Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A.A. Cures: Healing Records in the Gospel of Mark


Jesus Christ


Healing Records in the Gospel of Mark


Mark 1:21-28 (KJV):

And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,

Saying, Let [us] alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.

And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.

And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine [is] this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.


Mark 1:29-31 (KJV):

And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.

But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.

And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.


Mark 1:32-34 (KJV):

And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.

And all the city was gathered together at the door.

And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.


Mark 1:38-39 (KJV):

And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.

And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.


Mark 1:40-45 (KJV):

And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth [his] hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.

And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away;

And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

But he went out, and began to publish [it] much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.


Mark 2:1-12 (KJV):

And again he entered into Capernaum after [some] days; and it was noised that he was in the house.

And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive [them], no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.

And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken [it] up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,

Why doth this [man] thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?

And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?

Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, [Thy] sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)

I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.


Mark 3:1-6 (KJV):

And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.

And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.

And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.

And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.

And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched [it] out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.


Mark 3:7-12 (KJV):

But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea,

And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and [from] beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.

And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him.

For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.

And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.

And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.


Mark 5:1-20 (KJV):

And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.

And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,

Who had [his] dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:

Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any [man] tame him.

And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.

But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,

And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, [thou] Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.

For he said unto him, Come out of the man, [thou] unclean spirit.

And he asked him, What [is] thy name? And he answered, saying, My name [is] Legion: for we are many.

And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.

And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.

And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

And they that fed the swine fled, and told [it] in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.

And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

And they that saw [it] told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and [also] concerning the swine.

And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.

And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.

Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all [men] did marvel.


Mark 5:21-24, 35-43:

And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.

And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,

And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: [I pray thee], come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.

And [Jesus] went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.


While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's [house certain] which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?

As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.

And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.

And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.

And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.

And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.

And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.

And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was [of the age] of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.

And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.


Mark 5:25-34 (KJV):

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in [her] body that she was healed of that plague.

And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?

And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.

But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.


Mark 6:1-6 (KJV):

And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.

And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing [him] were astonished, saying, From whence hath this [man] these things? and what wisdom [is] this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.

And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed [them].

And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.


Mark 6:7-13 (KJV):

And he called [unto him] the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;

And commanded them that they should take nothing for [their] journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in [their] purse:

But [be] shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.

And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed [them].


Mark 6:53-56 (KJV):

And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.

And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him,

And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was.

And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.


Mark 7:24-30 (KJV):

And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know [it]: but he could not be hid.

For a [certain] woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:

The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.

But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast [it] unto the dogs.

And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.

And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.

And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.


Mark 7:31-37 (KJV):

And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.

And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.

And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;

And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.

And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.

And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published [it];

And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.


Mark 8:22-26 (KJV):

And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.

And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.

And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.

After that he put [his] hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell [it] to any in the town.


Mark 9:14-29 (KJV):

And when he came to [his] disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them.

And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to [him] saluted him.

And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?

And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;

And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.

He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.

And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.

And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.

And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things [are] possible to him that believeth.

And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, [Thou] dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And [the spirit] cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.

But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.

And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?

And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.


Mark 10:46-52 (KJV):

And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, [thou] Son of David, have mercy on me.

And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, [Thou] Son of David, have mercy on me.

And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.

And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Faith in AA - Dick B. to Speak Regularly on Gina Bea Radio Show

A.A. Historian and Christian Recovery Movement Expert


Dick B.


Will Be Appearing Regularly on


Gina Bea’s Talk Radio Show








Gina Bea Live! USAP








Gina Bea Radio Shows with Dick B. are archived at:


(Go to the bottom of the Web page to see the link to interviews with Dick B.)


Dick B. is a writer, historian, retired attorney, Bible student, CDAAC, and an active recovered A.A. member with over 26 years of continuous sobriety. He has published 46 titles and over 1,250 articles on Alcoholics Anonymous history and the Christian Recovery Movement.


