The ‘Big Book’

AA was formed in the 1930’s by a group of drunks in Akron, Ohio, who found a way to get recovery from their alcoholism and live each day without drinking. This was at a time when the internet, mobile phones, and social media were obviously non-existent! The only way to spread the message with regards to this new programme through AA, was to write and disseminate a book. Simply named ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’, you will find many people refer to it as the ‘Big Book’.

The Big Book was written almost 100 years ago and only minor updates have since been made. Reading the Big Book is nothing like reading a self-help book, and that was not its purpose. It was simply the only way in which the AA programme could be shared with others around the world. The founders of AA wanted to quickly share how they had managed to get sober, so that other alcoholics could do so too.

The book was written and edited by a group of people, at great speed, and when AA was in its early days. The language is somewhat outdated, as is the cultural context but we encourage you to look beyond all that and identify the core points being made. Look for similarities, rather than differences, and do not let prejudices get in the way of helping you get sober. It’s funny how an alcoholic when faced with the solution for a sober life, will quickly find everything and anything at fault, rather than grabbing it and never letting go. A good starting place is the stories in the second half of the book. We also encourage everyone to get help and direction as they work through different parts of the book. This is usually from an AA Sponsor (see the page ‘Sponsorship’).