Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A.A.: From God's help to self help?

A.A.'s basic ideas came from the Bible. And Dr. Bob said so many times. Yet a curious detour occurred as revisionists tried to make A.A. into what it was not, either in the original Akron Christian Fellowship founded in 1935, or in the First Edition of the Big Book published in 1939.

Was A.A. about God's help? Or was it about self help? Let's look at the record, including the warped revisionist comment quoted from Wikipedia on A.A.

"By 1937 Wilson separated from the Oxford Group. AA historian Ernest Kurtz explained the split:[22]

...more and more, Bill discovered that new adherents could get sober by believing in each other and in the strength of this group. Men [no women were members yet] who had proven over and over again, by extremely painful experience, that they could not get sober on their own had somehow become more powerful when two or three of them worked on their common problem. This, then—whatever it was that occurred among them—was what they could accept as a power greater than themselves. They did not need the Oxford Group."

The Kurtz opinion is pure, subjective, opinionative distortion of A.A.'s roots - roots in the Bible, not the Oxford Group until 1939; and Kurtz was writing about 1937.

The pertinent Bible verses are about God sufficiency, not self sufficiency--whether sought by one suffering soul or two or three:

"Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (KJV Matthew 18:19-20)

"And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God" (KJV 2 Corinthians 3:4-5)

"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you: that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (KJV 2 Corinthians 9:8)

And now for what Bill Wilson wrote, quoted in the Big Book, 4th ed., 2001:

"When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did" (p. 52).

"We agnostics and atheists were sticking to the idea that self-sufficiency would solve our problems. When others showed us that "God-sufficiency" worked with them, we began to feel like those who insisted the Wrights would never fly" (pp. 52-53).

"Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power--that One is God. May you find Him now!" (p. 59).

". . . three pertinent ideas: (a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives. (b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism. (c) That God could and would if He were sought" (p. 60)

Neither the Bible nor the A.A. "basic text" supports the "not-god-ness" which Kurtz espouses and has managed to have quoted now in Wikipedia.

I like Dr. Bob's statement at the close of his personal story on page 181: "Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!"

And that does not mean self-help, self-sufficiency, or that two or three drunks working together accomplish the job. It is about Almighty God.

1 comment:

tmbuble said...

Each individual needs an "in" door, a window of non-judgment, non-conformity, of just being oneself. God comes, however appearing, when we are able to relate intimately with our fellows, our co-humans. God ensues, is uncovered out of personal truth and experience. Out of an earth to sky architecture, almost effortlessly. The differences in each persons story are not important other than every experience is valid. It is our basic humanity and sufferings that bind us, help us. Picking at specifics to make me more right and you more wrong or less worthy may only serve to continually divide. History is interesting and relative. Now and the service available to be human is everything. Good luck.