A.A. Brief # 4 - The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous:
No facet of A.A. History has been more bungled than A.A.'s connection with the Oxford Group. Yes, Bill Wilson was intensely involved on the East Coast, but he learned the solution-Conversion to God through Jesus Christ-from his friend Ebby Thacher and from his physician Dr. William D. Silkworth. Bill also learned about the Oxford Group from Rowland Hazard and Ebby Thacher, but he did not rely on the OG principles and practices when he made a decision for Jesus Christ at Calvary Mission, became born again, decided to call on Jesus Christ for help, and went to Towns Hospital and cried out to God for help and had his white light experience--sensing God's presence and never drank again. Later, Bill went to lots of Oxford Group functions on the East Coast, belonged to the businessmen's team, abandoned the group in 1933, but worked out his Step ideas with Rev. Sam Shoemaker prior to publishing the Big Book in 1939.
What about Dr. Bob? He said the basic ideas for A.A. came from the Bible. He said he had nothing to do with the writing of the Twelve Steps. He said that the Bible's Book of James, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13 were the absolute essentials for the Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship program founded by Bill W. and Dr. Bob in 1935. Did Dr. Bob attend a small Oxford Group meeting once a week at T. Henry Williams' house? Yes. Did he get sober by applying Oxford Group principles? No. He got sober by joining the little Oxford Group people and families in praying for his deliverance--and, with his prayers answered, met with Bill Wilson and then got sober as the two studied the Bible for three months in the summer of 1935.
How did the Oxford Group life-changing principles and practices (28 in all) become incorporated in the A.A. program? Bill Wilson did that primarily by working with Rev. Sam Shoemaker in 1938 and 1939 and then codifying Oxford Group ideas in ten of A.A.'s Twelve Steps produced in 1939.