Alcoholics anonymous quote give me the strength


Alcoholics Anonymous quotes (showing 1-30 of 159)

“I have found that the process of discovering who I really am begins with knowing who I really don’t want to be.”

Alcoholics Anonymous

“I have come to believe that hard times are not just meaningless suffering and that something good might turn up at any moment. That’s a big change for someone who used to come to in the morning feeling sentenced to another day of life. When I wake up today, there are lots of possibilities. I can hardly wait to see what’s going to happen next.”

Alcoholics Anonymous

“When I stopped living in the problem and began living in the answer, the problem went away.”

Alcoholics Anonymous

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation “some fact of my life” unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.”

Alcoholics Anonymous Alcoholics Anonymous

“To this day, I am amazed at how many of my problems – most of which had nothing to do with drinking, I believed – have become manageable or have simply disappeared since I quit drinking.”

Alcoholics Anonymous

“…one of the primary differences between alcoholics and nonalcoholics is that nonalcoholics change their behavior to meet their goals and alcoholics change their goals to meet their behaviors.”

Alcoholics Anonymous

“It will take time to clear away the wreck. Though old buildings will eventually be replaced by finer ones, the new structures will take years to complete.”

Alcoholics Anonymous

“We sometimes hurt those we love because they need to be “taught a lesson,” when we really want to punish. We were depressed and complained we felt bad, when in fact we were mainly asking for sympathy and attention. This odd trait of mind and emotion, this perverse wish to hide a bad motive underneath a good one, permeates human affairs from top to bottom. This subtle and elusive kind of self-righteousness can underlie the smallest act or thought. Learning daily to spot, admit, and correct these flaws is the essence of character-building and good living. An honest regret for harms done, a genuine gratitude for blessings received, and a willingness to try for better things tomorrow will be the permanent assets we shall seek.”

Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

“As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.”

Alcoholics Anonymous Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition

“We should be sensible, tactful, considerate and humble without being servile or scraping. As God’s people we stand on our feet; we don’t crawl before anyone.”

Alcoholics Anonymous

“To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action.”

Alcoholics Anonymous

“Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt. So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making.”

Alcoholics Anonymous Alcoholics Anonymous

“I simply had to believe in a Spirit of the Universe, who knew neither time nor limitation.”

Alcoholics Anonymous

“We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a vale of tears, though it once was just that for many of us. But it is clear that we make our own misery.”

Alcoholics Anonymous

“Avoid then, the deliberate manufacture of misery, but if trouble comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence.”

Alcoholics Anonymous

“I’ve been benefited from a dictionary definition I found that reads: “Rationalization is giving a socially acceptable reason for socially unacceptable behavior, and socially unacceptable behavior is a form of insanity.”

Alcoholics Anonymous

“Through the years I had quit on everything that ever mattered: college, going for promotions, relationships – at least the relationships that demanded any work.”

Alcoholics Anonymous

“Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings which the process requires for its successful consummation.”

Alcoholics Anonymous

“They sound like the philosophy of a man who, having a headache, beats himself on the head with a hammer so that he cannot feel the ache.”

Alcoholics Anonymous

“How did people have conversations anyway? How did they meet and then begin to talk as if they had known each other for years?”

Alcoholics Anonymous

“It is very difficult for me to come to terms with my spiritual illness because of my great pride, disguised by my material successes and my intellectual power. Intelligence is not incompatible with humility, provided I place humility first. To seek prestige and wealth is the ultimate goal for many in the modern world. To be fashionable and to seem better than I really am is a spiritual illness. To recognize and to admit my weaknesses is the beginning of good spiritual health. It is a sign of spiritual health to be able to ask God every day to enlighten me, to recognize His will, and to have the strength to execute it. My spiritual health is excellent when I realize that the better I get, the more I discover how much help I need from others.”

Alcoholics Anonymous Daily Reflections: A Book of Reflections by A.A. Members for A.A. Members

“Identifying, they said, was trying to see how I was like the people I was with. Comparing, they told me, was looking for differences, usually seeing how I was better than others.”

Alcoholics Anonymous

www.goodreads.com

This Web site intends 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.

 Let’s Begin with 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 is done, the reader can fill in the holes, straighten out the distortions, correct the misrepresentations, eliminate subjective gossip, and find out what most in the recovery community have simply not heard.

And the recommended 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).

RHS (New York 2, N. Y.: The A.A. Grapevine, 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 Comes of Age, 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).

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)

, 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.

BOB and the Good Oldtimers, 1980.

