"I would be true, for there are those who trust me; I would be pure, for there are those who care; I would be strong, for there is much to suffer; I would be brave, for there is much to dare; I would be friend of allthe foethe friendless; I would be giving and forget the gift; I would be humble, for I know my weakness; I would look up and laughand loveand lift."
Howard Arnold WALTER, author of "Soul Surgery"
"In order to form a habit of conversing with God continually, and referring all we do to Him, we must at first apply to Him with some diligence; but that after a little care we should find His love inwardly excites us to it without any difficulty.
...we ought to act with God in the greatest simplicity, speaking to Him frankly and plainly, and imploring His assistance in our affairs, just as they happen."
The only sane people in an insane world are those controlled by God or those who surrendered their self will for God's will.
THE DETROIT PRAYER
"Our Heavenly Father, We ask Thy Blessings on this meeting. Please Bless the Spirit and purpose of this group. Give us strength to follow this program according to Thy will and in all humility. Forgive us for yesterday and grant us Courage for today and Hope for tomorrow. Amen"
SE Michigan AA
Rx for Sobriety
“Slips are not the fault of A.A. I have heard patients complain, when brought in for another drying out, that A.A. failed them. The truth, of course, is that they failed A.A.
But this mental maneuvering to transfer the blame is obviously another indication of fallacious thinking. It is another symptom of the disease. The A.A. who “slips” has not accepted the A.A. program in its entirety. He has a reservation, or reservations. He’s tried to make a compromise. Frequently, of course, he will say he doesn’t know why he reverted to a drink. He means that sincerely and, as a matter of fact, he may not be aware of any reason. But if his thoughts can be probed deeply enough a reason can usually be found in the form of a reservation. The preventive, therefore, is acceptance of the A.A. program and A.A. principles without any reservations.
...in my opinion, the key principle which makes A.A. work where other plans have proved inadequate is the way of life it proposes based upon the belief of the individual in a Power greater than himself and the faith that this Power is all sufficient to destroy the obsession which possessed him and was destroying him mentally and physically.”
"Do not let anybody tell you that recovery from addiction is impossible, or unusual. Hundreds of thousands of addicts have recovered fully, beautifully, and permanently.
The people who clutter up the addictive scene and make it seem like a big deal are the addicts (all of us at one stage of the game) who do not really want to recover and who are still horsing around with the situation and mainly playing games. When you reach the point of wanting to recover and become willing to do what recovered addicts tell you to do, the battle is more than half won."
All Addicts Anonymous
Are We Still Seeking Him?
"I get hundreds of emails, phone messages, and letters from people in A.A. who have run up against anti-God, anti-Bible, anti-Christian cross-talk in their meetings. And it intimidates most of them. It produces silence on their part. Hardly a tribute to our primary purpose of message-carrying.
...God seems to have been scratched from A.A. at every turn, and wherever possible. ...The complexion of A.A. is changing; perhaps it is. But that's not going to make A.A. any more peaceful or harmonious and probably no less hateful than angry trouble-makers are making present-day A.A. It's almost as if there were a license today to attack religion rather than to propose that you find God and find Him now!
...A.A. today is not about God or finding God or establishing a relationship with God. It's not about 'Divine Help.' It's gaining a reputation for being about self-help, believing anything you want, not believing anything at all, and carrying any message you like, but making certain you go to meetings and abstain from drinking!"
"In every man's record there are four chapters: reputation, character, influence, destiny.
Reputation is what people think of us. Character is what we are, the real product of our thoughts, our hidden motives. Influence is what we put into the lives of others. It cannot be measured. It cannot be limited. Destiny is determined by one's record. To the righteous death is not to be feared. It is the open door to a larger and finer life. The secret of the well-kept record is to have the mind and the spirit of Christ within."
"The beatitudes teach us that happiness cannot be found in our circumstances unless it is within ourselves. It is the inner life that is the home of happiness where abide humility, godly sorrow for sin, meekness, a desire for righteousness, peace, courage to face persecution and misunderstanding.
The quest for eternal life brings happiness, but the quest for happiness alone misses eternal life. This explains why there are so many disappointed people about us, why this has been called "the age of the great sadness," when multitudes seek happiness in ways that can never reach the goal.
The entrance to the realm of happiness is by a 'narrow gate,' where Jesus still stands to meet us with the old challenge, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand...."
from 'The Upper Room'
The first thing I think the Church needs to learn from AA is that nobody gets anywhere till he recognizes a clearly-defined need. These people do not come to AA to get made a little better. They do not come because the best people are doing it. They come because they are desperate. They are not ladies and gentlemen looking for a religion, they are utterly desperate men and women in search of redemption without what AA gives, death stares them in the face. With what AA gives them, there is life and hope. There are not a dozen ways, there are not two ways, there is one way; and they find it, or perish. AA's each and all have a definite, desperate need. They have the need, and they are ready to tell somebody what it is if they see the least chance that it can be met."
Rev. Sam Shoemaker
"Alcoholics Anonymous is not a 'booze cure' or a psychological means of controlling one's excessive or obsessive drinking. A.A. is a program, a life-changing program, and in a great part, we owe our inception as a fellowship to our origin in the Oxford Group movement during the mid 1930s."
"The Oxford Group was designed as a Life Changing programand we in A.A. have for our own uses and affiliation, modified their program, chiefly by designing our twelve step program in a manner that the alcoholic who feels he needs and wants a change from what they are experiencing, can comfortably accept and apply the program and thereby change their life. To do so, requires certain attitudes, willingness, and acts on our parts.
We have simplified the program, in the feeling that any alcoholic with an alcohol problem, can live a life free of the obsession to drink. Our program of the twelve steps is really accepted in four distinct phases, as follows: 1) Need (admission); 2) Surrender (submission); 3) Restitution; 4) Construction and Maintenance."
