A Major Theme of The First International A.A. History Conference:
Exploring the New England Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous
© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved
[Note: An enormous variety of applicable, accurate, comprehensive Alcoholics Anonymous History subjects will be explored in Portland, Maine, in the week from September 5 to 12 that A.A. Authors and Historians Dick B. and his son Ken B. will be present and featured speakers at The First International Alcoholics Anonymous History Conference there.
And, as the pre-conference weeks move forward, we will be showing you piece by piece the rich storehouse of A.A. principles and practices—past and present—that will be made available to those who understand the present-day need for disseminating full and accurate Alcoholics Anonymous History to A.A. members, 12 Step participants, speakers and sponsors and newcomers, Christian recovery leaders and workers, treatment program leaders, counselors, interventionists, and sober living facilitators.
The object of this large, diverse gathering of participants is not to show-case ancient treasures.
The object is to put before the recovery community the all but obscured and rapidly diminishing facts about A.A. To a large extent, this is so that the “same old same old” meandering, repetitious “room wisdom,” whining, vulgarity, self-centered, speculative, erroneous, incorrect, irrelevant, chatter of meetings and conferences will take a back seat to how the alcoholic who still suffers can attain a far greater degree of success in recovery when he or she learns the key points about A.A.
A.A. grew out of a scientific, medical, religious, and social human vacuum. A.A. began at and was preceded by an alcoholic-addict period when churches were no longer focusing on recovery of the unworthy drunk. When medical people pronounced the drinkers and users “medically incurable.” When the alcoholics and addicts themselves hungered for deliverance from the holes they found themselves in. When the suffering folks lacked on their own and even with the help of others the knowledge, program, and resources to pull themselves out of the mire.
What will take place at the Maine Conference in September is a full, fair, and tested presentation of series of A.A. ideas. Recovery ideas —both before and during A.A.’s founding period from 1935 to 1938, its new version program in the Big Book of 1939, and its yielding to secularism, professionalism, treatment ideas, and psychological thoughts. And recovery ideas born of growing secularism, abandonment of a God-centered approach, and attempts to reconcile atheism, unbelief, science, psychological theories, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, humanism, and the “don’t drink and go to meetings” were not providing a lifeline.
They were not focused on a long-standing simple program of abandoning drink, turning to God for help, and then focusing on helping others get well.
For some years, and particularly in 2012, Dick and Ken B. gathered a substantial group of long-sober AAs, Christian leaders, writers, archivists, historians, their wives, and recovery experienced investigators. This group went to Vermont “big time.” Its participants spread out its effectiveness by having different folks going to differing historical spots.
But the focus of this article and its news is the following: Through it all, long-sober, believing, archivist Jim H. from the State of Washington had traveled all the way from that Pacific Coast state to the distant Green Mountain State of Vermont. Jim spent hours taking photos of almost every relevant nook and cranny in Vermont and nearby Massachusetts that produced the real A.A. beginnings and picture. Jim brought his camera. He took some 800 photos of the whole scene. He gathered those photos and made them available. They are yet to be made more easy to identify and use. But we want you to see the beginning of the end-results and accomplishments that will highlight every spot investigated, researched, and discussed during our Vermont tour. Jim will be present at the Portland, Maine Conference. He will share his eagle-eye perspective of the findings he photographed, studied, and discussed.
And the following is now available as a rough preview of the photos that will tell a new, powerful, and applicable story of A.A.’s New England beginnings, its remarkable concentration of people, places, institutions, and organizations in Vermont, and the early lessons which can be applied today as focused servants put them together and talk about them.
Here Are the Jim H. Photos in Raw Form That Open Our Vermont AA Story
Pictures taken by Jim H.—an A.A. Area Archivist in the State of Washington—during Dick B. & Ken’s Sept. 2012 A.A. history research tour of Vermont