Sunday, October 27, 2013

Reflections on How to Hold “Old-School,” Akron-Style A.A. Meetings

Reflections on How to Hold “Old-School,” Akron-Style A.A. Meetings


By Dick B.

© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved


Forming the Group


Our most recent published suggestions on how to conduct “old-school,” Akron-style A.A. meetings are embodied in our two titles:


Dick B. and Ken B., Stick with the Winners! How to Conduct More Effective 12-Step Recovery Meetings Using Conference-Approved Literature (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2012):; and


Dick B. and Ken B., Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2012):


Those forming a group should, like the Akron pioneers, believe in God, establish their relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ, and look to both, as well as to the Bible, for answers to their problems. Or, they should be persons who want that type of help.


The qualifications for “membership” should be that a newcomer wishes to end the use of alcohol and addictive drugs in his life forever; that he will do whatever it takes to accomplish just that; and that he will surrender to God for relief from his problems—recognizing that neither he nor any human power has been able to cure him of his illness.


The group should begin its efforts with a prayer to their Heavenly Father for His power, love, guidance, and suggestions for conducting the group. This is the beginning of reaching democratically an informed group conscience on the group content.


Agenda items should include keeping a written record of all group decisions; selecting a Secretary; adopting a name; selecting the time and place for meetings; developing a format for the meeting; and deciding on what literature shall be used and where it shall be placed for view and use.


Conducting a Meeting


·         “Old-school” Akron A.A. opened its meetings with a prayer by the leader, reading from Scripture, and then having a selected individual give a brief “lead” (talk).


·         The content of a talk should cover very briefly the speaker’s problem that brought him to the fellowship, what he learned about the original Akron A.A. program, what he did that fitted that mold, what his “vital religious experience” (if any) or “turning point” was; how he surrendered to God, learned from the Bible what obedience to God’s will included, practiced daily via Bible study, prayer, Quiet Time, and the reading of religious literature; what he has done to help others get well; and what he still needs to hear.


If the speaker wishes to discuss the Big Book or Twelve Steps, his remarks should be focused on the language of the Big Book and of a Step, what he did, where he turned to God for help, how the Bible and prayer helped him, and what he still needs to hear.


Drunkalogs and war stories were simply not a part of the early meetings. And Dr. Bob specifically said they didn’t amount to much.


·         There should be group prayer and a group quiet time for communicating with God.


·         If, based on the speaker’s presentation, there is a group topic; and the Secretary should permit very brief questions or comments to be raised by members present.


·         If there are members or newcomers who have not yet made a “full surrender,” the meeting should briefly adjourn; the prospect should be escorted to a private place by two or three selected leaders; the prospect should kneel in prayer; and the leaders should pray with him.


·         The prayers should consist of three parts:


(1) The newcomer professes his belief in God—Hebrews 11:6; and he accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior—Romans 10:9 and John 3:16.


(2) Then the newcomer asks God in the name of Jesus Christ to take alcohol and drugs out of his life forever.


(3) Then the newcomer petitions God in the name of Jesus Christ, with thanksgiving, and according to God’s will, to meet his particular needs as to guidance, healing, and forgiveness, as well as serving and glorifying God and serving God and others.


·         Attention should be called to the literature table and how to use it.


·         The meeting should adjourn with a group prayer.


Variations as to Meetings


Each group, after asking God for His guidance, should be autonomous and free to decide what to include in meetings and how many meetings should be conducted in a week by the group.


·         There should be a special period for orienting newcomers as to what Alcoholics Anonymous is all about, and the resources that are available—with particular emphasis on reliance on God, study of the Bible, prayer, obeying God’s will, and helping others as much and frequently as possible. See DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, page 131.


·         There can be a Quiet Time meeting patterned on those conducted by Dr. Bob’s wife each morning where she opened with prayer, read Scripture, led the group in prayer, read from

her journal, and discussed godly subjects raised. See Dick B., Anne Smith’s Journal, 1933-1939 (


·         There can be a Big Book or a Twelve Step meeting where heavy emphasis is placed on using and reading from the Big Book and informed leadership as to how to take each Step. See Our A.A. Legacy to the Faith Community workbook by three Clarence Snyder Sponsee Old-timers and Their Wives (available from


·         There can be a Bible study group--with particular emphasis on the three segments Dr. Bob said were considered “absolutely essential:” See The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches: Their Last Major Talks (A.A. Literature Catalog item # P-53); and Dick B., The James Club and the Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials ( both cases dealing with the Book of James, Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13.