Dick B. is Executive Director of the International Christian Recovery Coalition:



Dick B.’s main website is:



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rev. Sam Shoemaker's Apologia: I Stay Near the Door

Reverend Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr.’s Apologia For His Life

“So I Stand By The Door”


The Poem, Its Form and Titles and an Historical Commentary--Revisited


By Dick B.

Copyright 2012 Anonymous. All rights are reserved


Background Introduction



The Reverend Samuel Moor Shoemaker, Jr., S.T.D., DD, is known to a few (far too few) members of Alcoholics Anonymous as a “co-founder” of the Society and the well-spring of its ideas.


To the religious community, to Episcopalians, and to many citizens, Sam was known and applauded as one of the 10 greatest preachers in America (along with Billy Graham, Norman Vincent Peale, and others). From 1925 and for many years thereafter, Sam was Rector of the Calvary Protestant Episcopal Church in New York. Later he was called to be Rector of the Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh. Sam took a special interest in Alcoholics Anonymous and became a good friend of co-founder Bill Wilson. In fact, Sam taught Bill Wilson most of the spiritual principles that were incorporated into A.A.’s basic text (Alcoholics Anonymous) and in A.A.’s Twelve Steps. Some 200 phrases in A.A. bear the unmistakable footprints of Sam. And, at one point, Wilson asked Shoemaker to write the Twelve Steps, but Sam declined – saying they should be written by Bill. Nonetheless, the Steps (as is the Big Book) are replete with Shoemaker ideas on how to find God, the “turning point,” the Oxford Group life-changing steps (Confidence, Confession, Conviction, Conversion, Continuance), Quiet Time, Spiritual Awakening, prayer, fellowship, conversion and witness, and the need to “pass it on”—a phrase known to all AAs. Years after the founding of A.A. in 1935, Wilson accorded Shoemaker the singular honor of addressing the A.A. International Conventions in 1955 (St. Louis) and 1960 (Long Beach).


Recently, the Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Experiment (which Sam founded) opined to me that Shoemaker’s whole dedication was to opening the door and showing people how to find God. Shoemaker several times wrote articles bearing titles like “How To Find God.”


It is not surprising that Shoemaker penned several versions of a poem which most have titled “So I Stand By The Door.” Actually, at Christmas, 1958, Sam had this poem and many others privately printed by Calvary Church in Pittsburgh. The poem has taken several forms and been known by at least two titles. The first title – apparently the one that Sam himself chose – was “So I Stay Near The Door—An Apologia For My Life.” This is the title used in the pamphlet which I found in the Episcopal Church Archives in Austin, Texas. The poem has been used, modified, reprinted, and retitled elsewhere under the better known name of “So I Stand By The Door.”




The Poem: “So I Stay Near The Door”




[I have received so many inquiries about the poem, its title, its wording, and where to find it, that this rendition is made available for your blessing. Further extensive comments on Sam Shoemaker can be found it my title “New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A.” (http://www.dickb.com/newlight.shtml)]


“I stay near the door.

I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out,

The door is the most important door in the world—

It is the door through which men walk when they find God.

There’s no use my going way inside, and staying there,

When so many are still outside, and they, as much as I,

Crave to know where the door is.

And all that so many ever find

Is only the wall where a door ought to be.

They creep along the wall like blind men.

With outstretched, groping hands,

Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,

Yet they never find it . . .

So I stay near the door.


“The most tremendous thing in the world

Is for men to find that door—the door to God.

The most important thing any man can do

Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands,

And put it on the latch—the latch that only clicks

And opens to the man’s own touch.

Men die outside that door, as starving beggars die

On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter—

Die for want of what is within their grasp.

They live, on the other side of it—live because they have found it.

Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,

And open it, and walk in, and find Him . . .

So I stay near the door.


“Go in, great saints, go all the way in—

Go way down into the cavernous cellars,

And way up into the spacious attics—

In a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.

Go into the deepest of hidden casements,

Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.

Some must inhabit those inner rooms,

And know the depths and heights of God,

And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.

Sometimes I take a deeper look in,

Sometimes venture a little farther;

But my place seems closer to the opening . . .

So I stay near the door.


“The people too far in do not see how near these are

To leaving—preoccupied with the wonder of it all.

Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door,

But would like to run away. So for them, too,

I stay near the door.


“I admire the people who go way in.

But I wish they would not forget how it was

Before they got in. Then they would be able to help

The people who have not even found the door,

Or the people who want to run away again from God.

You can go in too deeply, and stay in too long,

And forget the people outside the door.

As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,

Near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there,

But not so far from men as not to hear them,

And remember they are there too.

Where? Outside the door—

Thousands of them, millions of them.

But—more important for me—

One of them, two of them, ten of them,

Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch,

So I shall stay by the door and wait

For those who seek it.

‘I had rather be a door-keeper . . .’

So I stay near the door.”




Epilogue by Dick B.




The poem contains many reminders of the A.A. I found – newcomers crying out for help in finding God. Hesitant, frightened, even reluctant newcomers—coming in and out by the thousands each year. Newcomers who seek a guiding hand—only to hear that “god” can be a light bulb, a radiator, a chair, or “Someone.” Newcomers who can’t find Shoemaker’s “door” because there is no one leading or pointing to the right power—Yahweh, the Creator. Newcomers who—amounting to 50% of those who come in the A.A. door—are out of it within the first year. Back to drinking. Back to drugs. Back to misery. Back to sure and certain death by one means or another if they remain “outside” the real door—the door to the power of God.


How valuable it will be for people to look one more time at Shoemaker’s poem.


As some Americans urge that we take “God” out of our Pledge of Allegiance. As we do take “God” out of our courtrooms. And, then, sad to say, as AAs are adjured to take “God” out of their belief system and substitute it with a supposed freedom to choose just “anything at all.”


The A.A. I found, almost twenty years ago, included, among other things, these signposts:



(1) “Remember that we deal with alcohol—cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power—that One is God. May you find Him now!” (“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., p. 59; and the first chapter of Shoemaker’s first title, “Realizing Religion,” 1923).


(2) “. . . either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn’t. What was our choice to be?” (“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., p. 53; and Shoemaker’s title which preceded A.A., “Confident Faith”).


(3) “Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were.” (“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., p. 55).


(4) “When we drew near to Him, He disclosed Himself to us!” (“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed,,  p. 57).


(5) “We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.” (“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., p. 59; and many of Shoemaker’s titles, including his first—“Realizing Religion”).



The early A.A. Pioneers in Akron, Ohio, were not trying to find God. They got their information, their belief system, and their instructions from the Bible. They studied the Bible. And they believed that God is (See Hebrews 11:6). So did I. As a matter of fact, Dr. Bob explicitly required each new A.A. to say that he did believe in God. Not “a” god. God!


Devastated by the ravages of excessive drink, like the Pioneers, I sought to rebuild my relationship with God—to establish daily fellowship with Him (1 John 1). And to seek His protection and care at every turn, mindful that obedience to His will was a vital part of the effort. Like early AAs, I was cured of alcoholism and have not had a drink from the first day in A.A. rooms until present.


Doubters, unbelievers, and some like Bill Wilson—were given a Christian upbringing in the East Dorset Congregational Church, then at  Burr and Burton Academy where there was daily chapel, and later even at Norwich University. But events changed Bill. Bill  turned his back on God when his high school girl-friend Bertha Bamford unexpectedly died in surgery. Beginning right there and continuing until 1934, Bill turned away from God, from his Christian upbringing, from his Sunday school and church attendance, and from his four years of Bible study. In fact, that dark period did not end until 1934.


In 1934, Bill Wilson was desperate, depressed, and a drunken alcoholic. Dr. Silkworth advised Bill that the Great Physician Jesus Christ could cure him. Bill was then visited by his friend Ebby Thacher, a drunk, who had gone to the altar at Calvary Mission, accepted Christ, and been healed. With that, Bill himself went to the Calvary Mission altar and made a decision for Jesus Christ. After which, he wrote: “For sure, I’d been born again.” Then Bill—still despairing and drunk--went to Towns Hospital. He cried out to God for help. He immediately experienced the blazing of his hospital room with an indescribably white light. Bill believed that he had been in the presence of Almighty God. He said he thought: “Bill, you are a free man. This is the God of the Scriptures.”