Clarence Snyder, in 1976
“Our human impulse is to give advice, to point out the steps that other person ought to take, to rearrange their life ourselves. Actually the only thing we can rightly do is to help them listen, not to us, but to God. Somewhere at the base of their life God is speaking to them, convicting them about the past, and insistently pointing the new way. It is tremendously important that they should discover this themselves. If they listen to us instead of God, they will depend on us instead of Him. That is fatal. We must do no more at this stage than to help them listen for the deepest voices in their own souls, until they know that God is speaking and make their first response in trust and obedience to Him alone."
Cecil Rose, "When Man Listens"
"The A.A. who 'slips' has not accepted the A.A. program in its entirety. He has a reservation, or reservations. He’s tried to make a compromise. Frequently, of course, he will say he doesn’t know why he reverted to a drink. He means that sincerely and, as a matter of fact, he may not be aware of any reason. But if his thoughts can be probed deeply enough a reason can usually be found in the form of a reservation.
“The preventive, therefore, is acceptance of the A.A. program and A.A. principles without any reservations. This brings us to what I call the moral issue and to what I have always believed from the first to be the essence of A.A.
...in my opinion, the key principle which makes A.A. work where other plans have proved inadequate is the way of life it proposes based upon the belief of the individual in a Power greater than himself and the faith that this Power is all sufficient to destroy the obsession which possessed him and was destroying him mentally and physically.”
AA IS NOT FOR EVERYONE! AA has never claimed to be a "one-size-fits-all" solution. AA is a suggested program of recovery ONLY FOR THOSE WHO CHOOSE the Spiritual Solution. In 1935 there were no other options! "
A.A. is not interested in sobering up drunks who are not sincere in their desire to remain completely sober for all time" (Akron, 1940). SO--if you are NOT a real alcoholic (read thru page 43 in the AA text for AA's definition) and you just have a little problem once in awhile, can still 'CHOOSE' to not drink, are 'unwilling or unable' to take the Steps or explore a relationship with a Higher Power other than yourself, or you simply don't want to have to mix with those 'losers' in the AA cult.-- there ARE legitimate and very successful methods available to try (including spending a LOT of money at a Cure Center). links to AA ALTERNATIVES at bottom of page. JEEZ, this is NOT an "us against them" game--lives are at stake. But if playing 'head games' is YOUR thing, there are quite a few exhaustive AA-bashing sites for rage-a-holics and those who are tormented by resentment. But REAL alcoholics cannot afford the luxury of bathing in hatred, self-pity, or an over-inflated ego.
This page is here to assist interested people to connect with information and resources about early AA history (the RADICAL program). Do your own research from links below, and from there, to other links. Understanding the origins of AA, as well as the humanness (fallibility) of the pioneers involved, helps us understand how and why the steps work, and the later watering down of the original methods and spiritual principles. Although a major source, Christianity was NOT the exclusive source, and does not have exclusivity on the spiritual principles involved in this life-saving program. The Creator is a BIG God. The 12 Steps are the same "medicine" in each program that uses them. It works WHEN YOU LIVE IT . Your commitment, but it must be voluntary. We CAN become 'recovered alcoholics' which simply means a relationship with God, as you understand God, has relieved you of the obsession to drink and the obsession that SOME DAY you can drink 'normally.' It is a state of mind. We work for progress, not perfection.
Red text color in excerpts below are the editor's specific emphasis
AA's Current Recovery Program
"The heart of the suggested program of personal recovery is contained in Twelve Steps describing the experience of the earliest members of the Society. In simplest form, the A.A. program operates when a recovered alcoholic passes along the story of his or her own problem drinking, describes the sobriety he or she has found in A.A., and invites the newcomer to join the informal Fellowship.
- Newcomers are not asked to accept or follow these Twelve Steps in their entirety if they feel unwilling or unable to do so. (color text used to emphasis AA's current easier, softer policy).
- They will usually be asked to keep an open mind, to attend meetings at which recovered alcoholics describe their personal experiences in achieving sobriety, and to read A.A. literature describing and interpreting the A.A. program.
- A.A. members will usually emphasize to newcomers that only problem drinkers themselves, individually, can determine whether or not they are in fact alcoholics.
- At the same time, it will be pointed out that all available medical testimony indicates that alcoholism is a progressive illness, that it cannot be cured in the ordinary sense of the term, but that it can be arrested through total abstinence from alcohol in any form."
Link to AA.org page
SEVEN PIONEERS of Alcoholics Anonymous
Seven pioneers, along with a couple of hundred close associates, did the major work in formulating these principles for effective rescue work in the modern world (from AAA organization).
former Dutch Reformed minister, founder and director of the Oxford Group--which was the basic intellectual and practical ground on which Bill and Dr. Bob developed the principles and practices of Alcoholics Anonymous.
William G. Wilson,
“Bill” to his innumerable friends--former New York stockbroker, and cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Robert H. Smith, M.D.,
“ Dr. Bob” to his innumerable friends, physician and surgeon, and cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Father Edward Dowling,
S.J., the Roman Catholic priest who worked closely with Bill and Dr. Bob in formulating the Steps and the Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Dr. Harry M. Tiebout,
the psychiatrist who understood the spiritual and medical aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous, and presented them to modern medicine.
Dr. William Silkworth,
the physician who understood Bill’s spiritual experience and its practical relationship to modern medicine.
Father Samuel Shoemaker,
the Episcopal priest and Oxford Group leader who worked closely with Bill and Dr. Bob in formulating the principles and practices of Alcoholics Anonymous.
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On Practicing the 12-Step Program / "Gresham's Law"
Excerpts from Gresham’s Law and Alcoholics Anonymous, by Tom Powers, Jr.
(webpage editor added color for emphasis)
These wild and woolly early AAs, these psychologically illiterate, off scouring and rubbish of the world, these newly sobered up drunks, set out to become totally committed men and women of God. The authors of the Big Book knew that their God centered, psychologically heretical, radical recovery plan was liable to jar many of the newcomers they were trying to reach with their message. Therefore, they made two moves to sugarcoat the pill.
- First, they put the following disclaimer immediately after listing the Twelve Steps in chapter five
Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection
That short paragraph was a stroke of inspiration, especially the phrase, “we are not saints.” It has eased thousands of new, half-convinced AA members (myself included) past the fact that we were headed, under the guidance of the Steps, in the completely unfamiliar direction of spiritual perfection.