·         There can be an A.A. history study group--utilizing the forthcoming “Bill W., Dr. Bob, and the Cure of Alcoholism: The Rest of the Story” video series by Dick B. and Ken B. for teaching.


Other history topics could include: (1) The roots of A.A. in Vermont. (2) The Christian upbringing of Bill W. and Dr. Bob. (3) How the first three AAs got sober. (4) The original seven-point A.A. program summarized by Frank Amos. (5) The 16 practices of the Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship” members. (6) The resemblance of the early Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship” to the practices of the Apostles as recorded in the Book of Acts. (7) Where Bill W. got the ideas for the Big Book and 12 Steps before they were changed. (8) The “Broad Highway” established by the last-minute changes in the printer’s manuscript of the Big Book before it went to press. (9) The immense support (still present in A.A.’s own General Service Conference-approved literature) for the “old-school” practices and for applying those practices in today’s Fellowship.


Gloria Deo


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Christian Recovery Treatment - A Comment by A.A. Author, Historian, Christian Dick B.

I was pleased with the temperate tone of both the article and the comments. After twenty-seven years of continuous sobriety as an active A.A., and twenty-four years of researching its reported roots as well as "the rest of the story," I would suggest that A.A. is not monolithic today. It is fair to say that it has had four "programs," and that its membership has expanded from three to two million in the meantime. If you don't start with history, you just start with conjecture and subjective viewpoints of one or more of the "four." And, before speculating on what A.A. is or isn't, a reader needs to learn and evaluate the historical research and discovery of the last thirty years. For example: (1) Before A.A. was founded in June of 1935, and before its first group was founded in Akron on July 4, 1935, the AAs had no program, no Big Book, no Steps, no Traditions, no war stories, and no meetings like those today. In turn, it started with how the first three got sober in this context. All three (Bill W., Dr. Bob, and Bill D.) believed in God, were Christians, and had lots of Bible in their backgrounds. Each turned to God for help. Each was cured permanently (two of them after a brief binge). And each devoted his life thereafter to helping other drunks by the same means. See "The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks." (2) For the next two and a half years, the Akron AAs--under the leadership of Dr. Robert H. Smith--took their basic ideas from the Bible and felt that it contained the answer to their problems. They developed a program involving five required points, and two that were simply "recommended." It is described in DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, page 131. (3) Then Bill Wilson asked permission to write a book, and got that permission in Akron. And work on the book began in 1938. Wilson wrote the chapters for his "new version" of the program. And the pioneers wrote their personal stories telling how they had worked the Akron program--called a "Christian Fellowship." Bill's new version, he said, was drawn from three sources: (a) Dr. Silkworth's suggestions to Bill on the problem--including Silkworth's statement that the Great Physician Jesus Christ cculd cure Bill--this last point just left out of the story for years. (b) Professor William James who had explored "vital religious experiences" in rescue missions and the cures that had resulted therefrom. (c) Reverend Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr. who taught Bill the remaining 10 Steps which came exclusively from the "practical program of action" or "life-changing" art of A First Century Christian Fellowship, later called the Oxford Group. (4) Just before Bill's book was sent to press consisting of his "new version" chapters and the "old school" stories of Christian Fellowship drunks, four people changed the program dramatically. They inserted a hand-written piece at the beginning of the typewritten draft. It erroneously said that Ebby Thacher had assured Bill that he could "choose your own conception of God." But that's not what Bill's text typewritten text said. Then the same four people altered the twelve steps--taking God out of the second step, and inserting "God as we understood Him" in Steps 3 and 11. So now there were four programs. And there still are. Unfortunately for the newcomer, the New Thought expression "higher power" crept into the language of AAs, writers, professionals, academics, clergy, and many lay people. And finally AAs were assured that they really didn't need to believe in anything at all--in the fourth program, that is. And this totality is not monolithic. It baffles Christians. It confuses newcomers. And it fashions for some a quasi-religious program that classes itself as "spiritual, but not religious." And now for a personal word. I am a Christian. I am a Bible student. I believe in God. I was very sick when I came into A.A. I was given immense comfort and friendship by the members. I loved helping others the way I was helped. I didn't discover A.A.'s biblical roots until I had been sober three years and started my research. See I can't speak for the atheists, agnostics, people of various non-Christian religions, non-believers, and "not-god" believers. I only know that I never relied upon a door knob, a light bulb, a chair, or a table higher power to get well. I relied on God.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dick B.'s "The Good Book and the Big Book" and Reviews of It by Distinguished A.A. Historians

