The author is a retired science writer with many years of sobriety. She spent most of her working years as a functioning alcoholic, working during the day, drinking at night. This led her to drugs--which led her to emergency rooms and eventually to rehab. After her children and grandchildren said they couldn't deal with her substance abuse anymore, she reluctantly decided to retire from her writing career and sign into a treatment center in one stroke. On discharge 30 days later, she joined Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.). That was over 15 years ago.
The EZ Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is the book the author wished she had when she first entered A.A.--a book without sexist language and one that didn't assume that alcoholics were men with stay-at-home wives. Her goal in writing the book--a project that took four years-- was to put the Big Book's life-saving message in the hands of more readers.
Need for a Revised Big Book
The author saw that many newcomers found the original Alcoholics Anonymous (Big Book) difficult to read. This guidebook to A.A.'s 12-step program was published by A.A. founders in 1939 and never updated. The pages reflect the lifestyles of early members of A.A.--mostly educated men with stay-at-home wives. The alcoholics attending A.A. meetings in the 2000s are quite different. Some are homeless or come straight from prisons. They have lost their families. Many are marginally literate. Women in the program are usually divorced or single, some struggling to raise children as single parents. At the same time, she heard women complain of how excluded they felt by the gender bias in the Big Book. The author believed that these alcoholics deserved a book they could read with ease--and even enjoy.
The Author's Experience
The author has published over one hundred books and articles under her name. She has taught numerous writing seminars to physicians and laboratory scientists at national meetings. She has also written about health and science for populations with limited reading skills. At one time, she specialized in the development of patient education materials for semi-literate readers. Her work was funded by medical institutions, government grants, and corporations. This professional experience inspired her to undertake writing the EZ Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. She was confident she could produce a more reader-friendly version of A.A.'s basic text.
During a four-year timeout in the early 1980s, she attended graduate school at the University of Florida and earned an Ed.S. degree in mental health counseling. Her intention was to work with women entering the workforce for the first time. She offered private counseling as well as group seminars, which focused on the challenges women face in a male-oriented culture. After a year in clinical practice, she decided to return to her first love, writing--where she could reach more people, still serving as a counselor but on the printed page.