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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  4,512 ratings  ·  94 reviews
Librarian's Note: This is an alternate-cover edition for ISBN 0916856011 / 9780916856014

Originally published in 1952, this classic book is used by A.A. members and groups around the world. Bill W.'s 24 essays on the Steps and the Traditions discuss the principles by which A.A. members recover and by which the fellowship functions. The basic text clarifies the Steps which
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published February 10th 2002 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services (first published 1952)
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Chris Garcia
Aug 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All of you drunks + everyone else
Beseeched by one of my clients to read it, I've found that this is surely one of the great spiritual texts. I would advise anyone to read it.

It does, however, contain some offensive throwbacks to the mid-twentieth century, when it was written, back when we were all the same, I guess. It's sexist -- all alcoholics are men, it seems, to the dismay of their wives. It's heterosexist (Oh, wait. That's not a throwback.).

Anyway, like the Bible and presumably many sacred texts, you have to ignore the ba
Jul 02, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with my wise friend Wendell. This book addresses much more than alcoholism. There is something very simple and clear about the twelve steps and twelve traditions--something that can impart the sort knowledge that is useful to a broad spectrum of folks.

I am fascinated by the way the steps and traditions are arranged. They seem to be constructed in an exceedingly intelligent way-- a way that discourages corruption, greed, gossip...It encourages sensible democracy and economy of thought, f
May 26, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People early in recovery (w/caveats!)
I really struggled with how to rate the "12 & 12." I've been sober for over 9 years now, and I stopped being a semi-regular AA probably 5 years ago. (And I was NEVER an "AA Nazi" at all. I never officially did all the Steps, and I'm pretty sure I've never even read the ENTIRE Big Book.) BUT, after I had been sober for 9 months on my own and went to my first meeting out of just a desperation to be around SOMEONE who might understand all the emotions I was going through, it meant so much to be ...more
A great and must-read adjunct to the Big Book, Alcoholic Anonymous. Whereas that was written very early in the life of the A.A. movement, when no one had more than a handful of years of experience of sober life, this was written with the benefit of much more insight and spiritual growth. This is a very practical how-to guide to applying the principles of the 12 Steps in one's personal life, and to applying the 12 Traditions to the thinking and decisions of groups. Both have proven themselves as ...more
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Still read today!! Fabulous way of life!!!
Alex Lee
Jul 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
What's interesting about this book is that it poses a manual to a general reader about how to center one's self. To maintain humility and discipline (which appears to be the same thing, in different ways). To a great degree the book presses urgency and the need for one to come to an understanding of reliance. In order to be good we must be reminded of how bad we are; not so that we give up trying, but so that we always have a ways to go. Perhaps this is the lesson of religion here, that one shou ...more
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
foundation of recovery. Love that its on my kindle....
not a huge exciting read, but I certainly have used it recently. It is part of some basic literature that is the foundation for a 12 step recovery program for personal growth, and self accountability. Its primary purpose is to help the person in recovery stay sober, but the 12 steps are so much more than that. They will help you learn about yourself, and grow in ways you would never imagine. The best part is its free!! All that is required is
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recovery
I've read this book in meetings and I read it to myself, just to go through it once sequentially in the beginning to help me to understand the recovery program of AA. Only 5-10% of the people who go to meetings end up being sober--which to me is a fantastic success rate, and makes me worry about the problem of addiction. It's not the only group or method of recovery. Each group is an autonomous unit and is self supporting. You can't do studies about it, because it's anonymous, but research has c ...more
Tim Franzen
Jan 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
These essays where written 15 years after Bill Wilson wrote Alcoholics Anonymous. There's a tremndous amount of insight into human behavior her, truly a treasure trove for anyone interested in the human mind. the essays on the traditions are also an interesting proposal for an anarcistic governing system that actually has proven pretty successful. A system that treasures personal independence, and de-centralized local governing bodies.
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is well worth keeping in your arsenal along with many other tools to help support your mental and emotional attitude when dealing with addiction or an addict, along with 'The Courage to Change' and the AA's 'Blue Print for Success'.
Mar 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: educational
This book changed my life. I have been sober since 8-12-1985!
I think working the 12 steps are essential to staying sober and living a great life.
Aug 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I live by this book. I use the 11th step prayer every morning to this day. For anyone that has had to walk down the path of Alcohol recovery, this book is a lifesaver!
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recovery
Great book. Explains the 12-step process of recovery, step by step. Includes information about the Traditions, or by-laws, of AA, which is how the organization has survived since 1935.
John Yarbrough
Aug 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help, spiritual

great book and good reminders of the purpose of each step and tradition. I know that i'll use this as a reference for the future.
L. Lee Whitlock
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This little book is a must read for individuals in a 12-Step program. It not only is a compendium of some of the history of the 12-Step movement, but with the first half of the book dealing with the 12-Steps, the reader learns how to apply each step to his or her own life. The book chronicles successes as well as a few failures. It is a guide as to how to make the program work in the lives of those men and women who want to "practice these principles in all their affairs." The second half of the ...more
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book among my late husband's belongings. I knew it had a profound effect on his life and so, missing him, I decided to read it myself to get to know him better after his death at 67 of cancer. Without any hesitation, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve their relationship with loved ones, with people in general, and to have a happier and healthier attitude about life. Truly, you do not need to have an alcohol problem or even believe in a "higher power" to benef ...more
Michael Gilstrap
Profound insight into modern day miracle

Alcoholics Anonymous is a modern day miracle in that it’s grown from it’s founding to a worldwide movement that’s helped thousands and thousands recover from their addiction to alcohol.

