Saturday, July 31, 2010

Alcoholism, Addiction, Prison, Treatment, Recidivism

There is a new wave of hope that the International Christian Recovery Coalition leaders, directors, and participants can use to transform the view that alcoholism and addiction need to be handled by prison or treatment.

The relapse, drop-out, failure, and recidivism statistics don't support the prison-treatment answer. In fact, almost any and every study of treatment, counseling, intervention, self help groups, support groups, rehabs, imprisonment, and diversion will--if honestly conducted and reported--paint a dismal picture of any potential for prevention, treatment, and recovery.

It was precisely that picture that gave rise to the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935. The typical alcoholic was considered seemingly hopeless, medically incurable, and untreatable by human resources. "Divine Aid" was the route sought, and it worked.

Further, it was nothing new. Evangelists and revivalists, rescue missions, YMCA lay workers, and the Salvation Army had successfully restored sanity and health to the down-and-outers by leading them to God through decisions for Jesus Christ. Moreover, to remain effective, helping others was an essential to keeping the restored people walking by the spirit instead of yielding to the temptations of the flesh. The Book of James became a lesson book in the problem, the seeking of God, the resistance of temptation, prayers for healing, and defeat of the Adversary.

What can change today's expensive, revolving-door, negative emphasis on prisons, treatment, diversion, counseling, rehabs, pharmaceuticals, government research, and endless meetings and support groups--all groups and efforts leaving God out of the picture.

The answer must start with an understanding not just of the failures but of the enormous impact that alcoholism, addiction, and recidivism are having on families, children, grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, schools, hospitals, treatment programs, prisons, homeless shelters, jails, physicians, psychiatrists, clergy, businesses, unions, employers, jobs, and public welfare.

In other words, start with the fact that solutions are not working without the power of God.

Point up the enormous price that we all pay for the unrelenting efforts of the devil to move humans toward their own destruction through temptation, excess, insanity, and death. The price is paid by society--not just by patients or family.

Point up the enormous failure of money thrown at the solutions.

Point up the required total surrender--where the afflicted must first decide that he is afflicted, that he is failing in every endeavor and relationship, and that he will continue on the downward spiral until and unless he stops looking to jails, bars, rehabs, interventions, assistance, and sympathy. And decides once and for all that he is through forever--not just one day at a time. Forever.

Point up the A.A. idea that by himself he has not succeeded. Point up the idea that probably no human power can help him--since efforts along those lines have been failing for two centuries.

Then point to the fact that if the afflicted surrenders for good, decides that he must have "Divine Aid," makes the continued and determined and disciplined effort to seek and obey God's help, grows in his discipleship, and devotes himself to helping others--the record of success is good.

Change in social views that will turn the focus from prison and treatment may come only when the immensity of the problem is conceded and the immensity of failure is conceded, and the immensity of God's power is accepted.

Alcoholics Anonymous Questions Often Asked

I receive so many questions almost daily that ask whether A.A. is open to Christians, whether it is a Christian Fellowship today, whether it is a sect or cult or denomination, whether it is a religion, whether it bars Christians, their expression of their views, and their worship, and some other major items that trouble Christians, AAs, atheists, and those of no religious beliefs at all.

After 24 years of continuous sobriety, 20 years of research and publishing, and travel all over the United States, I felt it important to answer these questions for all who want documented answers.

Unfortunately, I could not post the article on this blog and also send it elsewhere. So here is where you can find those points spelled out in full:
Dick B. Newsletters to which you can subscribe on my main website
Dick B. Amazon Author Central
Several of the social network forums:
CyberRecoverySocialNetwork Forum
Christian Recovery Ministries Social Network Forum
AA Sober Living Social Network Forum
Recovery Internet Fellowship Forum
Or you can send an email to; and we will be quite happy to send you a copy of this important article by reply attachment.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sept 17 - Dick B. Speaks at Lifelines, Costa Mesa

On Friday, September 17, 2010, on the occasion of the forthcoming speaking tour by Dick B. and Ken B. to California, Dick B. will be the featured speaker at the great recovery meeting held each week at The Crossing Church in Costa Mesa, California. Please don't miss it!