"The Bible and the 'Big Book' of Alcoholics Anonymous are not mutually exclusive, as the author, Dick B., carefully shows. The A.A. book which has helped millions with their addictions is deeply indebted to, and profoundly influenced by, biblical language, images, and themes gleaned directly from the Bible or indirectly from Bible teachers like Rev. Samuel Shoemaker, E. Stanley Jones, and Oswald Chambers. A.A. has received much from biblical Christianity, and biblical Christians can receive much from Dick's new book about spiritual growth and victorious living."

Rev. Charles B. Puskas, Jr., Ph.D.
Author, An Introduction to the New Testament

"Dick's exhaustive research gives us a clear picture of how Dr. Bob, Anne, Bill W., and the early A.A.s used the Good Book to help thousands recover".

Ray G.
Archivist, Dr. Bob's Home, Akron, Ohio

"We use Dick's book in all our counselor training centers. It is an invaluable resource."

Jean LaCour, Ph.D.
Dean, The N.E.T. Training Institute

"We're excited to have this book for scholars of A.A. that explains A.A.'s roots in the Bible!"

Ozzie and Bonnie L.
Managers, The Wilson House, East Dorset, Vermont

"Anyone seeking to learn the spiritual roots of Alcoholics Anonymous will find Dick B.'s publication, The Good Book and the Big Book, an invaluable resource. Dick has done a monumental job of finding and documenting the prime sources of A.A.'s life-renewing power."

John F. Seiberling Former United States Congressman Son of Henrietta Seiberling, an early A.A. "founder"

Paradise Research Publications, Inc.; 180 pp.; 6 x 9; perfect bound; 1998; $23.95; ISBN

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Welcome Tribute Re Dick B.'s Books From Harvard



Hi Dick,


     The librarian I worked with re the donation of your books to

the Harvard Library system has just retired, and he sent this

message to me:  “In my case, with my focus on building

our collection [at the Harvard Divinity School] for the present

and the future, it was especially gratifying to have the opportunity

to add Dick B’s books, someone whose work I have always



God bless you and Ken,


John Mooney [a  professor of psychiatry at Harvard]

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Great letter from Mike G. to Dick B. re Kihei, A.A., and Christianity

Hi Dick B!

I am a Christian and an AA and I’ve been to Kihei, because my son lives there. I might have met you when I attended meetings there. Thanks for your messages.

I am still early enough in my recovery to be moving along a confused path towards renewing my faith and Christian foundation. I have felt the uneasiness of many AAs about saying too much on God. I also have heard AAs remark that they noticed the ones skipping out to the parking lot are the ones frequently using the word God in their speech. I consider this a testimony to the truth of the matter, and applaud you in your effort to regain the Christian basis for recovery.  I will continue my journey; maybe our paths will meet in Kihei next time I’m there.


Mike G


Monday, October 21, 2013

Addiction, Alcoholic Recovery, A.A. Cofounder Stories - Forgotten but still Vital


Addiction, Alcoholic Rehab,  Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounders, Bill Wilson and Dr Bob Smith, Alcoholics Anonymous History and Its Initial Christian Roots


How They’ve Been Forgotten; And How They Can Help Recovery Today


By Dick B.


© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved


Learn About Them


I am one of the tens of thousands (probably hundreds of thousands) of Christians who deeply appreciate the recovery from alcoholism and addiction that Alcoholics Anonymous made possible in our lives. Many of us have been criticized for mentioning Jesus Christ and the Bible in our talks at meetings. But most of us know that God is our sufficiency. We pray to Him in the name of Jesus Christ. And we recover.