- The second sugarcoated pill gave us the freedom to take the Steps at our own pace and in our own way. This freedom quickly grew to be deeply cherished among AA members. Bill and Dr. Bob did one thing more to keep the spiritual rigor and power of the Twelve Steps from frightening new prospects (sugarcoated pill number two). They put the Steps forth as suggestions rather than as directives. The sentence which introduces the Steps in chapter five of the Big Book says: “Here are the steps we took, which are suggested [our italics] as a program of recovery.” This idea was greatly appreciated throughout the AA Movement from the time the Big Book was first published. We drunks hate to be told to do anything.
By 1941 (which was the year my father, Tom P., Sr., came into the Fellowship) it was possible to distinguish three variant practices of the AA Program, which we have labeled the strong-cup-of-tea, medium-cup-of-tea, and weak-cup-of-tea approaches. Strong AA was the original, undiluted dosage of the spiritual principles. Strong AAs took all twelve of the Steps and kept on taking them.
They did not stop with the admission of powerlessness over alcohol, but went on right away to turn their wills and lives over to God’s care. They began to practice rigorous honesty in all their affairs. In short order they proceeded to take a moral inventory; admit all their wrongs to at least one other person; take positive and forceful action in making such restitution as was possible for those wrongs; continue taking inventory, admitting their faults, and making restitution on a regular basis; pray and meditate every day; go to two or more AA meetings weekly; and actively work the Twelfth Step, carrying the AA message to others in trouble.
- The gradually shrinking recovery rate and the old-timer blues do not require a complex or an innovative solution. The answer lies in a return to original, strong AA. It turns out that the men who wrote the Big Book were right after all. It turns out that there really is no easier, softer way. The extra work and commitment demanded by the full-Program approach pays out in enormous and indispensable dividends. The extra work and commitment make sobriety fun, because they do not make sobriety an end in itself.
- The majority of those who become addicted are people with a mystical streak, an appetite for inexhaustible bliss. We sought in bottles what can only be found in spiritual experience. AA worked in the first place because its Twelve Steps were a workable set of guidelines to real spiritual experience. The growth of the Movement made possible for a time a kind of parasitism in which partial practitioners of the spiritual principles were able to feed off the strength of full practitioners: those who had undergone real spiritual experience. But now, the parasites have already drained the host organism of a considerable portion of its life force, with no benefit to themselves.
- It is late in the day for anybody to be sounding a call for a return to the original way, to faithful practice of the full Program. However, a great deal of life is left in the Fellowship, and a major revival is possible, if enough of us see in time our dangerous situation, personally and as a Fellowship. What we need to do is clear enough. What we need to do is spelled out in the first seven chapters of the Big Book. What it all boils down to especially for us old-timers is a willingness to continue practicing all the principles in all our affairs today, rather than resting on our laurels, taking our stand on what we did way back when, in our first weeks and months of sobriety.
- But we must not fail to face squarely the need for change, the need for rededication. Complacency, smugness in our record of success, is our greatest enemy. If we as a recovered-addict society are unwilling to reverse our present course, the outlook is clear enough. We stand to recapitulate in less than a century what the great religious communities of the world have spent the last two thousand years demonstrating: that even the very best and highest of human institutions tend to deteriorate in time; and that size in spiritual organizations is often achieved at the expense of compromise of basic principles, and at the expense of the abandonment of original goals and practices.
Link to "Gresham's Law" on AAA Website
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Seven Points from the successful Akron AA Program
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. This is published on page 131 of the A.A. General Service Conference-approved book, 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 morninga “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.
The Conversion Experience View of A.A. aka, "Strong A.A."
According to psychologist William James
(and based on John 3:1-28; John 3:16-17; Romans 10:9), the conversion experience is a huge displacement and rearrangement of the convert’s personality. This internal reorganization is not just a passing experience, instead, a whole new and stable attitude is established. ...For the addict, this means that the former center of his lifethe obsession to useis now discarded and replaced by a sense of personal spirituality.
The Conversion Experience View of recovery believes that this kind of radical change in the personality is necessary for true recovery to take place.
The Twelve Steps are seen as a tool for creating Conversion Experiences without the intrusion of organized religion. In the Steps, an addict can have a powerful experience, and interpret it however he or she pleases. Therefore, Conversion Experience is often referred to as a Spiritual Experience, and the program is called “spiritual not religious.”While working the Twelve Steps in a Conversion Experience style, the addict will make a total surrender of both will and life to a Power that heals the addict’s mind. A moral inventory is taken to root out and expose the addict’s primary trouble selfishness. Amends and Twelfth Step work are designed to relieve the addict of self-concern and encourage a compassion for others. In this compassion, the Conversionists find themselves guided by a real and living Spiritual Power.
Meetings, in the Conversion Experience View, are a chance for recovered addicts to give testimony to the Power of the Steps and invite newcomers to work the Steps with a sponsor. Meetings are not a time to “share” or “check-in.” Instead, they are a time for those who have had a Spiritual Awakening to offer their services to those who have not.
LINK HERE for more at StepStudy.org
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Thomas E. Powers (1911-2005),
In August of 1941, Tom met Bill W. at an AA meeting in Greenwich, CT. Tom had last drink in October and his last drug 10/10/1946. He also stopped a 3-pack a day cigarette habit, and later, over-eating. In 1951 to 1957, Tom helped to edit the 12&12 book, the 2nd edition of the Big Book, and AA comes of Age.
In the late 1950s, Tom started a group called the 'Nut Club' 12 steps for anybody. This was the first group attempt to do what AAA later became. Tom's book "First Questions on the Life of the Spirit" was published in 1959, and in 1979, it was re-titled "Invitation to a Great Experiment."
He moved to Hankins, New York in 1961 and soon started East Ridge. They didn't turn anyone away which meant recovery possibilities for anxiety addicts, depression addicts, food addicts, sex addicts, etc. In 1982/1983 they started using the name All Addicts Anonymous.
