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December 05 , 2009

Condensed Version: EZ Big Book of AA


The "Condensed EZ Big Book of AA" is a shortened version of the "EZ Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous," published by Beacon Street USA in 2010 as a modern "translation" of the original text of "Alcoholics Anonymous" (known as the "Big Book"). The original was published by AA founders in 1939 and has never been updated. It contains difficult, outdated language, addresses males only, and uses spiritual terms not acceptable to many non-Christians. For decades, members of AA have been asking for a revision of the 1939 book – a more reader-friendly text free of gender stereotypes and inclusive of different lifestyles. The "EZ Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous" was written to answer this need.

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This condensed book is about 35% of the length of the "EZ Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous" and 25% the length of the original 1939 "Big Book." It was written to introduce interested readers to AA's twelve step program in an economical format.

The "EZ Big Book" starts with Dr. Silkworth's famous letter to AA, describing his experiences with alcoholics as director of a New York hospital for addicts and alcoholics. The personal story of Bill Wilson, an AA founder, follows – covering his early drinking days, his gradual descent into alcoholism, and his recovery. This is followed by information about the symptoms of alcoholism, the course of the disease, and anecdotes about the recovery of several early AA members. The craving and failure of willpower experienced by alcoholics are described. In a chapter titled "We Agnostics," the spiritual aspects of AA's twelve-step program are described, including the concept of a Higher Power. This is followed by a description of the twelve steps, which cover: acceptance of one's helplessness over the disease; the need for a Higher Power; the personal inventory that AA members must take; examination of personal defects and a spiritual approach to removing them; the process of making amends to people harmed by the alcoholic; the practice of regular prayer and meditation; and the need to help other recovering alcoholics. At the end of the book are two appendices listing 1) the Twelve Steps, and 2) the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.

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