Why We Support “Old-School” A.A. in Company With
Bill W.’s “New Version of the Program”
© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved
Introduction to the Problem
Several ideas severely critical of Alcoholics Anonymous are gaining support in the recovery arena today primarily because A.A.’s detractors ignore the various phases of Alcoholics Anonymous development and posture. They just don’t report its history correctly or at least misinterpret or distort that history. The anti-A.A. ideas lie among a few Christians, many AAs, numbers of atheists and agnostics, others with non-Christian religious beliefs, and many today with no belief in anything at all. But this diversity, this variety, these scattered sources have severely challenged the biblical roots and Christian origins of A.A., the Christian beliefs of its founders, and the Christian nature of its original fellowship.
And here are the phases, which are discussed and documented elsewhere in my writings, that need to be at the heart of any examination of the society of Alcoholics Anonymous—whether speaking of its origins, or of its beginnings, or of its various activities and so-called membership.
One is the phase that catalyzed the development of A.A. ideas long before A.A. was founded. Another is the phase involving the Christian upbringing and beliefs of the first three AAs including its cofounders. Still another is the phase where the first three AAs were cured by the power of God before there was any A.A. group at all, or were any Steps or Big Books at all, and only shortly after A.A.’s “founding.” by the first two members. There was also the phase that has been shelved for years and yet involved the original A.A. Christian Fellowship of the 1930’s and thereafter together with its emergence from study and effort and teaching from the Bible and Christian principles/
Then there was the phase where Cofounder Bill W. was turning away from the Akron A.A. Christian fellowship technique and program and being strongly influenced in part by Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr., and the Oxford Group life-changing ideas. Next, Bill called his writing and publication of the Big Book and the Twelve Steps a “New Version of the Program”—an incontrovertible situation. Finally there was the phase where the entire A.A. “new version” was further changed just before the Big Book went to press; and the idea of “One” God, the Creator, the Maker, the Father of Light, the Heavenly Father of the Lord Jesus Christ gave way to an intentional effort to inject new gods and no gods into Wilson’s new version and the original plan he had for the Twelve Steps—a plan that stood on Bill W.’s initial written and unqualified references to “God” and God alone.
This dramatic shift at the threshold of publication of the Big Book underlines the fact that today there is no A.A. dogma, creed, liturgy, religious idea, or rule that unites members to a particular delivering belief or to any belief at all.
But the problem does not have to do with what A.A. is or isn’t, or what A.A. ought to be or ought not to be. For A.A. “is what it is.” And neither analysts nor AAs can do much but say today that anyone can walk in the door and sit down whether a drunk or not and whether he or she wants to quit drinking or not.