A “big book thumper” is a common 12 step term used the program to describe someone who is overly zealous or overly rigid about the teachings of the “Big Book,” which is the primary text of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). A big book thumper is someone who takes the Big Book very literally and strictly adheres to its teachings, often at the expense of other important aspects of recovery.
The term “thumper” implies that the person is forceful or aggressive in their approach to sharing the Big Book’s teachings with others. They may quote from the book frequently and insist that it is the only way to achieve and maintain sobriety. This can be off-putting to other members of the program who may have different interpretations of the text or rely on other sources of support in their recovery.
While the Big Book is an important resource for those in 12 step programs, it is important to remember that everyone’s journey to recovery is unique. Being a big book thumper can create an environment of rigidity and judgement, which can be counterproductive to the inclusive and supportive atmosphere of 12 step programs.