Published in 1939 by AA co-founders Bill W. and Dr. Bob, The Big Book (so named because of its size) serves as the central text of the support group that aims to help alcoholics stop drinking. The organization’s seminal 12 Steps, a set of actions to guide alcoholics to recovery, were first included in The Big Book and are so influential that they have since been adapted to serve as the outline for countless other addiction programs. Anecdotes from recovering and recovered alcoholics — which heavily stress the importance of God and spiritual awakenings — make up the second half of the book, which at times feels a bit cultish: “Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program” is but one example of its tone. Regardless, few can argue with The Big Book‘s impact in both bringing the plight of alcoholics into the mainstream and assisting in the recovery of millions of addicts.
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