Friday, December 27, 2013

Alcoholics Anonymous History Enlarged and Revised for 2014 by A.A. Author and Historian Dick B. Alcoholics Anonymous History – Expanded and Revised for 2014 Early A.A. and Its Successful Christian Roots, The Real Pre-AA Influential Christians and Christian Organizations, The Christian Upbringing of A.A.’s Cofounders, How Its First Three Got Sober Before There Was Any Recovery Program, the Centrality of the Bible, and Akron’s Christian Fellowship with Dick B. © 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved This study, and our website, and our six video study guide for 2014, plus the accompanying Guidebook. intend to focus readers on accurate, truthful, comprehensive Alcoholics Anonymous History—particularly as it extends from the pre-A.A. Christian roots of the 1850’s to the period just after Bill Wilson published the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous in April 1939. It will lay out the history in various chunks that can be examined and studied as time permits and that should prove useful to the recovery community. Particularly to those who wonder what happened to God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible and yielded to nonsense gods, “spirituality,” and self-made religion as well as unbelief. [Draft updated to January 1, 2014, with Dick B. and Ken B.’s latest titles, articles, videos, and radio show episodes. The final draft will contain full bibliographic references and publication data, and will be updated as well. In other words, the final revision and editing are still works in progress; but this material has already been widely read on the internet and elsewhere in the first two editions of the article.] Let’s Begin with Useful Alcoholics Anonymous General Service Conference-Approved Literature I began my own search for Alcoholics Anonymous history by reading all the available, accurate, relevant literature published by A.A. itself. I still get grounded there and recommend looking at A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature first—instead of speculating on what A.A. is or isn’t. Once that foundation is mastered, the reader can begin filling in the holes, straightening out the distortions, correcting the misrepresentations, eliminating the undocumented “wisdom of the rooms, and finding out what most in the recovery community have simply not heard. And the recommended A.A. books, in the order of the publication, are: Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism, 1st ed. (New York City, N.Y.: Works Publishing Company, 1939). [Note that Dover Publications has now released a complete reprint of the First Edition in trade paper and has included a 27 page introduction by author Dick B.] RHS (New York 2, N. Y.: The A.A. Grapeine, 1951). This issue of the AA Grapevine is dedicated to the memory of the Co-Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, DR. BOB (i.e., Robert Holbrook Smith—“RHS”) Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism, 2d ed. (New York City, N.Y.: Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing, Inc., 1955) Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age (New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Publishing, Inc., 1957). The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches: Their Last Major Talks (New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1972, 1975). Item # P-53. This pamphlet is currently available online from A.A.:; accessed 1/30/13. Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd ed. (New York City: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1976). DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, (New York, N.Y.: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1980). ‘PASS IT ON’: The Story of Bill Wilson and How the A.A. Message Reached the World (New York, N.Y.: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1984). The Language of the Heart: Bill W.’s Grapevine Writings (New York: The AA Grapevine, Inc., 1988). Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed. (New York City: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 2001). Experience, Strength and Hope: Stories from the First Three Editions of Alcoholics Anonymous, (New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 2003). Next, Look at Relevant, Reliable Books and Other Literature about Alcoholics Anonymous History That Can Be Helpful Piece by piece, manuscript by manuscript, research trip by research trip, archive by archive, library by library, interview by interview, Alcoholics Anonymous history—in its full form, and in a form that is comprehensive, accurate, and able to be used and applied in recovery today—emerged from and is reported in the following Alcoholics Anonymous History literature: Bill W., Alcoholics Anonymous: “The Big Book”: The Original 1939 Edition, with a New Introduction by Dick B. (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2011) AA of Akron Pamphlets, n.d.: Available at Akron Intergroup Office (revised several times) A Guide to the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous A Manual for Alcoholics Anonymous Second Reader for Alcoholics Anonymous Spiritual Milestones in Alcoholics Anonymous Akron A.A.’s: What Others Think of Alcoholics Anonymous Central Bulletin, Box 1638, Station C, Cleveland, Ohio (3 Volumes) Cleveland: A.A. (articles in Houston Press), A.A. in Cleveland, A.A. Sponsorship Cleveland Plain Dealer Articles (before edited, altered, and republished under new name) [All available Cleveland Intergroup archives materials were reviewed by Dick B. and Ken B. in 2012, and discussed by Wally P., But for the Grace of God, 1995], 30-46. Autobiographies of Bill Wilson: Bill W., My First 40 Years (Center City, MN: Hazelden). Chapter 1 “Bill’s Story,” Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 2001, 1-16. The many manuscripts by Bill that Dick B. found, was permitted to copy, and which are contained in a bound volume in Maui, Hawaii. All found at Stepping Stones, most of which are discussed at some length in Dick B., Turning Point: A History of Early A.A.’s Spiritual Roots and Successes (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, 1997). Biographies of Bill W.: Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W., 2006. Susan Cheever, My Name is Bill W., 2004. Tom White, Bill W.: A Different Kind of Hero, 2003. Francis Hartigan, Bill W., A Biography . . , 2000. Matthew Raphael, Bill W. and Mr. Wilson, 2000 Nan Robertson, Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, 1988. Robert Thomsen, Bill W., 1975 Bill W. (New York: The AA Grapevine, 1971). Biographies of Dr. Bob RHS, 1951. The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches: Their Last Major Talks, Item # P-53. “Doctor Bob’s Nightmare,” Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 171-81. DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, 1980. Dick B. and Ken B., Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Good Book as a Youngster, 2008 Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the Green Mountain Men of Vermont The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010. Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, Newton ed., 1998. Dr. Bob and His Library, 3rd ed., 1998. “Alcoholics Anonymous and Dr. Bob,” “16 Specific Practices Associated with the Original Akron A.A. "Christian Fellowship" Program,” “Get Honest with Yourself, Pray. Alcoholics Anonymous Advise,” The Tidings, Page 17, Friday, March 26, 1948. D. J. Defoe, "I Saw Religion Remake a Drunkard" in Your Faith (September 1939), 84-88. (Your Faith is "a McFadden Publication")--Dr. Bob is called "Dr. X" in this article. Beck, Richard, A Proud Tradition; A Bright Future: A Sequicentennial History of St. Johnsbury, Academy, 1192 Biographical on A.A. Number Three, Bill D. Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010. “Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three,” Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 182-192 ‘PASS IT ON,’ 356-57. “Bill Dotson: A.A Number Three’s Recovery by the Power of God” “Bill Dotson – AA’s Number Three, “Bill Dotson: A.A. Number 3”: Biographical on Rowland Hazard [Rowland Hazard, an alcoholic businessman, had been told by Dr. Carl Jung that he had the mind of a chronic alcoholic but could possibly be cured by a vital religious experience—a conversion. Rowland returned to America, became associated with the Oxford Group, studied with Rev. Sam Shoemaker, and became active in Shoemaker’s Calvary Church. Rowland had been impressed by the simplicity of the early Christian teachings as advocated by the Oxford Group. Rowland made a decision for Jesus Christ. Rowland and two other Oxford Group friends (Cebra Graves and Shep Cornell) had decided to witness to Ebby Thacher and told Ebby many Oxford Group principles and practices. Ebby Thacher, an old drinking friend of Bill Wilson’s who had become a “real alcoholic,” recalled that two of Rowland’s Oxford Group friends one of whom was (an old friend of Bill Wilson’s and a “real alcoholic”) had told Ebby “things they had gotten out of the Oxford Group based on the life of Christ, biblical times.” Ebby said: “It was what I had been taught as a child and what I inwardly believed, but had lain aside” The men had suggested that Ebby call on God and try prayer. Rowland and the two others lodged Ebby in Shoemaker’s Calvary Mission. Occasionally, a religious writer—either disdainful of, or unfamiliar with, A.A. facts and origins will say erroneously: “Alcoholics Anonymous does not use the words sin or conversion” See Linda Mercadante, Victims & Sinners, 1996, 70. Or, as she does on page 91: “God does not ask any more than simple acknowledgement of divine existence.” But our readers should look at A.A.’s Third Step prayer—“May I do Thy will always” and A.A.’s Seventh Step prayer—“Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.” Then spend a moment with Exodus 15:26, Exodus 20:1-17—the Ten Commandments; Matthew 22:36-40—the two Great Commandments; James 2:8-11; and read all of Hebrews 11:6.] T. Willard Hunter, “IT STARTED RIGHT THERE,” 2006 Bill C. and Jay S., Kitchen Table A.A. Sponsorship Workshop, Carlsbad, 2007 Jay Stinnett, “Why Our Lives Were Saved,” A.A. Spiritual History Workshop, Reykjavík, Iceland, March 11, 2007. ‘PASS IT ON,’ 1984. Mel B., Ebby: The Man Who Sponsored Bill W., 1998. Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W. Bill W. My First 40 Years Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the Green Mountain Men of Vermont: Vermont Connections to A.A. Personalities and Early A.A.’s Original Program (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2012) Dick B., The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd ed. Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A. Tom White, Bill W.: A Different Kind of Hero, 2003. Fredericka Templeton, The Castle in the Pasture: Portrait of Burr and Burton Academy Biographical on F. Shepard Cornell Bill W., My First 40 Years ‘PASS IT ON’ Mel B., Ebby Leslie B. Cole, Rogers Burnham: The Original Man behind Bill W. Charles Clapp, The Big Bender, pp. 105-50 Bill Pittman and Dick B., Courage to Change: The Christian Roots of the Twelve-Step Movement, pp. 135-50. Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the Green Mountain Men of Vermont. Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, Newton ed., pp. 5, 19, 28, 142-45, 152, 159, 162, 168-70. Dick B., The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous, new rev ed., pp. 128-30. Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A., Pittsburgh ed., pp. 333-35. Helen Smith Shoemaker, I Stand by the Door, p. 177. John Potter Cuyler, Calvary Church in Action, p. 57. Lois Remembers, p. 91. Biographical on Cebra Graves Bill W., My First 40 Years ‘PASS IT ON’ Mel B., Ebby Leslie B. Cole, Rogers Burnham: The Original Man behind Bill W. Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Green Mountain Men of Vermont Biographical on William D. Silkworth, M.D. [Silkworth’s name itself may not be well known to most AAs. But they certainly know of the “Doctor’s Opinion” written by Silkworth as an introduction to their Big Book. And they probably have grasped the fact that Silkworth established in Bill Wilson’ thinking that alcoholism was a disease—an allergy of the body kicked into gear by an obsession of the mind. But, as Silkworth’s biographer observed after he had researched Silkworth’s life and papers, Silkworth has not been given credit for the role he played in convincing Bill and others that they could be cured of their alcoholism by the “Great Physician,” Jesus Christ. And that solution—long since tossed aside before the Big Book was published--became the foundation of Bill’s conviction that “conversion” was the answer to alcoholism and that it was manifested by a “spiritual experience.” “Divine Aid,” Bill was still calling it in his address at the Shrine Auditorium in 1948 with Dr. Bob on the stage with him as well. The information about the Great Physician and cure was conveyed to Bill on his third hospitalization when he was given a virtual death sentence promise if Bill did not quit drinking immediately. The specifics of Silkworth’s advice on alcoholism were confirmed by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.] Dale Mitchel, Silkworth: The Little Doctor Who Loved Drunks. Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W. The Language of the Heart Dick B. and Ken B., The Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010 Bill W., My First 40 Years Norman Vincent Peale, The Positive Power of Jesus Christ Biographical on Edwin Throckmorton Thacher, “Ebby,” Bill’s Sponsor [While Ebby, a chronic alcoholic, was in Calvary Mission, he went to the altar and made a decision for Jesus Christ. He then visited Bill as he himself had been visited by Rowland Hazard, Cebra Graves, and Shep Cornell. Ebby told Bill he had “found religion,” and that he had tried prayer—something he specifically recommended to Bill Wilson. Ebby was sober. Bill concluded that Ebby had been “reborn.” But taking no chances on Ebby’s version, Bill went to Shoemaker’s Calvary Church, listened to Ebby’s testimony, and then decided that if the Great Physician had helped Ebby, he (Bill) could probably receive the same help. Armed with Silkworth’s advice and Ebby’s eye-witness testimony, Bill went to Calvary Mission himself. He went to the altar. He made his own decision for Jesus Christ. He quickly wrote, “For sure, I had been born again.” And then, still drunk and still despondent, Bill made his way to Towns Hospital where he decided to call on the Great Physician, cried out to God for help, and had the vital religious “white light” experience—which Silkworth called a conversion experience. Bill mentioned the indescribably white light that blazed in his room. He said he sensed he was on a mountain top he had not climbed and that he had felt the breeze of the Spirit. He sensed the presence of God in his room. He was cured. He never again doubted the existence of God. He reflected: “Bill, you are a free man. This is the God of the Scriptures.” And Bill never drank again.] T. Willard Hunter, “IT STARTED RIGHT THERE.” 2006 Bill W., My First 40 Years, Dale Mitchel, Silkworth: The Little Doctor Who Loved Drunks. Mel B. Ebby: The Man Who Sponsored Bill W., 1998 ‘PASS IT ON’ Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age Richard M. Dubiel, The Road to Fellowship, 2004, 79-80: “[Rowland Hazard] must have had some sort of influence on early A.A.’s who knew about him, whether at first or second hand . . . it is clear that behind Ebby Thatcher [sic], the messenger who brought the message of salvation to Bill Wilson in the kitchen of Bill’s apartment in November 1934, lay the figure of Rowland Hazard III, the mysterious messenger behind the messenger.” Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W. Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed. 2010. Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Green Mountain Men of Vermont Biographical on Dr. Bob’s Wife, Anne Ripley Smith Dick B., Anne Smith’s Journal, 1933-1939, 3rd ed., 1998 Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, 2d ed., 1998 Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows, Children of the Healer, 1992 Charlotte Hunter, Billye Jones, Joan Zieger, Women Pioneers in 12 Step Recovery, 1999 DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers RHS The Language of the Heart Biography on Bill W.’s Wife, Lois Wilson Lois Remembers, 1979. William Borchert, When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story Bill W. My First 40 Years Dick B.., New Light on Alcoholism, Pittsburgh ed. Biography on Henrietta Buckler Seiberling Dick B., Henrietta B. Seiberling: Ohio’s Lady with a Cause Charlotte Hunter, Billye Jones, Joan Zieger, Women Pioneers Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, 2d, ed, DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers Biography of T. Henry and Clarace Williams Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, 2d ed. DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers Biographical on Dr. Frank N.D. Buchman, Founder of the Oxford Group Garth Lean, Frank Buchman: A Life, 1985 Frank Buchman, Remaking the World, 1961 H. W. “Bunny” Austin, Frank Buchman as I Knew Him, 1975 Peter Howard, That Man Frank Buchman, 1946 The World Rebuilt: The True Story of Frank Buchman. . . , 1951 Frank Buchman’s Secret, 1961 R.C. Mowat, The Message of Frank Buchman, n.d. T. Willard Hunter, World Changing Through Life Changing, 1977 Alan Thornhill, The Significance of the Life of Frank Buchman, 1952 Dick B., The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous, Newton ed. Biographical on Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A., 2d ed. Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A. The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous,Newton ed. Real 12 Step History Irving Harris, The Breeze of the Spirit, 1978. “S.M. S.—Man of God for Our Time,” Faith at Work, 1964. AJ Russell, For Sinners Only Norman Vincent Peale, “The Unforgettable Sam Shoemaker,” Faith at Work, 1964. Louis W. Pitt, “New Life, New Reality: A Brief Picture of S.M.S.’s Influence,” Faith at Work, Sherwood S. Day, “Always Ready, S.M.S. as a Friend,” Calvary Evangel, 1950 Helen Smith Shoemaker, I Stand by the Door, 1967 Bill Wilson, “I Stand by the Door,” The A.A. Grapevine, 1967 “Ten of America’s Greatest Preachers,” Newsweek, “Calvary Mission, “ Pamphlet, NY Calvary Episcopal Church, n.d. John Potter Cuyler, Jr., Calvary Church in Action, 1934. The Language of the Heart Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age Samuel M Shoemaker, Jr. So I Stand by the Door and Other Verses, Pittsburgh, CalvaryRectory.1958 My Life Work and My Will, Pamphlet, 1930 “A First Century Christian Fellowship,” Churchman, Calvary Church Yesterday and Today, 1936. Realizing Religion, 1923 “How to Find God,” The Calvary Evangel, 1957. Get Changed; Get Together; Get Going: A History of the Pittsburgh Experiment, n.d. Biographical on Clarence H Snyder Three Clarence Snyder Sponsee Old-timers and Their Wives, Comp & ed. by Dick B., Our A.A. Legacy to the Faith Community: A Twelve-Step Guide For Those Who Want to Believe, 2005 DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, 1980. Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age Clarence Snyder, Going through the Steps, 2d ed., 1985 My Higher Power-The Light Bulb, 1985 A.A. Sponsorship Mitchell K., How It Worked: The Story of Clarence H Snyder and the Early Days of Alcoholics Anonymous in Cleveland, 1997. Dick B., That Amazing Grace, 1996. Biographical on Sister Ignatia [Though author Mary Darrah endeavors to select an earlier date for the A.A.-Ignatia connection, it is clear that Ignatia came on the A.A. scene about mid-August 1939. And her contributions were with Dr. Bob at St. Thomas Hospital from that point on. Her book makes clear that Father John C. Ford, S.J. had—like Father Dowling, S.J.—had a real part in editing Bill Wilson’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and his Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age—both published in the 1950’s] Mary Darrah, Sister Ignatia, 1992, 13, 25-26, 33-37. DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, 1980 Biographical on Father Ed Dowling, S.J. [Though Dowling did not meet Bill until the winter of 1940, he became a friend and sponsor to Bill, and edited Bill Wilson’s Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions] Robert Fitzgerald, S.J., The Soul of Sponsorship, 1995. See 55-66, 89] “Pass It On,” 1980, 240-243, 281-282, 354, 371, 387. Uncategorized Central Bulletin, Volumes I – III, Cleveland Central Committee, Dec. 1942-Dec. 1945 Nell Wing, Grateful to Have Been There, 1992. Stewart C., A Reference Guide to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, 1986. Bill Pittman, AA The Way It Began, 1988. Ernest Kurtz, Not-God, 1979 Jared Lobdell, This Strange Illness Wally P., But for the Grace of God. . . . The Book That Started It All: The Original Working Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous. 2010 How to Study, Learn, Teach, and Apply the Historical Elements Today [As I have said, the place to start is with A.A. General Service Conference-approved Literature. The primary reason is that so many involved with Alcoholics Anonymous tend to feel and state that if a piece of writing is not “Conference-approved,” it should not be read. There is no authority for such a position; but if AAs themselves are to learn their history, the least controversial source for some is their own literature. But it falls far short of being complete or covering certain subjects or relying upon certain authors and historians; hence an accurate, comprehensive, reference point would include most of the topics and books included in this history. The following are some suggested sources for your journey.] Dick B. and Ken B., Stick with the Winners! How to Conduct More Effective 12-Step Recover y Meetings Using Conference-Approved Literature: A Dick B. Guide for Christian Leaders and Workers in the Recovery Arena, 2012 Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous: God’s Role in Recovery Confirmed!, 2012 The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010 Dick B., Making Known The Biblical History and Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous: A Sixteen Year Research, Writing, Publishing, and Fact Dissemination Project, 3rd ed., 2005 The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible The Good Book-Big Book Guidebook, 2006 Cured!: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts, 2d ed, 2006 The James Club and The Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials, 4th ed., 2005 Twelve Steps for You: Take the Twelve Steps with the Big Book, A.A. History, and the Good Book at Your Side, 4th ed., 2005 God and Alcoholism: Our Growing Opportunity in the 21st Century, 2002 Why Early A.A. Succeeded: The Good Book in Alcoholics Anonymous Yesterday and Today (A Bible Study Primer for AAs and other 12-Steppers), 2001 By The Power of God: A Guide to Early A.A. Groups & Forming Similar Groups Today, 2000 Utilizing Early AA.’s Spiritual Roots for Recovery Today, 2000. Now to Alcoholics Anonymous History: Item by Item, on the Origins of A.A. Dick B., Introduction to the Sources and Founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, 2007 Real Twelve Step Fellowship History: The Old School A.A. You May Not Know, 2006 Making Known the Biblical History and Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd ed. 2006 The First Nationwide Alcoholics Anonymous History Conference, 2d ed., 2006. Turning Point: A History of Early A.A.’s Spiritual Roots and Successes, 1997. When Early AAs Were Cured and Why The Golden Text of A.A. Mel B. New Wine: The Spiritual Roots of the Twelve Step Miracle, 1991 My Search for Bill W., 2000. Alcoholics Anonymous History: Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr. Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A., 2d ed., 1999. Bill W., I Stand by the Door, The A.A. Grapevine, 1967. Charles Taylor Knippel, Samuel M. Shoemaker’s Theological Influence on William G. Wilson’s Twelve Step Spiritual Program of Recovery, 1987 Helen Smith Shoemaker, I Stand by the Door: The Life of Sam Shoemaker,1967. John Potter Cuyler, Jr., Calvary Church in Action, 1934. W. Irving Harris, The Breeze of the Spirit, 1978. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Calvary Church Yesterday and Today, 1936, Samuel M. Shoemaker, Realizing Religion, 1923 Alcoholics Anonymous History: the Oxford Group Dick B., The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous, Newton ed., 1998. Frank N. D. Buchman, Remaking the World, 1961. Garth Lean, Frank Buchman: A Life, 1985. Good God, It Works, 1974. James D. Newton, Uncommon Friends, 1987. Henry B. Wright, The Will of God and a Man’s Life Work, 1909. Howard A. Walter, Soul Surgery, 1928. Harold Begbie, Life Changers, 1927. Howard J. Rose, The Quiet Time, 1937. Cecil Rose, When Man Listens, 1937. Harry J. Almond, Foundations for Faith, 1980. Peter Howard, That Man Frank Buchman, 1946. Robert E. Speer, The Principles of Jesus, 1902. B. H. Streeter, The God Who Speaks, 1930. Sherwood Sunderland Day, The Principles of the Group, n.d. T. Willard Hunter, It Started Right There, 2006. World Changing Through Life-Changing, 1977. The Layman with a Notebook, What is the Oxford Group? 1933. Kenneth Belden, Meeting Moral Re-Armament, 1979. Beyond the Satellites: Is God Speaking? Are We Listening, 1987. Alcoholics Anonymous History and the “Temperance Movement” [Temperance, Abstinence, and the Widespread Concerns of Society: Bill Wilson had made such a fuss over the “failures” of the Washingtonian Movement that it can be said that his A.A. took no position on “liquor” issues. But the Washingtonian Movement was but a speck on the temperance front. It lasted only a short time. It was dismissed by many as not a religious movement, and it is fair to say that its emphasis was on “pledges” and not on healing by God. Nonetheless, the backdrop of Dr. Bob’s and Bill’s boyhood days was temperance—abstinence from drink—however much people may have disagreed on what was really involved—religion, morality, social problems. There are several pieces of literature that may or may not be known by, or of interest to those who might just dismiss the whole picture by saying, “We don’t want to be like the Washingtonians. They failed.” But the failure occurred before the major influences on A.A. background got under way.] Harry S. Warner, Rev. Francis W. McPeek, and E.M. Jellinek, “Lecture 19, Philosophy of the Temperance Movement” Alcohol, Science and Society, As given at the Yale Summer School of Alcohol Studies, 1945, 267-285; McPeek: “I don’t believe that the temperance movement can be understood in any sense unless the framework in which it developed is understood, and this framework is essentially Christian.,” 279. Rev. Roland H. Bainton, “Lecture 20, The Churches and Alcohol, Alcohol, Science and Society, 287-298 Rev. Francis W. McPeek, “Lecture 26 – The Role of Religious Bodies in the Trreatment of Inebriety in the United States, Alcohol, Science and Society, 1945, 406-411. Jared C. Lobdell, This Strange Illness: Alcoholism and Bill W., 2004, 30-38. William L White, Slaying the Dragon, 1998, 4-14. [Alcoholics Anonymous History: the Co-Founder Dr. Bob’s Christian Roots and Upbringing in Vermont] Dick B. and Ken B., Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Good Book as a Youngster in Vermont, 2008. Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Green Mountain Men of Vermont, 2012 [The Town of St. Johnsbury—Dr. Bob’s birthplace] Edward Taylor Fairbanks, The Town of St. Johnsbury, Vt; A Review Of One Hundred Twenty-Five Years to the Anniversary Pageant, 1912 Claire Dunne Johnson, “I See By the Paper,” 1987. [The People, including the Fairbanks family and the Smith family] Albert Nelson Marquis, Who’s Who in New England Charles G. Ullery, Men of Vermont, 1894. Hiram Carleton, Geneological and Family History of the State of Vermont, Vol I. Lorenzo Sayles Fairbanks, Geneology of the Fairbanks Family… 1897 The “Fairbanks Papers” 1815-1889, William H. Jeffrey, Successful Vermonters, 19 [Congregationalism, Vermont, and North Congregational Church of St. Johnsbury] John M. Comstock, The Congregational Churches of Vermont and Their Ministry, 1762-1942. 1942. John E. Nutting, Becoming the United Church of Christ in Vermont, 1995 History of North Congregational Church, 2007 Arthur Fairbanks Stone, North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury, Vermont, 1825-1942, 1942. T. Seymour Bassett, The Gods of the Hills: the Nineteenth –Century Vermont, 2000 Michael Sherman, Gene Sessions, and P. Jeffrey Postash, Freedom and Unity: A History of Vermont, 2005 [Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor] Francis E. Clark. Memoirs of Many Men in Many Lands, An Autobiography, 192 Christian Endeavor in All Lands, 1906 World Wide Endeavor: The Story of the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor and in All Lands, 1895. Amos R. Wells, Expert Endeavor, A Textbook of Christian Endeavor Methods and Principles, 1911. John R. Clements, The Francis E. Clark Year Book: A Collection of Living Paragraphs From Addresses, Books, and Magazine Articles by the Founder of the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor, John Franklin Cowan, New Life in the Old Prayer Meeting, 1906. [St. Johnsbury Academy] Arthur Fairbanks et. al. [including Dr. Bob’s mother], An Historical Sketch of St. Johnsbury Academy 1842-1922 Charles Edward Russell, Bare Hands and Stone Walls, 1933 Richard Beck, A Proud Tradition A Bright Future Robert Miraldi, The Pen Is Mightier: The Muckraking Life of Charles Edward Russell, 2003. The Academy Student (1897), (1898) [Young Men’s Christian Association] Year Book of the Young Men’s Christian Association of North America, 1896 C. Howard Hopkins, John R. Mott, 1865-1955. Laurence L. Doggett, History of the Young Men’s Christian Association Richard C. Morse, History of the North American Young Men’s Christian Associations, 1919. Sherwood Eddy, A Century with Youth, 1884-1944, 1944 [Salvation Army] [In Lecture 26, cited below, Rev. Mc Peek states: “Much work was done in the city missions and particularly by the Salvation Army. . . . Generally speaking. The Salvationists have capitalized on the same techniques that have made other reform programs work: (1) Insistence on total abstinence. (2) reliance upon God. (3) the provision of new friendships among those who understand. (4) the opportunity to work with those who suffer from the same difficulty. (5) unruffled patience and consistent faith in the ability of the individual and the power of God to accomplish the desired ends.” 414-415] William Booth, In Darkest England and the Way Out, 1890 Harold Begbie The Life of General William Booth: The Founder of the Salvation Army (Vol I and II), NY: MacMillan, 1920. Twice Born Men, 1909 Rev. Francis W. Mc Peek, “Lecture 26 - The Role of Religious Bodies in the Treatment of Inebriety in the United States,” Alcohol, Science and Society, 1945, 403-418. Howard Clinebell, Understanding and Counseling Persons with Alcohol, Drug, and Behavioral Addictions, 1998, 184-194. [Alcoholics Anonymous History: the Christian Upbringing of Co-Founder Bill Wilson] Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W. Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Green Mountain Men Lois Remembers William Borchert, The Lois Wilson Story: When Love is Not Enough [The conversion that cured Bill Wilson’s grandfather Willie of alcoholism] Francis Hartigan, Bill W.: A Biography…, 10-11 Robert Thomsen, Bill W., 14 Bill W., My First 40 Years, 6 Susan Cheever, My Name is Bill, 17. [The Evangelists] Allen Folger, Twenty-Five Years as an Evangelist, 1906 Bob Holman, F. B. Meyer: “If I Had a Hundred Lives…,” 2007 Edgar J. Goodspeed, The Wonderful Career of Moody and Sankey in Great Britain and America, 1876. Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, 2000 J. Wilbur Chapman, Life and Work of Dwight L. Moody Mark O. Guldseth, Streams, 1982 Henry Drummond, The Greatest Thing in the World [East Dorset Congregational Church] Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Green Mountain Men Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W., 7-10, 27-28, 72-73 Susan Cheever, My Name is Bill W., 4, 44 Francis Hartigan, Bill W., 175 Robert Thomsen, Bill W., 15, 30-9. 200 [Bible study-in East Dorset and in a 4 year Bible study course at Burr and Burton Seminary] Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed. Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Green Mountain Men Susan Cheever, My Name is Bill, 37-38, 47-48. Robert Thomsen, Bill W., 30-39, 200. [Christian Revivals and Conversion Meetings Bill attended] Bill Pittman, AA The Way It Began, 79 Francis Hartigan, Bill W., 10-11, 53, 58, 59 Matthew Raphael, Bill W., 77 Susan Cheever, My Name is Bill, 44-45, Mel B, New Wine, 127-28 Bill W. My First 40 Years [Gospel Rescue Missions] D. Samuel Hopkins Hadley, Down in Water Street: A Story of Sixteen Years Life and Work in Water Street Mission: A Sequel to the Life of Jerry McAuley, n.d. J. Wilbur Chapman, S.H. Hadley of Water Street, 1906. “Pass It On,” William James. The Varieties of Religious Experience, 1990, 188-9, 146 John Potter Cuyler, Jr., Calvary Church in Action Howard Clinebell, Understanding and Counseling, 172-193 [Burr and Burton Seminary and the Manchester Congregational Church] Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide 3rd ed Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Green Mountain Men Bill W.: My First Forty Years Frederica Templeton, The Castle in the Pasture: Portrait of Burr and Burton Academy, 2005,, 25, 42. 