Many of us who are Christians involved in A.A. do believe in God, the accomplishments of His Son Jesus Christ, and the truth about both that is found in the Bible. Many of us, as Christian members of Alcoholics Anonymous, had no idea whatsoever that early A.A. was a Christian fellowship, that its members believed in God, surrendered to Jesus Christ, and studied the Bible on a daily basis. Many of us had no idea whatsoever that the early, Christian-oriented Akron A.A. group claimed an overall 75% success rate among the “seemingly-hopeless,” “medically-incurable,” “last gasp case” real alcoholics who thoroughly followed the pioneer A.A. program. And many of us never learned that the Original Akron program is summarized rather well in on page 131 of the A.A. General Service Conference-approved book, DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers.


How could so many of us have been unaware of these facts?


The answer, in part, is that, as the First Edition of A.A.’s Big Book manuscript was being written and edited in 1938 and early 1939, many additions, omissions, and changes were made to the highly-successful Akron Christian program Bill W. and Dr. Bob began developing in the summer of 1935. For example, as Bill W. stated on pages 166-67 of the A.A. General Service Conference-approved book, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age:


We [Bill W., Hank P., Ruth Hock, and John Henry Fitzhugh M.] were still arguing about the Twelve Steps. All this time I had refused to budge on these steps. I would not change a word of the original draft, in which, you will remember, I had consistently used the word “God,” and in one place the expression “on our knees” was used. Praying to God on one’s knees was still a big affront to Henry. He argued, he begged, he threatened. He quoted Jimmy [B.—i.e., Jim Burwell] to back him up. . . . Though at first I would have none of it, we finally began to talk about the possibility of compromise. . . . In Step Two we decided to describe God as a “Power greater than ourselves.” In Steps Three and Eleven we inserted the words “God as we understood Him.” From Step Seven we deleted the expression “on our knees.” . . . Such were the final concessions to those of little or no faith; this was the great contribution of our atheists and agnostics. [Emphasis added]


Bill W.’s wife Lois spoke about another major change on page 113 of her autobiography, Lois Remembers:


Finally it was agreed that the book should present a universal spiritual program, not a specific religious one, since all drunks were not Christian.


Such major changes to the Original Akron A.A. “Christian Fellowship” program obscured the simple solution the A.A. pioneers in Akron discovered; specifically, that a cure from alcoholism was available through reliance on Almighty God, coming to Him through His Son Jesus Christ, and reading and studying the Bible—along with the other principles and practices of the early days. [For the Frank Amos summary of the Original Akron A.A. “Program,” and the other principles and practices of the Akron fellowship, see: Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Manual (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2009), 44-46, 49.]


The Lesson from the First Three AAs


Early AAs knew one another. They visited one another. They had address books with the phone numbers (if a given member had a phone) and addresses of the other members. And they kept rosters which showed the sobriety dates and sobriety history of the members.


The 75% overall success rate early A.A. claimed was remarkable because it was attained by what Bill W. called the “seemingly-hopeless,” “medically-incurable,” “last gasp” cases who gave their all to God and received the blessed healing and deliverance that followed. Bill W. and Dr. Bob did indeed state that there were “failures galore.” But there weren’t failures galore among the real hardcore members who turned to God and gave the program everything they had.


A very important part of the historical record is how the first three AAs got sober in late 1934 and in 1935. When they got sober:


There was no Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous was published in April 1939);


There were no Twelve Steps;


There were no Twelve Traditions;


There were no “drunkalogs”; and


There were no “meetings to make”—at least of the kinds normally seen in today’s A.A.


The Creator of the heavens and the earth was there. See, for example, Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed.:


“my Creator” (page 13)


“My Creator” (76)


“our Creator” (pages 25, 68, 72, 75, 83)


“a living Creator” (page 28);


“his Creator” (page 56, 80, 158)


“their loving and All Powerful Creator” (page 161)


The “Great Physician,” Jesus Christ, was there. See, for example: Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W.: More on the Creator’s Role in Early A.A. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2006), 59ff.


The Bible (which Dr. Bob often called the “Good Book”) was there. See, for example, page 13 of the A.A. General Service Conference-approved pamphlet, The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (Item # P-53; available for reading online at; accessed 8/5/09):


At that point, our stories didn’t amount to anything to speak of. When we started in on Bill D., we had no Twelve Steps, either; we had no Traditions.


But we were convinced that the answer to our problems was in the Good Book. To some of us older ones, the parts that we found absolutely essential were the Sermon on the Mount, the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, and the Book of James.


