Saturday, May 21, 2011

Old School A.A. and Old School A.A. Groups Today

Old School A.A. and Old School A.A. Groups Today
Dick B.
© 2011 Anonymous. All rights reserved
Reflections and Suggestions about Pioneer A.A. that Could Help You! Utilize "Old School A.A." Approaches Today
There is no real substitute today for beginning with one-on-one sponsorship, fellowship, and witnessing
Right now, just about anyone can join a group, attend a conference, take a class, buy tapes, and study some materials on Pioneer A.A.'s biblical roots and program. But the next step is learning how to utilize and “pass it on.” You could learn the facts, understand them, and pass them on to someone else. But that's backwards. Start with A.A.'s personal sponsorship idea. As an individual, become a real, adequate, instructive, truly helpful sponsor first: You study. You learn. You share. You compare. Then you sponsor another, and serve your fellowship or group.
There is no substitute for learning the facts first. And beginning your study with A.A.'s General Service Conference-approved literature
Master the Big Book, Twelve Steps, and the Frank Amos Reports of 1938.
Read DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers for a sketch of what pioneer A.A. was really like.
Read A.A.’s Co-founders pamphlet P-53, particularly the last major address by Dr. Bob.
There is no real substitute for learning the six Biblical roots of early A.A.’s Christian Fellowship: (1) The Bible, (2) Quiet Time, (3) Anne Smith’s Journal, (4) the teachings of Rev. Sam Shoemaker, (5) the life-changing program of the Oxford Group, (6) and the religious books early AAs read.
Then, also becoming able to recognize how early A.A. Christian basics came under the non-biblical influence of (1) Professor William James and psychology; (2) the "new thought" writers such as Ralph Waldo Trine and Emmet Fox; (3) the self-made "higher power" “gods” that overwhelmed A.A. literature in the 1950's; and (4) the New Age “spirituality” of “not-god-ness” that emerged in the 1970’s.
And, finally, distinguishing the difference in origins, approach, content, and beliefs between "Akron A.A." and "New York A.A.": (1) Akron developed its ideas from the Bible in a Christian fellowship, with decisions for Jesus Christ, "old fashioned prayer meetings," Bible study, Quiet Time, daily devotionals, and Christian literature. That was a major factor in “Old School A.A.” (2) New York fashioned A.A.’s 1939 text primarily from ideas of Rev. Sam Shoemaker, William James, and the life-changing principles and practices of the Oxford Group. That factor might be called the revised “Big Book A.A.”
Next come your decision, mission, and work with others to tell the foregoing
Will you continue to be a student? If so, there’s a lot more to study.
Do you want to be a teacher? If so, there’s a lot more to learn and organize.
Do you want to be a speaker? If so, prepare to tell our whole story and all of the facts.
Do you want to be the leader of a group? If so, select the format, members, topics, and a cadre.
Now find a cadre of two or three who will join your efforts, will study, will learn, will help, and will eventually become leaders as your “Old School A.A.” group and approach grow
You can call your group or groups whatever you like—just don’t empower the naysayers by begging your local office to list you when they ask you to fill out a form for approval in New York or simply tell you that you can’t use a particular name. Just remember, early AAs wanted to call themselves “The James Club.” Dr. Bob did call them a “Christian Fellowship.”
What can your “Old School A.A.” Group be called? It could be called “The Old School A.A. Group,” “The James Club,’ a “Big Book/Bible Study Group,” a “Step Study/Bible Study Group,” an “A.A. Spiritual Roots Group,” a “Men’s and Women’s Study Group,” an “A.A. History and Origins Group,” and many many others. Lots are already being used.
Help others by helping them to learn–individually, as a cadre, and only then as a group
Suggested Resources You and Your Cadre can Acquire, Study, and Use
You can begin your work with one or more of my titles or groups of my titles. E.g.:
Use The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd, 2010 for a comprehensive overview of our spiritual history and roots, or
The Akron Genesis of A.A. for an accurate picture of how Pioneer A.A. took shape, or
When Early AAs Were Cured and Why to learn what they actually did.
To study each of our six major biblical roots: (1) [Bible roots] The Good Book and The Big Book, The Big Book-Good Book-Guidebook, The James Club and the Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials. (2) [Eleventh Step, Prayer, Meditation, Devotionals] Good Morning! Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A.) (3) [What Dr. Bob’s Wife Anne actually taught pioneer AAs] Anne Smith’s Journal-1933-1939, (4) [The role of Rev Sam Shoemaker as the “cofounder of A.A.” who taught Bill Wilson the step materials] New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A.. (5) [The Oxford Group life-changing ideas that became the heart of the Twelve Step and Big Book program of 1939] The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous;, and (6) [Extensive literature read and circulated among the pioneers by Dr. Bob, his wife, Henrietta Seiberling, and the meeting tables of books] Dr. Bob and His Library, 3rd ed. and The Books Early AAs Read for Spiritual Growth, 7th ed.
For background: (1) By The Power of God: A Guide to Early A.A. Groups & Forming Similar Groups Today. (2) Why Early A.A. Succeeded: The Good Book in Alcoholics Anonymous Yesterday and Today (A Bible Study Primer for AAs and other 12-Steppers). (3) Utilizing Early A.A.’s Spiritual Roots for Recovery Today
My own suggestions for planning your group, studies, and purchases. and future work
Don’t start a group. Start first by learning, as an individual, with a sponsor, or with friends.
Purchase my entire 29-Volume Reference Set at the substantial discount of $289.00 plus $30.00 for shipping and handling. Then you can pick and choose your books for study, or
Purchase one of the books that interests you; or, preferably, if you know what you want to organize and study, select one or several titles as a group and receive these at the substantial group discount plus shipping and handling, or
When and if you start a group or gather as a group, you may purchase 10 or more of the same titles of your choosing at a 50% discount plus shipping and handling
Please don't hesitate to contact me for further details: Email:; phone 808 276 4945, or 808 874-4876; or mail: Dick B., PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837. To order now, you may buy on, or simply use our online book order forms (

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