Assessing Our A.A. History-Christian Recovery Workshop Project of September, 2012 in Vermont
By Dick B.
© 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved
The real facts about the Christian origins, history, personalities, and organizations that produced the founding of “old school” early A.A. in June of 1935 were, and have been, inadequately investigated, researched, reported, and published. We therefore began our research in 1990. It continues today. And, as our recent Vermont workshops showed, there is still much more material—known, unknown, ignored, or overlooked--yet to be reported or found.
In our opinion, this extensive search for accurate and truthful history was (and is today) much enabled and assisted by the following major sets of resources:
(1) The King James Version of the Bible and the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, published in April, 1939 (and today available through the Dover Publications reprint of that edition with a substantial introduction by Dick B.)
(2) A number of important A.A. General Service Conference-approved books and pamphlets: (a) RHS. (b) Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age. (c) The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks. (d) DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers. (e) “Pass It On.” (f) The Language of the Heart. (g) Experience, Strength, and Hope.
(3) Segments published by other sources: (a) Robert Thomsen’s Bill W. (b) Lois Remembers. (c) Sue Smith Windows and Robert R. Smith’s, Children of the Healer. (d) Mary Darrah’s Sister Ignatia. (e) Francis Hartigan’s Bill W. (f) Bill W.’s My First 40 Years. (g) Dale Mitchel’s Silkworth: The Little Doctor Who Loved Drunks. (h) William Borchert’s The Lois Wilson Story: When Love is Not Enough. (i) Mel B.’s Ebby. (j) Mitchell K.’s How It Worked. (k) William James, Varieties of Religious Experiences. (l) The four pamphlets published by AA of Akron—Spiritual Milestones, Manual For Alcoholics Anonymous, Second Reader for AA, Guide to the Twelve Steps; (m) Hazelden’s Original Printer’s Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous; (n) The Runner’s Bible.
(4) Literally hundreds of books, articles, and pamphlets (a) by and about the Oxford Group and/or its “A First Century Christian Fellowship”; (b) by and about Rev. Samuel Moor Shoemaker, Jr.; (c) by and about the Christian predecessors of A.A.—The Great Awakening of 1875, the great evangelists such as Moody and Sankey, Young Men’s Christian Association, Salvation Army, Rescue Missions, and United Christian Endeavor Society; (d) Christian upbringing of Bill Wilson, Ebby Thacher, and Dr. Bob Smith by their parents and grandparents and in Vermont’s Congregational and other churches, Sunday schools, Academies, Bible studies, prayer meetings, Quiet Time observances, daily chapels, revivals, conversions and temperance meetings, and Oxford Group connections.
The totality of most of these resources can be found in the contents and bibliographies by Dick B. and Ken B., including; The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible; The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous; New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A.; The Books Early AAs Read for Spiritual Growth; Anne Smith’s Journal 1933-1939;Making Known the Biblical History and Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous; Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous; The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide; and many of our recent titles (46 to date), articles (1200 to date), as well as blogs, newsletters, forums, radio and audio and video presentations.
These foundations, plus the labors of a group attending the Vermont workshops of 2012, will substantially change the historical work from this point on. To be sure, research and publishing on the foregoing topics will continue. So too, on the roles played by God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible in the recovery movement. So too on the lives and input of A.A. pioneers and founders. So too, on the new era of A.A. history which will underline the reasons for, nature of, and practical recovery approaches of old school early A.A. And certainly on the application of all the foregoing in recovery today for those who want God’s help and will go to any length to get it—using the Conference-approved literature of A.A., the resources mentioned above, and the principles and practices of First Century Christianity that dominated early A.A. programs and lives.
The harvest is plentiful, and the number of Christian laborers in the field is growing swiftly on an international basis.