Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism, more commonly referred to as The Big Book, is a book written in 1939 by Bill W. (one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous). The book is a comprehensive collection of information, practices, and results of various methods that have helped people rid themselves of addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, overeating, and more.
The Big Book is over 400 pages long and details Bill W.’s and Dr. Bob’s personal experiences and struggles with alcoholism, and the methods they developed to help beat their addictions. Both were successful in their respective fields, Business and Medicine, but chronic alcoholism was derailing both of their lives at professional, personal, and spiritual levels. The most commonly referenced sections of the book are the Twelve Steps, the Twelve Traditions, and the Ninth Step Promises. The book uses many religious and spiritual undertones in its attempt to help people overcome their addiction. One of the key takeaways from the book is that pure abstinence from alcohol, in addition to keeping oneself accountable in a community of similar people, is the only way to overcome alcoholism. Anyone who truly struggles with alcohol consumption cannot overcome the addiction while continuing to drink any amount of alcohol.
Since the Big Book’s original publishing, it has become one of the best-selling books of all time with over 30 million copies sold. The Big Book was a refreshing alternative to other methods of curtailing alcoholism (Temperance Movement, Prohibition, etc.) in early 20th century America and has drawn support from doctors, psychologists, academics, and religious practitioners. In 2011, Time Magazine named it as one of the 100 best and most influential books of the English language since the magazine’s inception. Additionally, in 2012, the Library of Congress classified The Big Book as one of the 88 books that shaped America. 80 years after its creation, The Big Book has aided millions on their paths to recovery and will continue to do so in the future.