Bill was immediately cured. He never again doubted the existence of God. And, before long, he was urging AAs to “find God.” And to “find Him now.” A.A.’s basic text was written to suggest to newcomers the steps to take to find God. And this was the very thing Rev. Sam Shoemaker was teaching to his friend Bill Wilson in New York.


Bill suggested taking the Twelve Steps to “find God” and establish a relationship with Him. The suggested steps were designed to show that “God could and would [if He were sought”] heal  the alcoholic.







PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837

Ph/fax: 808 874 4876

Email: dickb@dickb.com

URL: http://www.dickb.com/index.shtml

Gloria Deo

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Rock Church in San Diego with Powerful New Recovery Video

David P., of Rock Church in San Diego, just sent me a fine video that seeks to bridge the gap between church and recovery. David's a hard worker and Christian recovery leader with Rock Recovery Ministries; abc sober living, and Soledad House. Rock Church really rocks with thousands who attend church in San Diego and are also "in recovery" there.

David is also a participant in International Christian Recovery Coalition and has been a major benefactor in the course of our many conferences and workshops.

Here is David's message and the link to the video you are invited to watch:

I sent you the email below on Monday. Did you have a chance to see it? I was
hoping to get a response. Pretty powerful message and a great example of
people in recovery and churches working together. Super high end production
too. It would be awesome if more churches would carry a message like this
to their congregations. The Dick B message is encouraging more AA's to go to
church. How wonderful it is to see churches like the Rock carry such a
powerful message about getting sober.



Sunday, October 07, 2012

How Bill Wilson Originally Described the A.A. Faith Solution

Bill W.’s First Draft of

the Big Book Chapter Titled “There Is A Solution”


 By Dick B.

© 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved


During the early 1990’s, while I was doing research at Stepping Stones in New York, I found, and was given permission to make a Xerox copy of, a manuscript Bill W. wrote titled “ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS: CHAPTER #1: THERE IS A SOLUTION.” As my son Ken and I note in “Appendix Two: Key Highlights in the Writing of the Big Book with Approximate Dates” of our new title God, His Son Jesus Christ & the Bible in Early A.A., when Bill W. originally wrote the chapter titled “There Is A Solution” in March or April of 1938, it was identified as chapter one. As I was reviewing my copy of Bill W.’s manuscript again today, I was struck by significant differences in language between Bill’s early manuscript and the Big Book as we know it today—particularly relative to the phrase “religious experience(s).”


How Bill W. Wrote of the “Solution”

Before “the Great Contribution of Our Atheists and Agnostics”

[See Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 166-67; italics added]


           “The tremendous fact for every one of us has been the discovery of a common solution – a way out with which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action.” (Manuscript page 2).


           “The main purpose of this book is to exhaustively, definitely and specifically answer those questions and to let you know what you can do about it.” (Manuscript page 5).


           “But there is a solution, and how glorious was the knowledge of it to us. Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of our sins of omission and commission which the process requires for its successful consummation, but we saw that it really worked in others.” (Manuscript pages 9-10).


           “And the GREAT  FACT is just this and no less; that all of us have had deep and effective religious experiences which have in every case revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God’s great universe.” (Manuscript page 10—emphasis added).


           “The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that the Creator of you and me has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is to us new and beautiful and has there commenced to accomplish those things which by no stretch of the imagination were we humanly capable of.” (Manuscript page 10).


           “After years of living on a basis which now seems to us wholly false, you are not going to get rightly related to your Creator in a minute. None of us has found God in six easy lessons, but He can be found by all who are willing to put the task ahead of all else.” (Manuscript page 10).


           [Dr. Carl Jung told Rowland Hazard, wrote Bill:] “Sporadically, here and there, once in a while, alcoholics have had what are called vital religious experiences. . . . [H]is faith and his religious convictions were very good as far as they went, but that in his case, they did not spell the vital religious experience so absolutely imperative to displace his insanity with respect to matters alcoholic.” (Manuscript page 11—emphasis added).


