Monday, July 25, 2011

Handling Militant Anti-Bible AAs in Today's Recovery Scene

Thank you, Marybeth. I have been continuously sober for more than 25 years. And I’ve heard it all. In fact, I “fired” both my naïve sponsor and his naïve sponsor because they consistently claimed that people who read the Bible get drunk, persistently objected to my bringing my sponsees to our Bible fellowship, and surreptitiously did everything they could to prevent my bringing the author of Pass It On, and Dr. Bob’s son, and an Oxford Group person to speak before a huge and warm audience of some 800 AAs.
These people don’t have a clue about A.A. history. They don’t read or quote A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature like DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers and Pamphlet P-53 that make it crystal clear that the basic ideas for the Steps came from the Bible and that the early AAs not only studied the Bible, but paid particular attention to the Book of James, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13. The pioneers, including Bill, Dr. Bob, and A.A. Number Three read all kinds of Christian literature. They used daily Christian devotionals like the Upper Room, the Runner’s Bible, and so on. And there is lots more. In fact, Akron AAs boldly called themselves a “Christian Fellowship.” A.A. is no longer a Christian fellowship, but it most certainly has tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of practicing Christians who love God, His Son, and the truth in the Bible. That’s a major reason why I wrote “The Good Book and The Big Book.” And there are many more of like nature.
Today, I wonder why you need a sponsor at all. And if I had one that talked like yours, I would get rid of her in a minute, thank her for what she’s done, and tell her you stand on A.A. Conference-approved literature and your right to do exactly what the early AAs did—believe what you wish, worship where you wish, study what wish, talk as you wish, and help others to do the same.
These people are not police. They do not govern. The Traditions (though not binding) make it clear that they are just “servants.” And the Traditions also make clear that we are not to trench on the next person’s religious beliefs. In fact, the Big Book plainly talks about “helpful books.” It suggests finding them with the aid of one’s rabbi, minister, or priest. It says: “Be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they have to offer.” Many of these frustrated egotists seem to believe they are soldiers in some kind of army and that they are the First Sergeants who have been called to enforce Army Regulations. Yet there are none!
Now for the solution:
  1. If you are not already a participant in our International Christian Recovery Coalition, you would bless us by being listed – at no cost to you. And, you need only read our mission statement on and, if you approve, provide me with a listing like “Marybeth Behringer, Recovered believer, street address, city, state, and zip”
  1. Among the many participants in the Coalition, you can find the names and locations of a large number of Christian men and women who have long-term sobriety, do not desire to leave A.A., and do
wish to enable others to learn the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played and can play in recovery for those who want God’s help. In fact our history is filled with documentation
that such behavior has long been a part of the A.A. Society.
  1. If at all possible, consider attending one of our two California conferences in September where you can meet, hear, and share with countless others who have been in the same
straight jacket they tried to put you in, but chose to rely on our Heavenly Father for guidance, strength, forgiveness, healing, and deliverance.
Please feel free to phone Ken or me at any time to bolster your confidence and wonderful objective and service. The days of A.A. will be limited by just how much close-mindedness these idolatrous, autocratic, bleeding deacons sound off and drive others out of A.A. or into Christian groups like Celebrate recovery, or to a life without the power and love of God.
That is not what our founders did or sought.
I wish you the very best with your study group. And I particularly admire the caution you have taken to avoid offending the out-of-line A.A. trouble makers.
Our mottoe is “Christians in the recovery arena are not alone.”
God bless,
Dick B.
Author, 42 titles & over 500 articles on A.A. History
(808) 874-4876
PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837
Ps 118:17 (NJB):
I shall not die, I shall live to recount the great deeds of Yahweh.

From: Marybeth Sent: Monday, July 25, 2011 3:51 PM
To: Dick B.
Cc: Ken Burns
Subject: Need your feedback
Hi Dick/Ken,
I'm the person who just ordered 10 copies of your book, "The Big Book and The Good Book".
 of the Traditions of AA" and that the study group takes away from AA's clarity of message - she went on to say," the founders of AA were so convinced that it would be wrong to link AA to Christianity and why would Jesus need a 12 Step program anyway? There is no way in my mind that a Christian program using the 12 Steps is NOT linking it to AA, especially when AA's are attending the meeting. The churches do a very good job of providing Christian bible study."
So, that's a direct quote from her. I have tried to explain that the purpose of the group is to study how the Steps and Scripture are "improve our conscious contact" with our God....and now we're about to embark on your book.
I don't know how many years you've been sober Dick, but probably long enough to understand some of these attitudes. It was never my intent to harm AA or violate Traditions, only to learn more about God, this marvelous Fellowship of AA, our history, the relationship between Steps and Scripture.
If I'm wrong in any of my motives or endeavors, please provide your honest and open feedback. I welcome it. Then again, if you'd rather not do that, no problem, I respect that. I think the study group is really an "outside issue" - yes, we're borrowing the 12 Steps from AA, but I believe this study group does not conflict at all with AA's primary purpose, to stay sober and to help the suffering Alcoholic. Most of the members of the study group are AA members.

Need your feedback on this situation: 2 years ago I started a study group called "The Step and Scripture" meeting. We made sure we did NOT classify it as an AA meeting. Our preamble states clearly that it is NOT an AA meeting and it's purpose is to grow in spirituality by studying the 12 Steps of AA in conjunction with the Scriptures.
We first used the book, "The 12 Steps for Christians"....and now are about finished with "The Life Recovery Bible Workbook".....and next is your book which we are all looking forward to. Our meeting is NOT listed in the AA schedule of meetings..people came by word of mouth, and it is a small group.
I have received some major criticism from my sponsor (past tense) who says "I'm in violation
Thank you for your interest and help if you or Ken are in a position to provide some insights and direction, and perhaps better explanation for those who sit in judgement.
God Bless you both.

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