Friday, 5 April 2013

Book Review - The 12 step warrior

(Those regular readers with any sort of memory will know that I said "no more book reviews" but I'm breaking that rule... my blog, my rule, I can break it! LOL!  I break it for this book given the subject matter)

The 12 Step Warrior is an alcoholic's autobiography.  Peter Skillen was born into a family that soon went from loving to dysfunctional to totally out of control.  This book describes his loss of innocence as a child, his witnessing his father's fall into alcoholism and his own journey into a life of violence and alcoholic drinking.  At the end of his drinking he was losing it all but with the help of an old girlfriend he got to rehab and has recovered his life.  He is one of the shining lights you meet of the AA programme at work.  I have some friends in AA like Peter, people who really went to hell and back.  I often feel a fraud next to them my rock bottom was frankly so much higher than theirs.

This is a brilliantly written book that anyone who is associated with alcoholism or addiction personally will relate to.  I may not have ended up embroiled in the alcohol fuelled violence he did but so many other aspects of his story could be mine as well.  The fear of failure, the feeling of "less than", never being part of society completely, spending more time with people who frankly weren't worth a few moments of my life rather than with the people I loved and who really needed me there for them, the continual self-sabotage whenever I felt things getting to be better than I truly deserved - etc.

His description of early rehab rang so many bells with me too.  My rehab was similar to the one he attended.  Arriving there and just being shown by others the ropes etc.  The chores we were assigned and the feeling of being really a little kid back at school again is so reminiscent - as is the memory of great food and tea seemingly on tap endlessly.

This isn't a long read and for anyone who wishes to get some inking into how an alcoholic feels and thinks I'd totally recommend this book.  For someone like myself trudging the road to happy destiny already it was a great reminder of where I've come from but also posed some questions as to where I'm going. I'm not sure I'm really living my life as though every minute is my last as Peter urges us to do, maybe I am too trapped into the conventions of having to fit in (or is that disappear?) in a humdrum 9-5 existence.  To ponder on...

Peter also blogs at as well or can be followed on Twitter at @12stepwarrior


  1. I'm glad you broke your own rules, Furtheron. It sounds like a fantastic book. I'll be checking out his blog too. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  2. Congrats to Peter for putting his fight in writing. That is brave and smart of him....:)

  3. For God's sake, man! Don't apologize because your fall wasn't as precipitous as some others you've met! I'm sure it was plenty steep enough for your family.

    There are worse things than a humdrum existence.

    1. Yes - isn't that indicative or what I just mentioned I related to most in the story - "not feeling worthy"... I still don't feel worthy of being an alcoholic as I didn't slip all the way down... how dumb is that!