How to Stop Screwing Up: 12 Steps to a Real Life and a Pretty Good Time

Martha Woodroof, Author . Hampton Roads $15.95 (174p) ISBN 978-1-57174-536-1

With the self-deprecating humor and forgiving but no-nonsense attitude familiar to anyone with friends in AA, Woodroof, an NPR reporter and recovering alcoholic and drug abuser, gives readers "mystified by some aspect of [their] own behavior" step-by-step instructions for pulling their lives together. She calls the 12 steps "a proven way for those of us who keep screwing up to develop a healthy thinking and living process," and devotes a chapter to each step, advising readers on how to accept their own screwups; admit that they "can't quit doing it on their own"; nurture their belief in, and communication with, the God of their understanding; tell the truth, to themselves and others; expect quiet "miracles of change"; and "welcome serenity." She supports her advice with stories from her own life, mingling the funny and quirky (Woodroof calls her God "Alice") with encouragement and inspiration. The book's message is valid, but Woodroof's naïve dismissal of the efficacy of other methods to solve difficult psychological problems undermines her credibility, and she never mentions the important social-support function that meetings serve in 12 Step programs. Nevertheless, the book will be helpful to people who are comfortable with exploring a God-centered method of finding inner peace. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/26/2007
Release date: 02/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 200 pages - 978-1-61283-161-9
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