The following is from the Information Session held January 14, 2024, sponsored by CNCA (Coastal Northern California Area 06).
“The idea of a new book was not meant to change or replace the Big Book, but rather to overcome barriers so the AA message might reach more suffering alcoholics.”
Background – Key Dates
In 2016, at the 66th General Service Conference there was discussion that ‘plain-language’ recovery literature be explored as a way to make the life-saving message of Alcoholics Anonymous more accessible.
In April 2021, at the 71st General Service Conference there was a Conference Advisory Action which recommended that a draft version of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, be translated into plain and simple language and be developed in a way that is accessible and relatable to as wide of an audience as possible.
Selection of Writer
In July 2021, a formal “Request for Information” was sent out to vendors with experience in the fields of health, spirituality, self-help, or education with the following goals and outcomes:
“We seek a full plain language translation of an abridged Alcoholics Anonymous. The final work product must be accessible to readers at a fifth-grade reading level.”
“The translation as a whole must capture the welcoming and inclusive spirit of Alcoholics Anonymous and inspire a sense of belonging and hope in the alcoholic seeking help.”
There were 16 affirmative responses. Of those, some were individuals, some were partnerships, some were firms. Some were AA members.
The subcommittee recommended that providing anonymity to the writer was in everyone’s best interest.
Review by Conference Members
In 2023, at the 73rd Annual Conference a secure online Reading Room was provided for members to review the first 6 chapters. Member feedback was provided to the writer to incorporate in the translation.
Comments from the Conference members:
I could read and understand this without a sponsor and heard the message of hope.
This is the most loving thing we have done for the still suffering alcoholics.
I think this tool will save lives please make it available in as many formats as possible as soon as possible.
It is designed for people who don’t have the literacy level to comprehend the Big Book or access to a sponsor to help them.
First 164 pages is now at 122 pages – by simplifying the language
More “gender balanced” – e.g. jaywalker is female; but not gender neutral using “they”
The wording of the steps has not changed from Him/His, but in other places He/Him/His “may have changed to God”.
Only Dr. Bob’s Nightmare is included from the stories.
Another reading room with the full draft is planned for the 74th General Service Conference in April 2024 (held in NY). Regional delegates who attend the Conference will have access to review the full draft.
If approved at the 74th Annual Conference, target publish date is Fall 2024.
Will There Be Another Info Session?
There will be Information Sessions on Zoom on February 20, 7 – 8 pm Pacific (presented by the So Cal Area. ASL and Spanish interpretations available. ID 829 8381 7449 PC: PLBB58993
and on February 25, 11 am – 1 pm Pacific (presented by the South East Regional Delegates). ID: 867 2200 6265 PC: 924 686