I was at an AA meeting this afternoon that reads from the book, “Experience, Strength & Hope”.
This book, published in 2003, is a compilation of the AA first-person stories that were part of the earlier editions of “Alcoholics Anonymous” or The Big Book. Now that the Big Book is in its fourth edition –and because that text is updated each time---just imagine the jury process!—the stories that were removed are here in “Experience, Strength & Hope.”
And these are amazing stories. Depending on how long you have been sober—which edition of the Big Book you came in on—you’ll find some old favorites and here and certainly some old gems that are new to you.
Today we read the first story in the book, “The Unbeliever”, a literary masterpiece of stream of consciousness story telling that frighteningly and perfectly captures the state of mind of an alcoholic in full confusion, fear, arrogance and regret. As we read this story outloud today I also imagined using it for my class in The Literature of Alcoholism and putting it right up against Raymond Carver and William Kennedy.
If you have not come across this story collection—published by AA World Service—ask your meeting literature person to order a few and enjoy some fabulous reading.