Thursday, December 06, 2012

Bill W.'s "New" Alcoholics Anonymous Program of 1939

Alcoholics Anonymous “New Program” That Began in 1939


Dick B.

Copyright 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved.



. . . the new version of the program, now the “Twelve Steps.”

(Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 162)


Here is enough of the context so that you can see what Bill meant when he was talking about his “new program” embodied in the Big Book of 1939 and its new Twelve Step regimen and ideas:


[Page 161]


            This particular evening, as my mind ran over these developments, it seemed to me that the program was still not definite enough. . . . Our steps would have to be more explicit. . . . Maybe our six chunks of truth should be broken up into smaller pieces. . . .


            Finally I started to write. I set out to draft more than six steps; how many more I did not know. . . . They added up to twelve. . . .


            At this moment a couple of late callers arrived. . . .


[Page 162]


. . . I was greatly pleased with what I had written, and I read them the new version of the program, now the “Twelve Steps.” . . .


            . . .


            Akronites like Paul and Dick S. like the new steps very much. As the remainder of the book text developed, based on the Twelve Steps, they continued to report their approval. But in New York the hot debate about the Twelve Steps and the book’s contents was doubled and redoubled.

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