           “So . . . it began to look to us as though we must have a vital religious experience or perish. Our friend [Rowland Hazard] did finally have such an experience and we in our turn have sought the same happy end, with all of the ardor of drowning men clutching at straws. But what seemed at first to be a flimsy reed has proved to be a loving and powerful hand of God.” (Manuscript page 11—emphasis added).


           “As a group, or as individuals, we have no desire to convince anyone that the true God can only be discovered in some particular way . . . If what we have learned, and felt, and seen, means anything at all, it indicates that all of us . . . are the children of a living Creator with whom we may form a new relationship upon very simple and understandable terms, the moment any of us become willing enough to do so. Therefore, we waste no time in the kind of religious disputation which has so frequently torn people apart.” (Manuscript page 11).


           “Not all of us have joined religious bodies, but we are nearly all agreed that by so doing, each would be taking a step toward new growth and availability for God’s purpose.” (Manuscript page 12).


           “The next few chapters are the personal narratives of several of us. In these accounts each person will describe in his own language and from his own point of view the way in which he happened to find the living God.” (Manuscript page 12).


Notes for the Readers


1.         Bill said that the solution was a “vital religious experience.” So did Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker in his first significant book, Realizing Religion. And so, as you can see here, did Dr. Carl G. Jung—who fathered the solution through advising Rowland Hazard.


2.         The “vital religious experience” was explained by Bill W. as the need for a “defense;” but there was no mention of a “higher power.” Bill simply explained that Rowland had “placed himself beyond all human aid, and unless locked up, is virtually certain to die, or to go permanently insane.” (Manuscript page 9).


3.         The GREAT FACT, said Bill, was that “all of us have had deep and effective religious experiences.” (Manuscript page 10).


4.         The solution, said Bill: “So it began to look to us as though we must have a vital religious experience or perish.” (Manuscript page 11).


5.         “All of us,” said Bill, “are the children of a living Creator with whom we may form a new relationship.” (Manuscript page 11).


6.         The author of each personal narrative “will describe in his own language and from his own point of view the way in which he happened to find the living God.” (Manuscript page 12).


7.         The result produced by seeking God and obtaining the solution, said Bill, is “The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that the Creator of you and me has entered into our hearts and lives in a way . . . which by no stretch of the imagination were we humanly capable of.” (Manuscript page 10).



The Certainty, in the Minds of the First Three AAs,

that Establishing a Relationship with the Creator Had Produced the Solution


On page 191 of the latest edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill W. is quoted as follows:


Henrietta, the Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.


On page 181 of the latest edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. Bob is quoted as follows:


If you think you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic, or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you. . . .


Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!       


On page 191 of the same edition, A.A. Number Three (Bill D.) is quoted a follows:


I thought, I think I have the answer. Bill was very, very grateful that he had been released from this terrible thing and had given God the credit for having done it, and he’s so grateful about it he wants to tell other people about it.


That sentence, “The Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease that I just want to keep telling people about it,” has been a sort of a golden text for the A.A. program and for me.


The Certainty Was Embodied in the Three Pertinent Ideas on Page 60 of the 4th edition


(a)        That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b)        That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c)        That God could and would if He were sought.


Gloria Deo

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Christian Faith in A.A. Today! The Approach that Works

An Answer for Christians in A.A. Today


How to Deal with Obstructive Individuals Misconstruing A.A. Principles


By Dick B.

© 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved


The Incessant Chatter of Ill-Informed and Even Well-Intentioned Fellow Drunks Who Seem to Have Inadequate Knowledge of A.A.’s Roots and of A.A.’s Own Literature


Day after day, we talk on the phone, exchange emails, and converse at meetings and conferences with Christians who appreciate their benefits from Alcoholics Anonymous and also love the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes they are parents and relatives of alcoholics and addicts. Sometimes they are pastors and recovery pastors. Sometimes they are AAs, NAs, Al-Anons, and other varieties of 12-Steppers. More often than not they are either long-clean and sober old-timers, or newcomers fresh out of jail or treatment.


Then, they let out a peep that they love the Lord.


Or they say they are praying to their Creator in the name of Jesus Christ.