44, 56, 67 Mel B., Ebby Dr. Robert J. Wilson III and Phebe Ann Lewis, The First Congregational Church, Manchester, Vermont 1784-1984 (Manchester, VT: Bicentennial Steering Committee, 1984), 88-91, 128. [The few A.A. history writers and Christian critics of A.A. are often quick to assert that Bill Wilson could not possibly have been a Christian because of his alleged beliefs about Jesus Christ. The problem is that there is no evidence that they have examined or understood the Confession of Faith and Church Covenant of both the Manchester and the East Dorset Congregational Churches which would readily clear up their misunderstanding should they choose to accept the facts discovered. In fact, one of the first A.A. history writers made the untenable statement that little is known about Wilson’s religious background because there is little to know—a blatant admission that there was lots about Wilson’s Christian upbringing, his Congregational Churches and chapels, and his Bible studies that such writers just never investigated or perhaps even wanted to learn, and hence don’t know.] [Young Men’s Christian Association-Bill as President, girl- friend as YWCA President, active in both] Bill W., My First Forty Years, 29 Robert Thomsen, Bill W., 57 Frederica Templeton, The Castle in the Pasture, 78-79, 69 Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Green Mountain Men Borchert, The Lois Wilson Story [Bill’s return to Jesus Christ, the “Great Physician,” in despair, on the advice that this Great Physician can and does cure alcoholics]. Dick B., Turning Point: A History of the Spiritual Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous, 99-100. The Conversion of Bill W., 47, 94, A New Way In: Telling the Truth, 61-66. Norman Vincent Peale, The Positive Power of Jesus Christ. 1980. Bill W. My First 40 Years Dale Mitchel, Silkworth, The Little Doctor Who Loved Drunks Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 60-63. Mel B., Ebby: The Man Who Sponsored Bill W. New Wine: The Spiritual Roots of the Twelve Step Miracle “Lois Remembers: Searcy, Ebby, Bill & Early Days”: Recorded in Dallas, Texas, June 29, 1973. T. Willard Hunter, It Started Right There W. Irving Harris, The Breeze of the Spirit “Pass It On” William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience [Bill Wilson’s first unsuccessful attempts for six months to carry a message] William Borchert, When Love is Not Enough Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 191. Lois Remembers, 94-95 Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 64-65 The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, 9-10, 26. [Alcoholics Anonymous History – The Fellowship Begins] How the First Three AAs Got Sober by simply turning to God for help. Bill W. [As a youngster in Vermont, Bill had repeatedly heard the story of how his alcoholic grandfather Willie had been converted to God through Jesus Christ on a mountaintop next to Bill’s village. Willie was saved, said so, and never touched a drop during the remaining years of his life. And Bill was no stranger to revivals, conversion meetings, temperance meetings, and salvation teachings—the latter in his church and Sunday school] (1) Dr. Carl Jung had told Rowland Hazard that he had the mind of a chronic alcoholic and that a conversion experience [a vital religious experience. such at that on page 25 of Big Book, might heal him (2) Rowland Hazard made a decision for Jesus Christ, joined the Oxford Group, and worked actively with Rev. Sam Shoemaker. (3) Rowland and two other Oxford Group friends told Bill Wilson’s long-time drinking friend Ebby Thacher the solution that Jung had proffered. Rowland taught him about the efficacy of prayer. They also told Ebby some Oxford Group ideas and particularly about Jesus Christ and Bible time—things Ebby had learned as a youth and believed. They informed Ebby of a number of the Oxford Group’s Christian principles. Then Ebby was lodged in Calvary Rescue Mission in New York. (4) Meanwhile, Bill Wilson had made his third visit to Towns Hospital. Dr. William D. Silkworth, Bill’s psychiatrist, had a long talk. Silkworth had given Bill a virtual death sentence contingent upon his continuing to drink. Dr. Silkworth, a devout Christian and a long-time parishioner of Sam Shoemaker’s Calvary Church, told Bill Wilson that the “Great Physician” Jesus Christ could cure Bill. (5) In this same period, Ebby Thacher had made a decision for Jesus Christ at Calvary Mission, decided to witness to Bill, visited Bill, and told Bill what had happened at the Mission—Ebby’s actual rebirth. (6) Bill decided to check out Ebby’s story and went to hear him give testimony at Calvary Church. (7) Bill decided that since the Great Physician had helped Ebby recover, he might help Bill. (8) Bill W. accepted Jesus Christ at Calvary Mission, wrote in his autobiography that “For sure I had been born again.” (9) Bill continued to drink, became severely depressed, and thought, If there be a Great Physician, I had better call on him. (10) Bill staggered on to Towns Hospital drunk and very depressed and was hospitalized. (11) He said to himself, “I’ll do anything, anything at all. If there be a Great Physician, I’ll call on him. (12) He cried out, “If there be a God let him show himself.” (13) He said the effect was, instant, electric. Suddenly my room blazed with an indescribably white light. (14) He continued: Then, seen in the mind’s eye, there was a mountain. I stood upon its summit where a great wind blew. A wind, not of air, but of spirit. In great, clean strength it blew right through me. (15) The light and the ecstasy subsided. Bill became more quiet. A great peace stole over him. (16) Then he became acutely conscious of a presence which seemed like a “veritable sea of living spirit.” (17) He thought, “This must be the great reality.” And in one account, he said to himself: “Bill, you are a free man. This is the God of the Scriptures.” See The Language of the Heart. (18) He said, “I thanked my God who had given me a glimpse of His absolute Self. (19) Ever since his girl-friend Bertha Bamford’s untimely death, Bill had turned his back on God and harbored that doubt and resentment through his drinking years. But this changed with his vital religious experience—an experience which he later called the Solution in his Big Book. (20) He said that faith had suddenly appeared—no blind faith—but faith fortified by the consciousness of the presence of God. (21) Briefly, Bill retained his doubts about God. He had his “hour of doubt.” But Bill said shortly he never again doubted the existence of God and said “this great and sudden gift of grace has always been mine.” (22) He never drank again. On page 191 of the latest edition of the Big Book, Bill said that the Lord had cured him of his terrible disease and that he just wanted to keep talking about it and telling people (23) Dr. Silkworth appeared and sat by Bill’s bed. Bill told Silkworth what had happened. Bill asked: “Doctor, is this real? Am I still perfectly sane?” (24) Sikworth assured him that he was sane. He said “You have had some kind of conversion experience.” (25) Ebby showed up at the hospital, agreed with Bill that he and Bill had a release that was a gift, real. He handed Bill a copy of a book by Professor William James. It was called “The Varieties of Religious Experience.” Bill devoured it. He said he had read it “all day.” (26) The James book was filled with studies and stories of the cure of alcoholism at missions such as the one founded by Jerry McAuley at 316 Water Street in 1872, and later (in 1882) at 104 West Thirty-second Street, known as Cremorne Mission. In 1886, S.H. Hadley took charge of the Water Street Mission. Hadley had been converted at Jerry McAuley’s Cremorne Mission, and in the years of service in Water Street not less than seventy-five thousand persons came to the mission for help. Hadley died in 1906. (27) Before his discharge from Towns Hospital in December of 1935, Wilson had been inspired to help drunks everywhere. (28) On his discharge, he raced feverishly to the streets, the missions, the hospitals, the Bowery, and flea bag hotels. He went with a Bible under his arm and insisted that drunks give their lives to God. (29) Bill’s story is briefly told as follows in the Big Book: “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.” (30) But in his first six months of witnessing, Bill was unable to get a single person sober.] Dr. Bob [Dr. Bob was born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont when the entire state was still swirling from the effect of “The Great Awakening of 1875 in St. Johnsbury.”] (1) His parents were married when the Awakening events were taking place. They taught Bob about salvation and the Word of God. In fact, their church urged this training of youngsters. (2) He heard similar sermons and teachings in the family’s North Congregational Church of St. Johnsbury. (3) Temperance was in the air. (4) The Young Men’s Christian Association had been active in bringing about the Great Awakening and was still very active during Bob’s growing-up period. (5) The great evangelists—Moody, Sankey, Moorehouse, Meyer, H. M. Moore, K.A. Burnell, and Folger--had inspired Vermont with their talk of salvation, the Bible, and God’s healing power. (6) The Salvation Army was becoming well known for its outreach and the resulting healing of derelicts and drunks. (7) So too were the rescue mission events involving Jerry McAuley, Water Street Mission, and S.H. Hadley. (8) The Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor, in which Dr. Bob was active, had laid out a program of confession of Jesus Christ, conversions, Bible study meetings, prayer meetings, Quiet Hour observances, and reading and speaking on Christian literature. Their program, though not aimed at drunkards, was certainly focused on bringing young people back to their churches. (9) In his early sobriety, Dr. Bob had turned back to church for himself and Sunday school for his children. And the program of the early Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship closely resembled the conversions which were so much a part of Bill’s life, and the principles and practices of Christian Endeavor which were so much a part of Bob’s life and turned up in the early Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship program.] [Dr. Bob’s road back to sobriety could—like Bill Wilson’s—be said to have begun when he was at the bottom of the heap in 1931. I learned little about him at that time. But I researched and learned a lot about what happened in Akron in 1931. It revolved around the Firestone family, and Harvey Firestone, Sr.’s protégé Jim Newton—a young man from Florida. When Jim arrived in Akron, he befriended Russell Firestone but found that Russell had a serious drinking problem. Jim tried to help Russell by Oxford Group techniques. But finally, the family decided to call in Rev. Sam Shoemaker of New York—an Oxford Group leader of that time. They (Harvey, Russell, Jim and Sam) boarded a train for a Bishop’s conference in Denver—with Russell well supplied with liquor. But on the trip back, Sam Shoemaker took Russell into a train compartment and led Russell to a new birth in Christ. By the time the train arrived back in Akron, Russell was healed, and his doctor felt it was a miracle. Russell and Jim then began traveling together and witnessing to others about the Oxford Group’s life-changing program. By 1933, the family was elated at Russell’s progress. They invited Dr. Frank Buchman and a retinue of some 30 Oxford Group activists to come to Akron, speak in the pulpits and public places, and inform the press. I have personally seen the Akron newspapers of that early 1933 period; and they are alive with talk of Russell and his “miracle,” with Jesus Christ, of the Bible, and of Christianity. And a large part of the town turned out to hear Russell, Jim, Buchman, and others give testimony.] [The wheels of sobriety began to grind for Dr. Bob. His friend Henrietta Seiberling and his wife Anne attended the 1933 functions. They were excited. They persuaded Dr. Bob to join a small Oxford Group. And, though he continued to drink, Dr. Bob read all the Oxford Group literature he could get his hands on. He studied the Bible extensively once again. He read it from cover to cover three times. He prayed. And he enjoyed the Group’s people. But he confided to Henrietta that he just didn’t want to quit drinking and was a “wanta wanta” guy. But Henrietta was undeterred. She convened a tiny group, including Bob. They all engaged in life-changing stories. Dr. Bob joined in and confessed that he was a “secret drinker.” Henrietta asked him if he wanted to pray for his deliverance. And Bob joined the group on his knees on the rug at the T. Henry Williams home, asking God for help. Help did not come at once. But shortly a seemingly miraculous phone call reached Henrietta from an unknown stranger from New York. It was Bill Wilson saying that he was an Oxford Grouper, a rum hound from New York, and needed to talk with a drunk. Henrietta was sure this was an answer to the prayers and thought of Bill, “This is manna from heaven.” She arranged a visit at her home between Bob and Bill. It lasted six hours. Bob said he had heard what Bill said all before, but that Bill talked his language—the story of a drunk. Bob said he picked up on the idea of “service” which was something his religious endeavors had not gotten through to him. And, after one last binge, Bob quit forever while Bill Wilson was living with the Smiths in their home.] [Bill Dotson (A.A. Number Three)] [We have run across very little concerning Bill Dotson, except as set forth in the biographical information above. However, we know for sure that: (1) Dotson was an attorney in Akron. (2) Dotson believed in God, went to church, taught Sunday school, and became a Deacon in the church. (3) His alcoholism had progressed to the point that he had been strapped to a hospital bed eight times in the preceding months. He had beaten up on two nurses (4) And when Dr. Bob inquired of a nurse whether there was a hospitalized drunk who needed help, she told them she had a dandy—Bill Dotson. (5) Bill and Bob visited Dotson, told him their stories, told him he needed to seek God’s help, and that—upon being healed—he must go out and help others in like situations. (6) Dotson did turn to God for help and was instantly cured. In fact, he subscribed to Bill Wilson’s statement on page 191 of the Big Book that “the Lord had cured” him and that he just wanted to keep talking about it and telling people. He called the statement the “golden text of A.A.” for him and for others. (7) And, when Bill and Bob had returned to the hospital, Dotson had been relieved of his drinking problem, He left the hospital with his wife. The date was July 4, 1935; and Bill Wilson proclaimed that as the founding date for A.A.’s first group—Akron Number One. Dotson remained active in A.A. and often led groups with a Bible in his lap, ready to help someone who needed help.] The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (Pamphlet P-53) Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed,, 2010. “Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery” Class [The Original Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship Program Founded in June, 1935, and the first group—Akron Number One—founded July 4, 1935 when Bill D. was cured.] DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous The Good Book and the Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible Turning Point: The Spiritual History of Alcoholics Anonymous Henrietta B. Seiberling: Ohio’s Lady with a Cause Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 66-72. [The Principles and Practices of the Original Akron A.A. Pioneers] Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide 3rd ed., 2010 Stick with the Winners! Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous: God’s Role in Recovery Confirmed Dick B., When Early AAs Were Cured and Why Real 12 Step Fellowship History DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers Sue Smith Windows and Robert R. Smith, Children of the Healer, 1992 [The Role of the Bible in Earliest A.A.] The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers Dick B., The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible The Good Book-Big Book Guidebook The James Club and the Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials Anne Smith’s Journal 1933-1939 Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A. Why Early A.A. Succeeded (A Bible Study Primer) Cured: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts The First Nationwide Alcoholics Anonymous History Conference [“Prayer and Meditation” in Earliest A.A.] DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers Dick B., Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A. Howard Rose, The Quiet Time Donald Carruthers, How to Find Reality in Your Morning Devotions, Penn State College, n.d. Nora Smith Holm, The Runner’s Bible Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest Henry Drummond: The Greatest Thing in the World E. Stanley Jones, Victorious Living Mary W. Tileston, Daily Strength for Daily Needs The Upper Room [The “Real Surrender” to Jesus Christ in Early A.A.] Dick B., The Golden Text of A.A. A New Way In When Early AAs Were Cured and Why That Amazing Grace A New Way Out: New Path, Familiar Road Signs, Our Creator’s Guidance Mitchell K., How It Worked Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide [The Akron Formula for Christian Fellowship Recovery] Our books Stick with the Winners!. Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous, The New Dover Publications Reprint of the Original Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, and DR. BOB of Alcoholics Anonymous—particularly page 131 tell precisely what the Pioneers did in the morning at the Smith Home with Anne Smith and her Quiet Time, what they did at their daily meetings with their Bible reading and prayer and quiet time, what they did in requiring belief in God and coming to Him through Jesus Christ, and their “regular” Wednesday night meeting where they met with a small band of Oxford Group people and AAs and families for a time. They engaged in some sixteen Christian practices that practiced the seven principles of their program as summarized by Frank Amos in DR. BOB, 131/ [The need to bring back into recovery focus for those who want God’s help A.A.’s Bible based, Christ-centered, reliance upon the Creator’s Power and Cures. And we believe the following are the ingredients common to most all successful Christian efforts to bring deliverance to alcoholics: 1. The choice of abstinence. 2. The choice of avoiding temptation. 3. The choice of entrusting one’s life to the care, direction, and strength of the Creator. 4. The choice of establishing a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. 5. The choice of obeying His commandments and eliminating sinful conduct—putting off the “old man.” 6. The choice of growing in knowledge and fellowship with Him, His son, and His children through Bible study, prayer, religious fellowship, worship, and witness—putting on the “new man.” 7. The choice of passing along to others with love and service the message that will enable those others to help and be helped in the same manner if they wish to go that route.] Dick B., A New Way Out, 63-64. [The Daily Meetings, Family Emphasis, and Close Contacts Among Members—Resemblance to First Century Christianity] See Dick B. and Ken B., Stick with the Winners! [A.A. History – A.A. and First Century Christianity. There were multiple “First Century Christianity at Work” quotes about early A.A. Among The Rockefeller People Who Investigated. Five of the Rockefeller people involved with the Frank Amos report commented as follows on the First Century Christianity nature of the Akron A.A.: 1. Frank Amos: As stated, Rockefeller’s investigator Frank Amos had observed that the meetings of Akron people had, in many respects, taken on the form of the meetings described in the Gospels of the early Christians during the first century (Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, pp. 135-36) 2. Albert Scott: In December, 1936. a meeting was held in John D. Rockefeller’s private board room. Bill W., Dr. Bob, Dr. Silkworth, Dr. Leonard Strong, and some alcoholics from New York and Akron met with Rockefeller’s associates Willard Richardson, A. Leroy Chapman, Frank Amos, and Albert Scott. The meeting was chaired by Albert Scott, chairman of the board of trustees of New York’s Riverside Church. Each alcoholic was enjoined to tell his own personal story, after which, the chairman Albert Scott exclaimed, “Why, this is first-century Christianity. What can we do to help?” (Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, p. 148) Nelson Rockefeller: In February of 1940, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. had arranged a dinner for Bill and the AAs. John D. had intended to attend, but was too ill to do so and sent his son Nelson Rockefeller to host the dinner. As Bill’s wife Lois Wilson records in her memoirs, “When Nelson finally got up to talk, there was a great deal of expectancy. He told how impressed his father [John D., Jr..] was with this unique movement, which resembled early Christianity.” (Lois Remembers, pp. 128-29) Willard Richardson and John D. Rockefeller, Jr., himself: What they’d been hearing, he [Albert Scott] said, was like first century Christianity, where one person carried the word to the next. . . . Willard Richardson was in charge of all John D. Jr.’s philanthropies. . . Willard Richardson added his approval to the report and immediately passed it on to Mr. [John D.] Rockefeller. . . Rockefeller was impressed. He saw the parallel with early Christianity and along with this he spotted a combination of medicine and religion that appealed to all his charitable inclinations (Robert Thomsen, Bill W., pp. 274-75). The best comparative material showing what the Apostolic Christians did can be found in Acts 2:41-47: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all [men], as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Not surprisingly, Dr. Bob, co-founder of A.A. frequently called the early A.A. Akron program a "Christian Fellowship" DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010. [The Counting of Noses in November, 1937 that proved God had shown the founders how to succeed ] [DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers also comments on the November 1937 meeting between Bill W. and Dr. Bob which led to the decision that a book about their cure for alcoholism would be needed. In November of that year [i.e., 1937], Bill Wilson went on a business trip that enabled him to make a stopover in Akron. . . . Bill's writings record the day he sat in the living room with Doc, counting recoveries. "A hard core of very grim, last-gasp cases had by then been sober a couple of years," he said. "All told, we figured that upwards of 40 alcoholics were staying bone dry Up to then, prospects had come to the founders from other cities. Now, the question was whether every alcoholic had to come to Akron or New York to get sober. Was it possible to reach distant alcoholics? Was it possible for the Fellowship to grow "rapidly and soundly"? This was when Bill began to think . . . of writing a book of experiences that would carry the message of recovery to other cities and other countries. Let us now look at this vitally-significant, November 1937 meeting in more detail. In an October 1945 article in the A.A. Grapevine titled "The Book Is Born," Bill referred to his meeting with Dr. Bob in Akron in November 1937 as follows: By the fall of 1937 we could count what looked like forty recovered members. One of us had been sober three years, another two and a half, and a fair number had a year or more behind them. As all of us had been hopeless cases, this amount of time elapsed began to be significant. The realization that we had "found something" began to take hold of us. No longer were we a dubious experiment. Alcoholics could stay sober. Great numbers, perhaps! While some of us had always clung to this possibility, the dream now had real substance. If forty alcoholics could recover, why not four hundred, four thousand — even forty thousand. RHS: Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous: Our Beloved DR. BOB (NY: A.A. Grapevine, Inc., 1951), 8. The article from which this quote is taken also occurs in The Language of the Heart and is titled "Dr. Bob: A Tribute." This quote appears on page 359 of that article. In the quote above, Bill spoke of having counted "what looked like forty recovered members." He also speculated about possible, much larger numbers of alcoholics—"even forty thousand"—recovering. Bill W. spoke more clearly and at greater length about his November 1937 meeting with Dr. Bob in Akron in his tribute to Dr. Bob in the special memorial issue of The A.A. Grapevine in January 1951 titled "RHS": Meanwhile a small group had taken shape in New York. The Akron meeting at T. Henry's home began to have a few Cleveland visitors. At this juncture I spent a week visiting Dr. Bob. We commenced to count noses. Out of hundreds of alcoholics, how many had stuck? How many were sober? And for how long? In that fall of 1937 Bob and I counted forty cases who had significant dry time — maybe sixty years for the whole lot of them! Our eyes glistened. Enough time had elapsed on enough cases to spell out something quite new, perhaps something great indeed. . . . A beacon had been lighted. God had shown alcoholics how it might be passed from hand to hand. Never shall I forget that great and humbling hour of realization, shared with Dr. Bob. But the new realization faced us with a great problem, a momentous decision. It had taken nearly three years to effect forty recoveries. The United States alone probably had a million alcoholics. How were we to get the story to them? Here again, Bill declares that he and Dr. Bob "counted forty cases who had significant dry time" and refers to "forty recoveries." And note that Bill credited God with having shown them "how it might be passed from hand to hand." RHS: Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous: Our Beloved DR. BOB (NY: A.A. Grapevine, Inc., 1951), 8. The article from which this quote is taken also occurs in The Language of the Heart and is titled "Dr. Bob: A Tribute." This quote appears on page 359 of that article. Bill wrote about his November 1937 meeting with Dr. Bob in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age: . . . [T]his trip [in the fall of 1937] gave me a much needed chance to visit Dr. Bob in Akron. It was on a November day in that year [of 1937] when Dr. Bob and I sat in his living room, counting the noses of our recoveries. There had been failures galore, but now we could see some startling successes too. A hard core of very grim, last-gasp cases had by then been sober a couple of years, an unheard-of development. There were twenty or more such people. All told we figured that upwards of forty alcoholics were staying bone dry. . . . [A] benign chain reaction, one alcoholic carrying the good news to the next, had started outward from Dr. Bob and me. Conceivably it could one day circle the whole world. What a tremendous thing that realization was! At last we were sure. . . . We actually wept for joy, and Bob and Anne and I bowed our heads in silent prayer. Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 76. See also: Debra Jay, No More Letting Go: The Spirituality of Taking Action Against Alcoholism and Drug Addiction (New York, NY: Bantam Books, 2006), 287-88. Here again, we see Bill commenting about the "upwards of forty alcoholics" who "were staying bone dry," while speaking almost in the same breath about how "it could one day circle the whole world." The A.A. General Service Conference-approved book "Pass It On" also discusses this November 1937 meeting. “Later in 1937, Bill . . . did visit Bob and Anne in Akron. It was on this visit that the two men conducted a "formal" review of their work of the past two years. What they came to realize as a result of that review was astounding: Bill may have been stretching things when he declared that at least 20 cases had been sober a couple of years; but by counting everybody who seemed to have found sobriety in New York and Akron, they concluded that more than 40 alcoholics were staying dry as a result of the program! "Pass It On": The Story of Bill Wilson and How the A.A. Message Reached the World” (New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1984), 177-78. Bill W. also spoke briefly about this meeting with Dr. Bob—without mentioning numbers of recoveries—in his May 1955 article in the A.A. Grapevine titled "How AA's World Services Grew, Part 1," in The Language of the Heart, See also: Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, 224-25. Bill W.'s wife Lois remarked on the 40 in her memoirs: The business depression returned in 1937, and toward the end of the year Quaw and Foley had to let Bill go. He went to Detroit and Cleveland looking for new job ideas and, of course, stopped off at Akron on the way He and Bob assessed the current status of the movement. They were surprised to find that, although many of those they had worked with had fallen by the way, forty members enjoyed an average of two years' solid sobriety. This was flabbergasting, awe-inspiring. They really had hit on a program for helping alcoholics. Now they saw it could develop into something tremendous—if it was not diluted or garbled by word of mouth. Lois Remembers: Memoirs of the Co-founder of Al-Anon and Wife of the Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (New York: Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., 1987), 107. Here are some key comments about this important tally of successes by other writers. And we believe that all these comments should be taken as a whole, compounded, and absorbed. For a few cynical A.A. writers have said that talking about this November “nose counting” and the forty sober alcoholics is somehow frivolous worship of a non-existent golden age of A.A. In fact, however, A.A. with its inadequate funding, unknown founders, and somewhat tawdry group of alcoholic organizers were hardly capable of producing a “golden age.” But what they did produce was an astonishing record in the face of repeated declarations that medical cure of alcoholics was an impossibility, that there was little hope of anything but death or insanity for the addicted sufferer, and that repeaters were so commonplace they weren’t worth the effort to help them—except for such benign people as Dr. Silkworth, the Salvation Army, the Rescue Missions, the evangelists, and the concerns of the YMCA. In other words, Bill and Bob embarked almost alone on a seemingly hopeless and impossible task and, between 1935 and late 1937 they had turned hopelessness into hope, medical incurability into cure, and death and insanity into manageable proportions. How? By giving their lives to God! That’s how. And in many cases, it took little but a dedication to quitting forever, a devoted surrender to God, and an unpaid service to those who still suffered. That was not a golden age. It was a case of some thirty or forty miracles. And it caught attention. In November [of 1937] Bill had to make a trip to the Midwest in connection with the brokerage job he was trying to nail down. Although nothing came of his efforts concerning the job—another depression had hit the country in the fall of '37—the trip gave him an opportunity to visit Dr. Bob in Akron. Bill had been sober almost three years, Bob two and a half, and this, they figured, should be ample time for them to see where they were and even make some sort of informal progress report. There had been failures galore. Literally hundreds of drunks had been approached by their two groups and some had sobered up for a brief period but then slipped away. They were both conscious of their failures as they settled down in Bob's living room and began comparing notes. But as the afternoon wore on and they continued going over lists, counting noses, they found themselves facing a staggering fact. In all, in Ohio and in New York, they knew forty alcoholics who were sober and were staying sober, and of this number at least twenty had been completely dry for more than a year. Moreover, every single one of them had been diagnosed a hopeless case. As they sat, each with a paper in hand, checking and rechecking the score, a strange thing happened; they both fell silent. This was more than a game they were playing, more than a little casual bookkeeping to be used for a report. There were forty names representing forty men whose lives had been changed, who actually were alive tonight because of what had started in this very room. The chain reaction they had dreamed about—one alcoholic carrying the word to another—was a reality. It had moved onward, outward from them. Robert Thomsen, Bill W. (New York: Harper & Row, 1975), 266-67. Although Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith had communicated through dozens of letters, sitting down together again after almost two years turned out to be an astonishing experience. Whey they compared notes in person, they realized that they had actually found something that doctors and laymen had been searching for as long as anyone could remember: a way to help alcoholics get sober that actually worked. Between them they counted forty men who hadn't had a drink in more than a year See Susan Cheever, My Name Is Bill: Bill Wilson: His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous (New York: Washington Square Press, 2004), 147. In November [of 1937], Bill . . . was able to spend some time in Akron. . . . . . . He and the Smiths decided to take an inventory. Among those they had tried to help, the failures were endless, and many of those who seemed sincerely willing to try their approach were struggling. When they were done counting, though, they realized that between Akron and New York there were now forty alcoholics staying sober, and half of them had not had a drink for more than a year. Francis Hartigan, Bill W.: A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson (NY: St. Martins Press, 2000), 101.] [The Documented 75% Success Rate in the Akron A.A. Program? A Question that still elicits qualifications, objections, and puzzlements by several of today’s writers: 1. The “Foreword to Second Edition” published in 1955 about alcoholics who came to A.A.: “Of alcoholics who came to A.A. and really tried, fifty per cent got sober at once and remained that way; twenty-five per cent sobered up after some relapses, and, among the remainder, those who stayed on with A.A. showed improvement.” 