The Original, Seven-Point, Akron A.A. Program
In February 1938, before work began on the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., dispatched his agent, Frank Amos, to Akron to investigate what Amos referred to as the “self-styled Alcoholic Group of Akron, Ohio.” In his report to Mr. Rockefeller on the results of his investigation, Amos included a description of the original, seven-point, Alcoholics Anonymous program that Bill W. and Dr. Bob began developing over the summer of 1935. The following is a discussion of that Amos report, including the description of the original Akron A.A. “Program,” found on pages 130-31 of the A.A. General Service Conference-approved book DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers (New York, N.Y.: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1980):
In meeting with a number of the men, their wives, and “in some cases, their mothers,” Mr. Amos heard varying stories, “many of them almost miraculous.” He noted, however, that when it came to recovery, they were all remarkably alike in “the technique used and the system followed.” He described the “Program” as follows:
“1. An alcoholic must realize that he is an alcoholic, incurable from a medical viewpoint, and that he must never drink anything with alcohol in it.
“2. He must surrender himself absolutely to God, realizing that in himself there is no hope.
“3. Not only must he want to stop drinking permanently, he must remove from his life other sins such as hatred, adultery, and others which frequently accompany alcoholism. Unless he will do this absolutely, Smith and his associates refuse to work with him.
“4. He must have devotions every morning—a “quiet time” of prayer and some reading from the Bible and other religious literature. Unless this is faithfully followed, there is grave danger of backsliding
“5. He must be willing to help other alcoholics get straightened out. This throws up a protective barrier and strengthens his own willpower and convictions.
“6. It is important, but not vital, that he meet frequently with other reformed alcoholics and form both a social and a religious comradeship.
“7. Important, but not vital, that he attend some religious service at least once weekly.”
Mr. Amos said, “All the above is being carried out faithfully by the Akron group, and not a day passes when there is not one or more new victims to work on, with Smith as their leader by common consent.”
Stressing Dr. Bob's importance in the work at Akron, Frank Amos went on to note that even though there were other able men in the group, they all looked to Dr. Bob for leadership.