Dick's topic of late revolves around the Christian beginnings of the recovery movement--beginnings which influenced the lives of A.A. cofounders Bill W. and Dr. Bob. Beginnings which began with the great successes in the 1800's of evangelists and revivalists, the rescue missions, the YMCA lay leaders, the Salvation Army, and the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor. Beginnings which brought Dr. Silkworth to tell Bill Wilson that conversion to God through Jesus Christ could cure Bill Wilson of alcoholism. Beginnings which brought Rowland Hazard to his decision for Jesus Christ. Beginnings which brought Ebby Thacher to his decision for Jesus Christ at Calvary Rescue Mission. And beginnings which caused Bill Wilson to follow suit, go to Calvary Rescue Mission, and--like Rowland and Ebby--make his decision for Jesus Christ and declare that for sure he had been born again. Beginnings which caused Bill Wilson then to decide to call on the Great Physician (Jesus Christ) for help, check in to Towns Hospital for his last visit there, and cry out to God for help. Beginnings which assured Bill of the occurrence he called a "conversion experience" in which Bill sensed the presence of God in his hospital room and proclaimed: "So this is the God of the Scriptures." And beginnings which led Bill Wilson--like those to whom the evangelists preached, like those helped to Jesus Christ through altar calls at rescue missions, like those helped by YMCA lay workers in Vermont, like those helped in the slums by the Salvation Army, and like those who turned to Christian Endeavor for a program--to go out with a Bible under his arm, telling drunks they needed to give their lives to God, and tell them that the Lord had cured him of his alcoholism (Big Book, p. 191).

What will Dick B. underline at this talk and during his almost a month of talks in California? When alcoholics accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior; when they cried out to God for help; when they decided to quit for good; and when they decided to help others and grow in their understanding of God and His will, they were cured! Cured about 75 years before Alcoholics Anonymous was founded by Dr. Bob and Bill in 1935. Cured long before the Oxford Group was organized in 1919. Cured long before Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr., was serving as the Oxford Group chief lieutenant in America from 1925 to 1935 and thereafter.

You won't want to miss the opportunity to hear and personally talk with Dick B. and his son Ken B. about your desire for a recovery as a Christian in today's fellowships, counseling sessions, treatment programs, Christ-centered groups, churches, prisons, and shelters.

Dick and his son Ken will be available and speaking in California as follows: (1) September 13 - San Dimas, The James Club Fellowships. (2) A Christian recovery meeting in Huntington Beach, about September 16. (3) Lifelines at The Crossing Church in Costa Mesa on September 17. (4) A possible meeting the next day in Glendora. (5) Several locations in San Diego thereafter. (6) A group for those from the streets held in Escondido. (7) Leaders of CityTeam Ministries in San Jose on September 27. (8) A large meeting of Christians in recovery in Oroville. (9) Another similar meeting in Brentwood. (10) A possible meeting in Livermore. And meetings with the president and Senior Pastor of Association of Christian Alcohol and Drug Counselors, Inc.; and the staff of Pacific Hills Treatment Centers in San Juan Capistrano.

Get up to speed with recovery today. There is a hunger. There is a steady movement. There is enthusiasm for bringing the help of God back to recovery where it existed for seventy five years before A.A. was even thought of. The Divine Aid that produced astonishing results and set the stage for early A.A.'s Christian Fellowships

As Bill Wilson wrote in his Big Book: Be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they have to offer! Are you following this vital suggestion the founders followed!

Contact us for a meeting, for information, for a personal talk in California in September: (1) Ken B. at 808 276 4945. (2) Dick B. at (3) Dick at PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753.

Learn the Introductory Foundations for Christian

Listen to Dick B.'s audio talks available on his main website

Join the hundreds of leaders, directors, and participants in the International Christian Recovery Coalition which is carrying the message: Don't leave your fellowship--enrich it. Don't leave your church--inform it. Don't distance yourselves from those who are suffering--help them.

Glorio Deo

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Alcoholics Anonymous Origins--Christian Healings

In our new class--"Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery", one of our major features about Alcoholics Anonymous and A.A. history, is the discussion of the seven Christian organizations and people who preceded A.A. and contributed so substantially to the original A.A. Christian Fellowship program. Five of these were successful in healing alcoholics long before A.A. and long before its oft-mentioned later connections--the Oxford Group and Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr.

Five of these seven had a powerful and continuing impact on the lives of A.A. cofounders Bill W. and Dr. Bob, on the conversion healings that were part of both men's lives, and on the early program founded in Akron in 1935 and developed by the Akron A.A. pioneers in the next three years.

We have discussed these roots in two of our recent books--The Conversion of Bill W., and Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous We are also discussing them in a series of articles on these cornerstones of A.A. history, A.A.'s Chrisitian origins, and A.A.'s early, simple pioneer fellowship program.

The five major Christian organizations and people are: (1) Christian Evangelists and Revivalists. (2) Christian Rescue Missions. (3) YMCA lay members doing personal work. (4) The Salvation Army. (5) Young People's Christian Endeavor Society.