2. By the time the book was published last April there were about one hundred of us, the majority of them in the West. Although we have no exact figures, in counting heads recently, we think it fair to state that of all the people who have been seriously interested in this thing since the beginning, one-half have had no relapse at all. About 25% are having some trouble, or have had some trouble, but in our judgment will recover. The other 25% we do not know about. [“Digest of Proceedings at Dinner Given by Mr. John D. Rockefeller Jr., In the Interest of Alcoholics Anonymous, at Union Club, New York City, February 8, 1940”;; accessed 12/27/2013] See Richard K., Early A.A.—Separating Fact from Fiction: How Revisionists Have Led Our History Astray, 2003 Richard K. New Freedom: Reclaiming Alcoholics Anonymous, 2005 The one-page list in the hand of Dr. Bob—now in the Rockefeller Archives Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd 2010 [Bill Wilson’s Preparation for a “New Version” Twelve Step, Oxford Group-Oriented Program ] The Preparation of the First Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous [This story begins with what Bill Wilson had learned from his extensive contacts with the Oxford Group, its meetings, its house parties, its teams, and Oxford Group leaders and activists such as Dr. Frank N.D. Buchman, Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Irving Harris and his wife, Rowland Hazard, Shep Cornell, Cebra Graves, Garrett Stearly, Cleve Hicks, Victor Kitchen, Garth Lean, and others. He learned Oxford Group ideas from Shoemaker, Rowland Hazard, Ebby Thacher, and attendance at their meetings. Bill is mentioned personally in some of the Shoemaker personal journals we have seen. He was given a major post in bringing the president of the League of Nations to America. Bill left the Oxford Group in August of 1937, but he soon returned to become a personal friend and collaborator with Sam Shoemaker. Bill had gone to Akron to obtain permission to write a book, and he received it—by a bare majority of those voting. According to Bill, Shoemaker, and Irving Harris, Bill began working with Shoemaker on the contents of the book. They were closeted in Shoemaker’s book-lined study at Calvary House. Bill showed Shoemaker the first manuscript of the book. And he actually asked Shoemaker to write the Twelve Steps though Shoemaker declined. This charts the Big Book connections. And part of the preparations for the book were the so-called six word-of-mouth ideas Bill claimed were being used before the Big Book. Bill said there was no agreement on the contents of the six, and their contents certainly differed. See Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A., Pittsburgh ed.] Here, for example, are extracts of the various ways Bill’s alleged six “steps” were phrased as to God 1, “We prayed to God.” See Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, 256-257; The Language of the Heart, 200; William White, Slaying the Dragon, 132. 2. “We prayed to whatever God we thought there was.” Dick B., The Akron Genesis, 256; “Pass It On,” 197; Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age. 160; Jared Lobdell, This Strange Illness, 242. 3. “We prayed to God as you understand him.” Jared Lobdell, This Strange Illness, 242; Dick B., Turning Point, 100. 4. Bill Wilson also said his “six steps” came from the Oxford Group; and Lois Wilson contended that the Oxford Group said: “Surrender your life to God.” Lois Remembers, 92; Dick B., The Akron Genesis, 257. But, acting on the research and opinion of Oxford Group activist T. Willard Hunter, A.A.’s own publication “Pass It On” concluded the Oxford Group had no such six steps or any steps at all. “Pass It On,” 206, Footnote. 5. From some source or for some reason undocumented and seemingly false, the purported author of a Big Book personal story titled, “8. HE SOLD HIMSELF SHORT,” (almost certainly about Earl Treat of Chicago) was quoted with reference to six steps plus several other ideas attributed to Dr. Bob. The story said: “Dependence and guidance from a Higher Power.” The story was added to the 1956 edition of Alcoholics Anonymous several years after Dr. Bob’s death. And it is my opinion, based on extensive research of and writing about Dr. Bob that the language on page 263 is language easily attributable to Bill Wilson but not typical of the way Dr. Bob spoke of God as “Heavenly Father” and “God” and not as some higher power. Examples of the questionable words are: 1. “Complete deflation.” 2. “Dependence and guidance from a Higher Power.” It should be remembered that two different biographies stated Dr. Bob had apparently asked a newcomer if he believed in “God”—not “a god”—God! He talked of your “Heavenly Father” never letting you down. He did not appear to use the expression “higher power.” 6. In The Language of the Heart, in an article dated July, 1953, Bill makes the following comments about his six word-of-mouth ideas: “. . . our growing groups at Akron, New York, and Cleveland evolved the so-called word-of-mouth program of our pioneering time. As we commenced to form a Society separate from the Oxford Group, we began to state our principles something like this. . . . Though these principles were advocated according to the whim or liking of each of us, and though in Akron and Cleveland they still stuck by the O.G. absolutes of honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love, this was the gist of our message to incoming alcoholics up to 1939. . . ,” 200. To see some of the inconsistencies in Bill’s statements and dates, consider these points: (a) Bill and Lois left the Oxford Group in August of 1937. (b) In 1938, Frank Amos summarized the Akron program in seven points—practically none of which paralleled Bill’s six. DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, 131. (c) Clarence Snyder did not found the Cleveland groups until May of 1939, after the Big Book’s April publishing date. (d) In his two major speeches in 1948. Dr. Bob spoke about prayer and reading the Bible. He spoke favorably about the Four Absolutes. He said nothing that indicated he had departed from his adherence to the seven points summarized by Frank Amos in 1938 o For example, in referring to God, Bill spoke of praying to God, praying to God as you understood Him, and praying to whatever God you think there is. In one recital of the six points attributed without documentation to Dr Bob (a recital that I believe Bill himself wrote) the writer of the story uses and speaks typical Bill Wilson language—higher power, deflation in depth, and other ideas that I have not seen in usage in any other materials attributed to Bob and his Akron ideas. o The first phase of Big Book preparation itself took the form of two chapters that Bill wrote in reverse order to those in the first two chapters of the Big Book. “Pass It On,” 93. He then began sending the chapters, one by one, to Dr. Bob in Akron for approval. And the approval was forthcoming. Details are set forth in Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, 233-239; o At some point, the materials were assembled into what has been called the “multi-lith.” This was sent out to somewhere between 200 and 400 people for their comments. ”Pass It On,” 200.Then the writers consolidated all comments on one multi-lith which can be seen in The Book That Started It All: The Original Working Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous (Center City, MN: Hazelden, 2010. • Other important changes occurred along the way, at times and by persons I have been unable to identify though much effort has been expended in that direction. So I will simply list several of the changes made before and perhaps during the handling of the Working Manuscript. These were: (1) A large amount of material containing Christian and biblical material had been discarded over the objections of John Henry Fitzhugh Mayo. It had apparently contained material “learned from the missions and the churches that had helped AAs.” The discard was verified in a conversation between Ruth Hock, the typist and secretary and Bill Pittman, director of historical information at Hazelden. (2) We know that at least 400 pages of manuscript material was cut by an editor, but no one who described the incident—even though hired by A.A. General Services to write “Pass It On”—could confirm anything but the truthfulness of the 400 page discard. But not what the pages contained or who discarded them. “Pass It On,” 204. (3) Tom Uzzell of New York University edited the manuscript, and I have been unable to locate any information about him at NYU or concerning the changes he made. “Pass It On,” 204. (4) Substantial changes were made in the Working Manuscript itself. They were hand-written, and the authors have not yet been identified. However, it was then that Steps Two, Three, and Eleven were changed to eliminate the word “God.” And the changes were made in a compromise designed to appease atheists and agnostics. “Pass It On,” 199. Bill described the contending forces. He said: Fitz wanted a powerfully religious book. Henry and Jimmy wanted none of it. They wanted a psychological book. . .” Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 17. Bill said, “All this time I had refused to budge on these steps. I would not change a word of the original draft, in which, you will remember, I had consistently used the word “God,” and in one place the expression “on our knees” was used. The changes from “God” to “Power greater than ourselves” and to “God as we understood Him. Such were the final concessions to those of little or no faith; this was the great contribution of our atheists and agnostics.” Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 166-167. Fitz thought that the book ought to be Christian in the doctrinal sense of the word and that it should say so. He was in favor of using Biblical terms and expressions to make this clear. . . Paul K. was even more emphatic. Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 162. But Lois Wilson described those change those changes as follows: “The pros and cons were mostly about the tone of the book. Some wanted it slanted more toward the Christian religion—others, less. Many alcoholics were agnostics or atheists. Then there were those of the Jewish faith and, around the world, of other religions. Shouldn’t the book be written so that it would appeal to them? Finally it was agreed that the book should present a universal spiritual program, not a specific one, since all drunks were not Christian.” Lois Remembers, 113. It is more than fair to say that the end result of the 1939 Big Book project was far far different from the program summarized as the Akron program by Frank Amos. Thus Bill finally made the following admissions in The Language of the Heart, pp. 297-298: So, then, how did we first learn that alcoholism is such a fearful sickness as this? Who gave us this priceless information on which the effectiveness of our program so much depends? Well, it came from my own doctor, “the little doctor who loved drunks,” William D. Silkworth. More than twenty-five years ago at Towns Hospital, New York, he told Lois and me what the disease of alcoholism actually is Of course, we have since found that these awful conditions of mind and body invariably bring on the third phase of our malady. This is the sickness of the spirit; a sickness for which there must be a spiritual remedy. We AAs recognize this in the first five words of Step Twelve of the recovery program . . . Here we declare the necessity for that all important spiritual awakening. Who, then, first told us about the utter necessity for such an awakening, for an experience that not only expels the alcohol obsession, but which also makes effective and truly real the practice of spiritual principles “in all our affairs”? Well, this life-giving idea came to us AA through William James, the father of modern psychology. It came through his famous book Varieties of Religious Experience. . . William James also heavily emphasized the need for hitting bottom/ Thus did he reinforce AA’s Step One and so did he supply us with the spiritual essence of Step Twelve. Where did the early AAs find the material for the remaining ten Steps? Where did we learn about moral inventory, amends for harms done, turning wills and lives over to God? Where did we learn about meditation and prayer and all the rest of it? The spiritual substance of our remaining ten Steps came straight from Dr. Bob’s and my own earlier association with the Oxford Groups, as they were then led in America by that Episcopal rector, Dr. Samuel M. Shoemaker. It seems critically important for historians to learn the difference between this twelve step program—allegedly fathered by Dr. William Silkworth, Professor William James, and Reverend Samuel Shoemaker which Bill said emanated from Sam Shoemaker, and Dr. Bob’s statement that the basic ideas came from their study and effort in the Bible. And the summarized heart of that program is found in the Frank Amos report in DR BOB and the Good Oldtimers, 131: Following his visit to Akron in February 1938, Frank Amos, John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s agent, summarized the original Akron A.A. “Program” in seven points. Here are those points, as quoted in Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers: • An alcoholic must realize that he is an alcoholic, incurable from a medical viewpoint, and that he must never drink anything with alcohol in it. • He must surrender himself absolutely to God, realizing that in himself there is no hope. • Not only must he want to stop drinking permanently, he must remove from his life other sins such as hatred, adultery, and others which frequently accompany alcoholism. Unless he will do this absolutely, Smith and his associates refuse to work with him • He must have devotions every morning—a “quiet time” of prayer and some reading from the Bible and other religious literature. Unless this is faithfully followed, there is grave danger of backsliding • He must be willing to help other alcoholics get straightened out. This throws up a protective barrier and strengthens his own willpower and convictions. • It is important, but not vital, that he meet frequently with other reformed alcoholics and form both a social and a religious comradeship. • Important, but not vital, that he attend some religious service at least once weekly. And we believe that if you master the original program, study the Big Book, look at our history, and then take the Twelve Steps, it is possible to get satisfactory results from the Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship—just as Clarence Snyder did when he brought those elements to Cleveland and soon measured a 93% success rate there. As a matter of fact, International Christian Recovery Coalition grows each day, has now participants in 50 states and in other countries—dedicated to friendship. By that, they mean: 1. Tell people the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible truly played in the recovery scene. 2. Show them from their own Conference-approved literature today exactly how and why the door is wide open to those who want to benefit from and serve in the A.A. and/or 12 Step program that made them so welcome in their early days. 3. Be friendly with those in the fellowship who do or don’t believe in God, the Bible, Jesus Christ, or anything; help them with basic facts from history and official literature; and stand confidently on their right to pursue their own beliefs in complete accord with A.A.’s history, Steps, and Traditions. Gloria Deo Trademarks and Disclaimer: ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, A.A., and Big Book are registered trademarks of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Dick B.'s web site, Paradise Research Publications, Inc., and Good Book Publishing Company are neither endorsed nor approved by nor associated or affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Trademarks and Disclaimer: ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, A.A., and Big Book are registered trademarks of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Dick B.'s web site, Paradise Research Publications, Inc., and Good Book Publishing Company are neither endorsed nor approved by nor associated or affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Monday, July 22, 2013

