Sunday, February 06, 2011

A.A. Origins, A.A. Early History, A.A. Founding, A.A. Changes

There is a huge movement afoot. It is a movement to learn A.A.'s real, early Christian roots.

It grew out of the complete absence of reported history by A.A. itself, by writers, and by some dedicated A.A. historians.

There was no significant history emanating from A.A. until Bill Wilson finally wrote Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age in the mid-1950's. Even this account, was edited by two priests. It was written after A.A. Co-founder Dr. Bob and his wife Anne Ripley Smith were both dead. It left out the major elements that led to A.A., that involved the cure of the first three AAs, and that included the Bible, the Book of James, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13.

Bill Wilson began to realize the vacuum in the 1950's when he began dictating his own story--that did not get published until years later. Bill began taping some of the founders and others who were present in the early days. This work did not bear fruit until the 1980's after Bill himself was dead and most of the pioneers were dead and gone.

Is all this important to A.A. today, to recovery today, and to those hungry for God's help today?

For twenty years, my son and I have researched piece by piece the various elements of the A.A. roots and A.A. history, tried to link them into a comprehensive whole, and challenged others to continue the quest for an accurate picture.

Importance? Of course. It highlights the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played in the origins, history, founding, original program, and early successes. It highlights the substantial change of course in the last moments before the Big Book's publication in 1939. It highlights the actual cure and claims of cure by the early AAs for the first decade. It helps students to understand how to learn, appreciate, and apply the early contributions of the following:

Bill Wilson, Calvary Rescue Mission, and the forerunners (evangelists, Salvation Army, YMCA lay workers, rescue missions, and Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor, and the Christian upbringing of A.A. founders as young men in Vermont).

Also, Dr. Bob Smith, Bob's wife Anne Smith, the Bible, the Christian Bible devotionals, Quiet Time, the Oxford Group life-changing principles from the Bible, the emphasis by Dr. William Silkworth on the Great Physician Jesus Christ, the emphasis of Dr. Carl Jung and Professor William James on conversion, and the practical approaches in hospitalization, surrenders to God, acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, study of the Bible, prayer meetings, reading of Christian literature, use of Bible devotionals, and daily seeking of guidance from God.

There's much much more. But the following will chart the beginning steps for students and AAs alike:

1. The Conversion of Bill W. and Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous (

2. The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous (

3. Anne Smith's Journal 1933-1939 (

4. Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A. (

5. Dr. Bob and His Library (

6. Real Twelve Step History (

7. The Good Book and the Big Book: A.A.'s Roots in the Bible (

8. The Oxford Group & Alcoholics: A Design for Living That Works (

9. New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A. (

10. The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide (

Those who tackle these roots--one-by-one--can then begin to put the facts together. They can and should also turn to important A.A. General Service Conference-approved books like Pass It On, DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, and Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th edition. If they do so, they will be able to carry a message that informs today, fills a void today, applies today, and serves today.

The reader will be starting his efforts to help newcomers with material so little heard or discussed or applied in meetings, groups, and conferences today. It is the material that produced the astonishing cures of alcoholics during the original Alcoholics Anonymous Fellowship period from 1935-1938.

No comments: