To make clear to readers and viewers the progress we have made in twenty years of investigating, interviewing, traveling, analyzing, publishing and disseminating the history of Christian recovery efforts and successes in the field of alcoholism and addiction, I'll show you in brief where we are in 2010 and what we have learned thus far:
1. First came the very clear evidence from A.A. Cofounder Dr. Bob himself that he had had excellent training in the Bible as a youngster in Vermont; that he had read the Bible cover to cover three times as he was getting sober; that the early program of A.A. in Akron placed heavy reliance on the Bible (Jesus' Sermon on the Mount; 1 Corinthians 13; and the Book of James; that the oldtimers felt that the answer to their problems was in the Bible; and that the basic ideas for the program had come from the Bible. See Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous www.dickb.com/Akron.shtml. Also, Dick B., The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.'s Roots in the Bible www.dickb.com/goodbook.shtml.
2. Later, we were to find a host of information about the Christian upbringing and Bible studies of A.A. Cofounder Bill W.--his frequent hearing of his grandfather's conversion and total sobriety in a mountain top experience; his attendance at the East Dorset Congregational Church and its Sunday school; the emphasis there on salvation and the importance of the Bible; his attendance at revivals and conversion meetings; his study of the Bible with his grandfather Griffith and his friend Mark Whalon; and his attendance at Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester Vermont where he took a four-year Bible study course, attended chapel daily, attended services at the Manchester Congregational Church each week, and was president of the YMCA. See Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W. www.dickb.com/conversion.shtml.
3. Still later we went to St. Johnsbury, Vermont where Dr. Bob had been born and raised and received Christian upbringing. Bob's Christian training was even more intense than that of Bill's. Bob's birth followed on the heels of the Great Awakening of 1875 in St. Johnsbury. His parents were staunch Congregational Church members (father a Deacon and Sunday school teacher; mother superintendent of the church school and Sunday school teacher). His parents emphasized salvation and the Bible in Bob's upbringing. Bob himself attended church about five times a week, including Sunday school and the meetings of Young People's Christian Endeavor Society. His father was president of the YMCA, and the YMCA was active in his church and Academy. He attended St. Johnsbury Academy, taking courses in religion; attending daily chapel; attending weekly church services; and attending Bible studies. See Dick B., Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous www.dickb.com/drbobofaa.shtml
4. All this occurred at a time when there was intense effort and success by various Christian organizations and leaders in helping drunks to get sober forever. There was the work of: (a) Evangelists like Moody, Meyer, Sankey, and Sunday. (b) Work of the rescue missions. (c) Outreach of YMCA lay evangelists. (d) Work in the slums by Salvation Army people. (e) The program of conversion meetings, Bible study meetings, old fashioned prayer meetings, Quiet Hour, reading of Christian literature, and the motto of love and service inculcated into Bob and actually into the early A.A. program from the Young People's Christian Endeavor Society in which Dr. Bob was active. See Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010 www.dickb.com/Christian-Recover-Guide.shtml.
5. Then there was the recently uncovered evidence as to Bill and conversion. First, Dr. Silkworth advised Bill that the Great Physician Jesus Christ could cure him. Second, Bill's friend Ebby Thacher had gone to Calvary Rescue Mission, made a decision for Jesus Christ, and persuaded Bill to do likewise. Third, Bill had gone to the altar at Calvary Rescue Mission, made a decision for Jesus Christ, and then written that "for sure" he had been born again. Finally, still drinking and despondent, Bill decided to call on the Great Physician for help; went to Towns Hospital drunk for the last time; cried out to God for help; had a white light experience in which he sensed the presence of "the God of the Scriptures," and never drank again. See www.dickb.com/Christian-Recover-Guide.shtml
6. Just this week we saw for the first time the long missing interview of Dr. Bob in 1939 for "Faith" magazine. There, in the simplest of terms, Dr. Bob ascribed his own recovery in terms of the power of prayer, Bible study, Jesus Christ, and then witnessing to others. see www.silkworth.net.
The time is drawing near for a rebirth of Christian recovery--not a recovery by Steps, not recovery by an anonymous group, not recovery by treatment, but recovery by Christians in a First Century Christian Fellowship such as that described in the Book of Acts. See Dick B. and Ken B. "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery" www.dickb.com/IFRC-Class.shtml