Early History of Alcoholic Anonymous, by Mitchell K.
About.com: Alcoholism has a record of articles by nationally recognized historian and oft-quoted Alcoholics Anonymous archivist Mitchell K.
WHY STUDY A.A. HISTORY?
Why study, or for that matter, even discuss the history of Alcoholics Anonymous? What difference would it make? How could it affect how we live and work our own individual recovery? Who cares?
The history of AA can be both educational and fascinating and help in making the recovery process a fruitful one.
In a quote attributed to Carl Sandburg, he summed it up when he wrote; "Whenever a civilization or society declines (or perishes) there is always one condition present - they forgot where they came from."
This quote, often used by Frank M., Archivist for AA General Services gives a warning to present and future generations of AA members to "Keep It Green."
SURRENDER seems to be a firm and indispensable prerequisite to any real spiritual progress. ...if you want to get to God, you've got to surrender.
Surrender is a giving up of the egotistical, self-centered notion, that I, just as I am, can direct and run my own life effectively and well. It is preceded by a keen appreciation that without conscious cooperation with the Higher Power I do not properly know how to eat, to sleep, to work I do not know how to love or pray or rejoice in life. (Thomas Powers, Invitation to a Great Experiment, AAA)
"We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him."
- Do you know what most people do who think they believe in God? They stand right where they are and ask God to bless what they are doing. They do not turn their wills and lives over to God, tell Him they are willing to change and be different and ask Him what He wants them to do. That is why many professing Christians are not converted and why they have no power. It is also why AA is such a challenge to the rest of us.
- The great philosopher and psychologist William James said, "The crisis, of self-surrender has always been and must always be regarded the vital turning-point of the religious life." Self-surrender is man's part in his own conversion. We cannot and do not convert ourselves; we offer ourselves to God in surrender, and He does the converting by His Holy Spirit, bringing us forgiveness and new life.
- How many persons have I seen make that decision, take that step, and as a result find God and His power in their lives! Have you ever done that? Will you do it now?
from an article by by Sam Shoemaker link to Dick B.'s webpage
Barriers to a Full Surrender
(by Dick B, an excerpt from ANNE R SMITH'S JOURNAL)
ASK THESE QUESTIONS:
- Is there anything I won't give up?
- Is there an apology I won't make?
- Is there any defeat in my whole life, I refuse to count as sin?
- Any person I don't like to meet?
- Any restitution I won't make?
- Is there any guidance I have had but refused to follow?
- Is there anything I won't share? Let my surrender be wholesale.
- Narrow vision, rigidity, a staleness in your relationship with Christ.
- Telling a lie.
- If you are sore in yourself, do you work it off on somebody else.
- Intellectual doubts arise out of an attitude of mind.
- You can't ask forgiveness from someone you don't believe in.
- Ideas about self holding on to my own judgment of things, people, common sense and reason.
- a) You can't use a fine needle to do rough darning
b) Are you willing to take any amount of trouble to win others that Christ has taken to win you?
- Each confession a fresh humiliation breaks down another barrier. You can get to the place where you have nothing left to defend that is release. You can go naked to God.
Notes on the Oxford Group Roots of A.A. (from Dick B., Historian)
There was no "Oxford Group" prior to 1919. There was no "Oxford Group" prior to the time the press gave a tiny group of travelers in Africa the Oxford "group" name in 1928. And basically, there was no "Oxford Group" in America, at least, after 1938 when the idea and name "Moral Re-Armament" were embraced by Oxford Group founder Dr. Frank N.D. Buchman, just prior to the beginning of World War II. ...Perhaps the one remnant is an occasional reference to one or all of the "Four Absolutes" or "Four Standards" honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love. These "standards" were framed in the late 1800s by Dr. Robert E. Speer in his book The Principles of Jesus, and embraced and expanded by Frank Buchman’s major mentor, Dr. Henry Wright, in the early 1900s in his book The Will of God and a Man’s Life Work.
...Very few people (other than a few of its early critics) had a complete understanding of the principles and practices of the Oxford Group of the 1920s and early 1930s; and even fewer saw the major importance of the Oxford Group in terms of its obvious influence and impact on A.A. and the Twelve Steps. Even worse, undocumented, erroneous remarks about the Oxford Group, coupled with Bill Wilson's repeated criticisms of the Oxford Group, tended completely to overshadow not only the rich treasure of Oxford Group writings, but also to detour researchers and historians from the path to other, equally if not more, important sources of A.A. cures. Cures and a program that drew heavily on the Creator, the Bible, Quiet Time, the teachings of Rev. Sam Shoemaker, the journal of early A.A. kept and taught by Dr. Bob's wife Anne Smith in the 1930s, and the large amount of non-Oxford Group Christian literature studied and used by pioneer AAs.
...Dozens of Oxford Group principles, practices, expressions, and idioms found their way directly into Alcoholics Anonymous. Yet very few A.A. reporters either within the fellowship or outside of it seemed willing to acknowledge these facts, to investigate them, or to utilize them in understanding A.A.'s Twelve Steps, Big Book, Slogans, Literature, Manuals, and Fellowship practices.
OXFORD GROUP IDEAS
...Some illustrations of vitally important Oxford Group ideas that were utilized by A.A. pioneers were gradually obscured by the Oxford Group as it exists today, and ultimately treated by current A.A. literature as if they never existed in the program:
(1) Yahweh, the Creator.
(2) Jesus Christ.
(3) The Bible.
(5) The Five C's Confidence, Confession, Conviction, Conversion, and Continuance.
(6) Soul Surgery the process of eliminating sin.
(7) Sin anything that blocks you from God or another.
(8) The Four Absolutes Honesty, Purity, Unselfishness, and Love.
(9) Surrender the full and complete giving of your life to the Creator for His direction.
(10) Obedience of the Creator's will as the organ of spiritual knowledge.
(13) The varieties of prayer intercessory, forgiveness, guidance, healing, thanksgiving.
