Alcoholics Anonymous History
New Study Groups
By Dick B.
© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved
Updated March 10, 2013
In the past two or three years, a number of individuals, groups, and meetings have established Good Book/Big Book, Good Book/12 Step, A.A. Roots Revival, A.A. History, The James Club studying the links and origins of early A.A. These have included Bible study, Big Book study, 12 Step study, Early A.A. history studies, Reading the literature of early AAs, and reviewing the impact on A.A. of other roots—Anne Smith’s Journal, Dr. Bob’s Library, the Oxford Group life-changing program, the teachings of Rev. Sam Shoemaker, Quiet Time, Silkworth, Jung, James, Peabody, and New Thought writers.
Most of the groups floundered for a time, not knowing where to start, what to use, or what was permissible. Some wondered what A.A. would think. Some wondered what their church would think. But once it was made clear that there is no “conference dis-approved” literature, that it was OK to study the very things our founders studied, that it was kosher to do the very things our founders did and to read their pamphlets, real progress was made. Most of the groups are just getting started and learning, but several have grown from small to large in a short time.
Then I began producing specific guides I thought would help; and they came along in this order: (1) The Good Book and The Big Book. (2) By the Power of God. (3) Utilizing A.A.’s Spiritual Roots Today. (4) Why Early A.A. Succeeded. (5) Making Known the Biblical History and Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous. (6) When Early AAs Were Cured and Why. (7) The James Club and The Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials. (8) Twelve Steps for You
Turning Point, The Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous, and New Light on Alcoholism were the landmark books dealing with A.A.’s Oxford Group/New York Genesis. The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous was the landmark dealing with A.A.’s Akron Genesis. Any and all of these, plus the eight books mentioned above, plus a complete reference set of my 23 history titles can be purchased in bulk, at a discount, and from http://aa-history.com/bookstore.
As the need for specific plans grew, I wrote and posted on several different websites various articles suggesting how to conduct study groups, what resources might be needed, and what other books and materials were recommended. Then, three old-timer Clarence Snyder sponsees asked me to compile and edit their great guidebook on how to take the Twelve Steps the way that Clarence Snyder did (See http://www.cametobelieve.org)..
You can find my articles on how to conduct study groups on a number of sites other than my own. And you can certainly find them here: http://www.dickb.com/index.shtml; http://www.dickb-blog.com; http://MauiHistorian.Blogspot.com They will tell you what you need to do, how to organize and conduct, what books to obtain for the group, and what resources to have on hand. And most of the groups today are using one or more of the following:
Alcoholics Anonymous, The Original 1939 Edition with Introduction by Dick B. – Dover Publications.
King James Version of the Bible, or one of their choice like NIV, or one of the three “twelve step” Bibles.
The James Club and The Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials http://www.dickb.com/JamesClub.shtml
Twelve Steps for You http://www.dickb.com/12StepsforYou.shtml
The Good Book and The Big Book http://www.dickb.com/goodbook.shtml
They can and do buy these in bulk and at a discount from
And you can buy them from me, on Amazon.com, through BarnesandNoble.com, and by asking any bookstore to order them for you.
Most groups also obtain a complete set of my 32 history reference titles so that members can look up Anne Smith, Sam Shoemaker, the Oxford Group, Akron, Dr. Bob’s Library, and Quiet Time, along with all the others, at any time it helps the other study work.
These are continuing, growing, highly helpful groups—whether conduct by individual AAs and 12-Step students, whether presented in groups or meetings, whether incorporated in Christian Track and Christian Recovery Treatment programs, or whether utilized by church-related or Christ-centered groups. It’s something that hasn’t been done because most try to apply the early principles from their own Bibles or through their own church or through Christ-centered guidebooks, but without any knowledge or guide to the original A.A. program. Yet that is the program that, in its very simple form, was the key to the 75% to 93% cure rates in early A.A.
Our Just Released Key Guidebook – now in electronic form on Amazon.com
We just completed and published a guidebook that covers all the bases. It is already being snapped up for use. And its name is The Good Book-Big Book Guidebook. You can see the cover, the description of contents, and a review on Amazon.com, on my sites http://www.dickb.com/titles.shtml It’s the key to running a group, and it’s directly tied to all the resources mentioned above.
Since this article was first written, we have published two very helpful books that we highly recommend:
“Stick with the Winners!” http://mcaf.ee/s50q
“Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous” http://mcaf.ee/gj7iw
The Track Record To Date
People contact me from all over the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, asking how to get linked to and/or participate in one of these new Christian-oriented A.A. Groups. Therefore, I will be glad to inform you of those already in progress and where they are located, but I will not provide you with the names. If you wish to get in touch with one, you can send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org); and I will forward your request to the relevant leader or group. And here they are:
Melrose, New York
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Santa Ana, California
East Sussex, England
Miller Place, New York
Cornish, New Hampshire
Winter Park, Florida
Garden City, Idaho
Rohnert Park, California
San Francisco, California
El Paso, Texas
New York, New York
Van Nuys, California
St. George’s, Bermuda
Sun City, Arizona
Rancho Santa Margarita, California
Ponte Vedra, Florida
Hitch Up Your Wagon
If you would like to join the growing number of individual study groups, study group meetings, Christian A.A. study groups, Big Book-12 Step-Good Book study groups, churches instituting A.A. Christian History and Biblical Study Meetings, Christ-centered or para-church groups who see the applicability of early A.A. history, principles, and practices to the treatment efforts of today, join the group!
We now have the guidebook for you: The Good Book-Big Book Guidebook by Dick B.
The actual study books now being used: The James Club and The Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials; Twelve Steps for You; Anne Smith’s Journal, Dr. Bob and His Library, When Early AAs Were Cured and Why, and Why Early A.A. Succeeded.
The foregoing can be studied by you, in a group, at a seminar, or in meetings – one by one - using the guidebook to help you. They can be studied in sequence over a year’s period. They can be the topic of teaching, discussion, application, and sponsorship. They can be used in conjunction with a set of Dick’s 23 published historical reference books on every aspect of early A.A. history.
They can be most usefully applied if you have on hand as part of your study resources: Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed.; King James Version of the Holy Bible; Poe’s Concordance to the Big Book; Young’s Concordance to the Bible; and a Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
Optional helps: Copies of the Upper Room (obtainable from a Methodist Church), The Runner’s Bible (Christian bookstore), My Utmost for His Highest (Christian Bookstore), Drummond’s The Greatest Thing in the World (any bookstore); The Christ of the Mount by E. Stanley Jones; Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by Oswald Chambers; The Sermon on the Mount by Emmet Fox [bearing in mind that Fox does not teach or believe in salvation by faith and gives a “New Thought” twist to his writings]; The Life Recovery Bible [which is filled with “private interpretation” and uses modern language which is not necessarily accurate or helpful]; and Recovery Devotional Bible [which comes from the NIV translation, attempts to combine the Steps and the Bible in practice, and is short on useful remarks].
My own preference is that the student stick to the Bible itself—the King James Version. This was the version used by the A.A. pioneers. In one form or another, it was the Bible of choice for several centuries. And it is not cluttered up with insertion of “Steps,” “Step ideas,” and prophylactic opinions about Biblical commandments and verses. Stick to the Bible. Then review my titles like The James Club. Then look at the early helps such as The Runner’s Bible; and you’ll be studying what the pioneers studied and understanding the three most important Bible segments as they understood and applied them. Discussion and questions, if preceded by skilled teaching, can then cover topics that the Bible itself covers, how they relate to A.A. ideas, and how they can be implemented in daily life.
Obtain your Dick B. books from amazon.com which carries them all in print-on-demand format and many in their electronic form on Kindle Store. You may also purchase them on our titles page. See www.dickb.com/titles.shtml.
Dick B., PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837; email@example.com. 808 874 4876