Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Book of Life Recovery: Review

The Book of Life Recovery: Review
The subtitle of this book pretty much says it all: Inspiring Stories and Biblical Wisdom for “Your Journey through the Twelve Steps”.  “The Book of Life Recovery (Stephen Arterburn and Stoop, David, Tyndale Momentum, 2012) consists of 12 chapters which correspond to the steps of 12 step recovery programs (AA, NA, OA, EA, and the many other anonymous programs that have spun off from Alcoholics Anonymous over the past 70+ years.  This book calls the various addictions “problems” which makes it a more universal help. Each chapter starts with a step, followed by a quote from scripture, then 1 or more personal stories  or ‘shares’ along with an ‘insight’ into what the particular step means. Each chapter includes a series of bible studies that can be done individually or in a group and which relate to the issues involved in working the current step.
The founders of Alcoholics Anonymous carefully chose the wording in many places of their manuscript. Realizing that many people who suffer from addiction feel far from the Judeo Christian God, and also to be of assistance to people who do not have a specific religious background, they invited sufferers to find a Higher Power, a ‘God of their own understanding”. Christians often have difficulty with that, since as they try to proclaim the God that they have learned about in church, all sorts of ‘gods of my own understanding’ pop-up. This book is unabashedly Christian in nature, and as such is very much needed. For too long people have felt that they could either go to meetings or they could go to church, but the two, because people experience God so differently, often seem mutually exclusive. With this book we are invited to experience a paradigm shift that allows Christians to understand God as He reveals Himself in the church, and to work the steps with a biblical understanding.
The studies that follow each step are short, and don’t require a lot of theological training, but do offer the opportunity to dig deeper into scripture and see how it applies in a personal way. There seems to be an assumption that people working through this book are using the “Life Recovery Bible” and so scripture references often include the appropriate page numbers, a good thing since it’s not a given that everyone grew up winning prizes for Bible drills.
Whatever life problem that you’re recovering from, this book can help you go through the process, and the personal stories help you see that you’re not alone. Counselors and Pastors should find this a welcome addition to their book shelves, a valuable tool that offers insight from a different perspective than they might usually be working from.
4.5 of 5 stars
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

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