(14) Self-examination in terms of the Four Absolutes.
(17) Spiritual Experience.
(18) The message that God has done for you what you could not do for yourself.
(19) The Spiritual Principles of living as identified in the Ten Commandments, the two Great Commandments, 1 Corinthians 13, the Book of James, and the sermon on the mount.
(20) God has a plan, and man's chief duty is to fit his life into God's plan.
LINK HERE to Dick B's full article and sources
The Four Great A.A. Authors
From the Hindsfoot Foundation
What was early A.A. like? What kinds of topics did they talk about at their meetings? How did they obtain such an astonishing success rate in getting alcoholics sober? What were they teaching the newcomers who came into the program?
1. BILL WILSON was the principal author of Alcoholics Anonymous (the Big Book) and later wrote Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. These are the two central books in A.A. thought. Everything else in the program hinges upon reading these two works over and over again, because those who do so find them an ever-fresh source of new insights.
2. RICHMOND WALKER wrote Twenty-four Hours a Day
, the second great book of early A.A. The good old timers tell us over and over again that they got sober on two books, the Big Book and this one.
- At the top of each page Rich lays out basic meat-and-potatoes information about how we used to behave when we were drinking, how we need to change our lives, and what we need to do in order to keep the A.A. fellowship together.
- Then at the bottom of each page he tells us how to pray and meditate. This part of the book forms one of the ten greatest practical works on learning to live the spiritual life that have ever been written, in any century, including both the western world and the world of Asian religions. The eleventh step says "Sought through prayer and meditation (a) to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for (b) knowledge of His will for us and (c) the power to carry that out." Rich's little black book tells us how to actually do that.
- Rich was a Boston businessman who joined A.A. in May 1942, shortly after the first A.A. group was formed in that city. He originally wrote this material on small cards which he carried in his pocket, to aid him in his own sobriety.
3. RALPH PFAU wrote the Golden Books under the pen name of Father John Doe, to preserve his anonymity. The twelfth step says "(a) Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried (b) to carry this message to alcoholics, and (c) to practice these principles in all our affairs." The Golden Books tell us how to do the last part, that is, how to bring the principles of the program to bear on our daily lives in the world, how to make decisions in the real world, and how to keep our minds and spirits on an even keel amidst the storms and stresses of everyday life.
4. ED WEBSTER wrote The Little Red Book, which had a chapter explaining how to work each of the twelve steps. Dr. Bob thought it was the best description of how to work the steps that had ever been written. He sent copies of it all over the U.S. and Canada with his recommendation. Until Dr. Bob's death in 1950, he insisted that the New York A.A. office make copies of this book available for sale through their office.
- The Little Red book went through a series of editions: the most important are the first edition which came out in 1946, followed by the two 1947 editions, a 1948 edition, and a 1949 edition which had two printings. At every step in the process, Dr. Bob was putting handwritten notes on the books and manuscripts, giving Ed his suggestions for changes and revisions, all of which Ed incorporated. Dr. Bob (unlike Bill W.) was not a writer, so The Little Red Book is the closest thing we have to knowing how Dr. Bob taught newcomers, and what he thought they ought to know about the twelve steps and how to work them in order to get sober and stay sober for the rest of your life.
- Ed Webster got sober in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on December 13, 1941. He and his A.A. friend Barry Collins formed their own little A.A. publishing company, called the Coll-Webb Co., where they printed and distributed copies of this book...
- After Dr. Bob's death in 1950, Bill W. wanted to write his own, more highly philosophical discussion of the steps, which would be very different from The Little Red Book (going at it in a way which Dr. Bob would undoubtedly have been suspicious of). Bill W. published this in 1952-3 as the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. He had grave difficulties obtaining the money to print that book, and after it was published, he insisted that the New York A.A. office put its full weight into pushing his book over The Little Red Book, so they would not have a warehouse full of his own unsold books.
- Nevertheless, there are many good oldtimers who will tell you that they would never have gotten sober if they had tried to deal with the 12 & 12 right away, when they first came in. It was too complicated, and their minds were still befuddled and confused with the aftereffects of too many years of drinking. They will tell you that they got sober on two books basically -- the Big Book and the 24 Hour book -- followed by a study of the steps in The Little Red Book and the little early A.A. pamphlet called the Tablemate.
5. THE TABLEMATE was an early A.A. set of beginners lessons entitled "Alcoholics Anonymous: An Interpretation of the Twelve Steps," put out in the form of a little pamphlet. It was (and still is) the most successful set of A.A. beginners lessons ever devised. It breaks the twelve steps down into four groups, which are studied over a period of four weeks:
Discussion No. 1. The Admission. Step No. 1.
Discussion No. 2. The Spiritual Phase. Steps 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 11.
Discussion No. 3. The Inventory and Restitution. Steps No. 4, 8, 9 and 10.
Discussion No. 4. The Active Work. Step No. 12.
This little pamphlet was printed and published by A.A. groups all over the United States, where it became known under a variety of local names: The Tablemate, the Table Leader's Guide, the Detroit pamphlet, the Washington D.C. pamphlet, the Seattle pamphlet, and so on. The basic text always remained the same. The only local variants came in the little poems and readings which were sometimes printed inside the front and back covers, or between the pages of the four sections.
Detroit A.A. History Page
A.A. oldtimers who knew that period say that everyone acknowledged that it was the A.A. group in Detroit which originally wrote the lessons and used them, probably in mimeographed form. They began giving beginners lessons in Detroit in June 1943. The first printed version was produced by the A.A. group in Washington D.C., which sent a copy to Detroit. Hindsfoot Foundation
Some Major Contributing Oxford Group Literature in its AA Input Era (1919 to 1939)
SOUL SURGERY: In my judgment, the first "real" Oxford Group book was Soul-Surgery, published in 1919. It was intended to be the collaborative work of H.A. Walter, of Buchman’s mentor Henry B. Wright, and of Frank Buchman himself. It set forth a life-changing programthe so-called Five C’sthat Frank Buchman called "God’s art" for cutting out sin and "opening the way" to a relationship with God. In Confidence, Confess it, become Convicted of it. Get rid of it by Conversionan experience of God. And Continue the changed life. All of these ideas directly influenced Bill Wilson’s Twelve Steps.