A.A. Number One, Bill W., learned from Dr. Silkworth that Jesus Christ could cure him. Bill learned from his old drinking friend Ebby Thacher that Ebby had been to the altar at Calvary Rescue Mission, and been reborn, causing Ebby to tell Bill that God had done for him (Ebby) what Ebby could not do for himself. Bill then went to Calvary Church itself. He heard Ebby give testimony from the pulpit; and Bill decided that he too needed help and needed the same help that Ebby had received. Bill then went to the altar at Calvary Rescue Mission, made a decision for Christ, wrote that he had been born again for sure, and then decided to seek the help of the “Great Physician,” Jesus Christ. Deeply depressed and despairing, Bill proceeded drunk to Towns Hospital where he was greeted by Dr. Silkworth. At Towns Hospital, Bill cried out for help, had a dramatic indescribably “white light” vital religious experience, perceived that he had been in the presence of the “God of the Scriptures” (as Bill wrote on page 284 of The Language of the Heart), and never drank again.


Bill proclaimed he never again doubted the existence of God—a doubt he had entertained ever since his girl-friend Bertha Bamford died from surgery just before their graduation from Burr and Burton Seminary in Manchester, Vermont. Bill had then and there blamed God and turned his back on God for a time.

But then, at Calvary Mission in New York, Bill had handed his life over to Jesus Christ. He wrote “For sure, I’d been born again.” His doctor (Silkworth) had used a long-known expression for referring to Jesus Christ. Silkworth had called Him the “Great Physician;” and after  his rebirth at the mission, Bill staggered drunk, depressed, and despondent to Towns Hospital for the last time. He decided to call on the Great Physician for help. Bill cried out. He sensed the presence of the “God of the Scriptures.” He was cured and never drank again.


And Bill W.’s message became: “The Lord has been so wonderful to me curing me of this terrible disease that I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 191).


No Big Book. No Twelve Steps. No Twelve Traditions. No drunkalogs. No meetings. Just the power and love of God that Bill had sought and relied upon.


A.A. Number Two, Dr. Bob S.,–a Christian since his youth in St. Johnsbury, Vermont–prayed for deliverance on the rug at the home of T. Henry Williams in Akron. Miraculously, help showed up quite soon in the form of a visit of Bill W. to Akron. Henrietta Seiberling declared Bill’s visit to be “Manna from Heaven.” She and Dr. Bob both believed Bill’s phone call was an answer to their prayers. Bill soon moved in with Dr. Bob and his wife, studied the Bible with them, and nursed Dr. Bob back from one, brief and last binge. Dr. Bob never drank again thereafter and told the nurse at City Hospital that he and Bill had found a cure for alcoholism.


No Big Book. No Twelve Steps. No Twelve Traditions. No drunkalogs. No meetings. Just the power and love of God that Dr. Bob had sought and relied upon. Dr. Bob closed his story in the Big Book with these words:


Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!


Bill W. and Dr. Bob sought out another drunk to help. They found A.A. Number Three, the hospitalized Akron attorney Bill D., also a Christian. After Bill D. heard what Bill W. and Dr. Bob had to share, Bill D. decided to entrust his life to God’s care. Shortly, when Bill W. and Dr. Bob returned to the hospital, Bill D. told them what had happened. Bill D. then left the hospital a free man and never drank again. He had been told to find other drunks to help; and he did so.


No Big Book. No Twelve Steps. No Twelve Traditions. No drunkalogs. No meetings. Just the power and love of God that Bill D. had sought and relied upon. Bill D. found himself echoing Bill W.’s statement on page 191 of the Fourth Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous:


The Lord has cured me of this terrible disease, and I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.


Bill D. called Bill W.’s statement the “golden text of A.A.” for him and for others.


What These Three Stories Show Us Today


Three men! The first three AAs. All healed by the power of God—never to drink again!


What they did is scarcely known by AAs and recovery workers today. I know, for I have spoken and written about it in front of audiences all over the United States and in Canada—in person, in books, in articles, in emails, in phone calls, and on radio and television. Yet that is the message many AAs and others seem hungry to hear.


These first three AAs recovered by the power of God. Because of their experience, other “seemingly-hopeless,” “medically-incurable,” “last gasp case” alcoholics, who thoroughly followed the early Akron A.A. “Christian Fellowship” program path, were able to recover by the power of God. But what I especially hope you, the reader, will take away from this discussion is that what was done in 1935 and the next three years can be done and is being done today.