The purpose of this article is to point you to some people who pulled the power of God together in such a way that alcoholics and addicts could be healed at a time which spanned the period of Christian upbringing of Bill Wilson and of Dr. Bob Smith. Here we will just highlight and document some of the interesting A.A. Christian links.

We will start with the evangelist Billy Sunday. Two easily read sources are William T. Ellis, Billy Sunday: The Man and His Message (Chicago: Moody Press, 1959) and Rachael M. Phillips, Billy Sunday: Evangelist on the Sawdust Trail (Ohio: Barbour Books, 2001).

As an introduction to the Christian evangelist influences on early A.A.'s Christian recovery program, here are some facts about Billy Sunday: He was born in Iowa on November 19, 1862. By 1885, Bill had become a popular baseball player. One night, he and some other baseball players were visiting nightspots and drinking their way across downtown Chicago when they heard a hymn played by a small band. Billy sat on a curb to listen to the band and then to some mission workers who sang hymn after hymn. A young musician suggested the group go to the Pacific Garden Mission. The musician said: "You'll find God there." Billy followed and saw several drunks testify that they had been "a drunk and a thief" and that Jesus had come into their heart and relieved them of their drinking problem. Billy returned to the rescue mission. A woman asked, "Do you want to know Jesus Christ as your best friend? Do you want to ask Him to forgive your sins?" The woman's husband Colonel Clark heard, "Billy wants to invite Christ into his life." The Colonel said, "Let's ask the Lord to forgive you and help you live a new life for Him." The Colonel prayed, "Dear Lord, Billy wants to tell You he's sorry for his sins: he believes you died on the cross for him." Billy thought, "The boys will give it to me good today, but I don't care. I'm glad I went to the mission and found God." This was Bill's own conversion.

One biographer said: "Billy Sunday led more persons to make a public confession of discipleship to Jesus Christ than any other man for a century. Approximately three hundred thousand persons in twenty-five years, took Sunday's hand in token that thenceforth their lives belonged to the Saviour, Jesus Christ. . . . He set all sorts and conditions of men to talking about religion."

Billy was in great demand for Y.M.C.A talks, and he soon gave up his baseball career for a position in the Chicago Y.M.C.A. He had three years of Y.M.C.A. service. He used the rule of the rescue mission: the saved should say so [also a rule of General Booth and the Salvation Army]. He became a member and elder of the Jefferson Park Presbyterian Church in Chicago. As Dr. Bob had done in his Vermont youth days, Billy Sunday attended the Christian Endeavor Society, prayer meetings, and mid-week church service. He addressed Y.M.C.A. meetings, Sunday schools, and Christian Endeavor societies. Sunday then entered professional evangelistic work in association with Rev. J. Wilbur Chapman, D.C., well-known Presbyterian evangelist. Soon Billy was battling booze--campaigning for "dry" elections in several states. If abstinence was notsomeone's choice, Billy was for closing the saloons and prohibiting the drinking. Billy served his Presbyterian church actively and taught a Sundayschool class. He began a systematic Bible study at Chicago's Young men's Christian Association. He attended theological seminars. He addressed church groups in many cities.

Becoming very famous with a huge crusade in New York City in 1917, Billy had carried to the American public the same elements of Christian service that had dominated the youth of Dr. Bob in the late 1800's and Bill Wilson in the early 1900's. These included conversions, church attendance, Bible study, YMCA activity, prayer meetings, and the rescue missions, including the one where Bill Wilson made his decision for Jesus Christ at a later point. See Edwin Diller Starbuck, The Psychology of Religion: An Empirical Study of The Growth of Religious Consciousness (London: The Walter Scott Publishing Company, n.d.), 86. They included the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor and its motto of "love and service" in which Dr. Bob had been so active in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. See Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever: From Pentecost to the Present (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Publications, 2000), 138. Even the Salvation Army was considered part of this entire revival peiod. See Towns and Porter, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, 136.

I chose Billy Sunday for this discussion of Alcoholics Anonymous origins and Christian Healings for several reasons. First, though every Christian service activity he was involved in, save the Salvation Army, was one of the five Christian roots that impacted A.A. history--the evangelists, rescue missions, YMCA, and Christian Endeavor. Second, his insistent plea for abandoning booze while directed at salooons and toward Prohibition nonetheless sounded a loud and clear warning for drunks to stay away from liquor. Third, his involvement in conversions that healed drunks is something AAs know very little about today and yet this turning to Jesus Christ, the Great Physician, for cure is something that Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob, and the early AAs embraced. It is something that has been much in limbo since Dr. Bob's death, and it is something that Christian alcoholics and addicts are seeking more and more.