Dick B. and Ken B.,

The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010.

Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous, 2008

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.

http://www.silkworth.net/aahistory/drbob/drbob_interview_fm_0939.html

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

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.

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.

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, 2001

Norman Vincent Peale, The Positive Power of Jesus Christ

Biographical on Edwin Throckmorton Thacher, “Ebby,” Bill’s Sponsor

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: “ 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 , 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

  1. 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 AnonymousReal 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
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

Mary Darrah, Sister Ignatia, 1992, 13, 25-26, 33-37.
Dr. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, 1980

Biographical on Father Ed Dowling, S.J.

Robert Fitzgerald, S.J., The Soul of Sponsorship, 1995. See 55-66, 89]
“Pass It On,” 1980, 240-243, 281-282, 354, 371, 387.

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

How to Study, Learn, Teach, and Apply the Historical Elements Today

Dick B. and Ken B.,
Stick with the Winners! How to Conduct More Effective 12-Step Recovery Meetings Using Conference-Approved Literature: A Dick B. Guide for Christian Leaders and Workers in the Recovery Arena, 2012

Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous: God’s Role in Recovery Confirmed!, 2012The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010Making Known The Biblical History and Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous: A Sixteen Year Research, Writing, Publishing, and Fact Dissemination Project, 3rd ed., 2005Dick B.The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the BibleThe Good Book-Big Book Guidebook, 2006Cured!: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts, 2d ed, 2006The James Club and The Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials, 4th ed., 2005Twelve Steps for You: Take the Twelve Steps with the Big Book, A.A. History, and the Good Book at Your Side, 4th ed., 2005God and Alcoholism: Our Growing Opportunity in the 21st Century, 2002Why Early A.A. Succeeded: The Good Book in Alcoholics Anonymous Yesterday and Today (A Bible Study Primer for AAs and other 12-Steppers), 2001By The Power of God: A Guide to Early A.A. Groups & Forming Similar Groups Today, 2000Utilizing 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, 2006Making Known the Biblical History and Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd ed. 2006The First Nationwide Alcoholics Anonymous History Conference, 2d ed., 2006.Turning Point: A History of Early A.A.’s Spiritual Roots and Successes, 1997.Mel B.New Wine: The Spiritual Roots of the Twelve Step Miracle, 1991My 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, 1987Helen Smith Shoemaker, I Stand by the Door: The Life of Sam Shoemaker,1967.John Potter Cuyler, Jr., Calvary Church in Action, 1934.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.

  1. H. Streeter, The God Who Speaks, 1930.

Sherwood Sunderland Day, The Principles of the Group, n.d.

  1. 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”

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

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.

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

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.

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.

Arthur Fairbanks et. al. , 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)

Year Book of the Young Men’s Christian Association of North America, 1896

  1. 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

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. McPeek, “Lecture 26 – The Role of Relisious 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

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.

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

  1. Wilbur Chapman, Life and Work of Dwight L. Moody

Mark O. Guldseth, Streams, 1982

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

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.

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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

Dick B. and Ken B.,

The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide 3rd ed

Bill W.and Dr. Bob: The Green Moutain 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 and hence don’t know.

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

.

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.

  1. Willard Hunter, It Started Right There
  2. Irving Harris, The Breeze of the Spirit

“Pass It On”

William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience

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.

How the First Three AAs Got Sober by simply turning to God for help.

Bill W.

Dr. Bob

Bill Dotson (A.A. Number Three)

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.

  1. 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

  1. 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

  1. 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

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.

  1. 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

  1. 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

Dick B., A New Way Out, 63-64.

The Daily Meetings, Family Emphasis, and Close Contacts Among Members—Resemblance to First Century Christianity

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 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. 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 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 , 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”

  1. 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

, 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:

. . . his trip gave me a much needed chance to visit Dr. Bob in Akron. It was on a November day in that year 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.

. . . 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 Heartt, 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 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 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 , 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

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, 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.

Here are the various ways Bill’s alleged six “steps” were phrased, for example, 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.

  1. “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.
  2. “We prayed to God as you understand him.” Jared Lobdell, This Strange Illness, 242; Dick B., Turning Point, 100.
  3. 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

  1. 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 Earl Treat of Chicago) was quoted with reference to six steps plus several other ideas attributed to Dr. Bob as saying: “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.” Dr. Bob had apparently asked a newcomer if he believed in “God”—not “a god”—God!
  2. 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,’ 193. 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 they 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.

Learning the difference between this twelve step program 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 the best 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

alcoholicsanonymoushistory.com

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