We are all aware of Conference Approved books published by the General Service Office (GSO), such as the Big Book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and Living Sober. Here’s what the GSO says about literature from other publishers:
(The term Conference Approved) does not imply Conference disapproval of other material about AA. A great deal of literature helpful to alcoholics is published by others, and AA does not try to tell any individual member what he or she may or may not read. (Service Material from the General Service Office)
Nonetheless, the term “conference approved” is quite unfortunate and it ought to be changed. No matter what the GSO says, it implies that something is approved and something else is, in fact, not approved. That’s the way language works, folks. And as a result some in AA question the legitimacy and value of books that could otherwise be very helpful.
Here are just some of those books.
By Angie Abdou Whoa. This book knocked the air right out of me. Drunk Mom chronicles one party girl’s head-on collision with motherhood. But Jowita Bydlowska is not your average party girl. She is a self-defined addict. The memoir begins with Jowita, a new mother on a rare night out, … Continue reading
By Jean S. This book offers a way forward for the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. The unstated goal of The Little Book is to widen the gateway of AA so that all who suffer might pass through, regardless of belief or lack of belief. The book presents the 12 Step program … Continue reading
By Carol M. Finally! A daily reflection book for nonbelievers, freethinkers and everyone, Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life offers 365 quips for every alcoholic/addict. Drawing on quotes from writers, skeptics, entertainers, economists, religious leaders, philosophers, psychologists and varied recovery fellowship literature, Beyond Belief neither canonizes nor vilifies … Continue reading
By Roger C. Nothing sways them from their habit, not illness, not the sacrifice of all earthly goods, not the crushing of their dignity, not the fear of dying, the drive is that relentless. (p. 28) Dr. Gabor Maté derives the title of his book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: … Continue reading
By Roger C. There would appear to be much in common between Buddhist thought and the 12 Step recovery program practised by some in AA. A number of books have made the connection between them. Three of the more popular ones include Kevin Griffin’s work, One Breath at a Time: … Continue reading
By Marty N. William White’s book is a history of the alcoholism treatment and recovery effort in the U.S., written for treatment professionals and laypersons. It is one of those delightful history books that are heavy on detail and light on argument, so that even if you don’t share the … Continue reading
By Linda R A Woman’s Way through the 12 Steps by Stephanie Covington was published in 1994 and has become a favorite book for many women in AA. Why do women have their own book? One reason is the effect on women of the religious language used in the original AA literature. And it is … Continue reading
By John M. Marya Hornbacher is one enthusiastic and grateful recovering alcoholic. She is also an atheist. If you have been waiting for a recovery book to come along that speaks to the “non-God” in you, then perhaps your patience will be rewarded with the recent publication of Waiting: A … Continue reading