Spiritual Truth is where you find it
Non-fiction books about recovery from addiction and walking the Spiritual Path
Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism
Fourth Edition. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, New York, NY, 2001. First published in 1939 and known as The Big Book, its lessons are as valid as ever. My copy is underlined in a hundred places. The Big Book was my manual for early recovery and it continues to provide a source of spiritual wisdom. It is available at most AA meeting houses, on Amazon.com, and online.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, New York, NY, 1952. Written as an expansion of the ideas presented in The Big Book. A Bill of Rights for AA.
The Sermon on the Mount: The Key to Success in Life, by Emmet Fox
HarperOne, San Francisco, 1934. If it can be said that a book can save a person’s life, then this book saved mine. Not only does Mr. Fox reexamine the Sermon on the Mount as it appears in the Book of Matthew, he provides a key to an understanding of spirituality. He opened my eyes to a new way of looking at the world and at my life. In the days before the Big Book was written, AA mythology says this book was the manual for newcomers.
The Essential Rumi, New Expanded Edition
by Jalal al-Din Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks and John Moyne. HarperOne, San Francisco, 2004. Rumi was the first of the Sufi masters, and he took his spiritual truth from all the religious traditions of his time. His poetry touches on the deepest issues of human spirituality. Coleman Barks’ translations are wonderful. Meditation, recovery, poetry, and spirituality all in one! My favorite small volume of Rumi is Birdsong: Fifty-Three Short Poems, Maypop, Athens, GA, 1993.
The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1973. Enough spiritual wisdom packed in these few pages to last a lifetime.
Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, by Robert H. Schuller
W Publishing Group (Thomas Nelson), Nashville, TN, 1982. Long-time pastor of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries, Rev. Schuller preached the concepts of spiritual recovery under the guise of Christianity. My Jewish friend Mike called me one day and said, Hey man, you gotta listen to this guy. He preaches recovery.
The Holy Bible
I have come to think of the Bible as a manual for development of the soul and Jesus as the supreme spiritual master of mankind. My edition is always open to the Book of Matthew. I prefer the King James Version, the one with the large print. The more modern translations-for-today versions not only lack the power and poetry of KJV but often lose the meaning altogether.
The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Juan Mascaro
Penguin Books, London, 1962. My first sponsor was an African-American ex-heroin addict who was a practicing Hindu. He taught me to chant hare krishna and introduced me to the Gita. I don’t chant anymore, but the wisdom I found in this 2,500-year-old inspired work is as relevant and necessary as that of the Bible. Mr. Mascaro’s translation is the classic one and, for my money, the most powerful and direct. A related and useful translation is Bhagavad Gītā as It Is, a translation of the Bhagavad Gita, with commentary, by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. He expounds and explains the Gita in detail from an entirely different point of view.
Wherever You Go, There You Are, Mindfulness, Meditation In Everyday Life, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Hyperion, New, 1994. A follow-up of his earlier book, Full Catastrophe Living, which describes how to use the concept of mindfulness in times of emotional or physical stress, this volume is a guidebook to using meditation and mindfulness to improve one’s everyday life.
Touchstones: A Book Of Daily Meditations For Men
A collection by various authors. Hazelden Foundation, Center City, MN, 1986. Hazelden has published a host of fine books dealing with nearly every aspect of addiction and recovery. Touchstones is not just for men anymore. For years, this book provided me with a short bit of necessary inspiration every morning for living in a seemingly insane world.
The Science of Mind, by Ernest Holmes
Dodd, Mead and Company, New York, 1938. Mr. Holmes takes the ideas championed by Mr. Fox, that the outer world is but the outpouring of the thoughts in my mind, and carries it to its logical extreme.
Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, by Richard J. Foster
Harper San Francisco, San Francisco, 1988. A Christian apologist, Mr. Foster offers a series of useful disciplines, including meditation, prayer, fasting, simplicity, solitude, celebration and more. Good stuff from within the established Protestant Church.
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams, by Deepak Chopra
New World Library/Amber-Allen Publishing, San Francisco, 1994. My first psychiatrist gave me this book. Coming from a background of Hinduism and medicine, Dr. Chopra describes a set of spiritual principles. He has written many other excellent books.
Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Books 1-3, by Neale Donald Walsch
G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, NY, 1996. Mr. Walsch picked up a yellow pad and began to write. When he was done, he had written three books detailing his conversations with God. Informing knowledge from unconventional sources.
The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, by Allen Cohan
Ballantine Books, New York, NY, 1993. Mr. Cohen synthesizes spiritual wisdom from a multitude of sources, yielding a work filled with insights and especially relevant to the recovering alcoholic and addict.
Remember, Be Here Now, Ram Dass (Richard Alpert)
The Lama Foundation, Questa, NM, 1971. Mr. Alpert was a professor at Harvard down the hall from Timothy Leary. Leary took LSD; Alpert went to India. When Alpert returned he wrote his now famous book on what he learned there: that living in the moment is everything.
Codependent No More & Beyond Codependency, by Melody Beattie
Mjf Books (Fine Creative Media, Inc.), New York, NY, 2001. Ms. Beattie is the first and last word on codependency, especially as it relates to addiction. Required reading.
The Shack, by Wm. Paul Young
Windblown Media, Los Angeles, 2007. More learning from unconventional sources. An allegory about God, the universe, and me.
Internet sources for Recovery from Addiction
Every region of AA has a hotline that is available 24 hours listed under each local group. AA chat rooms and such were popular for a while, but no Internet site can provide coffee, fellowship and a hug. Real recovery is a one-on-one proposition. Having said that, you may find help here:
It is also useful for finding AA meetings when I am in a strange town. In Atlanta, I just google Alcoholics Anonymous Atlanta and I find contacts to every meeting in the city at http://www.atlantaaa.org/contact.php.
How to find an AA meeting near you
Each state generally has its own website; for example,
North Florida Area 14, my home area for years
New York City Intergroup
General AA Stuff
Big Book Online
The National Institute for Mental Health is a valuable source of real information
Movies dealing with
addiction to drugs and alcohol
My Name is Bill W. Actors: James Woods, Jobeth Williams, James Garner; director: Daniel Petri. Warner Home Video (Garner-Duchow Productions, Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions, Warner Bros. Television, 1989). The story of how Bill W. and Dr. Bob came to form Alcoholics Anonymous. Essential for every alcoholic and addict.
The Lost Weekend. Actors: Ray Milland, Jane Wyman; director: Billy Wilder. Universal Studios, 1945. The earliest presentation of unadorned and untreated alcoholism.
The Days of Wine and Roses. Actors: Jack Lemmon, Lee Remick; director: Blake Edwards. Warner Bros., 1962. An early presentation of AA.
When a Man Loves a Woman. Actors: Andy Garcia, Meg Ryan; director: Luis Mandoki. Touchstone, 1994. A modern version of The Days of Wine and Roses.
Leaving Las Vegas. Not everyone wins
Trainspotting. Heroin addiction.
Twenty-Eight Days New style rehab.
The Basketball Diaries. Told a new way.
Requiem for a Dream. Heroin close up.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Enough is too much.
Forest Gump. Love isn't stronger than addiction.
YouTube sources for talks on addiction to drugs and alcohol
YouTube is an excellent source for recovery material, both visual and auditory. For example:
Father Martin Chalk Talks
Chalk Talk on Alcoholism
On alcohol and alcoholism
Recovery and Forgiveness
Joe and Charlie
Odomtology A large series of AA Speakers for Newcomers
The entire Big Book of AA
Alcoholics Anonymous YouTube page
Finding your true self
How to create your own universe
How to know God, parts 1 and 2