AA to Z is a reader-friendly paperback chock full of useful information for new Alcoholics Anonymous participants, students of 12-step programs, and the general reader curious to know how such programs operate. Cavanaugh, managing editor for Reader’s Digest General Books, presents a brief overview of AA’s beginnings, its connection to the Oxford movement, and its enduring steps to sobriety. “Through the years,” Cavanaugh states, “the people who live a 12-step life have formed a unique culture, with a language, history, and set of customs all its own. This book attempts to document that culture.” Introductory comments are followed by “Jack’s Story,” a prototype of addiction and recovery, as well as an alphabetic “addictionary” of AA jargon. In A Sponsorship Guide, which is set up in interview format, a group of 17 active, experienced sponsors, primarily from New York City and the West Coast, comment on issues such as same-sex sponsorship, the place of friendship in a sponsor/sponsee relationship, gay sponsorship, and qualities of a good sponsor. Each of the 12 steps is discussed, as well as various methods for working them with sponsees. Readers are assured that there are many ways to be an effective sponsor and that no one path to success exists. Included are a suggested reading list and step worksheets. Although the author remains anonymous, she reveals that she is a Los Angeles screenwriter and director.? Catherine T. Charvat, John Marshall Lib., Alexandria, Va.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. ~ From Library Journal
From the Inside Flap
What does a codependent say to his mate when he wakes up?
“Good morning, how am I?”
–Overheard at a Codependents Anonymous meeting
Throughout the world today, more than two million alcoholics and hundreds of thousands of drug addicts, compulsive overeaters, sex addicts, compulsive gamblers, codependents, and other addicts abstain from their addiction, having found a new life by practicing the 12-step program of recovery developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. Over the years, their practices have evolved into a way of life–the 12-Step Culture.
“I don’t remember my first meeting, but I’ve been told that I talked for a really long time.”
–Mary, a member of Narcotics Anonymous
“AA to Z is the first book to document the richness and diversity of the lives of recovering people and to provide an encyclopedic look at this unique subculture. Less self-help than enlightenment and entertainment, “AA to Z is comprised of real-life stories of recovering addicts as well as an “addictionary” of recovery terminology. Everything from the well-known slogan “One Day at a Time” to more esoteric terms like “pigeon” (a lovingly insulting term for a newcomer to the program) and “Wharf Rats” (sober Deadheads) is explained with clarity, insight, and humor.
“How it works, you ask–slowly and well.”
–Cooper, a member of Alcoholics Anonymous
About the Author
Christopher Cavanaugh is a veteran of the publishing industry; he was an editor at Family Circle in New York City, as well as the managing editor for Meredith Books in Des Moines, Iowa. He is currently managing editor for Reader’s Digest General Books. He lives in Ossining, New York.