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. In many of the rooms of AA it leads directly to censorship. That’s the way language works, folks. And as a result many in AA avoid books that could otherwise be very helpful.

Here are just a very few of those helpful books:

Slaying The Dragon

Slaying The Dragon

Reviewed by bob k. Those among us having a fondness for history are accustomed to being transported to the past, and Mr. White does this deliciously in the second edition of Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America, beginning with a sojourn to Colonial America to meet Dr. … Continue reading

Don’t Tell – Review

Don't Tell

By Chris G. Who are we, we alcoholic agnostic, atheist, free-thinking people who come to this website? I sense that many of us are pretty lonely individuals looking for a community, and many are beginning to find it here and in others places. After haunting web-based agnostic AA for about … Continue reading

A History of Agnostic Groups in AA

A History

Now available as an ebook in all versions, including Kindle, Kobo and Nook Review by Chris G. When the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, was being written there was an irritating atheist in the mix: Jim Burwell. He was responsible for the phrase “God, as we understood Him” in the Steps … Continue reading

The Proactive Twelve Steps

Proactive Twelve Steps

By Serge Prengel Many years ago, I started re-writing the Twelve Steps in order to better understand the process they describe by “translating” the wording of the Steps into language that felt clearer to me. I’m not just talking about language that would make each individual Step clearer. I am … Continue reading

The Little Book

The Little Book

Review 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 … Continue reading

Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life

Beyond Belief

Review 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 … Continue reading

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts

In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts

Review 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 … Continue reading

Mindfulness and the 12 Steps

Mindfulness And The Twelve Steps

Review 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 … Continue reading

A Woman’s Way Through The Twelve Steps

A Woman's Way through the Twelve Steps

Review by Linda R A Woman’s Way Through The Twelve 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 … Continue reading

Waiting: A Nonbeliever’s Higher Power

Waiting A Nonbeliever's Higher Power

Review 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: … Continue reading