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Early in its
founding years, A.A.’s co-founder Bill Wilson put the torch to the idea that
A.A. sprang from just one source. He said frankly that nobody invented A.A. He
said all its ideas were borrowed. And Dr. Bob broadened the source picture by
pointing out that all the basic ideas came from the Pioneers’ study of the
Unfortunately, neither co-founder put in writing in one place all the
well-springs that produced the streams in A.A. Consequently commentators, both
favorable to and critical of A.A. have had a field day with discussions of our
roots. Most of them have a number of erroneous concepts so embedded in their
historical approaches that they just never tell it like it is or like it was.
Those who don’t like the Bible say that we left it behind in Akron. Those who
don’t like the Oxford Group say that it taught us more about what not to do than
what to do. And those who don’t like either the Bible or the Oxford Group have
tried to quiet the waters by diverting the stream. They say A.A. is “spiritual,
but not religious” even though any well-informed historian, scholar, clergyman,
and semanticist would probably ask: “And what’s the difference?” Nobody really
knows, but the distinction without a difference leaves many in a peaceful
atheistic no man’s land (finish the
New Study Groups
The Rapid Growth of Groups To Date
God either is, or He isn’t.
By Dick B.
In the past two or three years, a
number of individuals, groups, and meetings have established Good Book/Big Book,
Good Book/12 Step, A.A. Roots Revival, A.A. History, The James Club studying the
links and origins of early A.A. These have included Bible study, Big Book study,
12 Step study, Early A.A. history studies, Reading the literature of early AAs,
and reviewing the impact on A.A. of other roots—Anne Smith’s Journal, Dr. Bob’s
Library, the Oxford Group life-changing program, the teachings of Rev. Sam
Shoemaker, Quiet Time, Silkworth, Jung, James, Peabody, and New Thought writers
Most of the groups floundered for a
time, not knowing where to start, what to use, or what was permissible. Some
wondered what A.A. would think. Some wondered what their church would think. But
once it was made clear that there is no “conference dis-approved” literature,
that it was OK to study the very things our founders studied, that it was kosher
to do the very things our founders did and to read their pamphlets, real
progress was made. Most of the groups are just getting started and learning, but
several have grown from small to large in a short time
A.A. Conference Approved Myths
A Good Start on and Old Subject
By Dick B.
We begin with the following much-needed article
from “Pete’s Stuff.” It incorporates the long-ignored Box 459 article that GSO
has told at least one seeker that it couldn't find the material. If you want to
see an excellent and much longer discussion of this subject, go to the Hindsfoot
Foundation site where Professor Glenn Chesnut lays all of this “Conference
Approved” problem in terms of its real importance.
I receive questions about this all the time; and people at conferences, Central
Offices, and meetings are confronted with the "conference approved" nonsense
with great frequency. Any AA can read anything any time anywhere for any purpose
inside or outside of A.A. And that includes comic books and computer manuals.
There is no Tradition that says otherwise. There is no Tradition that can or
should or will censor or "censure" what is presented at a meeting, whether in
discussion or by reading or by literature on a table. And if someone thinks he’s
found the mythical tradition, tell him the fact and then tell him the Traditions
are not laws, are not binding on anyone, and were never intended to prohibit
free speech or freedom of religion by AAs or others. That includes what we read,
what we hear, what we say, what we study, and what we pass along to others.
Those who suggest otherwise just don't know A.A. Nor do they seem to know that
early Alcoholics Anonymous was a Christian Fellowship, studied the King James
Version of the Bible, read all kinds of literature--Protestant, Roman Catholic,
New Thought, medical, and otherwise, and put out reams and reams of pamphlets
and guides as the years went by. The pamphlets included those from many Central
Offices and Intergroups--including the long-running Cleveland Central Bulletin,
the four Akron AA pamphlets, and the Four Absolutes booklet available even
today. You’ll find that many of these materials, including a host of recovery
materials from Hazelden and elsewhere are sold by A.A. offices
CHRISTIAN TRACK TREATMENT &
By Dick B.
an Important, Essential Element: A.A.’s Christian History and Bible Roots
Did you know
that early A.A. in Akron was a Christian Fellowship?
Did you know
that its basic ideas came from study of the Bible?
Did you know
that its meetings were called “old fashioned prayer meetings”
Did you know
its principles and practices derived from the United Christian Endeavor
Did you know
that the Book of James, the Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13 were
considered “absolutely essential” to the program?
Did you know
that the pioneers achieved a 75% to 93% success rate—which they properly
called “cures”—as the result of their program?
Do you agree
that a knowledge of these facts strengthens and buttresses any Christian
Track or Christian Recovery or Christian 12-Step or Christ-centered Recovery
(finish the article)?
Here’s a Way to Jump-Start and Supplement
Your Own Program
Add to the knowledge, experience, and expertise of your
counselors, facilitators, sponsors, and directors.
Add a segment to your program that informs students, newcomers,
patients, and clients about A.A.’s Christian origins, history, pioneer
program, and successes.
Take advantage of our 16 years of research on the history of
early A.A.’s Christian Fellowship, Program, and Practices.
Arm yourself, your staff, and clients with:
(1) A REFERENCE SET they can consult for facts and further
(2) ONE OR MORE OF OUR BASIC TITLES on A.A.’s history, program,
(3) USE A PORTION OF YOUR PROGRAM to tell others what simply
cannot be learned elsewhere in the either twelve-step literature or the
secular recovery arena.
Please review our A.A. History Bookstore for Purchases.
Newport Coast Recovery is a 30-90 day residential
treatment center for men, dedicated to rehabilitation from alcohol and drug
addiction. Newport Coast Recovery has a strong faith-based, 12-Step oriented
recovery program. Newport Coast Recovery also has an Alumni Program that
contributes to a high success rate. For more information, please call
1-800-990-9691, or email
firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit us online at
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