On Christian Recovery Radio, Dick B. discusses newcomer needs

Dick B. Discusses What Every 12-Step Newcomer Should Learn from the Start on the July 22, 2013, episode of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show



Dick B.

© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved


You Can Hear Dick B. Discuss This Topic Right Now



You may hear Dick B. discuss what every 12-Step newcomer should learn from the start on the July 22, 2013, episode of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show here:

or here:

Episodes of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show are archived at:




My son Ken and I will soon be presenting and speaking at three soon-to-be-held, different sets of Alcoholics Anonymous history and Christian Recovery Movement conferences. And one of the major topics will be the newcomer.


Somehow, many an alcoholic or addict newcomer comes into the recovery rooms bewildered, troubled, fearful, and forgetful. And then it's as if he is thrown to the lions. Yes, he's given a hug, a cup of coffee, a Big Book, a phone number to call, and a hearty welcome. But he is very likely to leave any kind of a meeting still wondering what kind of a fellowship he is entering. Most likely, he won't hear about the Big Book, the 12 Steps, God, A.A.'s origins, A.A.'s varied approaches to recovery through the years, sponsorship, the purpose of meetings, or what to do when he is alone, ashamed, frightened, depressed, woozy, and tempted to drink.

If the newcomer is not given an orientation, an indoctrination, or a Beginner's meeting with specific information and suggestions, he may soon drift into the pool of confused, uninformed, and whining masses that abound in the rooms but who pay very little attention to him. And they possibly pay lots of attention to "relationships," to hand-me-down opinions and suggestions, to the importance of never missing a meeting, and the appropriate message: "Don't drink or use, no matter what." And yet many of these return to drinking.

The newcomer deserves better. His chances of permanent recovery could be better. His qualification to help somebody else can be improved. Both his mentor or guide or sponsor, and the newcomer himself, need to be lifted up, taught, guided, and aggressively qualifying themselves to be helped and to help others. And the newcomer will be the topic tonight.




Subjects Every A.A. or Other 12-Step Newcomer Should Learn from the Start


By Dick B.

© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved


Catching the Newcomer as He Enters the Rooms, No Matter How He Enters


There are many ways a newcomer enters or might enter recovery in a 12-Step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous. It could be in a jail or prison. Or by referral from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, clergyman, family member, friend, counselor, therapist, interventionist, detox, treatment program, hospital, judge, probation officer, sober living house, rescue mission, Salvation Army program, or some other way. Any one of these ports of entry can and should concern itself with informing the newcomer from the start instead of condoning “relationships,” ignoring self-centered whining, encouraging mere attendance at meetings, fostering uninformed listening, providing a forum for opinionated talkers, settling for mere court card-signing, and handing down “authoritative” statements.


Short-changing the Newcomer


In many ways today, a newcomer’s first contact, first sponsor, first counselor, first group, first meeting, first conference, etc., often simply doesn’t have a “to do” list. Therefore, the newcomer usually gets short-changed by hearing rumors and guesses and opinions from 12-Step members and other people sharing in the rooms of the various 12-Step programs such as A.A. He also doesn’t usually have experienced or studied people to guide him. In early A.A.—particularly as seen in A.A.’s first group, “Akron Number One”—newcomers were taught, in large part, by highly educated non-alcoholic people who could organize and conduct a meeting, and who could teach—from the Bible, about prayer, about Quiet Time, about literature, and about surrenders. Today, the newcomer should attend an informative and instructive Beginner’s Meeting or Orientation Meeting that will launch him on the path to recovery by knowing his fellowship.


Some Real Newcomer Needs Today


Newcomers today need mentors or sponsors who are well-prepared before they instruct. In addition, the newcomer needs an orientation meeting; and a beginner’s meeting (whether in treatment, in a series of meetings, from a counselor, from an intervention, or even from speakers). Far too often, an ill-prepared, though well-intentioned guide or sponsor doesn’t explain important points such as:


1.      Why and for what reason (if any) “meetings” have assumed such importance in today’s recovery scene and how they contrast with the simplicity of “old school” A.A.;

2.      What to look for in the meetings—namely listening to those who talk about or teach; e.g.:

a.       The 12 Steps;

b.      The Big Book;

c.       Conference-approved literature; and

d.      God;

3.      Why so little organization exists in meeting content versus what could be accomplished;

4.      Why he should learn key points about A.A. history; e.g.:

a.       How the first three AAs (cofounders Bill W. and Dr. Bob, and A.A. #3 Bill D.) got sober;

b.      What the original Akron A.A. Group  Number One—a Christian Fellowship program--did;

c.       What the supposed “Six Steps” story is all about and how the content is unsettled, varied, and of little importance;

d.      What the “Four Absolutes” are; and how they were formerly used as “yardsticks” and in inventories;

e.       What A.A.’s cofounders brought to the table from their younger days and upbringing;

f.       Why the Big Book has personal stories—the fact that most were removed in later editions, and the importance of restoring them to study and view today;

g.      What the personal First Edition 1939 stories can teach;

h.      Where the 12 Steps came from—the 3 identified sources and other influences;

i.        The importance of the first (1939) edition of the Big Book; and the value and economy in using Alcoholics Anonymous The Original 1939 Edition, With a 23-Page Introduction by Dick B., published by Dover Publications, Inc.

j.        Who provided what to the A.A. program and at what time;

k.      Where the Bible, the Oxford Group, Quiet Time, a vital religious experience, Dr. William Silkworth, Rev. Samuel Shoemaker, Dr. Carl Jung, Professor William James, surrender, and conversion fit in the picture;

l.        The significance of  the Four Absolutes today;

m.    The relevance, if any,  of  prayer and meditation, “powerless,” “higher power,” self-made religion, half-baked prayers, nonsense gods, and changes in the Steps and Big Book in 1939;

5.      Whether “an informed group conscience,” a “loving God as He may express Himself in a Group conscience,” and so-called “spirituality” do or do not make up a useful element of recovery;

6.      What is the meaning and purpose of such expressions as “spiritual, but not religious”;

7.      What forms of behavior have no place in recovery meetings—things like outbursts, criticisms, intolerance, vulgarity, intimidation, and “governance”; and

8.      Where all the foregoing suggestions do or do not produce a rewarding result for the newcomer.


The Temptation Problems


Today’s recovery mentors or sponsors need to be aware that temptation is a major trap. And that it is well explained in the first chapter of the Book of James, which was a favorite of early AAs. Expressions like “Don’t go to slippery places or hang out with slippery people” are perhaps related to the “old ideas” warned about in the Book of James. AAs often don’t like to give up. But there are endless temptations, based on the offers of liquor, the presence of drug dealers, pressure from friends and peers, parties, sports events, spontaneous urges, and the little-understood “too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.” My own experience with these last four is that loneliness, fear, and invitations to join old drinking and using places and friends are directly related to isolation and temptation. And they warrant caution.


Sponsorship and Working With Others


Then, someone needs to teach the newcomer what he should look for in, and receive from, a sponsor. And to provide an introduction to what a sponsor should do with the newcomer—to prepare the newcomer for effectively helping others. The absolute necessity for helping others, and working with others, and starting sponsorship as soon as possible has long been vital.


The Importance of Communicating and Avoiding Isolation


Someone needs to be teaching the newcomer the importance of communication—phone calls, “the meeting after the meeting,” “coming early and leaving late,” exchanging names and numbers, giving rides and riding with others, reaching out to others in meetings, and fellowshipping with like-minded abstainers.


