Pills Anonymous – The Book
Guidelines for Story Submission
The Book is written!
Next step is editing, then design and then publishing.
We need your financial help too, please consider a 7th tradition contribution
Dear Potential Authors:
First, some important background information about the Pills Anonymous (PA) book, now under development.
1. Format of the Book.
The PA Book Committee looked at the main texts being used by most other major 12-
step programs to create the concept of a combined textbook/study guide to help members
integrate the Steps and Traditions into their own lives.
The main chapters of the book will each be focused on one of the 12 Steps or 12
Each chapter will start with an explanation of that Step or Tradition and then be followed
by two or three short (under 1,200-word) stories. These are not complete stories about an
individual of the sort you find at the end of AA’s “Big Book.” They are shorter stories
illustrating how the author came to understand that Step or Tradition and/or how the Step
or Tradition has worked in the author’s life. Stories will not identify the author. See the
short example of this style of writing at the end of this document.
Those stories will then be followed by a list of self-examination questions – much as you
would find in many 12-step workbooks – about that chapters Step or Tradition.
If you would like to see a 12-step textbook very similar in format to this, review
Al-anon’s “Paths to Recovery.”
Note – longer stories about the lives of PA members will likely be accepted at a future
date for use in other PA materials.
2. Requirements to be a PA Story Author.
Authors must have been clean and sober for at least six months at the time of story
submission (we’ll take your word on that, no “PA Police” checking up!).
Authors must be willing to give all rights to the story as submitted to Pills Anonymous, to
include the right to use the story in other PA communications materials, on- or off-line, at
the discretion of PA.
Authors do not have to be experienced writers; the Story Review Committee will strive to
leave authors’ styles intact, communicating privately with an author if the Committee
would like to make any edits to the story as submitted.
3. Story submissions must:
For the Committee’s use only, have the author’s full name, snail mail address, email
address, contact phone number(s) and sobriety date as the first item on the first page of
the story submission, ideally centered on the page.
Be from 500-1,200 words long. A full page of single-spaced type is approximately 500
Be submitted as an MS-Word document using Times Roman, 12 pt font and 1” margins.
Be submitted via email only to firstname.lastname@example.org. The exception would be if
you cannot work on a computer for any reason and cannot find someone to assist you, in
which case hand-written submissions will be accepted.
The following is the beginning of a proposed submission about Step 1 – minus the author
information, and not yet at full length for submission.
When I look back at why I relapsed twice over a four-year period, following three years
clean and sober from all mind-altering substances, I realize it was because I had never
completely accepted all aspects of Step 1. Sure, I had “worked” Step 1 – i.e., I had
done my writing assignment in order to get an “A” from my sponsor and a pat on the
back. In fact, I’d gone through all 12 Steps that way and was darn proud of myself. In
the wisdom of hindsight, however, I understand why old-timers say that the First Step is
the “only one we have to work 100%.” Because otherwise the rest of the Steps are built
on a foundation that could easily crack – as mine did.
I had, the first time around, been willing to admit that my life was unmanageable, that
was easy to see after multiple divorces and a wide array of personal and professional
wreckage. And I was definitely powerless over mind-altering substances – one of
anything was never enough! But what I didn’t fully admit to my innermost self was the
importance of the principle behind the First Step – Honesty. I had what seemed to be a
secret compartment in my brain where I could stash history I didn’t want to talk about,
or feelings I didn’t want to share. I told myself, “everyone has secrets.” How could
that hurt if I otherwise was diligent in my recovery?
In my first six months to one year of sobriety, I hadn’t hidden much – I was very
anxious to “dump” all of what had been bothering me in the past to my sponsor and
others I trusted. But pride started to kick in after I was finished with my first trip
through the Steps, and I thought that I “should” be able to handle more difficult feelings
on my own. Emotional pain. Physical pain. I thought it would be an admission of
weakness to share that information when I had two, then three years of sobriety.
Until, after a sports injury caused me considerable recurring pain, a physician offered
me Vicodin and Soma. For a very brief moment, a tiny voice in my head screamed,
“Bad idea!” Then that voice got stashed away in the same secret compartment where I
had also put the fact that I had abused prescription meds in the past, even though they
weren’t at that point my primary problem. That compartment was locked so tight that,
in the moment, I completely forgot that part of my history and accepted the prescription
and my first relapse began.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE WRITE TO