Benefitting Today from the “Lessons Learned” by A.A.’s Pioneers


I’m a proponent of A.A. I recovered immediately when I entered the rooms of A.A. in 1986 and have never relapsed since. I have had complete release from alcoholism and addiction. I credit the support I received in A.A., the work I did in learning the program of recovery in the Steps and helping others to take those Steps, and the complete dedication I had to the A.A. way. But I have never for one moment doubted that God must ultimately receive the credit—just as He received the credit from the mouths of the first three AAs—Bill W., Dr. Bob S., and Bill D.


When a Christian in A.A. is buffeted with intemperate remarks from others about his mention of the Creator of the heavens and the earth, His Son Jesus Christ, the Bible, his faith, or his church, he needs to stand solid on the real recovery factor that is available in A.A. today, just as it was available in the Christian Fellowship founded in Akron in 1935.


A.A. was founded on statements such as this: God could and would if He were sought. He can. He will. He does. And He is available to every drunk or addict who wants to seek and obey Him. That was proved in 1935. It is being proved today among those Christians in recovery who choose to avail themselves of His help. And His help—the help of the Creator of the heavens and the earth—stands at the ready awaiting a call from those who believe.


Those in prisons, jails, mental wards, hospitals, A.A., N.A., other Twelve Step Fellowships, the Armed Forces, veterans facilities, homeless shelters, treatment programs, rehabs, detoxes, and counseling offices. Anywhere! Anywhere at all!


Dick B.: PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837; (808) 874-4876  ; Email:;



See Dick B. and Ken B., Stick with the Winners!, and

Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous



Gloria Deo

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dick B. Accurate A.A. History - Now Posted on Yahoo Groups

Dick B. - Accurate A.A. History - Now on Yahoo Groups

Frequent, regular posts by Dick B. on "Dick B. Accurate A.A. History" on
yahoo groups.

See you there!;,;

And for regular, interesting, informative talks by A.A. Christian Recovery Leaders all over the world, tune in to The talks are archived, so you can hear them at your leisure.

God Bless, Dick B.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Recovery Pastor Matt Pierce, Golden Hills Community Church, CA, Interviewed Today on Christian Recovery Radio

Dick B. interviews Christian Recovery leader Matt Pierce on the October 18, 2013, episode of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show


You may hear Dick B. interview Matt Pierce, Recovery Pastor at Golden Hills Community Church in Brentwood, (Northern) California, on the October 18, 2013, episode of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show here:



or here:



Episodes of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show are archived at:



For several years, Golden Hills Community Church in Brentwood, (Northern) California, has substantially helped our efforts to make the recovery community aware of the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played in the founding and development of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the role that they can play in recovery today.


When we first held an International Christian Recovery Coalition conference at Golden Hills, we had the great pleasure of meeting and working with its Recovery Pastor, Matt Pierce. And Matt has encouraged, entertained, and catalyzed recovery outreach in his church, in the Twelve Step community, and with the afflicted and affected.


Today's interview of Recovery Pastor Matt Pierce allows us to see another big step forward by Golden Hills. For some time, Matt has been occupied with acquiring a property in Rescue, California, a suitably named unincorporated community in El Dorado County; and getting permits for "Bethesda Village," a long-term (one year) program and community for Christ-centered healing and discipleship at that location. The program has employed a fine recovery director and will be holding a Bethesda Harvest Fundraiser on November 2.


This morning, I won't attempt to describe Bethesda Village further, as I know that Pastor Matt would like to provide all the details, progress, and plans for this facility, what its program will be, and what it is aiming for in helping those suffering from alcoholism and addictions and from the effect of those maladies on the community and others.


It is a pleasure to turn this program over to Pastor Matt right now for a real look-see at the program Golden Hills Community Church is launching in the recovery world. Take it away, Matt!


The Bible and the Oxford Group (A First Century Christian Fellowship) as two different sources of A.A. programs

The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous


Dick B.

© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved


The Oxford Group was first known as “A First Century Christian Fellowship.” Later, during a train trip, the press dubbed the travelers (most from Oxford University) “the Oxford Group.” And the nick name stuck. But its literature continued to refer to it as “A First Century Christian Fellowship” for almost a decade thereafter.


