Originally developed by Alcoholics Anonymous, the Twelve Step program now provides life direction for the millions of people worldwide who are recovering from addiction and undergoing profound personal transformation. Yet thus far it has received surprisingly little attention from philosophers, despite the fact that, like philosophy, the program addresses all-important questions regarding how we ought to live. In Sobering Wisdom, Jerome A. Miller and Nicholas Plants offer a unique approach to the Twelve Step program by exploring its spirituality from a philosophical point of view.Drawing on a variety of thinkers from Aristotle to William James and from Nietzsche to Foucault, as well as a diverse range of philosophical perspectives including naturalism, Buddhism, existentialism, Confucianism, pragmatism, and phenomenology, the contributors to this volume address such questions as the relation of personal responsibility to an acknowledgment of powerlessness, the existence of a "higher power," and the role of virtue in recovery. Ranging in tone from deeply scholarly to intensely personal, their essays are written in an accessible way for a broad audience that includes not only philosophers, theologians, and psychologists but also spiritual directors, health professionals, and addiction counselors. Perhaps most important, the book is also conceived for those involved in Twelve Step programs whose lives are being transformed by the experience.
Jerome A. Miller is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Philosophy at Salisbury University, USA and the author of In the Throe of Wonder: Intimations of the Sacred in a Post-Modern World and The Way of Suffering: A Geography of Crisis.Nicholas Plants is Professor of Philosophy at Prince George's Community College, USA.