Big Book Study Questions

The Big Book Study Questions are simply sentences from the book Alcoholics Anonymous turned into questions to use as a study guide for the Big Book. The history of their use in this meeting format dates back to Wesley P. and then John W. of the Workshop Group in Pompano Beach, FL. We change them from time to time and you are welcome to copy them and edit to your heart's content. Feel free to share any improvements that you make with us.

Preface and Forwards
  1. Why the strong sentiment against changes to the Big Book? P xi - 2nd p
  2. What is the purpose of the changes that are made to the stories? P xii – 3rd full p
  3. What is the main purpose of the book? P xiii – 1st p
  4. When did AA begin? P xv – bottom
  5. What principles was the broker convinced were needed? P xvi – top p
  6. What did the broker realize he had to do to save himself? P xvi – 1st full p
  7. What preceded the doctor pursuing the remedy with the required willingness? P xvi – bottom
  8. Did the third man recover? P xvii – 1st full p
  9. Are New Yorkers able to recover? P xvii – 2nd full p
  10. Where did the fledgling society get its name? P xvii – 3rd full p
  11. Did people of influence, the press and clergy help AA? P xvii – bottom to P xviii – 1st full p
  12. What principles helped AA survive and function effectively? P xix – 1st full p
  13. Why did public acceptance of AA grow? P xix – bot to P xx – top
  14. Is AA a religious organization? P xx – 2nd full p
The Doctor's Opinion
  1. What were Dr. Silkworth’s qualifications? P xxv – top
  2. What must we believe to be essential in defining Alcoholism? P xxvi – 1st p (after M.D. letter)
  3. Does the doctor’s theory make sense? P xxvi – 2nd p
  4. Why is it important for ones brain to be clear? P xxvi – bottom
  5. How did the doctor regard the recovered alcoholics he came to know? P xxvii – last full p
  6. Does the craving ever occur in an average temperate drinker? P xxviii – 1st full p
  7. What is a must for us to recreate our lives? P xxviii – 2nd full p
  8. Does the doctor regard AA as having an impact on the problem? P xxviii – 3rd full p
  9. Do alcoholics have trouble differentiating the true from the false? P xxviii – bottom
  10. Can a psychic change help? P xxix – 1st full p
  11. What reason does Silkworth give that the problem is not only in the mind? Pxxix – bottom
  12. What are some of the classifications of alcoholics? P xxx – 2nd full p – 4th full p
  13. Is the physical allergy ever eradicated? P xxx – 5th full p
Bill's Story
  1. Was Bill’s first drinking experience exciting and fun? P1 – 1st p
  2. Did Bill’s drinking disturb people? P2 – 1st p
  3. What weapon boomeranged? P2 – 2nd p
  4. What role did drink have in Bill’s life? P3–1st fp
  5. After some life success did Bill’s drinking get more serious? P3 – 2nd full p
  6. What did Bill do instead of jumping from the towers of high finance? P4 – 1st full p
  7. Although Bill’s drinking progressed to “a necessity” did he still think he was in control? P5 – 1st p
  8. What did Bill wake up to? P5 – 4th full p
  9. Did Bill’s resolve pan out? P5 – 5th fp
  10. What was Bill trying to accomplish with two bottles of gin? P6 – 1st full p
  11. Did Bill’s family get him treatment? P7 – 1st fp
  12. What did Bill learn from the Doctor? P7 – 2nd fp
  13. Was self-knowledge the answer? P7 – 3rd
  14. What was Bill’s master? P8 – 1st full p
  15. Did fear keep Bill sober? P8 – 2nd fp
  16. It was years since Bill remembered Ebby coming to NY in what condition? P9 – top
  17. What was Ebby’s solution? P9 – 1st fp to last fp
  18. Although Bill did not like religion did he believe in a Power greater than himself? P10 – 3rd fp
  19. Did Bill recognize Ebby’s change as a miracle? P11 – last fp
  20. What new idea opened the door for Bill to take Step 2? P12 –1st thru 4th fp
  21. Where was Bill when he took the steps? How long do you think he was there? P 13
  22. What happened to Bill as a result of the steps? P 14 2nd full p
  23. Did Bill think he was insane? P14 – 3rd & 4th fp
