Alcoholics Anonymous-Big Book

Alcoholics Anonymous-Big Book

Paperback(Fourth Edition)

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Alcoholics Anonymous (also known as the Big Book in recovery circles) sets forth cornerstone concepts of recovery from alcoholism and tells the stories of men and women who have overcome the disease.

The fourth edition includes twenty-four new stories that provide contemporary sharing for newcomers seeking recovery from alcoholism in A.A. during the early years of the 21st century. Sixteen stories are retained from the third edition, including the "Pioneers of A.A." section, which helps the reader remain linked to A.A.'s historic roots, and shows how early members applied this simple but profound program that helps alcoholics get sober today. Approximately 21 million copies of the first three editions of "Alcoholics Anonymous" have been distributed. It is expected that the new fourth edition will play its part in passing on A.A.'s basic message of recovery. This fourth edition has been approved by the General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous, in the hope that many more may be led toward recovery by reading its explanation of the A.A. program and its varied examples of personal experiences which demonstrate that the A.A. program works.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781893007178
Publisher: Hazelden Publishing
Publication date: 02/10/2002
Edition description: Fourth Edition
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 13,781
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 4.50(h) x 1.10(d)


This is the fourth edition of the book Alcoholics Anonymous. The first edition appeared in April 1939, and in the following sixteen years, more than 300,000 copies went into circulation. The second edition, published in 1955, reached a total of more than 1,150,500 copies. The third edition, which came off press in 1976, achieved a circulation of approximately 19,550,000 in all formats.

Because this book has become the basic text for 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 untouched in the course of revisions made for the second, third, and fourth editions. The section called "The Doctor’s Opinion" has been kept intact, just as it was originally written in 1939 by the late Dr. William D. Silkworth, our Society’s great medical benefactor.

The second edition added the appendices, the Twelve Traditions, and the directions for getting in touch with A.A. But the chief change was in the section of personal stories, which was expanded to reflect the Fellowship’s growth. "Bill’s Story," "Doctor Bob’s Nightmare," and one other personal history from the first edition were retained intact; three were edited and one of these was retitled; new versions of two stories were written, with new titles; thirty completely new stories were added; and the story section was divided into three parts, under the same headings that are used now.

In the third edition, Part I ("Pioneers of A.A.") was left unchanged. Nine of the stories in Part II ("They Stopped in Time") were carried over from the second edition; eight new stories were added. In Part III ("They Lost Nearly All"), eight stories were retained; five new ones were added.

This fourth edition includes the Twelve Concepts for World Service and revises the three sections of personal stories as follows. One new story has been added to Part I, and two that originally appeared in Part III have been repositioned there; six stories have been deleted. Six of the stories in Part II have been carried over, eleven new ones have been added, and eleven taken out. Part III now includes twelve new stories; eight were removed (in addition to the two that were transferred to Part I).

All changes made over the years in the Big Book (A.A. members' fond nickname for this volume) have had the same purpose: to represent the current membership of Alcoholics Anonymous more accurately, and thereby to reach more alcoholics. If you have a drinking problem, we hope that you may pause in reading one of the forty-two personal stories and think: "Yes, that happened to me"; or, more important, "Yes, I’ve felt like that"; or, most important, "Yes, I believe this program can work for me too."

© Copyright 2004 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
All Right Reserved

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Alcoholics Anonymous-Big Book 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
jimmaclachlan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This edition differs from the previous ones only in an extra introduction & some updating of the stories at the end - as usual. The basic text & page numbers of that text remain unchanged. Good news for those with a 'Little Red Book' or other guide/index to the Big Book.For those unfamiliar with the Big Book, it's the instruction set for the AA program. The wording is a little dated, but it is the instruction set for the most widespread self-help program in the world. AA is the basis of all other 12 step programs, most of whom changed the program only slightly to fit the addiction of choice - narcotics, cocaine, gambling, sex, etc.. Many have problems with the 'God' concept, swearing AA is a religious program. They have a point, although it doesn't have to be, as many have proved. AA tends to pick up the 'religious flavor of the group - people have trouble separating spirituality from religion. The book was written by Christians & loosely based on the tenets of an earlier Christian organization (the Oxford Group, now defunct). Non-Christians should read & come to terms with the chapter, "To the Agnostic" before jumping to conclusions. Those with an open mind can work the AA program without a belief in the Christian or any 'God'.While most chapters are devoted exclusively to the alcoholic, there are chapters to the family & employer of the alcoholic, as well. Anyone who knows an alcoholic or anyone who suffers from an addiction, would do well to read this book. It offers an insight into the mind of the alcoholic both before & after sobriety is achieved, as well as practical advice to those that live with him/her.
jlawshe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hard to call this book 'good,' but it's certainly functional.