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The Book of Life Recovery by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop

Posted Sep 02 2012 5:54pm

The Book of Life Recovery is perhaps best described by its subtitle: Inspiring Stories and Biblical Wisdom for Your Journey through the Twelve Steps. It was written as a companion to The Life Recovery Bible , which is a New Living Translation Bible with notes and helps related to the twelve-step recovery process. Steve and Dave, co-hosts on the popular New Life Live counseling show, worked together on both of these projects, bringing together decades of work on the front lines of recovery into a format that can reach even more people with the truth of God’s plan for redemption and restoration.

Your first reaction to hearing about this book might be the same as mine was at one time – to think that a twelve-step program is really just for someone dealing with alcoholism or drug addiction, or possibly for their family members. While those two categories probably include more people than you think, this book really is for everyone who has been trying to make it on their own and has any area of life that is not totally surrendered to God – in short, all of us.

The book’s format is simple. Each chapter focuses on one step and offers real-life stories from people who are on the road to recovery, insight into the principles behind the meaning and purpose of the step, and several Bible studies targeted to those principles. These studies can be done individually or as part of a group, allowing the reader to move beyond simply taking in the information to applying it their own lives.

Although the book is designed to be worked through over the course of a year, I was so engrossed in the stories and the insights I was finding that I read the entire thing straight through upon receiving it. Now I am planing to go back through and do one Bible study each week as the authors suggest. Here are just a few of the things I highlighted on my read-through:

  • We begin the healing process by coming to terms with the absolute truth that we are powerless. Our problem has the upper hand, and we are incapable of breaking free on our own.
  • We have surrendered our will. And so we don’t tell him [God] what to do; instead, we wait for him, moment by moment to lead the way. Because we have surrendered, he is now responsible for what happens next.
  • All too often, on the inside, we’re still thinking there are some parts of our recovery we need to do on our own…. On the outside, we have surrendered, but on the inside, we’re still holding parts of ourselves in reserve.
  • The more we experience the truth, the more we will experience God’s grace, and the more we will experience an attitude of humility, have a teachable heart, and feel accepted for who we are.
  • If we are as sick as our secrets, we can become as healthy as our confessions.

Whether you are familiar with the Twelve Steps or not, The Book of Life Recovery is a powerful tool that will help you see how surrendering your heart and life to God can move you from misery and isolation into a place of true hopefulness for your future and healthy community along the journey.

Thank you to the Tyndale Blog Network for providing a complimentary copy of this book for my review.

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