  24. What had Ebby emphasized? P14 – bot
There Is A Solution
  1. Are we people who normally would mix? P17 – 2nd p
  2. Is the common problem enough to hold us together? What is? P17 – 2nd and 3rd p
  3. Can the ex-problem drinker have success where family and professionals fail? P18 – 3rd & 4th p
  4. What does the Big Book suggest for anyone concerned with a drinking problem? P19 – 3rd full p
  5. If you are an alcoholic who wants to get over it, what might you already be asking? P20 – 1st full p
  6. Do moderate drinkers need AA? P20 5th full p
  7. Does the hard drinker need AA? P20 bottom to P21 top
  8. But what about the real alcoholic? P21 – 1st full p
  9. Why does he behave like this? P22 – 2nd & 3rd full p
  10. Where is the main problem of the alcoholic? P23 – 1st full p
  11. What obsession does the alcoholic have? P23 – 2nd full p
  12. Does the practicing alcoholic have choice in drink? P24 – 1st full p
  13. Do we think clearly about the consequences? P24 2nd full p
  14. Are you beyond human aid? P24 – bottom
  15. Is there a solution? What does it depend on? P25 – 1st full p
  16. What is the solution? P25 – 2nd full p
  17. What is indispensable for recovery? P567 & 568
  18. What are our alternatives? P25 – bottom
  19. Was Dr. Jung able to cure the American business man? P26 – 1st full p
  20. What was the great physician’s opinion? P26 – 2nd & 3rd full p
  21. What did the doctor tell this man? P27 – 2nd full p
  22. What is the exception? P27 – 4th full par. (“Yes,” replied …)
  23. Is being a good church member enough? P27 – bottom
  24. Are you seeking the same escape with the desperation of a drowning person? P28 – 2nd p
  25. Is there only one way to acquire faith? P28 – 3rd p
  26. What is further on in the book? P29 – 1st full p
More About Alcoholism
  1. What is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker? P30 – 1st p
  2. What is the first step in recovery? P30 – 2nd p
  3. Do we ever regain control of our drinking? P30 – 3rd p
  4. Is there a way to make a normal drinker out of an alcoholic? P30 – bottom to P31 – top
  5. What do we call an exception to the rule? P31 – 1st full p
  6. How might you determine if you have the physical allergy? P31 – bottom to P32 - top
  7. What lie did "a man of thirty” believe? P32 – 2nd full p
  8. What is the truth? P33 1st full p
  9. Does the length of time or the quantity we drank have anything to do with being an alcoholic? P33 – bottom
  10. What if you question whether you can quit on will power? P34 – 1st full p
  11. What determines if you can quit on a nonspiritual basis? P34 – 2nd full p
  12. What is the crux of the problem? P34 – bottom to 35 – top
  13. At what age did Jim start drinking? P35 – 2nd full p
  14. What happened after Jim made a beginning? Did he enlarge his spiritual life? P35 – Last p
  15. Why was Jim at a roadside place where they had a bar? P36 – 1st p
  16. How well did drinking whiskey with milk work? Did having a full stomach help? P36 – 2nd p
  17. How does the book define insanity on page 37? 1st full p
  18. What about getting drunk deliberately? P37 – 3rd full p
  19. What thrills the jay-walker? P37 – bottom
  20. Have we been strangely insane? P38 – 2nd full p
  21. What can nonalcoholics do that alcoholics cannot? P39 – 1st full p
  22. Did it occur to Fred that he couldn’t quit on his own? P39 – bottom to P40 – top
  23. Was Fred able to refuse drinks initially? P40 – bottom
  24. Where did Fred go insane? P41 – 1st full p
  25. Had he thought of the consequences at all? P41 – bottom
  26. Did AA members hide the spiritual program from Fred? Did they mention the Twelve Steps? P42 – both full p
  27. Can spiritual principals solve other problems? What other effects can we expect? P42 – bottom to P43 – top
  28. Where must an alcoholic’s solution come from? P43 – last
We Agnostics
  1. What is the distinction between the alcoholic and the nonalcoholic? P44 – 1st full p
  2. What are our alternatives? P44 – 2nd full p
  3. Is an atheist or an agnostic a rare thing in AA? P44 – 3rd full p