This book explains the foundations of both the individual path to recovery as well as the institutional genius — forged through many difficult mistakes along the way — that enables AA to continue to help all who wish to stop drinking.
Katya Mills
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Helpful book and can help you sort out your life by following the tried and true principles (for recovering alcoholics) which guide you through living honestly, with integrity, using prayer and meditation to find peace and calm yourself, living unselfishly, letting go of resentments, and facing an uncertain future with dignity.
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A helpful book overviewing and explaining all 12 steps and traditions of the 12 step programs. This book has a lot of inspiring insights which, if read alongside the Big Book, add to it and enhance the sobriety and recovery experience. Anyone who is part of a 12 step program, knows anyone who is, or is currently sponsoring may appreciate this short and unique book.
Karla Winick-Ford
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
As a religious person, this is biased. Those suffering may close doors or fall blankly because of how heavily the program relies on the foundation of faith. The literature is inconclusive whether or not this works
Stanley Lee
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
excellent book for addictions even if you don't take harmful substsnces.
Aug 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I originally read this book unsure of what it would amount to. It was definitely a difficult read especially compared to the usual books I read. The premise of this book was exactly what the title outlined it wen't into detail about the twelve steps and twelve traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.To me this book was quite repetitive with in each step and tradition. It also wasn't extremely relatable. Like this excerpt,"How he does cherish the thought that man, risen so majestically from a single c ...more
Mitch S
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Helpful to those who have a drinking problem. My biggest issue with this book and the big book (alcoholics anonymous) was the "God Concept". Continually it mentions and thrives on this idea that you are "powerless over alcohol and that your life has become unmanageable." This is the centric theme of the texts but I can not accept it because I take the blame/responsibility of my actions for myself. Step 8 comes back to reality with "make amends with those you have harmed with your addiction" I ca ...more
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I find this book even more helpful than the Big Book in that it thoroughly, yet simply, explains both the 12 steps and the 12 traditions. We are told that the steps help us get sober and the traditions, if understood and practiced, are what keep us sober and enable us to get along in society and in our interpersonal relationships. Outstanding. One benefits from this book whether alcoholic or merely suffering from the human conditions of life. Better yet, this book does not preach, moralize or ju ...more
Oct 26, 2011 is currently reading it
Great read for any alcoholic or anyone working a 12-step program! If you find out you're an alcoholic, you're picked-up for something alcohol related, court-ordered to go to AA-or someone's worried about your drinking-get one! It will explain the 12 suggested steps of the program to you.

And take it with you to the step-meetings. They often read the chapter corresponding to the step discussed from the book. And if you think you might have a problem w/alcohol-but totally not sure-read Step One!
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this to better understand friends and family who struggle with alcholism and addictions. What I found was a very straightforward way of living that is useful for me and I imagine for many others. It is a dated read with sexism and the like, however, given the intent of the message and the times in which it was written not to mention most studies show there are more male than female alcoholics, I did not find it offensive.

I recommend this title.
Jan 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What can be said about a book that literally saved my life? Really helps in the understanding of the cornerstones of the recovery process, the steps and traditions. Although there are those that minimize the importance of this particular book in the recovery process, I found it to be very helpful and used it extensively early in my sobriety.
Jul 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
While this has been--and I'm sure will continue to be--a priceless book for recovery, anyone going through rough times can benefit from the wisdom contained herein. My take is that you don't necessarily need to be religious for the "higher power" step(s), but at least *some* form of humility is recommended.
Jan 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This discusses, in detail & order, the 12 steps that a recovering alcoholic/addict must take in order to get their act together. The reasoning behind the steps & traditions are explained. Well worth reading if you are part of any 12 step program. Anyone who isn't would probably be better off devoting their time to the Big Book.
Sep 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Not the Big Book. Some good & useful stuff, but creates confusion regarding the program of recovery. Dr. Bob urged Bill NOT to publish this. Bill did after Dr Bob's death.
This book was never intended to be a guide to the program of recovery and/or steps. It is a collections of articles, letters and personal opinions.
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“We have learned that the satisfaction of instincts cannot be the sole aim of our lives.” 43 likes
“We sometimes hurt those we love because they need to be “taught a lesson,” when we really want to punish. We were depressed and complained we felt bad, when in fact we were mainly asking for sympathy and attention. This odd trait of mind and emotion, this perverse wish to hide a bad motive underneath a good one, permeates human affairs from top to bottom. This subtle and elusive kind of self-righteousness can underlie the smallest act or thought. Learning daily to spot, admit, and correct these flaws is the essence of character-building and good living. An honest regret for harms done, a genuine gratitude for blessings received, and a willingness to try for better things tomorrow will be the permanent assets we shall seek.” 28 likes
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