Again, see "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery"

Like both Bill Wilson (in the beginning) and Dr. Bob and the Akron program, Billy emphasized "service." Service to God. He said "I'd rather undertake to save ten drunkards than one old financial Shylock--it would be easier." He wrote: "The Lord says, 'He who winneth souls is wise.'" And, "Personal work is a great privilege. Not that God needs us, but that we need Him. Jesus Christ worked. 'I must do the works of him that sent me.'" William T. Ellis included Billy Sunday's famous "Booze" sermon (see pages 159-80). A few lines from Billy's closing remarks are instructive:

"I said to my friend, ' George, do you see that old drunken bum, down and out? There was a time when he was just like you. No drunkard ever intended tobe a drunkard. Every drunkard intended to be a moderate drinker. . . . I say if sin weren't so deceitful it wouldn't be so attractive. Every added drink makes it harder. . . . By the grace of God I have strength enough to pass the open saloon, but some of you can't so I owe it to you to help you" (180)

Billy's gospel message was simple. You can find it in Romans 10:9, and it's the same as that used in early A.A.:

"Conversion is a complete surrender to Jesus. . . . Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart and onfess Him with your mouth and you will be saved. God is good. The plan of salvation is presented to you in two parts. Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A.A. History Lovers vs Applying A.A. Lessons--Agenda

How our work started:

Back in 1990, I learned from a young man that A.A. itself came from the Bible. He suggested I read DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, and I did. Sure enough, Dr. Bob had said in his last major speech that the basic A.A. ideas--the basic A.A. history material--came from the Bible (, with special emphasis on James, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13 (

And thus began the quest to learn the A.A. history that had been buried under anecdotes, erroneous accounts, and perhaps lack of interest. That meant ten years or more of traveling, researching, interviewing, collecting, analyzing, and then disseminating A.A. History. This, of course, included the shopworn shibboleths about the Washingtonians, the Oxford Group, Rev. Sam Shoemaker, William James, Emmet Fox, Carl Jung, Ebby Thacher, Rowland Hazard, and others. About psychic changes, personality changes, spiritual awakenings, and spiritual experiences.

There was a wide and deep hole! Because of the vast abyss in real knowledge of A.A.'s roots when it came to what the early program itself did, where its ideas originated, what Bill and Bob contributed on their own, where conversion fit in, whether an alcoholic was curable or just "arrestable" or condemned forever to the idea--once an alcoholic always an alcoholic. I won't go into that now. But missing were details about the Christian history of A.A. roots, the Christian upbringing and training of Dr. Bob and Bill, the contributions of Christian organizations like the evangelists, rescue missions, YMCA, Salvation Army, and Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor. Most significant, probably was the utterly ignored facts about the decisions for Jesus Christ that Rowland Hazard, Ebby Thacher, Bill Wilson had made before A.A. began. And the A.A. history of early, required, decisions for Jesus Christ as a condition for A.A. membership in the Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship founded in 1935.

So we recently put it together in introductory form in our 4 sessions class: "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery." ( And we hoped and hope that nobody involved in 12 Steps fellowships, A.A. and N.A. groups, treatment programs or counseling, study groups, prison and homeless outreach, and Christ-centered or Christian recovery fellowships would ever again use their programs without first training others as to how it all started.

Yet how sad it is that all this treasure falls by the way when you address the facts, the origins, the programs, and the roots of A.A. history to those who are growing in number and count themselves as A.A. history lovers.

Why? Why have the "lovers" of history been so remiss in digging into the purpose of any history that has to do with recovery, with getting well, with the Christian technique early AAs spoke of and applied?

Because they have missed the point. It is not about loving history, or loving A.A., or loving A.A. history, and just being A.A. history buffs. It's about many far more important questions about the origins, history, founding, original program, and successes of early A.A.--answers too many A.A. history "lovers" really don't seem to want to embrace. Even more, it's about the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played in the recovery of alcoholics and addicts long before A.A. existed, long before its sister-outfit Oxford Group began, but definitely in the original Akron Christian Fellowship program. These too seem to be subjects that A.A. history lovers don't want to embrace lest their inquiries be considered "religious" rather than "spiritual," lest someone who doesn't believe in God, or Jesus Christ, or the Bible might flee from recovery at the very mention of those three subjects. And yet, that's been a popular negative view for at least twenty years now.

My agenda, my starting point, my effort today is focused no longer on A.A. history per se; certainly not on A.A. history lovers; and not even on those who continue to talk about history without researching, designating, citing, and documenting historical sources. And certainly no longer on those who don't want to look at the facts of history and, where applicable to recovery today, employ them to help the person who still suffers.

