Monday, March 29, 2010

The 14 Practices the Early Akron AAs Used to Achieve Astonishing Successes

Christian Recovery with Dick B.

The 14 Practices the Early Akron AAs Used to Achieve Astonishing Success

By Dick B.
© 2010 Anonymous. All rights reserved

The essence of the A.A. program was, and still is, helping the alcoholic who still suffers by carrying to him a message of what God has done, and can do, for him—if he wants that help and diligently seeks God. The lesson is that the first three AAs soon wanted to develop a program for others coming after them. Others who would, like they, be or become Christians, and diligently seek God’s help. To carry a proper message, and effectuate miraculous recoveries like their own, the first AAs developed some very definite practices that were used by the early Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship.”

Qualification: They “qualified” every newcomer. He must concede to his innermost self that he had lost the ability to control his drinking; really wanted permanent sobriety; and would go to any length to get well. In short, he agreed never to drink again.

Hospitalization: Hospitalization was a must. The newcomer was put in the hospital for five-to-seven days; given medications to prevent withdrawal dangers; given only a Bible in his room; was visited by Dr. Bob and other sober AAs; and then required to confirm that he, the patient, believed in God and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Service to Others—Bible in hand: Upon discharge from the hospital, the newcomer was given a Bible and told to go out and help others.

Fellowship and Housing: Important also was housing of newcomers by old-timers in their homes. Newcomers received food, shelter, Christian fellowship, teaching, counsel, love, and service.

Quiet Time: Anne Smith conducted morning “Quiet Time” at the Smith home. This involved prayer, Bible reading, seeking God’s guidance, discussion, and Anne's sharing from her personal journal. AAs and their families were included. A.A. was a “family program,” then, though its actual “members” were all male at first.

Daily Devotionals: There was daily use of Christian devotionals: e.g., The Runner’s Bible, The Upper Room, Victorious Living and My Utmost for His Highest.

Christian Literature: There was regular reading of Christian literature circulated by Dr. Bob, his wife Anne, and others: e.g., The Greatest Thing in the World; The Soul’s Sincere Desire; The Christ of the Mount; Love: The Law of Life.

The Contents of Anne Smith’s Journal: Many of the strongest remaining aspects today of the original practices came directly out of what Anne Smith shared from her personal journal. (See Dick B., Anne Smith’s Journal, 1933-1939.)

The One, Weekly, “Regular” Oxford Group Meeting: There was one “regular,” weekly, “clandestine” Oxford Group meeting—Oxford Group in name, but certainly not in purpose or practice. For it was focused on old-fashioned prayer meetings, Bible reading, seeking God’s guidance, topical discussions, “real surrenders,” arranging hospital visits, closing with the Lord’s Prayer, and socializing.

Bible Study Stress: Bible study every day was stressed, and there was intense study especially of the Book of James, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13—with daily fellowship meetings in the Akron homes. (See Dick B., The James Club and the Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials.)

Required “Real Surrenders”: There was the vital and required “real surrender” with elders of the group, including Dr. Bob. This meant that each new person must: (1) Confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; (2) Ask, in Jesus’ name, that alcohol be taken out of his life; and (3) Ask, in that name, for removal of sinful conduct and for guidance in living according to Christian principles. (See Dick B., Real Twelve Step Fellowship History.)

Witnessing to Others: There were regular visits with newcomers in the hospital by the pioneers, and daily visits by Dr. Bob.

Social and Religious Comradeship: There was regular social and religious comradeship--much like daily Christians’ fellowships in the Book of Acts.

Strong Friendships and Frequent Visits in the homes: Pioneers knew, talked with, and had regular visits and phone calls with, the other A.A. believers and families in homes—using address books with street addresses and phone numbers, and keeping rosters with sobriety information. The rosters—one handwritten by Dr. Bob—enable us today to learn and document the percentage of successes among the pioneers.

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