Rev. Sam Shoemaker’s Writings: Often ignored are the powerful, articulate, and simple early writings of Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr., There are many, and they are covered in my various bibliographies. They are virtually reviewed in my title New Light on Alcoholism. They include Realizing Religion, Religion That Works, Confident Faith, How to Find God, If I Be Lifted Up, The Conversion of the Church, National Awakening, The Church Can Save the World, and A First Century Christian Fellowship. Those who focus too much on the "Oxford Group" tend to ignore the immense personal influence that Shoemaker had as a member of the Oxford Group, as a personal friend of Bill Wilson, and as one that Bill called a "Co-founder" of A.A. and actually asked (at first) to write the Twelve Steps themselvessteps in which Dr. Bob played no part at all as to the writing stage.
The Life-changing books Anne Smith and Dr. Bob recommended: Begbie’s Twice-Born Men and Life-Changers; Foot’s Life Began Yesterday; Shoemaker’s Twice-Born Ministers; and Russell’s For Sinners Only. There were others of less popularity: Kitchen’s I Was a Pagan; Charles Clapp’s The Big Bender; and Amelia Reynold’s New Lives for Old.
"Doctrinal" Descriptions of Various Principles: Almond’s Foundations for Faith; Sherwood Day’s The Principles of the Group; Julian Thornton-Duesbury’s Sharing; Philip Marshall Brown’s The Venture of Belief; the anonymous What is the Oxford Group; Harris’s The Breeze of the Spirit; Weatherhead’s Discipleship; Benson’s The Eight Points of the Oxford Group; Leon’s The Philosophy of Courage; Phillimore’s Just for Today; and Winslow’s Why I Believe in the Oxford Group.
The Bible study, Prayer, and Guidance literature: Carruthers’s How to Find Reality in Your Morning Devotions; Chambers’s My Utmost for His Highest; Fosdick’s The Meaning of Prayer; Holm’s The Runner’s Bible; Jones’s Victorious Living; Forde’s The Guidance of God; H. Rose’s The Quiet Time; Cecil Rose’s When Man Listens; Sangster’s God Does Guide Us; Streeter’s The God Who Speaks; The Upper Room; Hadden’s Christ’s Program for World-Reconstruction: Studies in the Sermon on the Mount; Harris’s An Outline of the Life of Christ; Hicks’s How to Read the Bible; Viney’s How Do I Begin?; and Winslow’s Vital Touch with God and When I Awake; Tileston’s Daily Strength for Daily Needs
Biographical: Austin’s Frank Buchman as I Knew Him; Buchman’s Remaking the World; Howard’s Frank Buchman’s Secret and That Man Frank Buchman; Hunter’s World Changing through Life-changing; Lean’s On the Tail of a Comet; Spoerri’s Dynamic out of Silence; Thornhill’s The Significance of the Life of Frank Buchman.
Recent accounts by oldtimers: Belden’s Beyond the Satellites: Is God SpeakingAre we Listening; Blake’s Way to Go; Harriman’s Matched Pair; Lean’s Cast out your Nets; Martin’s Always a Little Further; Mowat’s Modern Prophetic Voices; and Twitchell’s Frank Buchman: Twentieth Century Catalyst
from Dick B's blog LINK HERE
Dr. Bob & Anne Smith and The Quiet Hour
Here are the guidelines which were part of Dr. Bob’s Christian Endeavor training as a youngster. Even more can be found in materials by The Rev Dr. F. B. Meyer. And Founder Dr. Francis Clark wrote:
“Undoubtedly the effort that has done most to impress the deepest things of the Spirit of God upon the Christian Endeavor movement is the so-called ‘Quiet Hour.’ . . . . Because there may be some who read these pages who may not understand the inner meaning of the Quiet Hour, or what the old writers understand by ‘practising the presence of God,’ the writer. . . tries to tell his young friends just how the Quiet Hour may be spent. ‘Our Bible is open, perhaps to the familiar passage which reveals the wondrous truth that man dwells in God, and God in man, as John records it. Seek to realize this stupendous fact, for all Scripture is a lie if it is not a fact. Say to yourself over and over again: ‘God is here. God is here. God is within me. I am His child. God is my Father’.” (Clark, Christian Endeavor, supra, pp. 525-526).
“So it was proposed that those who wished should band themselves together in a purely voluntary organization called ‘the Comrades of the Quiet Hour.’ The name was chosen rather than the similar name of ‘The Morning Watch’ in order to give the utmost freedom as to the time which should be devoted to meditation and personal communion with God, though the morning was strongly recommended. Those who became “comrades” agreed to spend fifteen minutes a day not merely in Bible-reading and petition, but in genuine personal communion with the Unseen. . . . Quiet Hour literature began to abound; ‘Quiet Hours’ led by some of the most eminent Christians in the land began to be held in connection with the conventions both State and national. Now more than 40,000 have been definitely enrolled. . .” (Clark, Christian Endeavor, supra, p. 357).
In his last, very brief, and much quoted address to AAs, Dr. Bob made the following pointseemingly out of a discerning memory of his youthful work in Christian Endeavor:
• “Our Twelve Steps, when simmered down to the last, resolve themselves into the words ‘love’ and ‘service.’ We understand what love is, and we understand what service is. So let’s bear those two things in mind” (DR. BOB, supra, p. 338).
The last paragraph of A.A.’s own biographical sketch on Dr. Bob said:
• “Dr. Bob firmly believed that ‘love and service’ are the cornerstones of Alcoholics Anonymous” (The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches. Their Last Major Talks). NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1972, 1975, p. 9).
On the New York scene, not a single person got sober in Bill Wilson’s home between 1934 and 1939. Bill was not able to help anyone get sober in his first six months of sobriety before coming to Akron. And very very few established any sobriety on the East Coast immediately thereafter. Bill and Lois both humbly stated these facts many times. Bill readily pointed to the much greater success rate in Akron and to the spiritual emphasis there (which necessarily meant Bible, prayer, Quiet Time, and religious literature-as Frank Amos had reported). Finally, Bill made it clear that he felt it was the lack of spiritual emphasis that accounted for the difference.
WHAT TO START WITH
"If you will hang in there and really use this hour in the morning, a basic change begins to take place in your relationship to yourself, to the people around you, and to God. If you will merely do it, something very big begins to happen. This way of life requires an investment of your time, your interest, and yourself. It pays off very large on the investment; but with no investment, nothing is possible. A great deal hangs on that hour in the morning.
What do you do with the hour? There is a lot of room for using your own judgment and following your own tastes, but it helps at the outset to follow some kind of schedule that has been worked out and found effective in actual practice by a number of people who have really been doing this thing. The following is such a schedule: You divide the time in three periods of twenty minutes each. In the first period
you read. In the second period
you pray or meditate. In the third period
...It is hard to do because at first you do not set a high value on it. If somebody were to pay you one hundred dollars for every morning that you got up an hour early, you would do it very cheerfully every day. This new way of life gives you something more valuable than an hundred dollars a day, but who is convinced of that in the beginning? Nobody. All you can do is catch a glimpse from somebody else’s experience and hang on to that first.
all addicts anonymous
Clarence Snyder and Cleveland, Ohio A.A.
Dr. Bob Smith sponsored Clarence Snyder. Clarence met Dr. Bob in Akron City Hospital February 11, 1938, the date Clarence celebrated as his sobriety date for the next forty-six years. Clarence was among the first 40 members of AA and his story is included in the first three versions of ‘the Big Book’ as AA #11, "The Home Brewmeister". He was part of the counseling team that wrote the Big Book.
Clarence, the “HOME BREWMEISTER” passed along the specific Bible, Oxford Group, and devotional ideas that enabled early AAs to succeed so well. Moreover, Clarence, like Dr. Bob, felt there was no need to stay sick. People could recover; and alcoholics who took the Steps, trusted God, and abided by the Four Absolutes (Honesty, Purity, Unselfishness and Love) did recover and stayed recovered. Bob took people through the six steps in an afternoon. Clarence took thousands through the Twelve Steps in two days.
The first gathering of what was known as an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting was held on May 11, 1939, at the home of Abby G. in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Nell Wing, Bill Wilson’s secretary from 1947 until his death in 1971 and A.A.’s first archivist said that Clarence was rightly the first person to use the initials A.A. in reference to Alcoholics Anonymous.
Other early innovations credited to Clarence are: • forming the first Central Committee in A.A., • developing A.A.’s first newsletter, the Bulletin to All Groups that in 1942 became the Cleveland Central Bulletin, • initiated the practice of rotation of officers both at meetings and with the Central Committee, • wrote A.A.’s first pamphlet on sponsorship in 1944, and, • helped organize a convention celebrating A.A.’s 10th anniversary in Cleveland. Over 3000 AA’s attended representing over 25 states and Canada. This was A.A.’s first unofficial international convention. link at CameToBelieve.org
Back To Basics The Alcoholics Anonymous Beginners' Meetings
published this book after two years of research and another two years leading Beginners' Meetings based on a 1946 A.A. format. The book walks people through the time-tested and proven method used by early A.A.s to guide newcomers through the "Big Book" and the simplicity of the recovery process of taking the 12 Steps in four 1-hour sessions. The book describes the need for Beginners' Meetings in Cleveland, Ohio and the spread and growth throughout the country in the 1940s and 1950s.
In many areas of the United States and Canada, the newcomer could not attend "regular" meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous until he or she had completed all 12 Steps in the Beginners' Meetings. It is said that meetings were discontinued in the late 1950s as the result of the publication of the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions by Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing, Inc. In some areas, the "Twelve & Twelve" replaced both the "Big Book" and the The Little Red Book, and "Step Studies" replaced the Beginners' Meetings. ...the laborious and detailed three-column inventory, described in page 65 of the "Big Book," replaced the informal and straightforward assets and liabilities checklist. What had originally been conceived as a very simple program taking a few hours to complete, evolved into a complex and, for many newcomers, an insurmountable barrier to recovery.
link here to B to B website
James Houck and A.A. (By Wally P. archivist, historian, author)
...there are still people within the A.A. community who are unfamiliar with this (back to basics) "original" meeting format or the role James H. has played in bringing this highly successful "design for living" back to the fellowship. James is the last living link to the spiritual roots of the Alcoholics Anonymous program that produced a 75% recovery rate from alcoholism.
...Just like Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob Smith, and the other "Big Book" authors, James H. found God and sobriety in the Oxford Group. And, just like Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob Smith, and the other "Big Book" authors, James had his spiritual awakening as the direct result of taking the Oxford Group Four Steps of Surrender, Sharing, Restitution and Guidance. link to Wally P's info on James H.
When was A.A. Founded? (from Dick B., Historian)
The date was June 10, 1935, the date that Dr. Bob had his last drink.
But that didn't satisfy today's historians. They tinkered with dates and concluded that Dr. Bob didn?t have his last drink on June 10th, that the medical convention to which he went in Atlantic City never occurred when AAs said it did, and that A.A. was founded on some other date thereabouts.
Long after A.A. was founded, Lois Wilson wrote that it had been founded in 1934 when drunks were coming to the Wilson home in Brooklyn. Others wanted to date it when Ebby Thacher first carried the message to Bill Wilson. T. Henry Williams often said that A.A. started right on the carpet of his Palisades home in Akron when Dr. Bob, Henrietta Seiberling, and the others in the Oxford Group knelt and prayed for Dr. Bob's recovery. Still others like to date it as of the publishing of the Big Book in the Spring of 1939. Clarence Snyder claimed he was the founder, and that the first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous was held in Cleveland on May 11, 1939. One would-be expert has now asserted that the 'original' program occurred some time after that in the 1940s. And, Bill Wilson made the statement that the first A.A. group began when A.A. Number Three was cured of alcoholism, was visited by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob in the hospital, and walked from there a 'free man' never to drink again. That happened very shortly after Dr. Bob himself got sober.