No. Today, as was my effort in the beginning, the agenda has to do with how to help the alcoholic and addict who still suffers. How, for example, can a "respectable" 12 Stepper talk about his relationship with God, with Jesus Christ, and with the Bible without being condemned for sharing his own experience. How, for example, can a person who needs, wants, and seeks healing from alcoholism, addiction, and life-controlling problems get any straight information if "history lovers" don't research, report, or explain the real history of the Christian recovery movement so that leaders, sponsors, speakers, programs, counselors, and clergy can help the newcomer understand what God did for early suffering folks and can still do today.

How, for example, can YOU help someone, if besieged by those who attempt to suppress real A.A. origins by saying they are outside issues, not "conference-approved," violative of the Twelve Traditions, or likely to drive newcomers out of the rooms and back to their misery and addictive pursuits.

We have now published 39 titles, over 400 articles, many audio blogs, some video materials, a huge number of web pages and comments and posts, and spoken all over the United States. Information is the aim. Accurate, useful, Godly information that can help someone get well

The agenda today is to make the A.A. origins accurate, simple, known, and obtainable. It's not about history. It's about the real power behind Alcoholics Anonymous--the power of God. It's about the roots of A.A. in the biblical words "I am the LORD that healeth thee." It's about trust in God (Proverbs 3: 5-6). It's about what Jesus Christ came to make available through His crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the gift of the Holy Spirit. These are not the rantings of an evangelist. They are the language of A.A.'s own founders and contributors. And this is not new, nor is it banned, nor is it lacking in "conference-approval," nor is it irrelevant to recovery.

Not if, as we know there is, freedom to choose effective relief as the right and privilege and property of any suffering alcoholic, addict, family member, program, fellowship or society.

I didn't come to A.A. because I love history. In fact, I never heard any significant history for many years of ceaseless participation in the Society. I came to A.A. because I was suffering, found out the viciousness of alcoholism, and believed I could be helped. I stayed in A.A. because I was helped. I saw it was God who was to be given the credit--the kind of credit Dr. Bob gave when he wrote: "Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!" And I began, very shortly, to want to "pass it on"--pass on what I had learned about how to recover and be cured.

Today my agenda is to continue by every communication means available to tell the good news, to share the story, to enable others to learn, to encourage further investigation and use of the rich and recently unearthed history of the Christian recovery movement and how it impacted upon and helped heal the early AAs in a way that it ought to be used today. In short, not "love" history. Embrace the origins, the solution, and how to establish a needed relationship with God if that is what worked in the 1800's and 1900's and still can work today.

The best starting point is with our new class "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery." Check it out on Come to our forthcoming teachings, conferences, and meetings in California. Contact us:;

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A.A. History-Christian Origins-Conference Schedule for Sept. 2010

Itinerary now scheduled tentatively for the many conferences, meetings, and seminars Dick B. and Ken B. will be holding in California during their forthcoming trip between September 11 and October 2, 2010.

Calls are now being exchanged for specific invitations and locations, and the schedule is filling up rapidly. We therefore welcome your contact with Ken B. at 808 276 4945 or Dick B. at in the next few days of July to see how we can bless and serve you in your area during the trip.

The tentative schedule is as follows:

1. September 12 - Orange County, with probably location in Costa Mesa Hotel: with planned meetings yet to be confirmed for Assn of Christian Alcohol and Drug Counselors, New Life Spiritual Recovery, Pacific Hills Treatment Centers, Celebrate a New Life, Lifelines, James Club Fellowships, His Place, Salvation Army, rescue missions, and Christian recovery leaders and facilitators, as well as A.A. and N.A. leaders in the area.

2. September 24 - Escondido and San Diego Area with Rock Recovery leaders and Neighborhood Alcoholics For Christ in Escondido, plus other Christian recovery and 12 Step leaders in the area.

3. September 29 - San Francisco Bay Area with Golden West, Cornerstone, CityTeam and other leaders of recovery fellowships in Brentwood, Oakland, Livermore, San Jose.

We have yet to confirm with these folks and have a flexible schedule at this time. It anticipates personal meetings with leaders--just as we have had on other visits, presentations to groups, conferences with counselors and program leaders, and talks to 12 Step groups, as well as a new outreach to church recovery, rescue mission, prison, homeless, sober living, and ARC leaders in these areas.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill W.'s Decision for Christ, Oxford Group

There is a new article--the beginning of a series--which points up the three major elements of A.A. history that are related, but demonstrate some variations in popular viewpoints. The introductory article is posted on

The First Element of Alcoholics Anonymous History:

The Alcoholics Anonymous program had two distinct epochs.

