Undrunk: A Skeptic's Guide to AA

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Overview

In this unprecedented book, A.J. Adams uses self-deprecating humor, entertaining anecdotes, and frank descriptions to introduce readers to the complete Alcoholics Anonymous 'undrunk' lifestyle. Beginning with the story of his first AA meeting, he takes the mystery out what goes on behind closed doors, in order to encourage addicts who are reluctant to get help walk through them. "My eyes wandered around the room, taking in the strange collection of humanity seeking to claim me as a fellow sufferer. If variety is ...

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Undrunk: A Skeptics Guide to AA

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Overview

In this unprecedented book, A.J. Adams uses self-deprecating humor, entertaining anecdotes, and frank descriptions to introduce readers to the complete Alcoholics Anonymous 'undrunk' lifestyle. Beginning with the story of his first AA meeting, he takes the mystery out what goes on behind closed doors, in order to encourage addicts who are reluctant to get help walk through them. "My eyes wandered around the room, taking in the strange collection of humanity seeking to claim me as a fellow sufferer. If variety is the spice of life, this crowd was the jambalaya of affliction."

Adams addresses the journey through detox and treatment, offering his own struggle of coming to terms with his alcoholism. He then presents a user-friendly history and introduction to AA, the Steps and Traditions, all punctuated by honest descriptions of his own transformation to "getting" the program. Included are translations of AA lingo designed to put newcomers at ease.

Undrunk was written for reluctant newcomers and those who think they might have a problem, dispelling misconceptions that AA is cult-like, secretive, campy, earnest, religious, or lowbrow. It offers family members of alcoholics an accessible tool to encourage their loved ones to get help, and it gives AA members a handy means to encourage newcomers to come back.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Until he bottomed out and joined up as a last-ditch effort, Adams thought of Alcoholics Anonymous (like many pre-treatment addicts) as a repository for losers or the weak. In this touching, semi-irreverent look at a global fellowship at once transparent and mysterious, Adams lays out the "12 Steps" for readers as he chronicles his own introduction to the program. The distinguishing characteristic of this memoir is Adams's skepticism and willingness to analyze the process, maintaining enough distance to translate the story for non-members while holding dear his conviction in AA's power to heal (in her foreword, Mel B. notes that "one of AA's unwritten rules... is that one should utilize the program rather than analyze it"). Adams includes a smattering of the organization's history and personal revelations, plenty of stories and much translation from AA jargon. Adams maintains a welcoming balance of candor and gallows humor with helpful explication and unflinching awareness of the life-and-death stakes, making this an eye-opening and encouraging read for those who need help with addiction, their own or a loved one's.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592857203
  • Publisher: Hazelden Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/19/2009
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 541,643
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

A.J. Adams is a professional writer with a little over one year in AA.
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Table of Contents

Foreword Mel B. ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 A.J. Gets to an AA Meeting 5

Chapter 2 Getting It wrong and Starting Over 17

Chapter 3 Why AA? 23

Chapter 4 Some AA Basics 45

Chapter 5 The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions 65

Chapter 6 Spin Dry: An Insider's Guide to AA Lingo and Slogans 97

Chapter 7 One-Year Progress Report 161

Chapter 8 Other People 175

Afterword 193

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anomymous 195

Some Recommended Readings 197

About the Author 201

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 18 of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 2, 2009

    One undrunk to another

    I've never thought of myself as "undrunk" before, but I've practiced, as best I can, living the 12 steps for decades. Like A.J. I went to my first meetings loaded. I hated that first meeting. Then someone spoke of how their life had been. I could relate to everything until she said it had been 3 years without a drink or a drug. Those words stay with me even today and were the only reason I went back to meetings. Still going loaded, I was approached by a gentle man as people were chatting after the meeting. He said, "Hi, glad to see you here again. You'll get a lot more out of the meetings if you don't come loaded. You can always get loaded after the meeting. It really is your choice." I finally did quit the drinking and the drugs. I've never gone back to them, but I've gone to meetings all over the country.

    Undrunk by A.J. tells the same story with gentle humor. Some say you never hear anything new in AA. I've learned the same story told in a new tone, with fresh perspective can shed light where none has entered before. This is the story A.J. tells with candor only recovery can bring. I recommend Undrunk to anyone either thinking about going to their first meeting or their next meeting.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2009

    I loved this book

    In Undrunk, A.J. Adams demystifies the process of recovery through AA. His book touched me because of its honesty and humor. I've been an Alanon member for many years. I come from an alcoholic family and as they say in Alanon if you go to a party and there are only two alcoholic or co-dependents in the group the two just naturally are drawn to each other so I also have many alcoholic and co-dependent friends -- some recovering and some active. What I have always enjoyed about my AA friends and family is their great sense of humor about their disease and recovery. That is precisely what I loved about this book. Adams not only gives us a sober look into the mind of a practicing alcoholic, the detox process, and recovery through AA but he does it with a great sense of humor. I've found many recovery books to be a little heavy and intimidating. Undrunk is not. Most people have absolutely no idea what to expect when they attend their first meeting. I think Adams' book gives the reader a good feel as to what to expect from AA. Speaking from personal experience in attending open AA meetings, I have always found the unexpected -- camaraderie, intelligence, humor and great fun. Adams shows us that.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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