The basic text of the twelve step self help program, Alcoholics Anonymous: The story of how many thousands of men and women have recovered from alcoholism, has been translated into more than fifty languages with thirty million copies in circulation. The self help model of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) has become ubiquitous in American society and represents quintessential old fashioned values of a previous generation. Reading the material, one may excuse the tone since the book was originally published in 1939, contains archaic language, a definite patriarchal tone, and downright sexist statements. A brief description of the 164 pages of the Big Book is given followed by an analysis focused on the chapter “To Wives.”
Alcoholics Anonymous: The story of how many thousands of men and women have recovered from alcoholism, known by members as “The Big Book,” embodies the manual of instruction for the original twelve step recovery program. Written by Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, with drafts sent back and forth between Bill Wilson's group in New York and Dr. Bob, the other founder of A.A., in Akron, Ohio before being published.
The Big Book is divided into two main parts. The first part, known as “the first 164 pages” or “the original manuscript,” explains the twelve step program and how it can be used to overcome alcoholism. The second part is dedicated to personal stories. In the four editions of the book, some of these personal accounts have been deleted and others added, but the message is the same, the only way to fully recover from alcoholism is to practice the principles found in the twelve steps, which can lead to a spiritual awakening for the alcoholic.
The first 164 pages outline the theory of alcoholism as an allergy coupled with a mental obsession, which makes it virtually impossible to stop drinking. Admitting powerlessness, hopelessness, belief in and reliance on a higher power, one can solve the drink problem....