Or they mention that they are reading the Bible daily.


The result? Often, some authoritarian person who has no more governance, or control, or special privilege than any other drunk or drug addict tells them they cannot do any of these things because they are “not conference-approved;” or they violate the Twelve Traditions; or they are “outside issues;” or that they are contrary to A.A. because A.A. is supposedly “spiritual, but not religious;” or that A.A. worships a “higher power” instead of God.


The statements are wrong. In the more jocular days of my early sobriety, we might have said that such behavior is just the “ism” in alcoholism still showing through. The statements are nonsense. And they obstruct many AAs in their efforts to rely on Almighty God for help as did the founders and original pioneers of A.A.




Does the aggrieved person just sit quietly in meetings and suffer? Does he start an argument with some unbeliever? Does he leave the meeting? Does he start a new meeting? Does he leave A.A.? Does he condemn A.A. or develop hostility to 12-Step programs? Does he try some other route which has a far lower success rate than that of the original A.A. “Christian fellowship” program?


Possible Answer


He could read the diatribes of a few Christian writers who say A.A. is “not of the Lord.” He could read the distributions of a few Christian writers (usually the same ones) that A.A. is “psychoheresy.” He could read the ad hominem attempts to lay all of A.A.’s supposed shortcomings on the alleged adultery, LSD use, Freemasonry, New Thought, and spiritualism of one or both of A.A.’s cofounders. He could! But he doesn’t need to.


The Best Available Answer I Know


Get the facts.


Learn A.A.’s real history.


Study reliable and accurate “conference-approved” literature that cites sources and authority.


Ignore the shibboleths that A.A. is allegedly “spiritual, but not religious;” that it is about “not-god-ness,” and not about the Creator – Almighty God; that A.A. worships some “higher power” that can be a tree or a rock or a light bulb;” and that you can choose your own conception of just any old “god;” and that A.A. supposedly has a non-Christian God.


Discard the nonsense and decide whether you want God’s help or not. Decide if you agree with A.A.’s own literature which says: “Be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they offer.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 87)


Today’s Formula for Christians in Recovery,

for Christians in A.A., and for Christian Recovery Leaders


·         Alcoholics Anonymous was founded and grounded on a long line of pre-A.A. Christian organizations and individual helping drunks to get well by relying on God and coming to Him through His Son Jesus Christ. They include: (1) The great evangelists like Dwight L. Moody, Ira Sankey, H. M. Moore, Allen Folger, F. B. Meyer, and Billy Sunday; (2) The Young Men’s Christian Association workers of the 1800’s; (3) The Salvation Army; (4) Gospel Rescue Missions; and (5) the United Society of Christian Endeavor. All had followers numbering in the hundreds of thousands.


·         Alcoholics Anonymous founders and pioneers like Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob Smith, Ebby Thacher, Dr. William Silkworth, Rowland Hazard, and Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker were all devoted Christians; born and raised as Christians; steeped in Christian principles and practices and Bible study and prayer; and applied their Christian training in the positive help they passed along to thousands of recovered drunks they helped.


·         The early A.A. biblical solution is spelled out in A.A.’s own conference-approved literature like DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers and The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches, Their Last Major Talks. And in the newly conference-approved, but long-discarded, personal stories of the pioneers in the first edition of A.A.’s own Big Book (as seen in the A.A. General Service Conference-approved book, Experience, Strength & Hope).


·         A Christian today who wants to remain a practicing Christian in a 12 Step Fellowship needs to heed the oft-uttered statement of old-timer A.A. Clarence Snyder: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for almost anything.” And also the well-known words of Jesus Christ in John 8:31-32: “. . . If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples

indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”


Suggested Authoritative Reading


By Dick B. and Ken B.:


Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont: The Roots of Early A.A.s Original Program.


God, His Son Jesus Christ & the Bible in Early A.A.: The Long-Overlooked Personal Stories in the First Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous


Stick with the Winners! How to Conduct More Effective 12-Step Recovery Meetings Using Conference-Approved Literature: A Dick B. Guide for Christian Leaders and Workers in the Recovery Arena


Gloria Deo