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From The CriticsReviewer: Linda Toelke, RN, MS, CARN (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This reference for clinicians provides an overview of the Twelve Steps for treating alcoholism and addiction. The book was developed using information from multiple textbooks on Twelve Step programs, clinical practice in the field of addiction, discussions with Twelve Step members, and from attending Twelve Step meetings.
Purpose: Twelve Step programs are widely attended and successful for many individuals, but little has been written for clinicians. Definitions are avoided, which is similar to the highly interpretable Twelve Step principles that are a transformation in process. This book purports to provide clinicians with information that enhances their work with clients who are in the midst of active addiction as well as members of Twelve Step programs.
Audience: Virtually all clinicians have direct or indirect contact with the client active in addiction or recovery. This book is written for any interested clinician. The author suggests that Twelve Step members may also benefit from this thoughtful perspective.
Features: A comprehensive overview of the Twelve Steps and traditions is examined. The historical perspective helps synthesize the Twelve Step founder's desire to record a set of principles that could be inclusive of many individuals from many divergent backgrounds. This theme of inclusion and the benefit of mutual help is made manifest throughout the book. The gives only a limited response to common criticisms of Twelve Step programs. More discussion of the co-morbid relationship between mental illness and addiction and problems with integration with Twelve Step programs would be helpful. The appendixes are limited to a listing of the countries where Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)is located and a listing of Web addresses for various Twelve Step programs.
Assessment: The author credibly presents an overview of the Twelve Steps and Traditions. There is a paucity of literature that uses an experiential approach to bridge the gap between a clinician's training and understanding of the spiritual aspects of the recovery program. Any clinician interested in addiction and recovery, or Twelve Step members, could benefit from this book.