Guide To Reading The Life Recovery Bible

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on December 29, 2021

Many people use The Life Recovery Bible as a tool for recovering from addiction in a group or individual setting. The book offers Biblical guidance based on the 12 steps of recovery from Alcoholics Anonymous.

A Guide To The Life Recovery Bible

The Life Recovery Bible is a Christian book on addiction recovery based on the 12 steps.

Written by David Stoop, Ph.D., and Stephen Arterburn, M.Ed., this is the one of the most widespread recovery books used by people overcoming addiction.

The book combines Biblical stories and scripture with the 12 steps to offer a comprehensive, community-focused, and faith-based approach to addiction recovery.

You can access The Life Recovery Book in multiple transitions, including New Living Translation (NLT) and the King James Version (KJV).

Here, you’ll gain insight on:

  • how to read The Life Recovery Bible
  • the guiding principles and features of The Life Recovery Bible
  • the 12 steps as set forth by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
  • tips on staying consistent while reading The Life Recovery Bible

Who The Life Recovery Bible Is Meant For

This book is intended to benefit anyone overcoming addiction.

You may benefit from reading The Life Recovery Bible if you have been dealing with any of the following:

  • an addiction to drugs or alcohol
  • an addiction to gambling
  • an addiction to sex
  • other behavioral addictions, including social media, exercise, or work addiction
  • codependency

The book touches on themes of stress, anxiety, depression, and much more, each of which is a primary contributor to substance and behavioral addictions, as well as codependency.

What Are The 12 Steps?

The 12 steps are a set of guidelines for those overcoming alcohol addiction.

These steps are outlined in Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism.

Today, the 12 steps can be used by anyone recovering from any addiction, not just alcohol. Family members and friends can also use these principles in Al-Anon groups.

The 12 steps are as follows:

  • We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  • Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  • Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  • Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  • Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  • Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  • Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  • Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  • Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  • Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  • Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

These are the same points that will be used throughout The Life Recovery Bible, each of which may be accompanied by Bible verses, devotionals, personal reflection, and more.

Read more about the 12 steps of addiction anonymous

Features Of The Life Recovery Bible

As you’re working through The Life Recovery Bible, you’ll notice several features and styles. This includes the use of scripture, devotionals, footnotes, and much more.


Each of the 12 steps is accompanied by multiple scriptures, or Bible verses. Reading through The Life Recovery Bible is intended to reflect reading the Bible.

The book explains how each of the 12 steps relates to scripture, breaking each verse down with valuable insights and perspective.

Readers are invited to reflect on each Bible verse, evaluate how that verse connects with the step they’re working through, apply those principles to their life, and practice memorizing the words.

12-Step Devotionals

The Life Recovery Bible has 84 Bible-based devotionals that relate to the 12 steps of addiction recovery.

These devotionals are placed throughout the book to provide readers with a chance to pause and reflect on how that step fits into the larger message of the Bible and healing from addiction.

Serenity Prayer Devotionals

Readers will also experience a series of prayers based on the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.


The prayer is attributed to an American theologian named Reinhold Niebuhr; however, its origins are still unclear.

The prayer is meant to act as a daily reminder to invite God into a person’s life and bring about radical change, touching on core 12-step themes of humility, acceptance, and surrendering.

In The Life Recovery Bible, readers can find over 50 devotionals that draw on this prayer.

Recovery Profiles

The book describes several characters from the Bible — such as Joseph, famous for wearing a colorful cloak — to add to the story of recovery.

These important biblical characters are used to show recovery in motion, describing stories of triumph and failure, humility and confidence, and most of all, hope and recovery.

Each recovery profile is followed by four points:

  • Strengths And Accomplishments
  • Weaknesses And Mistakes
  • Lessons From His Life
  • Key Verse

Use these points to discover the deeper message of the character’s story and apply those messages to your own life.

Recovery Reflections

Recovery reflections are also used at various points in the book, but not in every chapter. These reflections go over different topics and themes important to recovery.

For example, you may see a set of scriptures followed by valuable insights on topics like relationships, prayer, and confrontation.

Recovery Themes

You’ll see a recovery theme noted at the beginning of each new chapter.

Some of the themes include:

  • The Primacy of Jesus Christ
  • God Delivers the Powerless
  • The Necessity of Faith
  • The Importance of Perseverance

These themes frame the content you’ll dive into in recovery. The first theme, “The Primacy of Jesus Christ,” describes Christ at the center of a recovering person’s hope and trust.

The next theme listed above, “God Delivers the Powerless,” talks of restoration of sin, as God has forgiven past, present, and future wrongdoings.

As you’re reading the book, you can hone in on the themes that hit hardest, or that you need the most guidance on.

If forgiveness is a difficult aspect of your recovery process that tends to hold you back from full recovery, you can search the book for “forgiveness” and emphasize those sections.

How To Read The Life Recovery Bible

Now that you know the 12 steps and the contents of the book, you’re ready to start reading it for yourself.

You can go about reading The Life Recovery Bible in one of two ways:

  • read it as you would read any other book, from start to finish linearly
  • jump around, selecting themes and chapters that are pertinent to your recovery

There’s no right way to read The Life Recovery Bible. But if there are certain themes you know you struggle with (such as hope or trust), you may benefit from the second option.

With the second option, you can treat The Life Recovery Bible as a study tool or textbook, looking at sections that delve into specific topics of interest and learning more about those.

Reading The Life Recovery Bible Individually Or As A Group

This book can be read with a group or by yourself. Many peer support groups use this book as a tool for group discussion (12-step groups are best since the book uses those guidelines).

Others read the book with their partner, a friend, or a sponsor who is also recovering from addiction.

In this context, you can pray together, discuss important themes and devotionals, and apply the key components together.

If you prefer to read the book on your own, as many people do, you can use The Life Recovery Bible as a time of personal growth and reflection.

However, it is best to bring in another perspective from time to time if you decide to read it alone.

If a difficult theme arises and the book brings up hard memories and emotions, you should talk through the issue with a peer support member, sponsor, or other supportive person.

Finding Information With The Topical Index

Much like the Christian Bible, The Life Recovery Bible can be cross-referenced and used thematically.

You can search for a topic that interests you by scanning the topical index, located at the back of the book.

If you’d like further insight on the topics of “trust” and “family,” for example, you can find those words in the index and look at what information is available on those topics in the book.

You’ll find notes, recovery profiles, 12-step devotionals, recovery reflections, and other important features with those corresponding themes.

Tips On Reading The Life Recovery Bible

If you’ve picked up your copy of The Life Recovery Bible for the first time, or you’re reading it for the tenth time over, there are always new insights to be gained from the book.

Because it’s so extensive, it can be overwhelming for someone in need of help recovering from addiction.

To help keep the book in perspective and provide focus and determination to meet your recovery goals, we’ve included a few helpful tips on how to study this book.

Here’s how you can keep motivated and get the most out of The Life Recovery Bible:

  • Read the Bible: To get the most out of your book, you can read the scriptures referenced in the book alongside your own personal Bible and read other stories in the Bible.
  • Create a schedule: Especially if this is a new recovery method, setting a schedule is key. Cut out time each day to work through this book and stick to it.
  • Find community: Recovery doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Find other people to lean on as you work on sobriety to have a strong support system in times of need.
  • Read it aloud: Reinforce important messages by reading them aloud. This is especially helpful for times of prayer and scripture reading.
  • Share what you learn: As you learn new tools for recovery and life principles, share those things with other people in your recovery community.


This page does not provide medical advice. See more

Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on December 29, 2021
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