Friday, June 25, 2010

AA Spiritual Readings

What do members of Alcoholics Anonymous read for spiritual growth? What can be called their AA Spiritual readings? What can be called A.A. Spiritual Literature?

There are many answers--some misreporting the facts. Some failing to state which A.A. period is involved in the question. Some omitting important literature and reading. And here are suggestions for getting your information straight.

First, let's talk about the early A.A. program founded in Akron, Ohio in 1935.

And there are several different answers plus the tools to find them:

a) Unquestionably, the Bible--King James Version--was the authoritative spiritual book read, quoted, and used to answer questions about the program. See Dick B., "The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.'s Roots in the Bible" ( and "The James Club and The Original A.A. Program's "Absolute Essentials" (

b) Next, the A.A. pioneers observed Quiet Time. They observed it individually. They observed it daily. They observed it in their regular Wednesday meeting. And they observed it, with their families, each morning at the home of Dr. Bob and Anne Smith. Quiet Time involved opening with prayer, reading the Bible, asking God for guidance, and discussing relevant topics--particularly those presented by Dr. Bob's wife in the spiritual journal she kept from 1933-1939. See Dick B., "Anne Smith's Journal 1933-1939" (

c) Individually, and as a group, they used daily Christian devotionals--particularly in their regular weekly meeting, in individual fellowships, and in Quite Time. The major devotionals they used were "The Runner's Bible," The "Upper Room," "My Utmost for His Highest," and "Daily Strength for Daily Needs." Dr. Bob was particularly fond of The Runner's Bible. See Dick B., "Good Morning! Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A." (

d) In addition, Dr. Bob regularly circulated and recommended several Christian books to AAs and their families--(1) The Greatest Thing in the World, by Henry Drummond. (2) Books on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount by Oswald Chambers, Glenn Clark, E. Stanley Jones, Harry Emerson Fosdick, and Emmet Fox. (3) Life-changing books such as Soul Surgery, Life Began Yesterday, For Sinners Only, Twice-Born Men, Life-changers, and Twice-Born Ministers. (4) There were others as well. See Dick B., Dr. Bob and His Library, 3rd ed. ( and The Books Early AAs Read for Spiritual Growth, 7th ed. (

e) Still others were circulated with less frequency; and they are thoroughly covered and cited in Dick B., Making Known the Biblical Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous (

Others came later, particularly after the Big Book was published in 1939. Many writers mention only these because of a seeming distaste for acknowledging the Christian origins, history, founding, program, and successes of the early Akron Christian Fellowship founded in 1935 by Bill W. and Dr. Bob, and led primarily by Dr. Bob in Akron. See Dick B., Real Twelve Step Fellowship History (

See Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010 (

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