Alcoholics Anonymous and the Audiobook Revolution

My personal history includes many years involved with Alcoholics Anonymous, for a decade as the official “taper” for AA and Al-Anon conventions. It’s something I worked hard at, traveling around North America, and am proud of, though it’s tricky to “find the audience” to let people know these great recordings exist (because the audience is anonymous!). Now, I’m happy to announce some of these great recordings, very high-quality and easy to listen to, have found a home on Spotify. I have begun turning them into audiobooks!

These are all “open” meetings, anniversary and convention-level events. Although AA is anonymous and they shun photography at meetings, there is always a “taper” recording podium speakers at the big events. Among other events, I was taper for the New Hampshire State Convention, and have written permission from all speakers, obtained on site before they spoke. The very first one approved and published on Spotify’s audiobooks platform comes from the 2005 AA convention in New Hampshire, Jack C., keynote speaker. It’s a wonderful recording and I’m happy to announce it’s up as of today, for you to hear! If you have Spotify “premium” (which I recommend), you can listen for free. If you don’t, please PM me. I have a basket of redemption codes; looking forward to giving them out!

While I also publish my own music on Spotify, this new opportunity to upload my audiobooks (including the AA material and my non-fiction, “A Candle Lit,” and my first novel, “Share The Moon”) makes me very happy. I have more great titles coming soon. It’s a tedious process to work each audiobook through “quality control,” and it feels good to have my work cut out for me with this project. It’s so very worthwhile.

It’s not uncommon for bigger meetings in AA to be recorded, though over the past 30 years since I first joined AA, the recordings had a reputation for being of mediocre, even poor quality, partly because AA was reluctant to switch (not that long ago!) from cassettes to Compact Discs! I was the first taper, in 2002, to convince the NH state convention committee to “let me” sell CDs INSTEAD of cassettes! The modern age!

Having working in radio for over two decades, I brought my expertise to “the rooms,” by way of a fancy Sound Devices audio recorder and Beyer mics, mixing and mastering in my home studio, producing recordings of better quality than we had previously. For many years, tapers would create high-speed cassette copies, which, unlike CDs, suffer quality-wise every time they’re copied. I originally approached the NH committee chair after buying some recordings that were so bad I couldn’t hear what they were saying! Ultimately I’d become taper for that and other conventions, always with audio quality in mind, even bringing in my own PA system when the house system was old and buzzing, never charging AA or any other sponsors a penny.

It would be a dozen years later I would write a non-fiction book about my experiences with AA, and what I learned from being a member for many years and hearing so many great speakers. It’s called “A Candle Lit,” and it’s already been made into a 3-1/2-hour long audiobook, narrated by me, but lost somewhere in the Amazon haystack. It will be a pleasure to move that audiobook in the near future to Spotify and many other platforms through Spotify’s new program.

Two of my best AA convention recordings are available for streaming as of today on Spotify; Jack C., from Hagerstown, Maryland and Chuck H., from Cary, North Carolina. These are circuit speakers who AA groups pay to travel to major conventions and events; some of the best speakers you will ever hear!

Please feel free to PM me for redemption codes; I’d like to give them out to share the good word. Free to anyone.

This is my way of providing service to a great organization, and to thank AA and my support system within it for helping me get my life back on track!

Peace!  Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!



Jack C., Law Enforcement, Public Service and Sobriety
Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Speaker
New Hampshire AA Convention 2005

Sharing the Language of the Street (Chuck H.)
Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Speaker
New Hampshire AA Convention 2008


Mark Urso

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