and I learned a lot from this amazing book.

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