That Frequently Mentions the Bible and God
(Yep! You Read That Correctly!)
A Four-Part Discussion of the Long-Overlooked Big Book Personal Stories
Alcoholics Anonymous: The Original 1939 Edition (continued)
(Dover Publications, Inc., 2011)
By Dick B.
© 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved
About Part One
In Part One, we discussed the A.A. General Service Conference-approved book, Experience, Strength and Hope: Stories from the First Three Editions of Alcoholics Anonymous (New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 2003). It elevated to “Conference-approved” status the many personal stories from the first edition of the Big Book (1939), the second edition (1955), and the third edition (1976) that were not included in the fourth edition (2001). We pointed to the questionable explanations in Experience, Strength and Hope for the omission of so many of the first edition’s personal stories from later editions of Alcoholics Anonymous. And we covered how the discussion of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible in the personal stories in the first edition provided a solid foundation for responding to concerns such as “You can’t talk about Jesus or the Bible in an A.A. meeting!” and “The Bible (and books such as Dick B.’s The Good Book and the Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible) are not ‘Conference-approved!’
About Part Two
In Part Two, we discussed the 2011 publication Alcoholics Anonymous: The Original 1939 Edition: With a new Introduction by Dick B. (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2011). We covered how the Introduction explains in detail the importance of the 29 personal stories in the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, 22 of which were left out of the second and third editions, and four more of which were left out of the fourth edition. We reviewed seven of the 29 first edition personal stories, quoting places where God, His Son Jesus Christ, the Bible, and Christianity were mentioned. We also showed how these stories fit so neatly with the real Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship” program that has been the subject of so many Dick B. books and articles. See, for example: Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed. (http://www.dickb.com/Christian-Recovery-Guide-files/).
About Part Three
In Part Three, we continued our discussion of the 2011 publication Alcoholics Anonymous: The Original 1939 Edition: With a new Introduction by Dick B. (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2011). We reviewed 12 more of the 29 first edition personal stories, quoting places where God, His Son Jesus Christ, the Bible, and Christianity were mentioned.
Part Four: Direct Quotes from Personal Stories
[Using page numbers from Alcoholics Anonymous: The Original 1939 Edition (Dover)]
More First Edition Personal Stories about God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible
1. The Car Smasher, pp. 364-69:
I was shown what might be done about my drinking with the help of God.
My every need was being met as long as I accepted and acknowledged the Divine Help which was so generously given.
Their suggestion was that we simply acknowledge we had made a pretty dismal failure of our lives, that we accept as truth and act upon what we had always been taught and known, that there was a kind and merciful God, that we were His children, and that if we would let Him, He would help us.
There are, it seems to me, four steps by be taken by one who is a victim of alcoholism.
First: Have a real desire to quit.
Second: Admit you can’t. (This is the hardest.)
Third: Ask for His ever-present help.
Fourth: Accept and acknowledge this help.
2. An Alcoholic’s Wife, pp. 378-79:
Since giving my husband’s problem to God I have found a peace and happiness. I know that when I try to take care of the problems of my husband I am a stumbling block as my husband has to take his problems to God the same as I do.
My husband and I now talk over our problems and trust in a Divine Power. We have now started to live. When we live with God we want for nothing.
3. An Artist’s Concept, pp. 380-85:
A seed had been planted, however, and a short time afterward I met a man who has for the past five years devoted a great deal of time and energy to helping alcoholics. Looking back on that meeting, the simplicity of his talk with me is amazing. He told me very little but what I already knew, in part, but what he did have to say was bereft of all fancy spiritual phraseology—it was simple Christianity imparted with Divine Power.
The next day I met over twenty men who had achieved a mental rebirth from alcoholism.
4. The Rolling Stone, pp. 386-90:
I went into the hospital and started to build my body up again through proper nourishment, and my mind through a different method than I had ever known of. A religious awakening was conveyed to me. . .
It has been nearly a year and a half since I have found this new life and I know as long as I do the few things that God requires me to do, I never will take another drink.
5. Lone Endeavor, pp. 391-96:
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your letters and for ‘ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS.’
Before the book arrived and after reading the chapters I knew that the only way to combat this curse was to ask the help of the greater Power, God. I realized it even though I was then on a binge.
