It is one of the best-selling books of all time, having sold 30 million copies.
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Bill W. Bob in May , and the men shared their stories with one another. The two began to work on how to best approach alcoholics and began trying to help men recover from alcoholism. The idea for the book developed at least as early as , when Bill W. Bob realized their system had helped over 40 men stay sober for more than 2 years. The book was meant to carry their message far and wide. Wilson started writing the book in  with the financial support of Charles B. The book serves as the basic text of AA.
There have been numerous reprints and revisions, in addition to translations into dozens of languages. The book is published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services and is available through AA offices and meetings, as well as through booksellers. The 4th edition is also freely available online.
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The book  consists of over pages. Bill's Story and Dr.
Bob's Nightmare and the personal experiences of some alcoholics are detailed as well as the series of solutions which evolved to become the twelve-step program. How to use the twelve steps is explained using examples and anecdotes. Some chapters target a specific audience. One chapter is devoted to agnostics , while another is named "To Wives" most of the first AA members were men , and still another is for employers.
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The second part of the book whose content varies from edition to edition is a collection of personal stories, in which alcoholics tell their stories of addiction and recovery. The main goal of the book is to make it possible for the reader to find a power greater than himself to solve his problem. The writers indicate that an alcoholic "of our type" can under no circumstances become a moderate drinker: only abstinence and the understanding of the community of alcoholics can lead to recovery. By way of anecdotal evidence, the example is provided of a man who, after 25 years sobriety, began to drink moderately and within two months landed in hospital.
The reasoning is that once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. The book contends that it is impossible for an alcoholic to quit drinking by oneself. A new attitude or set of values also would not help. Whosoever is an alcoholic must admit that they cannot help themselves alone. Only a "higher power" and the community can help. An example of a man named Fred is given, who had no control over his drinking, but finally leads an "infinitely more satisfying life" than before thanks to the previously unexplained principles of AA.
Today "many doctors and psychiatrists" confirm the effects of AA. At the time of the publication of the first edition, The Big Book was typically well received by most critics, referred to by one reviewer as "the greatest redemptive force of the twentieth century. To the professional person it is at first a bit misleading in that the spiritual aspect gives the impression that this is another revival movement" and that "it is more impressive to the professional person to watch the technique in action than to read the book.
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The review that appeared in the October volume of the Journal of the American Medical Association called the book "a curious combination of organizing propaganda and religious exhortation…in no sense a scientific book. It is all on the surface material. When the second version of The Big Book was released in , reviewers once again gave their opinions, with reception still mostly positive.
One reviewer stated that the pages of the book were American legend and would "remain there, through the full history of man's pursuit of maturity. Description Details Customer Reviews In an age of information, when there is a growing awareness and acceptance of the value of alternative and complementary medicine, it's surprising that basic facts about alternative cancer treatments are so hard to come by.
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