Getting Better: Inside Alcoholics Anonymous


A.A. is the most successful self-help movement in history, yet it is also the most misunderstood. Getting Better: Inside Alcoholics Anonymous will reach out to a much wider audience with its magnificent story of human courage and the indomitable human soul.
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A.A. is the most successful self-help movement in history, yet it is also the most misunderstood. Getting Better: Inside Alcoholics Anonymous will reach out to a much wider audience with its magnificent story of human courage and the indomitable human soul.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Russell Baker
A brave and wonderful book that could save the life of somebody you love.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This is a comprehensive look at Alcoholics Anonymous by a member who is also a reporter for the New York Times. Robertson traces the history of the organization, which had its roots in the Oxford Movement of the 1930s and was actually formed when alcoholics Bill Wilson and Bob Smith bared their hearts to one another in Akron, Ohio, in 1935. Progress was slow at first, but as A.A. increasingly achieved success, it grew to its present membership, which numbers in the millions. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings follow standard patterns and demand both absolute candor and total anonymity. Robertson also offers insights into Al-Anon, founded for families of alcoholics. She stresses that, counter to popular wisdom, it is not necessary to be devoutly religious to join A.A. and commends society's gaining recognition of alcoholism as a disease. Concluding with her own moving story, Robertson has written an inspiring overview of a noble organization. (April)
Library Journal
Founded in the 1930s by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, who sought to help each other stay sober one day at a time, Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) has grown from that shaky fellowship to a world-wide organization of some two million men and women. These two books approach the self-help organization from very different viewpoints. Anyone whose life has been touched in any way by alcoholism will find much of interest in Robertson's book, not least in the story of her own triumphant battle with alcoholism. Robertson, a reporter for the New York Times , provides a highly readable account of the history A.A., not only telling us how it works but giving insight on why. She successfully demystifies the role of religion in A.A. and provides compelling portraits of the co-founders and of various members around the world. Unfortunately, Pittman's book does not engage the reader's attention so forcefully, too often reading like a dissertation. It does provide an interesting historical perspective on the concept of alcoholism as disease, focusing on theories of causation, classification, and treatment from the 1890s to the 1930s. Lengthy but uninspired attention is given to Wilson, but co-founder Smith is hardly mentioned. And although Robertson states that the text of her book was read, edited, and approved by A.A. members in New York and Akron, as required by A.A., Pittman makes no such assertion. Robertson's book is highly recommended. Buy Pittman if demand warrants. Jodith Janes, Univ. Hospitals of Cleveland
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780595154586
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 708,340
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Table of Contents

Part 1
1. The Journey 15
2. Two Men 29
3. The Early Christians 56
4. A.A. Today 86
5. How A.A. Works 109
6. The God Part 138
Part 2
7. The Families 155
8. The Disease 183
9. The Drunk Tanks 210
10. Nan's Story 226
Afterword: Who Is an Alcoholic? 255
Where to Find Help 271
Notes and Sources 275
Acknowledgments 281
Index 285
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