STOOLS AND BOTTLES
Book Review of Stools & Bottles Alcoholism is a physical, mental, and spiritual malady that can be arrested but never cured. Arrestment can come only with honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness. When walking into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous most newcomers see a list of the Twelve Steps on the wall. A quick read through shows that at best, the Steps are a daunting task, at worst they are impossible. “Stools & Bottles” is a great pocket sized book (written by the author of “The Little Red Book” and published by Hazelden in 1970) that really gets into the crux of the 12 step recovery program. In the first part of the book, steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 are briefly discussed as outlined by the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous as the beginning of recovery because “Steps 1 and 2 have identified illness in our lives. Step 3 suggests a proved, effective treatment for the spiritual part of this illness.” These three steps can be pictured as a three-legged stool – all legs or necessary or the stool is not useable. Step 4 activates the action necessary to look honestly at ourselves. The next section of this book (represented in the title by the “bottles”) features definitions, warnings and antidotes for the dangerous “stinking thinking” that can precipitate the next drink. They are: resentment, dishonesty, criticism, self-pity, intolerance, jealousy, anger and fear. These eight topics are covered in wonderful brevity (less than 200 words each) but get right to the heart of the matter in plain everyday language. The balance of the book is devoted to 31 daily readings (reminder, inventory, spiritual contact, physical audit and suggested meditation) which can be used independently as part of a morning meditation. Stools & Bottles really delves into recovery and can help any reader work towards sobriety that is “happy joyous and free”.