  4. What was our dilemma? P45 – 1st full p
  5. What is the book’s main object? P45 – 2nd full p
  6. Do we have to fully define or even comprehend God? P46 – 1st full p
  7. Do we have to consider another’s conception of God? P46 – bottom
  8. When we speak of God what do we mean? P47 - top
  9. What happens to one who says, "I do believe, or I am willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself”? P47 – 2nd p
  10. Is belief simpler than faith? P47 3rd p
  11. What are the attitudes that are a handicap to obtaining a belief in a Power greater than ourselves? P48 - top
  12. Why do we all accept electric theory? Is it because we all know so much about it? P48 – 2nd full p
  13. A steel girder is a mass of WHAT? P49 - top
  14. What are we asked to lay aside? P49 – last p
  15. What is the one proposition that most recovering alcoholics seem to agree on? P50 – 2nd & 3rd p
  16. What do thousands of people declare? P50 - bottom
  17. Why was ancient man so slow to make material progress? P51 – 1st full p
  18. What did we ask ourselves? P51 – 2nd full p
  19. What might we apply to our human problems? P52 – 1st two full p
  20. Does the God idea work? Whose don’t? P52 – 3rd full p
  21. What is YOUR choice?" P53 – 2nd full p
  22. Is believing in our own reasoning a sort of faith? P53 – last full p – P54 – top
  23. Where is the fundamental idea of God? P55–2nd & 3rd full p
  24. What are the simple elements of the miracle of healing? P56 top – P57 1st full p 
  25. When does God disclose Himself to us? P57 – last line
How It Works
  1. What does your success depend on? P58 - 1st p
  2. If you decide you want it and are willing to go to any length to get it - What then? P58 - 2nd p
  3. Is there an easier, softer way? P58 - 3rd p
  4. What will half measures achieve? P59 - 1st full p
  5. What does AA suggest we do? P59 - The Steps
  6. Are we saints? P60 1st full p
  7. What pertinent ideas are clear? P60 - 2nd full p
  8. If we are convinced of the pertinent ideas what do we do? P60 - 3rd full p
  9. Why is self-will unsuccessful? P60 - bottom
  10. What usually happens? P61 - 1st full p
  11. What is the root of our troubles? P62 - 1st full p
  12. How does this work? P62 - bottom p
  13. What happens when we sincerely take such a position? P63 - 1st p
  14. What is the 3rd Step Prayer? P63 - 2nd p
  15. Who should we take this step with? P63 - 3rd p
  16. What do we do next, and after how long? P63 bottom to P64 - top
  17. What happens to a business which takes no regular inventory? P64 1st full p
  18. What is the number one offender? P64 - bottom
  19. What do we list on our grudge list? P65 1st full
  20. What counts here? P65 bottom
  21. Why is resentment fatal? P66 1st full p
  22. What really dominated us? P66 3rd full p
  23. What is our first fourth step prayer? P67 - top
  24. What do we look for as we refer to our list again? P67 - 2nd full p
  25. How does fear touch our lives? P67 - bottom
  26. Do we review our fears? How? P68 1st full p
  27. What is a better way than fear? P68 2nd full p
  28. What prayer do we have for fear? P68 3rd full p
  29. Does human opinion reach absurd extremes about sex? P68 - bottom to 69 - top
  30. Do we review our sex conduct? P69 1st full p
  31. We subject each relation to what test?P69 - 2nd full p
  32. What two "musts" do we have about sex? P69 3rd full p
  33. If we fall short will we pick up? P70 1st full p
  34. How do we pray about sex? P70 2nd full p
  35. How is Step Four summarized? P70 3rd full p
  36. What constitutes a good beginning? P71 - top
Into Action
  1. How do we cast out the weak items in our personal inventory? P72 - 1st p
  2. What is the best reason for taking Step 5 according to the book? P72 - 2nd p
  3. Who can relate to the double life? P73 - 1st full p
  4. Why might the medical profession have a low opinion of alcoholics? P73 - 3rd full p
  5. If we are to live long and happily in this world, what must we do? P73 - last line to P74 - top
  6. Who might we take this step with? Page 74 –all
  7. Once we decide who, what then? P75 – 1st full p