The Frequent Mention of God (Creator) in Today’s Conference-approved Literature


And someone needs to be informing the newcomer of the place “God” occupies in the Big Book, where that word occurs 235 times in pages 1-164 of the current (fourth—2001) edition.


The Growing Trend or Risk in Ignoring God and Talking about “Nonsense gods”


Someone needs to be teaching newcomers that there is a big difference between: (1) the recent emphasis in some quarters of the recovery scene which assert that it is acceptable to believe in “nothing at all” as “the Solution” to becoming and staying clean and sober; and (2) the highly-successful, early Akron A.A. program which stressed dependence upon, reliance upon, and prayer to the Creator as “the Solution” (See page 25 of the 4th edition of Alcoholics Anonymous for the  Big Book answer to the problem of how to recover from alcoholism and drug addiction.)


The first emphasis just mentioned—the absurd but suggested reliance on “Somebody,” a light bulb, or “nothing at all”—is being seen more and more often in modern recovery writings and secular 12 Step trends. The second emphasis—for which Alcoholics Anonymous claims a 75% success rate among “seemingly-hopeless,” “medically-incurable, “last-gasp-case,” “real” alcoholics in the current edition of the Big Book—is seen with frequency in A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature such as:


1.      Alcoholics Anonymous [“the Big Book”—particularly in the “Personal Stories section of the original (1939) edition];

2.      The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous pamphlet (Item # P-53);

3.      Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age;

4.      DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers; and

5.      ‘Pass It On.’


What God Can Do For Us If We Seek Him


The newcomer misses the real spiritual elements of early A.A. when he doesn’t learn, and isn’t armed with facts about, how God’s forgiveness, guidance, love, power, healing, assured abundant and everlasting life, and help played a major role in helping the early A.A. pioneers—who set the standard for success in recovery. That standard was:--get well, stay well, and seek a life of prosperity and health, relying on God.


The Basic Ideas for A.A. and the Steps Came From the Efforts, Studies, and Teachings from the Bible


Informed mentors or sponsors need to share with newcomers why early AAs placed particular emphasis on studying the Bible itself—in particular, the Book of James, Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7), and 1 Corinthians 13--as stated on page 13 of the A.A. General Service Conference-approved pamphlet The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches: Their Last Major Talks.

The Book of James was the favorite among early AAs. Both A.A. cofounders Bill and Dr. Bob stated that Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount contained the spiritual philosophy of A.A. And Dr. Bob strongly emphasized reading Henry Drummond’s The Greatest Thing in the World—a study of 1 Corinthians 13.


All of this Bible emphasis with great success before there were any Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, Big Books, war stories, or meetings like those we know today.


Showing the Newcomer the Traps to Avoid and the Privileges He or She Have


Today’s mentors or sponsors need to inform newcomers that no one can learn too much about such points as:


1.      The fact that no 12 Step program has any bosses, governors, presidents, rule-makers, sanctions, punishments, or evictions;

2.      Why leaders are, at best, called servants

3.      The fact that any individual or group or meeting has the freedom to read what they wish, believe what they wish, say what they wish, and use whatever literature will be helpful for recovery so long as:


a.       A distinction is made between A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature, and all other literature (like that which early AAs have long read freely); and

b.      Objections or disputes are resolved by informed group consciences (after a loving God is called upon to express Himself), and are measured by what A.A. has long done and approved.

c.       See Dick B. and Ken B., “Stick with the Winners!” http//


Laughing and Fun Go With the Territory


Someone needs to instruct today’s newcomers as to why the expression “We are not a glum lot” is important to recovery; and why laughter, smiles, humor, recreation, sports, movies, plays, music, camping, hiking, rafting, and other pleasant group and individual pursuits are vital.


A Solid Understanding of What Meetings Are For and Can Do


Newcomers need to be taught that their mentor or sponsor will send them to, and will attend with them, quality talks, meetings, and conferences. They need to be introduced to winners. They need speaker meetings where the foregoing concepts are presented. They need Big Book studies which are conducted by informed teachers, rather than being based on audience reflections. They need to study Steps for which guides are provided. They need to learn:


1.      The elements and Big Book suggestions involved in taking each Step;

2.      The Solution as defined on page 25 of the Big Book;

3.      How to sort out the mixture of “religious experience, spiritual experience, spiritual awakening, God-consciousness, and ‘awareness.’” With respect to these, the newcomer needs explanations of the Big Book, Steps, and A.A. history; and only the content of a successful “experience” should be framed and passed along. See Dick B. and Ken B., Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous.


The topics suggested in this article may sound like a big order for today’s mentors and sponsors. Meetings abound with welcomes for the newcomer, with statements that he is the most important person in the room, and with a stated primary purpose of helping the person who still suffers. All true. Alcoholism and most addictions are life-and-death matters. But purposeless and diversionary dating and “relationship” pursuits and problems, war stories, drunkalogs, pointless discussion meetings, and ill-prepared Big Book, Step, literature, Beginner, Bible, and speaker meetings, and literature, do not make for success.


Getting the “Message” Straight


Let’s be mentors or sponsors who are actually carrying an accurate, historically correct, effective message to those who still suffer. Bill’s “sponsor” Ebby Thacher was the first person to carry the message that God can and will do for you what you could not do for yourself.


Holding Orientation, Indoctrination, Information Beginners Talks or Meetings


Many a newcomer walks in the rooms of A.A. and learns little or nothing about the program, its origins, its history, and the path the newcomer should follow for recovery. The foregoing are points to make clear to him.

For further information, contact; 808 874 4876

Thursday, May 09, 2013

The Statistics on Alcoholism -- The Horrors of, and the Solution to

You Can’t Talk Enough About Statistical Horrors Alcoholism Brings to the

Affected and the Afflicted


A.A. and the Help of God

Dick B.

© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved


A note to William Bagley 28 who posted today’s relevant statistics on ravages of alcoholism


Thank you for your statistics on alcoholism.


And the important thing is that there are millions more affected by alcoholism than those afflicted with alcoholism. Pills and medicine are not the answer. Way back in 1935, the leading doctor on alcoholism made it plain that alcoholics were MEDICALLY INCURABLE.


Christian organizations and people like the YMCA, Rescue Missions, Salvation Army, Great evangelists like Moody and Meyer and Sankey and Folger, Congregationalism, and United Society of Christian Endeavor made a huge dent by treating alcoholics not as people to be condemned, but as people to be either redeemed or set on a renewed mind walk by the spirit. Their view was contrary to that of contemporaries and predecessors who were anti-booze, anti-saloons, and anti-drunks. And their punitive crusades faded with the winds. For God was not their resort.


In only five or six decades, the treatment picture has become as bleak as ever because people have now used government grants, rules, and research to tell us that "religiosity" is the enemy of the alcoholic and that "spirituality" (with its higher powers, nonsense gods, absurd names for God, and self-made religion) is the new ticket to recovery. It isn't. And God is. But only for those who want Him, believe in Him, and seek Him (Hebrews 11:6) and learn as early AAs did from Romans 10:9 how to come to God through accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.


Some anti-AA folks call the above "Jesus talk" or the Christianization of AA. It's not. God wants all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth. Then it's up to them to turn, to repent and to establish the relationship with God that history shows is as effective today as ever.


For information, contact Dick B.; and read God and Alcoholism.


Gloria Deo

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Portland Maine Nationwide A.A. History Conference September 7 and 8

Details on the Portland, Maine Nationwide A.A. History Conference Firming Up for Early September Right Now

Details on the Portland, Maine Nationwide A.A. History Conference Firming Up for Early September Right Now


Dick B.

© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved


·         We will soon announce and tell you the precise hours, dates, locations, and programs for the forthcoming Nationwide Alcoholics Anonymous History Conference in Portland, Maine this September.


·         There will be Conferences on Friday evening September 6, and all day Saturday, September 7. My son Ken and I will be in the area for several days and look forward to meeting also with individuals and groups who recognize the importance to recovery from alcoholism and addict ion of: learning about, and passing on, the origins, history, and bliblical roots of the early A.A. fellowship founded in Akron in 1935. And to fill in the numerous A.A. history potholes existing in all these realms of Alcoholics Anonymous.


·         Our additional separate Portland meetings, whether in a restaurant, a lobby, an office, or a board room, are very productive in learning others’ questions; hearing their suggestions, needs, recommendations, and plans; and restoring to full view the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played in the origins, history, immense correlation among Christian leaders, organizations and workers that were healing alcoholics and addicts long before A.A. was founded in June, 1935.Also, to spread the message about the Cofounders’ Christian upbringing in Vermont. And how the first three AAs got sober before there were any Steps, Traditions, Big Books, drunkalogs and meetings like those we see today. The simply renounced liquor, sought God’s help, and helped others.


·         Contents of our meetings and conferences in Portland will be broad, informative, and accurate. They have as their primary purpose helping the still suffering alcoholics and addicts. Necessarily, they inform the suffering affected and afflicted about what our Creator has done, can do, and will do according to His will


·         Probable subjects and events, whether in talks, or roundtable, or by speeches will include:


(1) Our speaking at an A.A. meeting.

(2) Addressing a large Christian recovery conference to teach, discuss, and demonstrate what God and His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible have done, can do, and will do for those who want that kind of help.

(3) A round-table sharing meeting among leaders and working attending.

(4) Hospitality, music, food.

(5) Ample literature accurately describing and demonstrating how Christian recovery developed from the 1850’s by

 (a) Young Men’s Christian Association,

 (b) Gospel Rescue Missions,

 (c) Congregationalism,

 (d) Evangelists like Dwight Moody, Ira Sankey, Allen Folger, Francis Clark, and

 F.B. Meyer who offered salvation, the Word of God, and healings.

(e) Salvation Army,

(f) United Society of Christian Endeavor,

(g) Early writings and talks by activists in A First  Century Christian Fellowship, (h) Rev. Samuel Shoemaker, 

(i) Revival, conversion, and temperance meetings,

(j) the survey of vital religious experiences by Professor William James,

(k) the Christian healing of alcoholism and addiction that Dr. William D. Silkworth suggested to Bill W. and other patients.

(l) the view of Dr. Carl Jung that the seeming hopelessness generated in the mind of a chronic alcoholic can be countered by a vital religious experience

(m) Bill W.’s insistence on cure by the power of God through a vital religious experience.

(n) The disconcerting difference between Bill’s “new version” of  recovery published and changed in various manuscripts and editions of the Big Book, and the precise Christian techniques used with a claimed 75% success rate for Akron A.A. and a 93% documented success rate of early Cleveland A.A.


            (6) The published summary, principles, practices, and successes of pioneer AAs.

(7)  Firming up convictions that the early A.A. Akron Christian Fellowship adapted and applied daily as did Jesus and the fellowships of the Apostles and Disciples described in the Book of Acts.

(8) Preparing yourself for a fruitful conference by purchasing (a) a copy of the Dover Publications, Inc. First Edition, with a twenty-seven page introduction by Dick B.;; (b) Stick with the Winners!; (c) Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous; and A.A. Conference-approved Pamphlet P-53 The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks.



·         The Portland, Maine meetings and conferences in September are being planned right now. The dates (and soon the times, locations, meetings, and programs for Portland, Maine-will be Friday evening September 6th and Saturday September 7th. We are expecting to see a number of long-term recovered Christian alcoholics and addicts who are leaders and workers in their fellowships and participants in International Christian Recovery Coalition We hope they come as our treasured recovered participants from many provinces in Canada; and locations in Maine; New Hampshire; Vermont; Connecticut; Massachusetts; New York; Delaware; New Jersey; Washington DC, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.


·          We look forward to their sharing their expertise in recovery, history, Christian roots, Steps, networking, getting acquainted, helping each other, and learning facets of recovery that have been buried and/or unspoken correctly far too long.


·         We are doing the planning, fixing the dates and locations, and contacting likely participants at this early point. Because experience has shown that the earlier the  planning, the better the conference.


·         We welcome suggestions, questions, and comments right now. I’ll be celebrating 27 years of continuous sobriety in a day or so. And I’ll be celebrating 88 years of age in May. And it’s never too soon to alert your participation and give you information that can persuade others to join you and/or attend on their own.


Contact Dick B., PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837;; 808 874 4876


Gloria Deo


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Which Bible Should We Choose for our A.A. Bible Study/Big Book Group

Dick B. discusses Good Book-Big Book meetings and which Bible version to use on the March 30, 2013, episode of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B.” show.


Dick B.

© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved


You May Hear This Talk Right Now


You may hear Dick B. discuss Good Book-Big Book meetings and which Bible version to use on the March 30, 2013, episode of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show here:


or here:


Episodes of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show are archived at:




Introduction by Host Ken B.


Recently, we (Dick B. and Ken B.) published and disseminated widely a newsletter primarily for those many folks who have been phoning, emailing, and telling us at meetings that they want to start an A.A. Step Study/Big Book and Bible study group as an A.A. Directory-listed meeting or as a Christian Recovery meeting.