Personally, I'm convinced that A.A. began. I am convinced it began at Dr. Bob's Home in Akron. I am convinced that Bob and Bill agreed that it began when Dr. Bob took his last drink. I'm convinced that fairly soon after AA began, Bill and Bob agreed that the founding date was June 10, 1935. And thereafter, Bill Wilson attended and actually spoke at "Founders Day" each year in Akron where the "founding of A.A." on June 10, 1935 is celebrated.
from THE AKRON MANUAL (1940)
Definition of an Alcoholic Anonymous: An Alcoholic Anonymous is an alcoholic who through application of and adherence to rules laid down by the organization, has completely foresworn the use of any and all alcoholic beverages. The moment he wittingly drinks so much as a drop of beer, wine, spirits, or any other alcoholic drink he automatically loses all status as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.
A.A. is not interested in sobering up drunks who are not sincere in their desire to remain completely sober for all time. A.A. is not interested in alcoholics who want to sober up merely to go on another bender, sober up because of fear for their jobs, their wives, their social standing, or to clear up some trouble either real or imaginary. In other words, if a person is genuinely sincere in his desire for continued sobriety for his own good, is convinced in his heart that alcohol holds him in its power, and is willing to admit that he is an alcoholic, members of Alcoholics Anonymous will do all in their power, spend days of their time to guide him to a new, a happy, and a contented way of life.
It is utterly essential for the newcomer to say to himself sincerely and without any reservation, "I am doing this for myself and myself alone." Experience has proved in hundreds of cases that unless an alcoholic is sobering up for a purely personal and selfish motive, he will not remain sober for any great length of time. He may remain sober for a few weeks or a few months, but the moment the motivating element, usually fear of some sort, disappears, so disappears sobriety.
TO THE NEWCOMER: It is your life. It is your choice. If you are not completely convinced to your own satisfaction that you are an alcoholic, that your life has become unmanageable; if you are not ready to part with alcohol forever, it would be better for all concerned if you discontinue reading this and give up the idea of becoming a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.
For if you are not convinced, it is not only wasting your own time, but the time of scores of men and women who are genuinely interested in helping you.
link to Silkworth.net/AAHistory for more of "A Manual for Alcoholics Anonymous - The 1940 Akron Manual"
Other (non-12-Step, secular) Recovery Methods
REMINDER: If you choose a secular method for your recovery, it is not acceptable to bring points of these programs into 12-step organization meetings.
Find your own way with Lifering Secular RecoveryRecovery by Choice.
In LifeRing support groups, you will find abstinence, peer support, secularity, and choice.
- Based on abstinence. LifeRing does not support moderation, harm reduction, or controlled drinking approaches.
- Groups provide peer support. Discussion centers on current life issues and on planning to meet recovery challenges in the days ahead.
- Groups are secular.
- Members each build personal recovery programs.
RATIONAL RECOVERY: LINK HERE There are fee levels to be a website subscriber. For addicted people who simply get fed up with the results of their addictions, make a decision to abstain no matter what, and move on to discover new and better satisfactions. These independent people immediately feel better and do better. Their problems fade or vanish, and the anguish of addiction is soon covered by the sands of time. There are no Rational Recovery groups, anywhere! In AVRT-based recovery, you are on your own. ...It must be understood that AA is a fellowship of addiction, and not a fellowship of recovery. AA and the other 12-step organizations pose as solutions to problems that they actually prevent from being solved.
SMART Recovery: Self-Management And Recovery Training. LINK HERE
Four Point Program: 1) Enhancing and Maintaining Motivation to Abstain 2)
Coping with Urges 3) Problem Solving (Managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors) 4) Lifestyle Balance (Balancing momentary and enduring satisfactions). Tools include: - Stages of Change - Change Plan Worksheet - Cost/Benefit Analysis (Decision Making Worksheet) - ABCs of REBT for Urge Coping - ABCs of REBT for Emotional Upsets - DISARM (Destructive Irrational Self-talk Awareness & Refusal Method) - Brainstorming - Role-playing and Rehearsing
Secular Organizations for Sobriety Save Our Selves (SOS) International:
Sobriety without God.
No matter what, Here’s sobriety, Seriousness, Determination, Information, People, Honesty, Listening, Take notes, Meetings, Folk wisdom and slogans, Commitments, Personal ‘program’, Sharing, Phones, Willingness, Openness, Approachability, Ask questions, Nutrition, Exercise, Help other alcoholics, Joy, Perceptions, Easily obtainable goals, Call-up, Live in the present, Abstinence, Avoid ‘slippery’ places, people and things, Safeguard your sobriety, Acceptance, Fear, Do it now, Credit yourself, Enjoy life, It’s right, Care about yourself, Alcohol is not a tool, Remind yourself, Imagery, Make concepts real, Visualize, Expect good things, Interrupt negative thoughts, Look at drunks, Action.
Women For Sobriety, Inc.: LINK HERE
This is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women overcome alcoholism and other addictions. Their "New Life" program helps achieve sobriety and sustain ongoing recovery. Based upon a Thirteen Statement Program of positivity that encourages emotional and spiritual growth, the "New Life" Program has been extremely effective in helping women to overcome their alcoholism and learn a wholly new lifestyle. ...To make the Program effective for you, arise each morning fifteen minutes earlier than usual and go over the Thirteen Affirmations. Then begin to think about each one by itself. Take one Statement and use it consciously all day. At the end of the day review the use of it and what effects it had that day for you and your actions.
Schick Shadel Hospitals
LINK HERE Transform your life in 10 days.
* Aversion Therapy * Counseling / Education * Rehabilitation Interview (minimal sedation)
* Relaxation Therapy * All pharmacy and laboratory services
Lots of amenities, Discharge planning, and Reinforcement sessions at 30-day and 90-day intervals
© A Daily Reprieve Center: Recovery Information 2008-2013