I thought to myself, yes this is the only way. God is still my only chance. . . . I’m sure I have found the solution, thanks to ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS.
What the Phrase “Basic Text” Means
Over and over, when I was new, people—including me—were repeatedly told to read “the Big Book.” We were also told that this meant that we were to read: “The Doctor’s Opinion and the first 164 pages.” [In the fourth edition, “The Doctor’s Opinion” is found on pages xxv through xxxii. Chapter 1: “Bill’s Story” begins on page 1, immediately following the end of “The Doctor’s Opinion.” Chapter 11: “A Vision for You” ends on page 164. The next page—165 (unnumbered)—begins the “Personal Stories” section of Big Book.] To that advice was added the repeated expression that the “basic text” consisted only of the “Doctor’s Opinion” chapter and “the first164 pages.” Therefore, we were told NOT to read the personal stories. In fact, many that I met, that I knew in the Fellowship, and that I certainly counted as friends, simply tore out of their Big Book all of the pages containing the personal stories; i.e., pages 165 through 559(!). I believed they really felt that the stories were extraneous to the program and were unimportant.
Then I learned, of course, that A.A. itself had been systematically changing and eliminating personal stories each time a new edition of the Big Book was published. I now know it eliminated all but three of the personal stories that had originally been in the first edition. And then there was the story of Bill D. of Akron, “Alcoholic Anonymous Number Three.” His story was simply not included in the first edition. It was inserted in the “Pioneers of A.A.” portion of the “Personal Stories” section of the Big Book--following Dr. Bob’s personal story--beginning with the second edition (1955). Because Bill D.’s personal story was not included in “the first 164 pages,” most of us didn’t have a clue as to who A.A. Number Three was; what his story said; or the fact that his story contained, on page 191, “a golden text for the A.A. program.”
Another personal story, “He Thought He Could Drink Like A Gentleman”—which was added in the second edition and retained in the third edition--had described how Bill Wilson plainly told the author of the story, a newcomer, that the successful factor in the program was Jesus Christ! The author of the personal story stated that he had “wanted to know what this was that worked so many wonders, . . .” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd ed., 216-17). He went on to say that Bill Wilson had answered his question by pointing to a picture of Gethsemane hanging over the mantel in the author’s home. Wilson had then simply said: “There it is!” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd ed., 217). The solution! Yet that story was not included in the fourth edition of the Big Book. We will discuss it more in a moment.
A number of people over the years have tried to discourage others from studying the personal stories in the Big Book. They have told others that the personal stories are not part of the Big Book “basic text.” They have claimed that the phrase “basic text” refers only to a part of the Big Book; i.e., to the chapter titled “The Doctor’s Opinion,” “the first 164 pages,” and “Appendix II: Spiritual Experience.” This curious product of the “wisdom of the rooms” confounds reason. But to me, as a bewildered, brain-damaged newcomer, such statements not only seemed doctrinal, but they also seemed to make sense—at least at that early point in my sobriety.
Here are some noteworthy points concerning the meaning of the phrase “basic text” relative to the book Alcoholics Anonymous.
· The latest (4th) hardback edition of Alcoholics Anonymous has a dust jacket whose front cover reads as follows: Alcoholics Anonymous: This is the Fourth Edition of the Big Book, the Basic Text for Alcoholics Anonymous. The point? The “Basic Text” consists of the whole book.
· The language on the front cover of the dust jacket does not say the personal stories are not part of the “basic text.” It speaks of the entire edition!
· The language on the front cover of the dust jacket also does not say that the “basic text” for A.A. consists only of the smallest portion of the book—an eight-page, preliminary chapter titled “The Doctor’s Opinion”; a mere 164 additional pages of text; and a two-page “Appendix II: Spiritual Experience.”—when compared to the 395-page “Personal Stories” section (pages 165 to 559).
· The language on the front cover of the dust jacket does not say that the “Personal Stories” section is merely an “appendix” or “notes” or “footnotes.”
· In the fourth edition, published in 2001, the numbered pages run from “v” (the first page of the “Contents” section) to “xxxii” (the last page of “The Doctor’s Opinion”), and from “1” (the first page of “Bill’s Story”) to “575” [the last page of Appendix VII, “The Twelve Concepts” (page 575)]. The title page of the fourth edition says: “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism, FOURTH EDITION.” It does not say that the “Story” consists only of the first 164 pages, but does not include the “Personal Stories” section (pages 165-559).
