What Is the Big Book?

If you’re new to the 12 steps, you’re bound to hear references to the Big Book at just about every meeting you attend. But what is it? And why is it so important in AA and other 12 step programs?

While everyone calls it the Big Book, what they’re actually referring to is the book Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of how Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism by Bill W., one of the founders of AA. The book was published on April 10, 1939 and has sold over 30 million copies, making it one of the best selling books of all time.

How Big is the Big Book?

While the Big Book is big with over 400 pages, that’s not where it got its name. Instead, it was dubbed the Big Book because in the first edition printing, the paper was so thick, the book ended up being, well, pretty darn big.

Yet, if you look at it from another perspective, the Big Book is so big because of the impact it’s had. Before AA and the 12 step programs, there wasn’t a solution for alcohol addiction. Alcoholics felt alone and isolated, and many looked down on them like they were morally deficient.

The Big Book changed all that, and gave addicts and alcoholics a solution to their problem that worked. If you’re suffering from alcohol or drug addiction and are looking to start your journey to recovery, call 800-781-0748 (Who Answers?) for help.

What’s in the Big Book?

the Big Book

The Big Book provides addicts with a way to solve their substance abuse problems.

Many consider the Big Book a guide to working the AA program, and while it serves as that, that’s not what it’s solely about. The Big Book is filled with personal stories of the turmoil that alcoholism and alcohol addiction causes and the destruction it’s wrecked in people’s lives. The book also gives the reader solutions for those problems, solutions that eventually evolved into what we now call the 12 step programs.

What’s the Purpose of the Big Book?

The purpose of the Big Book was to show people that they didn’t have to continue in their alcohol addiction and that there was a way out of the unmanageable chaos that addiction creates. That way, according to the Big Book, is through fellowship with others who understand what it’s like to be addicted to alcohol. The premise is that no one can get sober alone, but together, alcoholism can be conquered. The ultimate solution, according to Bill W., is to gain a greater purpose than yourself.

Who’s the Big Book Designed for?

While written primarily for alcoholics seeking recovery, the Big Book is recommended for anyone who’s been impacted by alcoholism or addiction. There’s a section for employers, for doctors, and for spouses. Anyone working in the addiction fields should read it, if only to gain an understanding of the 12 steps and traditions of AA and to be able to reference it when necessary.

Are you suffering from alcohol or drug addiction and ready for recovery? Call 800-781-0748 (Who Answers?) today to talk to someone who can help get you on the right path.

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