The first was the Christian Fellowship program of the Alcoholics Anonymous pioneers founded in 1935. This program consisted of seven points and was drawn largely from the Christian origins, history, founding, program, and successes of Christian recovery programs of the 1800's--Evangelists and their revivals, Rescue Missions like that founded by Jerry Mc'Auley at Water Street, YMCA lay workers and their conversions and revivals, the Salvation Army, and the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor. Dr. Bob phrased it that the A.A. program came from their study and effort in the Bible. See Dick B., The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.'s Roots in the Bible It emphasized the Book of James, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13 as "absolutely essential" to the early program. See Dick B., The James Club and The Original A.A. Program's Absolute Essentials

The second epoch was that which emerged after Bill Wilson began working on his Big Book--published 4 years after A.A. was founded. Bill himself said that his ideas embodied in the Twelve Steps came primarily from the teachings of Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr., whom Bill dubbed a "cofounder of A.A." See Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A. This program left out pages and pages of Christian materials and Bible matters contained in the original proposed manuscript. And A.A. moved from a Christian Fellowship program to a program that opened its doors to atheists, agnostics, unbelievers, and people of wide varieties of religious denominations.

The Second Element of Alcoholics Anonymous History:

The next relevant history pertains to A.A.'s original emphasis on coming to God through Jesus Christ. Bill Wilson's grandfather had been cured of alcoholism by conversion to God. Bill was brought up in Christian ideas. Bill was advised by Dr. William D. Silkworth that Jesus Christ could cure him. Meanwhile, two of Bill's mentors Rowland Hazard and Ebby Thacher had themselves made decisions for Christ and been relieved of their alcoholism. Bill went to Calvary Rescue Mission and made his own decision for Christ. He wrote that he had been born again. And he went to Towns Hospital, deciding to call on the "Great Physician" for help. Bill cried out to God for help, had a white light experience, sensed the presence of God, proclaimed "So this is the God of the Scriptures.' And Bill was cured--never drank again. And he said so.
See Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., page 191 and Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W. The upshot of all this is that every member of the original Akron A.A. program was required to believe in God and make a decision for Jesus Christ

The Third Element of Alcoholics Anonymous History:

The final and misunderstood role of the Oxford Group pertains to its willingness to accept people of all religions, no religions, and the Christian Faith. Thus when writers and scholars have claimed that the Orginal A.A. grew out of the Oxford Group, they fail to document their statements and examine the extensive history of Frank Buchman's willingness and actions to incorporate people of all faiths despite Buchman's own Christian upbringing and belief as a Lutheran Minister. This part of the history will be examined at length in our articles. See particularly Garth Lean, Frank Buchman: A Life (London: Constable, 1985). Also Dick B., The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous

Foundations for this study begin with our class "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery"

Friday, July 09, 2010

Dick B. on Facebook.

Dick B., Writer, Historian, Retired attorney, Bible student, CDAAC, and active and recovered AA member. Author of 39 published titles on Alcoholics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous History, and more than 400 articles on the A.A. History of Bible roots subject.

Dick B. has attained 24 years of continuous sobriety as an A.A. member; and he has been researching, publishing, and disseminating materials on the role of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible in the recovery movement for 20 plus years, beginning in 1990.

Latest on A.A. history is "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery." This is a 4 DVD class, plus 3 guidebooks. It details the origins, history, founding, original program, and successes of the early A.A. Christian Fellowship founded in Akron in 1935. Details and the way to buy an evaluation class of "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery" can be found on

Dick B.'s main website on Alcoholics Anonymous and the History of AA is He has a personal blog site; and a site devoted exclusively to information and the books about A.A. co-founder Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith (MD) An online training the trainers site can be found on Freedom Ranch Maui Incorporated And the website for the International Christian Recovery Coalition, of which Dick B. is Executive Director, is:

Dick B. on Facebook is a new, regular feature by which A.A. Author Dick B. keeps in touch with facebook. The Dick B. Facebook can be found at

Again, Dick B. on Facebook can be found at for more information. For the class:

Thursday, July 08, 2010

AA Steps 5-9 More on the teachings of Dr. Bob Wife

Two more articles have been written on the materials covered by Dr. Bob's wife Anne Ripley Smith in her journal--Dick B., Anne Smith's Journal: A.A.'s Principles of Success, 3rd ed., 1998. See

The first article was about Anne Smith herself, and her role in A.A.
The second covered Anne's writings that she shared about the materials Bill Wilson included in Steps 1 - 4 in the Big Book.
The third and latest covers Anne Smith's writings about the topics Bill Wilson included in Steps 5-9 of the Big Book.

Anne's writings, of course, preceded the publication of A.A.'s Big Book and were placed in her journal and shared with others between 1933 and 1939, and probably for the remainder of her active participation in the A.A. fellowship before her death. They have special value too because of the major role Anne Ripley Smith played in the founding days of Al-Anon Family Groups as influenced by Anne's Women's Group founded in Akron in 1935 and Anne's frequent conversations with Lois Wilson in which Anne counseled Lois in her travails with Bill Wilson.

