Many Helpful Books?

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Many Helpful Books?

Postby Brock » Sat May 26, 2018 7:31 am

In the chapter ‘Into Action’ we see this -
There are many helpful books also. Suggestions about these may be obtained from one's priest, minister, or rabbi. Be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they offer.

However these days there are so many self help type books available, and the idea of asking a priest or rabbi is something I doubt many of us consider, including me. Someone was going on about a book, “I’m Dysfunctional, You’re Dysfunctional” by Wendy Kaminer, and saying it put her off AA a bit. I checked on this and it’s partly described as- “...a strong critique of the self-help movement, and focuses criticism on other books on the subject matter, including topics of codependency and twelve-step programs.”

It goes on to say - “Kaminer also criticizes the lack of a free-forum for debate and reasoning within these groups, noting that those who disagree with the tenets of the organization are immediately branded "in denial", similar to the way a fundamentalist might characterize a free-thinker as a heretic.” (I think she has a point with that last statement).

I like a part where she describes how to write a self help book, it shows how simple it can be and probably why there are so many on the market, she says - "Promote the prevailing preoccupation of the time" (either health or wealth), and then "Package platitudes about positive thinking, prayer or affirmation therapy as sure-fire, scientific techniques."

Personally, I have gained much from reading books by certain spiritual teachers, my favorite being Eckhart Tolle, but I wonder if the great amount of self help material now available, is not discouraging people from attending groups like AA. Not saying we should forcefully tell people what not to read, but I have come to believe that until you have completed the steps, and are living in the solution, stick to AA (and Hazelden) type publications. And that’s what I told the person who said they were confused after reading the book ‘I’m Dysfunctional, You’re Dysfunctional.’
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Many Helpful Books?

Postby Spirit Flower » Sat May 26, 2018 11:37 am

Of Course that are many helpful spiritual books!
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Re: Many Helpful Books?

Postby Tosh » Sat May 26, 2018 12:28 pm

I remember buying Allan Carr's Easyway to Stop Drinking book - several years before I came to A.A. - I arrived somewhere in the 2nd chapter and the book told me that I shouldn't read the book and drink at the same time.

I got angry - how was I supposed to read any book without a drink? I was already drinking when I started!! - and I threw it in the bin, in a temper.

True story. :lol:
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Re: Many Helpful Books?

Postby PaigeB » Sat May 26, 2018 1:58 pm

You Can't Make Me Angry ~ Dr. Paul O.

He wrote the story Acceptance is the Answer in the back of the Big Book.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: Many Helpful Books?

Postby 1Peter5:10 » Sat May 26, 2018 10:03 pm

Nice post as usual Brock. Thank you for the interesting food-for-thought.

Your post prompted two ideas.
ONE
Brock wrote:..... “Kaminer also criticizes the lack of a free-forum for debate and reasoning within these groups, noting that those who disagree with the tenets of the organization are immediately branded "in denial", similar to the way a fundamentalist might characterize a free-thinker as a heretic.”


There are plenty of places to discuss whether aerobics, or Pilates, or weight-lifting is the best-fitting exercise for a specific person's needs. But one should not interrupt an aerobics class, making use of it's captive audience in order to afflict one's 'anti-aerobics' viewpoint upon those in attendance.

Here Kaminer's desire to use an AA meeting to debate the usefulness of AA with a captive audience reminds me of this passage from the Big Book:

"Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful. (pp 60-61)


If Kaminer does not feel the steps are appropriate for herself, or others, fine. But why take a meeting hostage and try to direct all the actors, all the footlights etc.?

What control freak. I'd tell her to 'keep coming back.' :-)
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Re: Many Helpful Books?

Postby 1Peter5:10 » Sat May 26, 2018 10:03 pm

TWO

Brock wrote:.
I like a part where she describes how to write a self help book, it shows how simple it can be and probably why there are so many on the market, she says - "Promote the prevailing preoccupation of the time" (either health or wealth), and then "Package platitudes about positive thinking, prayer or affirmation therapy as sure-fire, scientific techniques."

Personally, I have gained much from reading books by certain spiritual teachers, my favorite being Eckhart Tolle . . .



Like a lot of us I used alcohol to medicate depression. That was not a smart thing to do and it was not a moral thing to do. It was little different than taking dope to avoid dope sickness.

I'll spare you the 10,000 page opus that is my drunkalogue and say simply that, in earliest recovery, while I was fresh out of treatment, my sponsor suggested "setting aside," whether or not I should have become depressed over the events in my life,
and set aside what I should have done in response to those events. INSTEAD, he asked me "and what would a sane, sober, rational person do about depression."

The list of things I came up with included eating right, sleeping right, exercising more, and listening to motivational tapes.

Motivational tapes, self-help books, same basic deal. They are, beyond doubt, a form of meditation. They are not for everybody and they are easy to ridicule, nonetheless they can be an important part of recovery and an important 'alternate' means to deal with depression.