As the A.A. General Service Conference-approved” book Experience, Strength and Hope states in its Introduction on page ix:
The importance of these personal stories cannot be overstated. The story section of the Big Book is far more important than most of us think.
Page 29 of the fourth edition states: “Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered. These are followed by forty-two personal experiences.” It does not say that the book—the “basic text” for A.A-- merely contains Bill’s story, some directions for taking the Steps, and 42 stories that you need not bother to read. No!
Even in the fourth edition, the personal stories are testimonies, presumably written by those who followed directions. In fact, on page 58 of the fourth edition, the text explains the heart of what soon is to follow in the book: “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.” What path? The path followed by those who wrote the personal stories. It does not limit the successful ones to those who “thoroughly followed” Bill’s path. It says, “our path.” And the testimonies—the personal stories—show the results achieved by the individual writers thought to have “thoroughly followed” the path, together with newcomers who read and learned from those who had followed the path and explained exactly how they did it.
That path is plainly the path mapped out in the instructions and the actual path followed by those who supposedly thoroughly followed the map. And all this is certainly true of the purposeful personal stories of the pioneers—all but three of which were not included in the fourth edition.
Many decades after the second edition, published in 1955, began the trend of leaving out the vast majority of the 29 personal stories originally included in the first printing of the first edition, all of the personal stories omitted from the second, third, and fourth editions were finally restored to “official” status in 2003 with A.A.’s publication of Experience, Strength and Hope. Prior to that, the instructions merely represented a map devoid of specific descriptions of the path actually trod by A.A.’s pioneers as they described their efforts in their own language and from their own point of view. These testimonies by the early path-followers were the testimonies of selected “winners.” Without them, one had only suggestions, not the stories of winners!
A text is a text is a text, as Gertrude Stein can be paraphrased in her famous statement: “A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.” She did not say, “A rose has many petals, but only a few petals constitute the rose.” Neither did A.A. say “Our text has more than 575 pages, but only 164 constitute the book.” It hardly takes a genius, a scholar, or a first-grader to reject that nonsense.
Two More Little-Known, Rarely-Mentioned, Personal Stories (Testimonials)
1. He Thought He Could Drink Like a Gentleman. This personal story was found on pages 210-221 of the second and third editions, but was not included in the fourth edition. It has now been “restored” and is found on pages 237-47 of Experience, Strength and Hope. Pages 242-43 in Experience, Strength and Hope (pages 216-17 in the second and third editions) discuss a picture of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. In particular, page 243 relates:
One evening I had gone out after dinner to take on a couple of double-headers and stayed a little later than usual, and when I came home Clarence [Clarence H. Snyder, who founded Cleveland A.A. in 1939] was sitting on the davenport with Bill W. I do not recollect the specific conversation that went on but I believe I did challenge Bill to tell me something about A.A. and I do recall one other thing: I wanted to know what this was that worked so many wonders, and hanging over the mantle was a picture of Gethsemane [The writer is clearly referring to a famous painting of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. The details of Jesus’ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane—details which inspired the famous painting—can be found in Matthew 26:36 and Mark 14:32—where Jesus told his disciples to sit while he went and prayed. The writer goes on to say:] and Bill pointed to it and said, “There it is.”
2. Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three: “Pioneer member of Akron’s Group No. 1, the first A.A. group in the world. He kept the faith; therefore, he and countless others found a new life.” Page 191 of the fourth edition states:
We were eating lunch, and I was listening and trying to find out why they had this release that they seemed to have. Bill [Wilson] looked across at my wife and said to her, “Henrietta, the Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.”
I thought, I think I have the answer. Bill was very, very grateful that he had been released from this terrible thing and he had given God the credit for having done it, and he’s so grateful about it he wants to tell other people about it.
That sentence, “The Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep telling people about it” has been a sort of a golden text for the A.A. program and for me.
[Note that, on the same occasion, Bill W. and Bill D.—A.A. Number Three—both tied their release from alcoholism to “the Lord.” Bill W. said that he had been “cured” by “the Lord.” And Dotson implied it in his comment that Bill W.’s statement was “a sort of a golden text for the A.A. program and for me.”
Read the Stories, and Find the Heavenly Father, “the Lord,” the Bible, and the “Cure”
Several things happened as people began to alter the Big Book in the second and following edition in order to eliminate things Bill W. or later “trusted” servants personally disliked and/or otherwise decided should be changed.
First, the vast majority of the personal stories included in the first edition were eliminated--personal stories which talked about the original A.A. program, and about the importance of God, His Son Jesus Christ, the Bible, and cure in that program.
Second, confusing synonyms were inserted that left readers in doubt as to what the intended meaning was. An example is the substitution of the phrase “spiritual awakening” for Wilson’s famous “spiritual experience.” The lengthy discussion of the supposed justification for the change presented in “Appendix II: Spiritual Experience” (in printings 2-16 of the first edition, and in the second, third, and fourth editions) takes two entire pages. The appendix moves from experience to awakening to awareness to personality change. And I can’t tell you how many people have stated in meetings that they have had many “experiences” or “awakenings,” and that those “experiences” or “awakenings” were of the “educational” variety. But they have said it with no idea of the origin of that solution spelled out in the Big Book and identified as the miracle of having the Creator enter into the heart of members.
Third, a concept was invented that denigrated a major portion of the supposedly “offensive” material. For example, at one point, A.A. itself published a “Big Book” which did not include any personal stories at all (other than Bill’s). And when their General Manager came to Maui, I asked him why and pointed out that the original intent of the Big Book was to have it consist only of stories. He replied in front of the audience, “You’re right.” And before long, the hybrid Big Book, sans stories, just vanished from the scene.
There are other ways that extraneous or corrupting ideas have sometimes been introduced. But let’s just take the ones that can clearly be demonstrated.
If the suffering alcoholic and his mentors do not see, in their chosen portion of an edition, the source or meaning of words and phrases such as “Heavenly Father,” “the Lord,” “the Bible, and “Cure;” and if the deletions are sometimes accompanied by apologetic explanations in their place; the readers and the leaders are left with some “higher power” or “Power,” a god or “something;” or “God as we understood Him,” when the program itself originally referred only to God or to His Son Jesus Christ.
· Heavenly Father. If one relegates Dr. Bob’s personal story to the ignored or torn-out “Personal Stories” section later in the Big Book, one will miss the reference on page 181 by Dr. Bob that says: “Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!” In fact, the newly-published title by Hazelden, The Book That Started It All—which contains very-high-quality scans of the “printer’s manuscript” of Alcoholics Anonymous-- shows plainly the vain, last-minute attempt to substitute the word “Faith” for “Heavenly Father” in Dr. Bob’s personal story—a change that clearly was rejected. Yet compare Dr. Bob’s last major address where he repeatedly and consistently refers to “Heavenly Father.” See The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks (Pamphlet P-53), p. 15—“our Heavenly Father;” p. 19—“our Heavenly Father,” “My Father in heaven,” and “our Heavenly Father;” and p. 20—“our Heavenly Father.” In fact, when I heard Dr. Bob’s son speak at the A.A. International Convention in San Diego, he repeatedly used the phrase “Heavenly Father.”
· The Lord. If one relegates A.A. Number Three’s personal story to the ignored or torn out “Personal Stories” section, one will miss the two references on page 191 by Bill W. and Bill D. (AA Number Three) which state “The Lord has been so wonderful to me curing me.” Interestingly, the other place where the complete statement about “the Lord” and “cure” is quoted is in DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, at page 83.
Yet if one makes plain that Bill W. considered Jesus to be the solution--as found on pages 216-17 of a personal story included in the second and third editions, but not included in the fourth edition; and if Bill W. and Bill D. ascribe their cure to “the Lord” named on page 191, the meaning of the phrase “the Lord” becomes clear. Then add in Bill W.’s references to the “Great Physician” (Jesus Christ) in his autobiography, and Dr. Silkworth’s advice to Bill W. that the “Great Physician” could cure him of his alcoholism; and one begins to see how much Jesus Christ has been eliminated from the minds of all too many AAs who want to know where their ideas came from.
· The Bible. If one eliminates all the personal stories where, as quoted above, the Bible is clearly mentioned, one is left with unattributed, undefined, floating quotes from and allusions to the Bible such as “Thy will be done;” “Faith without works is dead,” “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” “Creator,” “Maker,” “Father of lights.” And the befuddled newcomer hasn’t a clue where these words came from or to whom they refer. That newcomer may never have read the Bible or even heard the phrases—let alone understood that they were the guides for early AAs. But the personal stories in the first edition clearly tell the reader how important reliance on God, looking to His Son Jesus Christ, and reading the Bible were to complete recoveries in the early A.A. Akron “Christian fellowship.”
· Cured. Then there’s that blinking warning word: “Cure.” A word timid AAs are quick to discard or doubt. And, ignoring his own statement and that of Bill Dotson that the Lord had cured them, Bill directly contradicted his stated faith and belief. Inconsistently, he wrote on page 85 of the Fourth Edition: “We are not cured of alcoholism.”
Bill W.’s “We are not cured of alcoholism” statement on page 85 of the fourth edition—(note that the statement is in “the first 164 pages”)--has given rise to endless controversies in the rooms over whether AAs are “in recovery,” “recovering,” or “recovered.” Seldom is the word “cured” even mentioned. It is almost regarded as anathema! Consider this: When was the last time you heard people talking about the other reference to “cure” in “the first 164 pages”: “. . . [H]is more serious ailments were being rapidly cured.” [page 135 (in “The Family Afterward” chapter)]. And see DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, where page 129 states “Dr. Howard S. . . . had been cured by Smith and his friends’ activities and the Christian technique prescribed.” What does that mean? It means what it says: Dr. Howard S. was cured by Dr. Bob and the activities and the “Christian technique” the good doctor and his friends “prescribed.”
If one ignores the “activities” of Dr. Bob and his friends, and ignores the “Christian technique prescribed,” then one is also ignoring the proven potential of the early Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship.”
Find the Stories and You May Just Find the Facts
Try these experiments:
· Tell people in a meeting or a treatment program that the Big Book declares that there is a cure for alcoholism! Shock them with your statement that the “truth” stated on page 33 of the fourth edition of the Big Book—“Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.” simply does not apply to those cured of alcoholism by “Divine Aid”—by the power of God. Tell them again that “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.” does not apply to those cured of alcoholism by the power of God. Tell the listeners, “Once an alcoholic has been cured; once an alcoholic has been delivered by the power of God; once an alcoholic has gained immunity from temptation; once an alcoholic has ‘thoroughly followed the path,’ that alcoholic has seen the problem miraculously removed!
Howls of protest may accompany every word thereafter. The reason? Most of the howlers don’t know that all three of the first AAs said explicitly that they had been cured of alcoholism—this after each had turned to God for help and been healed.
Thus the quoted remarks of Bill W. and A.A. Number 3, on page 191—that the Lord had cured—are either unknown, claimed to be erroneous, or falling on the ears of those who don’t believe what Dr. William D. Silkworth expressly told Bill and other patients: The “Great Physician” (Jesus Christ) can cure you of your alcoholism. The protesters clearly either don’t know, or else dispute, the fact that Dr. Silkworth made a statement (before the Rockefellers, AAs, and others) that he had treated alcoholics who had been “permanently cured.”
· Tell people in a meeting or a treatment program that, by turning to God, you have had a miraculous healing of your alcoholism.
Howls of protest may arise in your very presence to the effect that your claim is “a violation of the Traditions” because A.A. is “spiritual, not religious;” or that you have just offended someone who is an atheist, an agnostic, a Hindu, or a Buddhist, or is one who has “tried” God and failed.
The reason? Many don’t believe in God, don’t believe in miracles, and say that they may go to church for their religion but only go to A.A. for their alcoholism. Or someone has never read to them page 57 which states:
Seemingly he could not drink even if he would. God had restored his sanity. What is this but a miracle of healing? Circumstances made him willing to believe. He humbly offered himself to his Maker, then he knew. Even so has God restored us all to our right minds.
Or someone has never challenged them as to whether they believed the statement on page
There is a solution. . . . The great fact is just this, and nothing less. That we have had had deep and effective spiritual experiences. . . . The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.
Or the howlers have been led to believe they cannot read, quote, or believe any literature that is not “Conference-approved.” Therefore they may never have read the account of how Clarence Snyder, founder of Cleveland A.A., was healed of his alcoholism. In Mitchell K.’s How It Worked: The Story of Clarence H. Snyder and the Early Days of Alcoholics Anonymous in Cleveland, Ohio, page 70 states this:
At Clarence’s surrender, T. Henry, Doc, and a couple of the other Oxford Group members went into T. Henry’s bedroom. They all, including Clarence, who by now was used to this kneeling, got down on their knees in an attitude of prayer. They all placed their hands on Clarence, and then proceeded to pray.
These people introduced Clarence to Jesus as his Lord and Savior. They explained to Clarence that this was First Century Christianity. Then they prayed for a healing and removal of Clarence’s sins, especially his alcoholism. When he arose, said Clarence, he once again felt like a new man.
The details about these “real surrenders,” in which a newcomer was led to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and in which he and others prayed for his healing are not confined to Clarence Snyder—though they have independently been confirmed by many. (See Dick B., That Amazing Grace: The Role of Clarence and Grace S. in Alcoholics Anonymous, 27; and Three Clarence Snyder Sponsee Old-timers and Their Wives, Compiled and Edited by Dick B., Our A.A. Legacy to the Faith Community: A Twelve-Step Guide for Those Who Want to Believe, 20-28.)
The requirement that all early A.A. newcomers profess a belief in God and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior was personally confirmed by me in telephone conversations with A.A. old-timer Ed Andy of Lorain, Ohio, and by Larry B., an A.A. old-timer from Cleveland, Ohio. In addition, I still have in my possession Larry’s letter to me stating the facts and that they had taken him upstairs and had him become “a born-again human being” and “God’s helper to alcoholics.” And the biographer of Dr. William D. Silkworth quoted Dr. Silkworth to the same effect: Bill W. had originally insisted on surrenders to God and coming to Him through His Son Jesus Christ—just as Bill W. had done at Calvary Mission in 1934. (See Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W.: More on the Creator’s Role in Early A.A., 50-76.)
All three of the first AAs—Bill W., Dr. Bob, and A.A. Number Three, who were all Christians and had studied the Bible—stated in writing that they had been cured.
· [Bill W. said to the wife of A.A. Number Three, Bill D.] “Henrietta, the Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.” [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 191]
· [Dr. Bob said of Bill W.:] “. . . [T]his was a man who had experienced many years of frightful drinking, . . . but who had been cured . . .” [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 180]
· [A.A. Number Three, Bill D., said:] “That sentence, ‘The Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep telling people about it,’ has been a sort of a golden text for the A.A. program and for me.” [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 191]
· [Bill W. said:] “Straightway, Bob called Akron’s City Hospital and asked for the nurse on the receiving ward. He explained that he and a man from New York had a cure for alcoholism. [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 188]
· [Bill W. said:] “So if there was a great Physician who could cure the alcoholic sickness, I had better seek Him now, at once. I had better find what my friend [Ebby T.] had found.” [Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 61]. Bill seems to have been referring here to the advice that Dr. William D. Silkworth had given Bill on his third visit to Towns Hospital in September 1934. At that time, Dr. Silkworth had told Bill that the “Great Physician,” Jesus Christ, could cure him of his alcoholism. [See Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W., 52-53, 58-63, 66-71].
In addition to the declarations by the first three AAs that they had been cured; and the advice Dr. Silkworth gave to Bill—that Jesus Christ, the “Great Physician” could cure him of his alcoholism—many others declared in person and often in newspaper interviews, columns, and articles across the nation that they had been cured. The General Service Office (GSO) of A.A. in New York City has sold—and may still be selling—a scrap book for $75.00 that contains Xerox copies of newspaper interviews from around the United States (done over a 10-year period from about 1939 to 1949) in which alcoholics declared that they had been cured. (See Dick B., Cured!: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts, 2d ed., 1-5, 9-12, 15-19, 23-24, 31-32, 56, 85, 98, 104-06, 125-31.)
Those alcoholics whose personal stories were published in the Big Book first edition told exactly the procedure they followed after A.A. was founded in June 1935 and after the first group was founded only a few days later, on July 4, 1935. The cures, as to which they attested and which they claimed, are numerous. See Dick B., When Early AAs Were Cured and Why, 3rd ed., 107-19, 143-62, 1-8, 20-21, 33-35.