These articles are posted on and on a number of the social forums such as cyberrecoveryfellowshipforum, Christianrecoveryministriesforum, InternetFellowshipForum, and aasoberliving forum.

Look them up. They are prizes that show the real meaning running through Bill Wilson's mind as Bill discussed the Step ideas he had heard Anne Smith discuss and had heard so often at Oxford Group meetings he and Lois had attended in New York. These were refined and discussed and ultimately codified in Bill's proposed Twelve Steps as originally drafted. And Bill said the ideas came directly from the teachings of Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr. See Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A.

In His Service, Dick B.,;

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Dick B. Radio Interview - Jul 10 - A New Way Out in Recovery Today

Saturday, July 10, 2010, Author Dick B. will be interviewed on a one-hour radio show emanating from Colorado. A press release will provide further details. The show is called
"Last Call."

The topic will center around "A New Way Out Emerging in Recovery Today." To the listener, this will mean information on the new class just presented by Dick B. and Ken B. which is
titled: "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery" consisting of 4 DVD's and several guides.

The purpose of the show and the class "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery" ( is to acquaint the recovery community today with four major subjects: (1) How the first three AAs got sober by the power of God. (2) How the Christian upbringing of A.A. co-founders Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Vermont impacted on their recovery ideas and the program they founded in 1935. (3) The enormously successful Christian people and organizations that gave birth to the healing of alcoholics by the power of God through witnessing primarily by lay people--evangelists, rescue missions, YMCA lay workers, the Salvation Army, and the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor. (4) The compatibility of the original A.A. Christian Fellowship origins, history, founding, program, and successes with present-day recovery efforts--for those who want God's love and power that
enable recovery and healing from alcoholism, addictions, and life-controlling problems.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Alcoholics Anonymous & “The Mother of A.A.”-Part 1

On July 5, 2010, my regular newsletter went out to my mailing list, and postings of the following article were made on and a number of social forums--all containing the first part of the Anne Ripley Smith story.

The first article is titled "Alcoholics Anonymous & 'The Mother of A.A.': Dr. Bob's Wife, Anne Smith." It centers around one of the most important books I have ever researched and written. And the book is Dick B., "Anne Smith's Journal 1933-1939: A.A.'s Principles of Success," 3rd ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1998), ISBN 1885803-24-9. The photo of the book and a description of its contents can be found on

This first article highlights the tremendous role Anne Ripley Smith played in the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935. It details what she did and why Bill Wilson called Anne "The Mother of A.A." and a "Founder of Akron Number One"--the first A.A. Group. The article, its details and the Anne Smith Journal title should be a "must" for all women connected with A.A., 12 Step Fellowships, and organizations like Al-Anon. It should also be a "must" for all interested in the origins, history, founding, original program, and successes of pioneer A.A. It is a "must" for students of the Twelve Steps because so much of the material later penned by Bill Wilson and incorporated in the Big Book seems based on the teachings he received from Dr. Bob's wife, primarily in the summer of 1935, and recorded in Anne Smith's Journal 1933-1939.

The next article--yet to be posted--will summarize the actual contents of the little known series of pages, written by Anne, typed in part for her by her daughter Sue, and shared with AAs and their families in the first decade of A.A.;

Gloria Deo

Christian Recovery Guide


The Third Edition of The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 2010, has now been released and is available for purchase on

There have been all kinds of recovery guides published for Christians in the last twenty years. Most focus on the Twelve Steps. Most do not provide any adequate information on the Christian origins, history, founding, original program, and successes of the A.A. Christian Fellowship that was founded in 1935--four years before A.A.'s Big Book and Twelve Steps were published.

The point is this:

1. Christian recovery leaders and Christians in recovery need to know that long before A.A. was founded in 1939, enormous Christian recovery workers and organizations were successfully bringing about cure of alcoholics and addicts by the power of God. These included: (a) Evangelists like Dwight Moody, Ira Sankey, and Billy Sunday. (b) Rescue Missions such as the one founded by Jerry Mc'Auley at Water Street Mission in New York. (c) YMCA lay workers and their revivals and conversions throughout Vermont and New England. (d) Salvation Army workers who approached derelicts and drunks in the slums and brought them salvation and victory. (e) Young People's Christian Endeavor Society which attained a world-wide membership of 4.5 million young people and provided the basic Christian recovery program incorporated in A.A.'s "old school" original program founded in Akron in 1935.

