Fifteen-some years ago I picked up a copy of “The Spirituality of Imperfection.” Co-authored by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham, it has been a favorite of mine ever since, a book I return to often for guidance and insight. This new offering, Experiencing Spirituality, Finding Meaning Through Storytelling, by the same team, has now joined the first on my shelf of favorite spiritual reads.
In this book, in some ways similar to the first, they address spirituality, not directly by talking about it, but through a collection of wisdom stories sewn together with commentary to create a work that communicates the experience of spirituality. The author’s have divided the book into fifteen sections. Each section examines a single idea, such as community, forgiveness, memory, confusion, recovery and so much more.
This is the kind of book that you can pick up and open to any page for something to contemplate at that moment, or go to a specific topic that you wish to explore. The commentary is masterful and enlightening, while allowing the stories to tell the story.
Five stars and highly recommended reading.
I have to admit I was skeptical about the author’s topic before I began reading. I know from speaking to people in early recovery that the questions of boredom and fun come up more often than not, and I’ve always taken the stance that those things will work themselves out after the person has established a solid base of recovery. Lisa has not only put together a strong message of hope and encouragement for those just beginning to live sober, she has convinced me to change the way address those questions in the future.
This is a short piece, easily read in one sitting. I recommend it for anyone out there who are wondering, “What am I going to do for fun now that I don’t drink?”
It’s companion book is a day-to-day compendium of a year’s worth of suggested things to do for fun without drinking. Some as mundane as “Sing in the shower,” some as involved as take a day trip to a city you’ve never visited. I have to say I had intended to read 10% the entries for this review, but became so engrossed at the variety and scope of the list that I ended up reading cover to cover. No one is going to find every suggestion helpful, of course, but anyone, in recovery or not, will find a lot of things to do that they would never have thought of. Highly recommended.
“I do believe that instead of getting lost in the ‘why’ you are an alcoholic, it’s far more important to figure out what you are going to do about it.” – Veronica Valli, Why you drink and How to stop: Journey to freedom
Addictions therapist and recovered alcoholic Veronica Valli has written, in words from the heart, a solid, practical resource not only for those who have or think they might have a drinking problem, but also for those who have a friend or loved one who may. I know a few addiction counselors who would be better for reading it, too.
Well organized and easy to read, she covers a great deal of ground, from alcoholic behaviors, denial and unmanageability to finding help, self-discovery, relationships and co-dependance, and much more. The section on overcoming the possible roadblocks of past spiritual and religious beliefs is as direct and to the point as it is sensitive and enlightened. Not an easy feat considering that topic.
The three main sections of the book are:
- ALCOHOLISM – What it is (and isn’t).
- THE PROBLEM – Veronica nails the problem, including what she believes and I agree is “The World’s Best Kept Secret” concerning recovery. (Sorry, my lips are sealed. :))
- THE SOLUTION – An in-depth discussion from beginning the journey to eventually living your authentic self.
The book is sprinkled throughout with illustrative narratives from other recovered alcoholics and case studies from her counseling practice. It should prove an inspiration to anyone affected by alcoholism or other addiction. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Full title: Between Drinks: Escape The Routine, Take Control, and Join The Clear Thinkers
In this amazing little book, author David Downie writes of his experience with setting down the drink for a predetermined time as “an experiment,” and discovering a richer, more meaningful life because of it.
I was skeptical about (what I thought was) his premise when I received the request to write a review and more so when I started reading the author’s drinking history, a history that includes both a blog and a book celebrating beer and the merits of the culture surrounding it.
The simple fact is David Downie has distilled the essence of the 12 Steps and packaged it for us here. I would recommend this book to anyone, with the “true-blue alcoholic” as a major exception, as the author himself points out.
He delivers pints of wisdom liberally sparkled with humor throughout. Included are vivid descriptions of his life as a drinker, as well as what his life has become after the experiment. Along way, he offers general actions anyone who wishes can try for their own experiment with life between drinks.
If this book had been available thirty-some years ago, it likely would have saved me and everyone else in my life a lot of heartache. Five stars and extra kudos for a book well done.
In three small volumes, John T. Marohn gives us a penetrating, starkly honest view into his personal inventory process. The details of his life are there to let us know what it was like, yet they remain low-key throughout the series. Unlike so many other recovery books today, he weaves the details of his past into the narrative of where he is today and how he got there. Most refreshing of all, there is not the slightest hint of the victim mentality that taints so much of the genre.
Book I opens with the author at his bottom and voluntarily entering rehab. From there, we enter his journey of self-discovery, into his thought process as he worked through his fears, delusions, maladaptive behaviors, and conflicting beliefs, to name a few of the items covered. The chapter on surrender alone is worth the price of the book.
Book II continues with excellent treatments on such topics as fear, identity, healing, and relationships. The second book also includes priceless insights into happiness, hope, and authenticity.
In the third volume of the trilogy, the author waxes philosophical on topics ranging from “The Perils of Certainty” to “The Divinity Within” and more while maintaining his focus on what it all means to his recovery and growth.
Throughout the three volumes, I found many of my own notions validated, some challenged, and much that I’ve yet to even consider. Anyone who is recovered or recovering, or is wondering what an honest and thorough personal inventory might entail, will be better for reading this series.
UNDRUNK: A Skeptic’s Guide to AA, by A. J. Adams, © 2009
As a long time member of Alcoholics Anonymous, I found this book to be a moderately entertaining peek inside the complex organization that is AA. It’s a good basic primer for folks who are wondering if AA might work for them, with the author explaining his personal experience with the 12 Steps (one year when the book was written,) including his misgivings and misconceptions going in and lessons learned.
The book suffers, however, from overlong explanations which became tedious very quickly. I was also disappointed that the author didn’t cite his sources in those sections dealing with AA history.
I have mixed feelings about this book. Anyone wishing to know what AA attendance is like would do better to go to a dozen or so meetings and get the experience first hand. For those who think that would be too time consuming, following a dozen or so AA recovery blogs or forums for a month would give a more complete picture. Still, for those with more money than time, this book would be a worthwhile read. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.