12-Step History

The following books are some of the best that we’ve found to explain the formation and coming of age of the 12-step programs.

Not God

“Not God” is widely considered to be the gold-standard historical account of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

The book provides a deep exploration of AA’s origins, evolution, and the spiritual principles that underpin its 12-step program. Through real-life stories and insightful reflections, “Not God” illuminates the history of AA and its impact on the lives of countless people battling addiction.

It sheds light on the spiritual aspect of recovery and the meaningful connections that have been forged within the fellowship.

“AA’s spirituality is about how we live our lives, seeking a connection with something greater.”


  • Published in: 1979
  • Author: Ernest Kurtz
  • Pages: 464 

Dr. Bob and the good oldtimers

“Dr. Bob and the Good Old-Timers” is an incredible book that takes readers on a journey through the early days of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Focusing on Dr. Bob Smith, one of AA’s co-founders, and the early pioneers of the fellowship, this book offers an account of their struggles and successes in helping others recover from addiction.

Through stories and historical insights, “Dr. Bob and the Good Old-Timers” captures the essence of AA’s beginnings and the power of one alcoholic helping another. This book serves as a timeless reminder of the compassion and dedication that have made AA a worldwide force for hope and recovery.

Working with other alcoholics is the foundation stone of our recovery.”


  • Published: 1980
  • Author: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
  • Pages: 380

AA Comes of age

“AA Comes of Age” is a captivating book that shares the remarkable journey of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) from its humble beginnings to becoming a global movement.

Through personal stories and historical insights, the book reveals the struggles and triumphs that shaped AA into a powerful force for helping people with addiction.

It explores the importance of humility and anonymity in AA’s approach to recovery. This book offers an inspiring glimpse into the principles and practices that have transformed countless lives and continues to provide hope for those seeking lasting sobriety.

“We are sure that humility, expressed by anonymity, is the greatest safeguard that Alcoholics Anonymous can ever have.”


  • Original Date of Publication: 1957
  • Author: Bill W. (William G. Wilson)
  • Number of Pages: 333

Soul of sponsporship

“Soul of Sponsorship” is a book about the special friendship between Bill Wilson, who helped start Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and Father Ed Dowling, a caring Jesuit priest.

This book shares heartwarming stories and thoughts about how their bond shaped AA’s principles and Bill Wilson’s life.

Father Ed Dowling’s guidance had a big impact on AA’s way of helping people, highlighting the importance of deep connections in sponsorship. “Soul of Sponsorship” shows how sponsorship in AA can bring healing, hope, and growth.

In sponsorship, we offer not just guidance but also the gift of our own recovery, sharing hope and experience to help others find their way.”

How it Helps

  • Published: 1995
  • Author: Robert Fitzgerald
  • Pages: 192 pages

Language of the heart

“Language of the Heart” is a collection of personal letters and heartfelt essays written by Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), in Grapevine articles through the years.

This book offers a unique glimpse into the thoughts, struggles, and spiritual insights of one of AA’s pioneers. Through his intimate writings, readers can gain a deeper understanding of Bill W.’s experiences in creating and nurturing the fellowship of AA.

“Language of the Heart” provides wisdom and inspiration for people seeking a better way of living. It serves as a testament to the power of hope, love, and community in the journey to sobriety.

“Not only had we found a way out from alcoholism, but for all who practiced these principles, a way out from a life of endless doubts and fears.”

How It Helps

  • Published  1988
  • Author: Bill W. (William G. Wilson)
  • Pages: 640 pages

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Please note: Dosage, frequency, duration, and combination recommendations of all listed products vary considerably depending upon your unique situation and needs. Check with your healthcare provider before starting any herbal or nutritional supplements, as they may interact with medications or exacerbate certain disease states.

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