Pamphlets & Literature
Since the 1939 publication of the book Alcoholics Anonymous, AA's publishing branch, AA World Services, Inc. (AAWS, formerly Works Publishing), has developed many books, pamphlets and other materials reflecting the ideas, history and activities of the Fellowship.
The book Alcoholics Anonymous, considered AA's basic text, is the preeminent AA publication in the minds of many Fellowship members. First published in 1939, the book's opening section presents the AA program of individual recovery from alcoholism based on the experiences of early members. The second section offers personal stories of struggle and recovery by AA members spanning the Fellowship's history, beginning with the story of AA co-founder Dr. Bob S. Know as the "Big Book," its title page says it is "the story of how many thousands of men and women have recovered from alcoholism." The book is also the source of the Fellowship's name.
The book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions was published later, and offers a series of essays on AA's principles of individual recovery (the Twelve Steps) and group unity (the Twelve Traditions).
Three history books tell of AA's early days and the special roles of co-founders Bill W. and Dr. Bob S.:
• Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age
• Pass It On
• Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers.
Many more books are also published by AAWS.
AA Pamphlets and other Materials
AA has also developed a large number of pamphlets speaking to special aspects of AA principles, the Fellowship and AA activities. Many are available for free download on the AAWS web site, www.aa.org.
The AA Service Manual combined with Twelve Concepts for World Service features basic service principles and practices along with
a collection of essays by co-founder Bill W. defining and guiding AA's
world service efforts.
Other service materials include the AA Guidelines, collections of non-Conference-approved information on a range of topics, culled from the experience of the Fellowship as reported to the AAWS General Service Office by the membership over the years. According to AAWS:
These AA Guidelines represent the shared experience of AA members and groups . . . . They also reflect guidance given through the Twelve Traditions and the General Service Conference (US and Canada). In keeping with our Tradition of autonomy, except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole, most decisions are made by the group conscience of the members involved. The purpose of these Guidelines is to assist in reaching an informed group conscience.
(From the AAWS web site with permission.)
Materials listed as "Conference-approved" have the special distinction of bearing the mark of the broad approval of the Fellowship as expressed through its General Service Conference. As such, Conference-approved publications have gone through an extensive and patient process of consideration, development and review before final approval. Non-Conference-approved materials reflect a less demanding process of development, and are often offered simply as the Fellowship's collected experience.
The AA Grapevine and La Viña
The AA Grapevine, dubbed a "meeting in print" by members of the armed services, was first published in June 1944 as a bulletin with news of the fledgling Fellowship for members. By 1949, with distribution expanded to include Canadian AA members, the Grapevine had become AA's international journal. The history of the Grapevine reflects the history of the Fellowship. For instance, the "Serenity Prayer" and the "Twelve Traditions" (originally, "Twelve Suggested Points for AA Tradition") were introduced to AA through the Grapevine. Also, many of AA co-founder Bill W.'s writings beyond the three major books he authored through AAWS (Alcoholics Anonymous, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age) were first published in the Grapevine.
The Grapevine is now published monthly. A forum for contemporary AA thought, it is professionally produced by AA members. Most articles, art work and other materials are also submitted by AA members. A bi-monthly Spanish language edition, La Viña, has been published since June 1996.
SENY has an active Grapevine/La Viña Committee.