Monday, July 02, 2012

Old School A.A. Meetings in Ontario Canada Today

Our Second Crackerjack Christian Recovery Radio Interview with A.A. “Akronite” and Christian Recovery Leader Mark Galligan of Ontario, Canada. Mark Explains How His AA Meeting in the Home Applies “Old School” A.A. to the 12-Step Recovery Program Today

Dick B.

Copyright 2012 Anonymous. All Rights reserved

You Can Hear the Mark Galligan July 2 Interview Right Now

You may listen to the second part of Dick B.'s interview with Christian Recovery leader Mark Galligan on the July 2, 2012, episode of the "Christian Recovery Radio with DickB" show here:

or here:

Episodes of the "Christian Recovery Radio with DickB" show are archived at:

Synopsis of Dick B.’s Radio Interview of Mark Galligan Today

Over and over each week, my son Ken and I receive emails and phone calls from AAs, NAs, Christian recovery leaders, 12 Step Fellowships, and others in the recovery arena asking virtually the same question and phrased as follows:

I never heard in A.A. or learned anything about how the early A.A. program conducted its successful meetings, talked freely about God and Jesus Christ and the Bible, or even its applicability available through A.A. General Services Conference-approved literature today. I get rebuked in meetings if I mention these things. But our group is hungry for more information about old school A.A. and about how to establish and conduct meetings today that will study, discuss, and apply old school A.A. now. Where do we start?

In our frequent Christian Recovery Radio interviews, we are hearing from leaders all over the world who are telling us how hungry their friends are for information, how much they want to start a study group, and how sorely they need information and guidance as to how to go about it.

Mark’s second interview today lays out cold some very significant facts about how his Canadian meetings are doing it with great success today in house meetings with up to twenty men—half considered “newcomers” and half considered “old-timers” who have substantial sobriety. And our listeners can learn a lot from Mark’s talk. They can also get in touch with him as one of the speakers in International Christian Recovery Coalition. And here are Mark’s salient points.

The Meeting Focus:

Like early A.A. in Akron, the meetings are held in the home. They are directed at initiating newcomers. The aim is to teach the place that God and Jesus Christ had in early A.A.  And also the importance of the Bible in early A.A. The Bibles they use are the King James Version—the “Good Book” early AAs used—and the NIV for a little more understanding of the language.

Mark believes they find no conflict in this usage.

The Tools They Use:

1.      The entire text of the original “Serenity Prayer” which most have never heard; plus A.A. Conference-approved books, DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, As Bill Sees It, The Language of the Heart, and “Pass It On.”

2.      The key tools are these:

The Little Big Book Dictionary-A Concordance

Anonymous Press Study Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd ed.--each second page

is blank and enables notes to be made.

                  The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major

Talks—stressing Dr. Bob’s last major address where he points out that the old-timers believed that the solution to their problems was in the Good Book (their affectionate name for the Bible), and emphasized as “absolutely essential” Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, 1 Corinthians 13, and the Book of James.

                  DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers

                  Dick B., The Good Book and the Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible, Bridgebuilders


The Conduct of the Classes:

Members must commit to attending each week. They must do the work. And they must be prepared for the subject matter to be discussed.

Each meeting starts with prayer. Then the text. And then a review of what’s learned the previous week.

For the first three months, each newcomer must write down – three pages a day – the first 164 pages of the Big Book, the Preamble, the Forewords, and the Doctor’s Opinion. They are told that at the end of 90 days they will have completed the 12 Steps. Their attention is called to the mention of God, and descriptions of Him as Creator and Maker 326 times.

The Problems in Today’s Meetings:

Mark points to the fact that one hears little about the Twelve Steps. The meetings can be characterized as “group therapy.” “God” and “Jesus Christ” are blocked out. A large percentage  are not interested in the topic. And there is a new brand of talk about “I” “I” “Me” Me.”

The Growing  Hunger and Action to Teach:

Mark’s group has taken the group to a deeper layer of appreciating what early AAs actually did in their original Akron Christian Fellowship. He finds newcomers hungry for the Word of God.

The Importance of Quiet Time:

Consistent with what we are finding all over the world, there is a great interest in the restoration of “Quiet Time.” Mark finds there is very little talk about “prayer and meditation” and “Quiet Time.” It’s missing. This despite the fact that A.A.’s own literature points out that meetings were not considered important in early A.A., but that “Quiet Time” was a “must.”

We called attention to some strong movements in that direction. For example Rock Recovery Ministries of Rock Church in San Diego is now featuring a new book by The Upper Room, titled Disciplines: A Book of Daily Devotions 2013. For some time, each person in the group has taken the Upper Room topic for the day, and then texts other members on what was learned from it. Also, in Texas, Father Bill W., an Episcopal Priest who formerly headed Austin Recovery, is now Chair of Episcopal Diocese of Texas Recovery Committee which is undertaking a strong program in Houston and Austin to plan an effective program of that nature. We also called attention on the program to our popular title, Dick B., Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A., 2d ed. ( which reports the historical roots of the Quiet Time practice, the specifics as to how it was done  (with opening prayer, Bible reading, group prayer, seeking God’s guidance, discussion and/or sharing by Dr. Bob’s wife Anne Smith from her journal Anne Smith’s Journal 1933-1939 (, and use of the Upper Room and other devotionals such as The Runner’s Bible and My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.

Conclusion: Mark summed up by repeating the foregoing items, stressing that there was no room for laziness in today’s recovery work, but there is plenty now for satisfy the growing hunger. He again mentioned to important tools being used in the home meetings in Ontario.

Gloria Deo

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