I wish you well.
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Re: Many Helpful Books?

Postby Layne » Sun May 27, 2018 9:50 am

I devoured self help and spiritual books in early sobriety and they were undoubtedly a helpful tool on my journey, but I needed to keep my primary focus on working the twelve steps in order to keep me on the path. Hindsight gained from numerous failed attempts has made this abundantly clear to me. Working through the steps made me more malleable to the knowledge gleaned from the non-AA books.
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Re: Many Helpful Books?

Postby shebot83 » Tue May 29, 2018 12:19 am

Responding to the last statement, "Personally, I have gained much from reading books by certain spiritual teachers, my favorite being Eckhart Tolle, but I wonder if the great amount of self help material now available, is not discouraging people from attending groups like AA. Not saying we should forcefully tell people what not to read, but I have come to believe that until you have completed the steps, and are living in the solution, stick to AA (and Hazelden) type publications"

Respectfully, I disagree.
I think AA has obviously led many people around the world to a better and sober life. But many came to a point in their life, had a revelation, something drastic happen, or a "sign from above" in order to seek out AA. Sometimes it can be from "self-help books" or other types of publications, church, a family member talking to them. Then they start attending AA because they are looking for a better or different life. For many people, it is not a clear indication of hitting rock bottom, losing their house, job, and/or family or Going to Jail, then there is no where else to turn, then they go to AA. Think of the average Joe, the stay at home mom, or the career woman Jane. For someone who might be struggling with depression, wanting a different type of life, simply getting a DUI, or perhaps them partying with old friends on the weekends is keeping them from financial stability and a healthy relationship. So they realize it through a loved one talking to them, or seeing a healthy friend who is successful spend time with their family, or by being an avid reader and a good type of read intrigued them into checking out the life of sobriety.
In addition, I think adding these positive types of books to your reading list while attending AA is a good thing.
My first year after my DUI in July, I DIVED into Eckhart Tolle, Christian music, and going to church. AA and self help group through Gateway were also added as well. I think you need to look at all aspects and realize there are lots of ways to reach someone and accomplish a sober and healthy lifestyle.
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Re: Many Helpful Books?

Postby Greywolf » Tue May 29, 2018 10:38 am

1Peter5:10 wrote:If Kaminer does not feel the steps are appropriate for herself, or others, fine. But why take a meeting hostage and try to direct all the actors, all the footlights etc.?

What control freak. I'd tell her to 'keep coming back.' :-)

And I'd say, "Don't let the door hit you... on the way out." :roll:
I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care.
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Re: Many Helpful Books?

Postby Brock » Tue May 29, 2018 10:50 am

Welcome to e-AA shebot, it’s nice to have you with us.

Disagreeing with each other is fine here, it’s called ‘discussion forums,’ and wouldn’t be much of a discussion if everyone agreed with each other all the time. I agree when you say in referring to what can lead us to AA, that “Sometimes it can be from "self-help books" or other types of publications,” but on the other hand, a person today in our (check Google for answers) generation, may type this question - ‘Self help books on how to stop drinking.’ When I did that I got as my first ‘hit’ a list of the top five books like this -
1. How to Quit Drinking without AA: A Complete Self-Help Guide, 2nd Edition
2. I Need to Stop Drinking!
3. Seven Weeks to Sobriety: The Proven Program to Fight Alcoholism Through Nutrition
4. Crush Alcohol Cravings: Easy Delicious Drink Recipes
5. Drinking to Distraction

So where some books might lead us to AA, they are an abundance of those to lead us away. It may not always be a bad thing, because if they don’t work, (which will happen with the ‘real’ alcoholic), then these people might give AA a full hearted try.
In addition, I think adding these positive types of books to your reading list while attending AA is a good thing.

Here is where I think we disagree, but then I am a stickler for getting through the steps in a few months, if that long. This business we hear of in today’s AA of stretching taking the steps out often to more than a year, is alien to what the founders intended. But if someone is going to do that, then some well chosen books outside of AA literature, might be fine to help them along the way.

My point was if you are going to do the steps up to #9 as suggested, in a few months at most, then hold off on any literature other than AA for that time. Once you pass that and have the spiritual awakening, yes now dive into some good books. We even have a list of good stuff that Dr. Bob recommended from his library, Dick B. the first class AA historian, wrote a book “Dr. Bob and His Library – A Major AA Spiritual Source.’

For me the bottom line is; as the lady author mentioned in my first post; these self help books of all types are flooding today’s market, because they are easy to write and make money from, and everyone seems to think they are an expert. I find so many folks have gone crazy today over self help and emotional support, but there are many countries in the world like the one I live in, where it’s difficult to find these books, because they are not popular, and the idea of having some kind of ‘emotional support animal’ is a joke. But the christian music you mention is popular, fat ladies ring bells on the sidewalk and preach the word, and the churches are full.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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