5 Must-Read Books for AA Members

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5 Must-Read Books for AA Members

1. Alcoholic Anonymous: The Big Book, 4th Edition

This is the fourth and most current edition of the foundational text of the AA program first released in 1939. Affectionately known as the “Big Book” in the Rooms, the text lays out the basic, essential, and virtually unchanged precepts and practices that have helped millions achieve sobriety since its introduction.  This book also serves as a near replica template for nearly a dozen other recovery programs. In this text, which is available for sale at most AA meetings, a comprehensive explanation of the following is founding including: the purpose of the program, the nature of the disease of alcoholism, questions of religion and spirituality, stories from long-time sober members, and of course, explanations of the work and process required by AA members. This text has long been considered the sole requisite book for AA membership and working the program, and as such, is one of the few books approved by the AA General Service Conference.

2. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Considered the second most important text in the AA program, the 12 & 12 offers a chronologically later and much more detailed description of the twelve steps and twelve traditions that serve as the essential elements of the AA program of recovery. Unchanged since its release in 1959, this text proves most useful for those program members working on individual steps, with specific practical advice being found especially for the fourth and eight steps. For individuals entering the phase of their recovery that requires starting step work, or even those long-time members wishing to delve deeper into the original understandings of the traditions of the program, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions serves as a commonly used and officially approved source for understanding and working in the AA program with approval from AA World Services. For those wishing to do intensive, in-depth step work, which serves as a critical foundation to long-term sobriety, studying a copy of the 12 & 12 in conjunction with your step work alongside a sponsor is strongly suggested.

3. Daily Reflections: A Book of Reflections by A.A. Members for A.A. Members

This relative newcomer to the AA program, the Daily Reflections book has steadily grown in usage by program members since its release in 1990. A favorite of morning readers with their coffee, the Daily Reflections offers a daily reflection for program members, with the ultimate goal of producing a meditative state of serenity, or a solid spiritual foundation, in which the reader can then bring into their day as it starts. These relatively small blurbs have grown in popularity among AA members to such an extent that most areas offer a sub-type of meeting known as “Daily Reflections” meeting, in which the reflection of the day is read aloud, and then discussed by all attending members. This text is the last of the three texts approved by AA World Services as an “official program book” that sees common usage.

4. Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Though unapproved as official program literature, this daily reflections style meditation text, which is commonly known as the Little Black Book to program members, features a more spirituality and religion oriented view towards finding serenity, peace, and acceptance in each day. Given the program’s emphasis on living life one day at a time, the daily reading of Twenty Four Hours a Day settles the program member each day, reminds him or her of aspects of the program, and finally, encourages a deeper growth in the connection between the individual reader and his or her higher power on a continual basis.

5. The Little Red Book

Though unapproved by AA World Services, and thus not an official program text, the Little Red Book has seen significant usage inside the rooms, especially amongst those working the steps or attempting to better under the Big Book. In short, the Little Red Book offers a more pragmatic, plainspoken, and definitive companion piece to the Big Book, with a special emphasis being seen on understanding the rather confusing aspects of step work suggested by the program and found in the Big Book. For people with longer periods of sobriety, this text also serves as a quicker and fresher take on the Big Book, which may be beneficial for persons looking to add some new, but familiar literature to their recovery library.


Liemann Valdimar is a writer residing in Florida with over nine years of recovery. He has experienced the heavy hand of both alcohol and substance abuse and is grateful to be where he is today. As a sponsor in AA, he retains his anonymity by writing under a pen name.


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