  8. What are the results of this step? P75 -2nd full p
  9. What do we do when we complete? P75 - 3rd full p
  10. Are we ready to let God take them all? P76 – 1st p
  11. What if we are not ready? P76 -1st p (last sentence)
  12. When ready what do we do? P76 – 2nd p
  13. Now we need more ______? P76 -3rd p
  14. What is our real purpose? P77 – top
  15. How do we make direct amends? P77 1st full p
  16. What should our manner be? P77 – bot to P78 - top
  17. What if we are thrown out of the office? P78 - 1st f p
  18. What if we owe money? P78 - 2nd full p
  19. What of criminal offenses? P78 - bot to P79 - 1st f p
  20. Can you see the common sense in the example given on Page 79? Last Two Paragraphs
  21. What if others are involved? P80 - 1st full p
  22. Who was consulted in the page 80 example? 4th p
  23. What if we have domestic troubles? P80 - bot to P81 - all
  24. Is keeping sober enough? P82 - 2nd & 3rd full p
  25. Is saying "I am sorry" enough? P83 - 1st p
  26. Should we live it, or talk it? P83 - 2nd p
  27. What if we can't fully right something? P83 - 3rd p
  28. When will we be amazed? P83 - bottom
  29. When do the promises materialize? P84 - 1st full p
  30. What does Step Ten suggest? P84 - 2nd full p
  31. What is returned at this point? P84 - bottom
  32. Are we cured of alcoholism? P85 - 1st full p
  33. We feel the spirit flow into us if we have carefully followed what? P85 - 2nd full p
  34. What does Step Eleven suggest? P85 - bot to P86 - top
  35. What do we do when we retire at night? P86 - 1st f p
  36. What do we do on awakening? P86 - 2nd full p
  37. Where do we go when we need inspiration? P86 - bottom
  38. What do we ask for in our morning prayer? P87 - 1st full p
  39. Where else might we get inspiration? P87 - 2nd full p
  40. What do we do throughout the day? P87 - bot to P88 – top
  41. Does it work? P88 - 1st full p
Working With Others
  1. What will insure immunity from drinking? P89 – 1st p
  2. What is the bright spot of our lives? P89 – 2nd p
  3. What if a prospect does not want to stop? P90 – 1st p
  4. Why might we talk to people close to the prospect? P90 – 2nd p
  5. Should we wait until after a binge? P90 – 3rd p
  6. What if he does not want to see you? P90 – bottom
  7. Why is it better to meet through an institution than through the family? P91 – 1st & 2nd full p
  8. What is the first thing we do on a Twelve Step Call? P91 – 3rd full p
  9. How do we identify ourselves as alcoholics? P92 – top (starts P91)
  10. Should we diagnose the new person as alcoholic? P92 – 1st full p
  11. Where do we keep his attention? P92 – bottom
  12. Should we stress the spiritual solution? P93 – top
  13. Should we use religious terms? P93 – 1st full p
  14. What if the prospect has vast religious education and training? P93 – bottom
  15. Problem, solution, and then what? P94 – 1st full p
  16. What if they don’t want to go along with the outlined program? P94 – last p
  17. Should we ever talk down to an alcoholic? P95 – 1st p
  18. What if he is not interested in the solution? P95–2nd p
  19. What if she is interested? P95 – 3rd p
  20. If they don’t respond should we chase them? P96 – 1st p
  21. What do we do the second visit? P96 – 2nd p
  22. What might we do that could harm him? P96 – bot
  23. Is Twelve Step Work always convenient? P97 – 1st full p
  24. What should we burn in our consciousness? P98 – 1st & 2nd full p
  25. Where there are domestic problems, what should be persisted in for a few months? P98 – bottom
  26. What must an alcoholic demonstrate with the family? P99 – 1st full p
  27. What can we do if we are spiritually fit? P100 – bot
  28. If an alcoholic cannot be around alcohol what is the matter? P101 – 1st full p
  29. What is our rule about being around booze? P101 – 3rd full p
  30. What is the important qualification? P101 – bottom
  31. What can we do that would deter people from asking us to drink? P102 – 1st full p
  32. What is our job now? P102 – 2nd full p
  33. Should we show hatred for alcohol? P103 – 1st full p