2. Christian recovery leaders and Christians in recovery need to know that the first three AAs--Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob Smith, and Bill Dotson--all believed in God, all were Christians, and all studied the Bible. In the depths of drinking despair, each of these three turned to God for help and was cured of alcoholism. All said so. This occurred before there was any Big Book, Twelve Step program, Twelve Traditions, incessant drunkalogs, and meetings as we know them today. In short, this occurred before the A.A. recovery program was developed in 1935.

3. Christian recovery leaders and Christians in recovery need to know the exact 7 point program, 14 principles and practices, and documented 75% success rate that was achieved by the original Akron program--again, before there was any Big Book or Twelve Step program.

4. Christian recovery leaders and Christians in recovery need to know that the A.A. program embodied in the Twelve Steps did not follow the Akron program, was changed dramatically prior to publication, and eliminated Christian and Bible materials.

5. Christian recovery leaders and Christians in recovery need to know that, though A.A. itself is no longer a Christian Fellowship, its Christian members number in the tens of thousands. They need to know that Christians in the recovery arena are not alone. They need to know that Christians in A.A. today can find ample authority in the Steps, literature, abc's, and fellowship meetings and groups today for pursuing, practicing, and passing along the facts about the original A.A. Christian program.

These materials are discussed in detail and documented in The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010; and, as stated above, can be obtained at

AA History, Origins, and Early Days:

We are thankful that "" is presenting an ongoing and extensive series of articles written by A.A. writer, historian, retired attorney, Bible student, and CDAAC Richard G. Burns, J.D. (pen name Dick B.). This is a new and important resource for ongoing, updated, accurate materials on AA History, Origins, and Early Days.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Christian Recovery - The Great Information Gap Today

This will be a short note about the growing price paid for the "Great Information Gap in Christian Recovery Today."

Simply stated, that gap lies in the lack of information known or presented in just about every Christian recovery counseling program, Christian treatment program, Christ-centered recovery program, and Christian recovery groups and ministries carrying a Christian message for alcoholics, addicts, and those with life-controlling problems. Their ministries may be soundly Christian, but the all-important Christian roots of Christian recovery are usually missing.

Wherein lies the information gap? It lies in the fact that today we have the benefit of 20 years of research, publishing, and dissemination of the facts about the role of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible in the recovery movement. Today, a library has been established in the church attended by A.A. co-founder Dr. Bob Smith and his entire family. The library is called The Dr. Bob Core Library located in North Congregational Church, Main Street, St. Johnsbury, Vermong--the village in which Dr. Bob was born, raised, had a Christian upbringing, attended church and prayer meetings, participated in the Young People's Christian Endeavor Society, and attended St. Johnsbury Academy where daily chapel, weekly Bible study, and weekly Congregational Church attendance were required of every student. The Dr. Bob Core Library contains volumes of material today showing the Christian origins of A.A.

The roots of Christian recovery were not in the Oxford Group--as so many write and probably believe today. The roots of A.A. and Christian recovery emerged from the Great Awakening of 1875 in Vermont and the Christian recovery successes of evangelists and their revivals, rescue missions, YMCA lay workers and their revivals and conversions, the Salvation Army, and The Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor in the State of Vermont and nearby states--both A.A. cofounders having been born and raised in Congregational families in Vermont.

By the time A.A.'s Christian Recovery program was founded in 1935, the first three AAs turned to God for help and were cured. And, by that time, all believed in Almighty God, were Christians, and had studied the Bible.

There is much much more; and you can get your start with the new class "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery" fully described in

Get on board with real Christian recovery; and urge your sponsors, facilitators, counselors, rehabs, and treatment programs to do likewise. Already we know of three Christian recovery programs that are educating their clients with "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery." See and

Friday, July 02, 2010

A.A. Foundations Class - Evaluation Offer for You

This is an offer that will enable 12 Step groups, conferences, meetings, and seminars; and treatment programs, rehabs, counselors, and facilitators; and Christian recovery programs, Christ-centered recovery fellowships, and pastoral counselors; and outreach programs for homeless, incarcerated, and at-risk populations; and both Christian leaders and Christians in recovery.

Our class is called "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery." It consists of 4 DVD's, an Instructor Guide, a Student Guide, and The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010.

We believe you may wish to obtain an evaluation package that will enable you to enjoy the class, discuss it with others, use it with your sponsees, and share it with your leadership folks. You can acquire it for a very low and reasonable price - $211.00 which includes the package and shipping within USA

Then, if you wish to use it for larger groups or meetings for an entire year, you will be able to decide whether this class will enhance your own program by providing an initial foundation presentation.

For a complete summary of the class, and to order the evaluation package or even the class itself, see our website: