Alcoholics Anonymous History
Questions the Vermont Workshops May Help You Answer
Copyright 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved
The Relationship of A.A.’s Vermont Roots to the Original A.A. Program
The relationship of all these Vermont happenings [the ones covered in our new title, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the Green Mountain Men of Vermont: The Roots of Early A.S.’s Original Program, and those which will be investigated, discussed, evaluated, and reported at the September 2012 International Christian Recovery Coalition workshops in Vermont] to A.A.’s Original Program Founded in Akron in 1935 by Bill W. and Dr. Bob
What the Christian Upbringing of A.A.’s Cofounders Will Reveal
The Vermont-related origins of A.A. point to that time when A.A.’s cofounders were youngsters growing up, and later remembered so many of the lessons they had heard, learned, and formerly believed, as they found themselves struggling with and winning out over alcoholism.
The Questions Asked, and The Questions Answered
The following are a few of the answers the Vermont history makes available for AAs and Christian recovery leaders and workers to ponder and prove to themselves today:
• The reason why Dr. Bob said the basic ideas of A.A. came from the Bible.
• The reason why Dr. Bob called early Akron A.A. a “Christian Fellowship.”
• The reason why all who saw the summary of the Akron program prepared by Rockefeller’s agent Frank Amos exclaimed, in one way or another: “Why this is First Century Christianity.”
• The reason why the Oxford Group’s first name—“A First Century Christian Fellowship”—gave a signal as to its relationship with Jesus Christ and First Century Christianity’s daily fellowship, principles, and practices.
• The reason for the two A.A. ideas: “Love and service” and “Love and Tolerance.” And the relationship to these of 1 Corinthians 13—a segment of the Bible early AAs considered “absolutely essential.”
• The reason why both Dr. Bob and Bill W. said that Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount contained the underlying spiritual philosophy of A.A. And the fact that so many of A.A.’s Twelve Step ideas clearly came from Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7.
• The reason why there are so many quotes from, and ideas derived from, the Book of James—an A.A. favorite and absolute “essential.”
The reason why the Big Book and A.A.’s Twelve Steps contain so many quotes or ideas identifiable in and Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.
• The reason why so many of the old school Akron A.A. practices were focused—as were the Acts of the Apostles—on daily fellowship, daily prayer, daily study of God’s word, daily breaking of bread, daily communication in the Temple and the homes, and daily witnessing.
• The reason why the Big Book contains so many unqualified references to “God,” to pronouns referring to God, and to biblical descriptions of God such as Creator, Maker, Heavenly Father, Father, Spirit, and Father of Lights.
• The reason why all early AAs were required to profess a belief in God and to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
• The reason why early AAs had Bible study, prayer meetings, Quiet Time, real surrenders to God through Christ, daily fellowship and meetings, daily visits and breaking of bread in the homes of AAs and their families.
• The reason why the “Lord’s Prayer” was part and parcel of every early A.A. meeting; and the reason why “Thy will be done” was given such prominence in the Big Book.
• The reason why ministry and service to God and to others was foundational in A.A. literature and practice.
• The reason why there was so much reading in early A.A. about Jesus, his life, his teachings, his healings, his power, his love, his crucifixion, his sacrifice for us, his resurrection, and his ascension and place at the right hand of God, from which we await his return.
The reason why Dr. Bob’s wife Anne Smith taught from her journal that the Bible ought to be the main Source Book of all.
• The reason for looking at the upbringing of the founders in light of Proverbs 22:6.
The reason why the principles, practices, and ideas one is taught in the home, by the parents, in in church, in Sunday school, during the younger years, and from kindergarten through high school are—by sheer repetition—so well remembered and later recalled and often heeded after hurtful intervening travail.
• The reason for believing Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob, and A.A. Number Three when each said he had been “cured” of alcoholism.
• The reason why the biblical ideas of fellowship with God and His son, communicating with them, praying to them, studying the Bible about them, absorbing biblical truths, widespread reading of Christian literature, conversion, and witnessing can be found in the root organizations and people who practiced the principles and practices found later in early A.A.
These foundational “old school A.A.” principles and practices are found in the Great Awakening of 1875; the Young Men’s Christian Association and its non-denominational outreach; the rescue missions and their emphasis of salvation and the Bible; the Salvation Army and its emphasis on salvation, the Bible and working with others; the Great Evangelists and their conversions and healings and preaching of the Word of God; the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor and its practices; and the early principles and practices of “A First Century Christian Fellowship” called the Oxford Group and espoused so long by Bill’s mentor Dr. Samuel M. Shoemaker.
• The reason why the original personal stories in the First Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous so simply and clearly testified to the way AAs in the Midwest implemented the principles and practices of the Akron Christian Fellowship and why those same personal stories made no mention of the Twelve Steps or the Big Book itself—for the simple reason that neither the Twelve Steps nor the Big Book had been completed or published when the Akronites were writing their stories under Dr. Bob’s supervision. And for the further reason that Dr. Bob said, of the period from 1935 through 1939, “I didn’t write the Twelve Steps. I had nothing to do with the writing of them.”
Arguments still persist that AAs cannot be cured and that early AAs (including the cofounders who expressly said they were cured) were mistaken, uneducated, and misled though they originally and uniformly said they had been cured by the power of God. And and though their distinguished expert Dr. Silkworth said he had treated several who were “ permanently cured.”
Disputes still continue over the accuracy of early A.A. success rates (75% claimed in Akron; and 93% documented in Cleveland). But little or nothing is said about the simple, early Christian Fellowship message effectively developed and employed for those who wanted God’s help, who went thoroughly and to any length to get it, and who then helped others accomplish the same objective.
Yet Bill’s message was that the Lord had cured him; Dr. Bob’s message was that “Your Heavenly Father will never let you down;” and Bill D.’s message that this was the “golden text” of A.A. And each and all of the first three AAs all proclaimed the validity and reliability of the message for alcoholics who still suffer.
Why? Because their simple messages rested on the necessity for belief in God, for establishing a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, for renouncing alcohol forever, for going to any lengths to do just that, for obeying and relying on the power of God, and for helping others get well via the same path.
We think a new light will shine before you and show you what A.A. can really do today if its Vermont heritage is coupled with the Christian upbringing of the cofounders and with the Christian healing techniques they learned from their Vermont brothers and sisters before there was even a thought of A.A. as a solution to alcoholism and addiction.
The light comes from the shining beacon enlightening all future alcoholics that each of the first three AAs succeeded in that path before the first A.A. group was founded on July 4, 1935.