Inevitably, they ask how they should go about the process. And we have published and/or otherwise sent out a good many guides, lists of suggested study topics, and lists of suggested procedures for setting up the meeting they wish to conduct. We particularly focused on such meetings in our new title: Stick with the Winners!: How to Conduct More Effective 12-Step Meetings Using Conference-Approved Literature (


More often than not, the meetings folks ask us about conducting will cover study of the Big Book and 12 Steps in conjunction with study of the Bible. This is because A.A. cofounder Dr. Bob made it so clear in his last major talk to AAs how important the Bible was in formulating the basic ideas for the 12 Steps. He spoke of the effort, study, and teaching that were involved. And our most popular title, The Good Book and the Big Book: A.A.'s Roots in the Bible ( has been a frequent starting point.


This evening, Dick B. will summarize an article he just wrote on this subject area, and which he also posted on line and sent to many by email. The importance of the subject is underlined in Dr. Bob's remarks in the A.A. General Service Conference-approved pamphlet titled The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches: Their Last Major Talks (item # P-53). And I (Ken B.) will start the program off by quoting some of what Dr. Bob said on pages 13 and 14 of that important pamphlet.


In the early days. . . our stories didn’t amount to anything to speak of. When we started in on Bill D. [A.A. Number Three], we had no Twelve Steps either; we had no Traditions.


But we were convinced that the answer to our problems was in the Good Book. To some of us older ones, the parts we found absolutely essential were the Sermon on the Mount, the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, and the Book of  James. We used to have daily meetings at a friend’s house. [See Dick B., The Book of James and the Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials].


It  wasn’t until 1938 that the teachings and efforts and studies  that had been going on were crystallized in the form of the Twelve Steps. I didn’t write the Twelve Steps. I had nothing to do with the writing of them. But I think I probably had something to do with them indirectly. After my June 10th episode, Bill came to live at our house and stayed for about three months. There was hardly a night that we didn’t sit up until two or three o’clock talking. . . . We already had the basic ideas, though not in terse and tangible form. We got them as a result of our study of the Good Book.


Synopsis of Dick B.’s Talk on Which Bible Version to Use for Your Study Group


The title of tonight’s talk is “A.A. Big Book/12 Step/Bible Study Groups: Which Bible Version

Should We Use.” The talk is based on a two part article just  posted on many websites, blogs, and forums, as well as being sent out in our newsletter. The first part is titled “Part One: First, Which “Big Book” Should We Use.” And we will have more to say  about that in another Christian Recovery Radio interview. But the focus tonight will be on Part Two- “Now, Which Bible Should We Use?”


And here are the answers provided to “Which Bible Should We Use?”


Two Suggested Biblical Pieces Used by Early AAsin Their “Christian Fellowship” Program


The King James Version of the Bible: Which Bible should we use? The most appropriate answer is “the Holy Bible”—in this case, the King James Version--which was the English Bible Version used, studied, and quoted by the early A.A. pioneers, and which provided the basic ideas for their program of recovery.


The Runner’s Bible: The next answer can properly be: The Runner’s Bible: Spiritual Guidance for People on the Run, compiled and annotated by Nora Holm, with an Introduction by Polly Berrien Berends (Lakewood, CO: I Level, Acropolis Books, 1998). This book is a reprint of The Runner’s Bible prepared in 1910 by Nora Holm. I found a copy of the earlier book among the books of Dr. Bob that were shown to me by Dr. Bob’s son and daughter. And Dr. Bob’s son, Robert R. Smith, told me that this was a favorite devotional his father used. And a statement of the Table of Contents may well show why:


            “In the Morning Will I Order My Prayer to Thee”

            The Godhead

            God the Father

            The Christ of God

            Him That Filleth All in All

            His Image and Likeness

            Walk in Love

            Rejoice Always

            In Everything Give Thanks

            Fear Not, Only Believe

            Get Wisdom, Get Understanding

            Ask and Ye Shall Receive

            He That is The Greatest Among You Shall Be Your Servant

            Forgive and Ye Shall Be Forgiven

            Be of Good Cheer, Thy Sins Be Forgiven Thee

            I Will Help Thee

            Behold, I Will Heal Thee

            For Thine Is The Power

            The Lord Shall Guide Thee Continually

            Thou Shalt Walk In Thy Way Safely

            All Things Are Yours

            Peace Be Unto You

            Happy Shalt Thou Be

            The Lord Will Lighten My Darkness             


Those familiar with the Bible will quickly recognize the biblical references in the subjects. They will also see biblical expressions applied in early A.A. And they will be seeing, in the many verses under each subject, just what “basic ideas” Dr. Bob stated the early AAs began studying, exerting themselves to learn, and teaching.


Four Well-Known, Relatively-New “Recovery” Bibles


The next four choices of a Bible for study are those that arose long, long after A.A. was founded in 1935. And here are they are:


1.         Serenity: A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery. Complete with New Testament, Psalms & Proverbs by Dr. Robert Hemfelt and Dr. Bernard Fowler (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990). Hemfelt is a psychologist who is said to have specialties in the treatment of codependency, addictions, and adult-children-of-abuse issues. Fowler is said to have a background in education, counseling, and administration.


Neither A.A.’s cofounders nor its other pioneers limited their Bible study in the way Serenity does. The Serenity authors state that the Twelve Steps are printed but adapted for use with all dependencies. There is extensive psychological talk about addictions and the like. The authors err in emphasizing the significance of the Oxford Group; while, at the same time, omitting: (a) the Christian predecessors of A.A., (b) the Christian upbringing of A.A.’s cofounders—which included intensive Bible study by both Bill W. and Dr. Bob as young men, (c) the fact that early A.A. in Akron called itself a “Christian fellowship,” and (d) the important statements by Dr. Bob that the earlier AAs felt the answer to their problems was in the Bible, and that the parts they considered absolutely essential were Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the Book of James, and 1 Corinthians 13. Missing too is the original Akron A.A. program which is stated in summary form in DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers at page 131; and missing in addition are the 16 practices of the early A.A. Christians which implemented the seven-point program as summarized.


Serenity’s commentaries do not cover the important early A.A. requirements of belief in the Creator (Hebrews 11:6); conversion to God through His Son Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9); the significance in James 4:7 of submitting to God; the many phrases in Matthew 5, 6, and 7 from which Step ideas came; and the high regard in which early AAs held 1 Corinthians 13 and the importance of love.


2.         Recovery Devotional Bible New International Version: With 365 Daily Readings (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993). Verne Becker is the General Editor. This Bible contains a great many tools to aid study. The Bible’s front matter, for example, includes the following items: (a) Alphabetical Order of the Books of the Bible; (b) Acknowledgements; (c) Introduction to the Recovery Devotional Bible; (d) The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous; (e) The Bible Step by Step; (f) Spiritual Roots of the Twelve Steps; (g) Working Together – The Bible and the Twelve Steps; (h) The Recovery Family; and (i) Preface to the New International Version.


In one sense, this version attempts to be all things to all studies--a daily devotional; a bit of A.A. history; and opinions as to how this or that verse can be applied to some Step or A.A. language.


And, except for a well-known article by Tim Stafford, there is no adequate presentation of early A.A., or of the all-important Sermon on the Mount, Book of James, and 1 Corinthians 13.


As an NIV, the book is perhaps more easily understood, yet open to private interpretation that may or may not square with the idea that the Word of God is God-inspired. The more one attempts to mix the secular with the biblical, the more the biblical end suffers from man-made reasoning instead of being the product of a renewed mind, coming from the transformation discussed in Romans 10:9, 12:1-3, and 2 Corinthian 5:7. There is no adequate recognition of the healing or cure that Bill Wilson claimed when he wrote “The Lord has cured me of this terrible disease.”


3.         The Life Recovery Bible: The Living Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). The Executive Editors are David Stoop and Stephen Arterburn. This Bible is filled with footnotes explaining verses. It explains “The Big Picture” and “The Bottom Line” for each book of the Bible. It covers “Reflections” and “Insights.” Sprinkled through the various books of the Bible are large column references to a Step, and then to the authors’ attempt to relate the Step idea to a particular part of a particular book of the Bible. There is an Index to Twelve Step Devotionals, to Recovery Principle Devotionals, to Serenity Prayer Devotionals, and to Recovery Reflections.


My son Ken and I have seen this particular Bible in wide use among the many Bible study groups, Christian recovery fellowships, and 12-Step meetings of Christians all over the United States at which we have spoken; met with Christian treatment leaders, counselors, recovery pastors, doctors, clergy, and Salvation Army treatment programs.


As with the other three “recovery” Bibles, there are several problems that make them difficult for both the newcomer and/or the sponsor to master and utilize. They don’t discuss “old-school” A.A. adequately or accurately. Their histories are skewed to Bill Wilson’s “new version of the program” represented by the Twelve Steps. They tend to excuse or try to explain how A.A. is “spiritual but not religious;” and how it is open to all, including atheists. They strive and strain to make Bible verses fit into and with A.A.’s twelve, little “Steps.” Finally, they use the Bible in a way that neither early AAs nor most present-day AAs can find focused on their own life-problems, disasters, and legal and other difficulties.— as to which God can provide guidance, forgiveness, and deliverance. In that respect, they also fail to emphasize “cure” and “healing,” though early AAs spoke repeatedly of this. They fail to point much to the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played in the Christian Recovery Movement. And they certainly fail to report adequately or accurately the real Christian origins of A.A. ideas from about 1850 forward—efforts or people and organizations that helped rather than condemned alcoholics. These included the Young Men’s Christian Association, the Salvation Army, Gospel Rescue Missions, Congregationalists, the great evangelists, and the United Society of Christian Endeavor.


If simplicity of presentation and simplicity of spiritual understanding are essential to an AA’s being lifted out of the hole by the power, love, forgiveness, healing, and guidance of Almighty God, then this simplicity is missing in every one of the Bibles that tries to present something other than God’s Word alone.


4.         Celebrate Recovery Bible: New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007). Pastor John Baker is the founder of Celebrate Recovery, a ministry of Saddleback Church in California. The book is huge


As Baker explains in an introductory section called “About the Celebrate Recovery Bible”:


. . . [T]he familiar twelve steps remain intact under the Celebrate Recovery model, except that the vague language about a Higher Power gets specific, focusing on the one and only true Higher Power, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Celebrate Recovery is built on the eight proven Biblical principles based on the well-loved Beatitudes from Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount . . . The Christ-centered twelve steps fit neatly and naturally underneath the umbrella of the eight principles . . . [unnumbered page xi].


He then lists the following features of the Celebrate Recovery Bible: (a) Book Introductions; (b) Character Studies; (c) Recovery Stories; (d) Lesson Studies; (e) Recovery-related Scripture Ties; (f) Thirty Days of Devotions; (g) an Index Subjects Features; and to Character Sketches and Recovery Stories.


I will let this Bible speak for itself and be explained at a Celebrate Recovery meeting to those who have chosen to go the Celebrate Recovery route. And there are many! Once again, the sheer volume of Bible, explanations, mixture of Beatitudes and Steps, along with devotionals and the like, would seem to challenge a newcomer, a sponsor, and/or a group leader in a way that A.A. does not do—at least not in voluminous writing.


But it is fair to say that this is the newest, and possibly the most-widely-used, “recovery Bible” today.


But Let’s Consider The Following,Simple, Christian Choice That Is Available


First of all, most A.A. newcomers are sick, bewildered, confused, in endless troubles, frightened, and timid in their approach to recovery. I certainly was as well!


Second, “Keep it simple” is a common piece of wisdom of the rooms that is frequently suggested; and, if of value, is tailored to moving the alcoholic out of acute and delayed withdrawal, brain damage, confusion, and fear.


Third, In the early days, A.A. had excellent, qualified teachers. Among the lay teachers were:


           Dr. Bob’s wife—an ardent Bible student and former teacher;

           Henrietta Seiberling—a devoted Christian and Vassar graduate; and

           T. Henry Williams—a famous inventor and former Sunday school teacher.


Then there were the clergy on the East Coast—led by Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr. And there was the highly-respected physician William D. Silkworth, M.D.—specialist in treating thousands of alcoholics.


Each teacher, in his or her own way, spoon-fed newcomers. With prayer; Quiet Time; three rather-brief segments of the Bible—Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the Book of James, and 1 Corinthians 13. And with surrender to God; Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; much-needed hospitalization.; and with living or meeting in the homes as the early First Century Christians did. Finally, with simply helping others not so far along in recovery—all the while fellowshipping, witnessing, and converting.


How About Your Considering the following choice!


How about the following choice when it comes to the Bible, the Big Book, and Study Groups?


1.         Select a Bible version of choice—acquired, if desired, from a thrift shop.

2.         Think about the King James Version since that was used by A.A. pioneers and quoted in later A.A. literature.

3.         Read and teach from the Book of James, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and 1 Corinthians 13.

4.         Bring in a pastor or Bible teacher to conduct study of those three books.

5.         Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

6.         Discuss. Discuss. Discuss.

7.         Accompany all this with prayer, use of a devotional like The Runner’s Bible, and simple literature like Henry Drummond’s The Greatest Thing in the World (about 1 Cor 13).

8.         Graduate into the Christian books early AAs read for spiritual growth.

9.         Have a Christian A.A. teach simple A.A. history.

10.       Have a Christian A.A. who is Big Book-oriented teach how the historical approach and the Bible can be applied in A.A. today.

11.       Witness!


For further information, contact Dick B. at, or  808 874 487 6