This A First Century Christian Fellowship certainly was not the origin of Alcoholics Anonymous. The Bible was.  See The Good Book and the Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible. A.A. cofounder Dr. Bob pointed out that the basic A.A. ideas came from their study, efforts, and teachings from the Bible.


And even, in the case of the Oxford Group, a very early pamphlet was written and  began as” The Principles of  the Oxford Group Are the Principles of the Bible.”


Though Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob had both been associated with A First Century Christian Fellowship—Bill for several months in New York, and Dr. Bob for two and a half years in Akron---the Bible was the source of the original Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship program founded in June, 1935; and that is apparent from DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, page 131.


What is factual is that when Bill obtained authority to write a book, Bill turned back to New York and to his friend Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr. for almost all the content of his “new version” of the program (the Twelve Steps) published in the Big Book in 1939.


You can see how many ideas, how many phrases, and how much language in Bill’s Big Book came directly from the Oxford Group and from Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr., its principal American leader. See New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A.


If you are a Christian and want to see the sold biblical and Christian roots of Alcoholics Anonymous,  the place to learn, look, and become informed is the original old school Akron A.A. program and the new version published four years later in 1939 as Alcoholics Anonymous.


Remember! The Bible for the program of early Akron A.A. and what that Christian Fellowship did. The Oxford Group, Rev. Sam Shoemaker, Professor William James, and William D. Silkworth, M.D. for the sources Bill named as the specific origins of the Twelve Steps.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A 24 Year Comprehensive, Truthful, Accurate Project Presenting A.A. History is On Its Way

We have now completed a draft outline and  then a draft script for two of the five videos planned for a presentation of the real Alcoholics Anonymous History story. We have also sent out our budget to a number of long-time supporters; and already five have pledged to help fund this project.


Your inquiries, support, and passing along the word on this unique, important, truthful, comprehensive A.A. presentation by A.A. authors Dick B. and Ken B. will be welcome.

Alcoholic Rehab: The Bible in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholism Rehab: The Bible in the Big Book
By Dick B.
© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Dr. Robert H. Smith was the cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous. He is affectionately called "Dr. Bob" by many AAs. By agreement with his partner and friend, Dr. Bob was given the task of handling hospitalization and Twelfth Step work.

Dr. Bob had much to say about the Bible in his talks with and to the more than 5,000 alcoholics he helped in Akron, where A.A. was founded. Perhaps the most important thing he said about Alcoholics Anonymous and the Bible was that the basic ideas for the Twelve Steps of A.A. came from the study and effort in the Bible by the early AAs. Dr. Bob particularly emphasized the importance of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), the Book of James, and 1 Corinthians 13. These remarks were made in Dr. Bob's last major speech to AAs at Detroit in 1948. They are contained in the A.A. General Service Conference-approved pamphlet, The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (Item # P-53).

Recently, after years of being submerged, the interview of Dr. Bob by Your Faith magazine in 1939 makes even more clear Dr. Bob’s emphasis on God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, and prayer in his own and early Akron A.A. recoveries. This lengthy interview states and repeats that Dr. Bob read the Bible with and to the early Akron A.A. newcomers that were hospitalized. He mentioned the primary role of the Creator and quoted Jesus Christ several times. The thrust of the interview is that his life was saved and restored by prayer to his Heavenly Father. 
See Stick with the Winners!

The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.'s Roots in the Bible

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bill W., Dr. Bob, and the Cure of Alcoholism: "The Rest of the Story" - Forthcoming Video Series with Accompanyiing Study Guide

Today, we are circulating to as many as possible: (1) A Draft Outline of Bill W., Dr. Bob, and the Cure of Alcoholism: "The Rest of the Story"--a forthcoming Video Series with Accompanying Study Guide. (2) Our Estimated Budget for the Project. (3) a Letter to those who have so graciously supported our Alcoholics Anonymous History books, articles, blogs, radio shows, and conferences over some twenty four years.

If you would like to receive this preliminary information and consider helping with the funding of the project, please contact Dick B., PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837; 808 874 4876;

God Bless,

Dick B.

aa history, Alcoholics Anonymous History - a Huge Resource Presentation of Accurate, Comprehensive, Truthful Fact s

A.A. History Books Author Dick B. Recommends - Order Direct from our List

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dick B. Presents on Christian Recovery Radio the Interview in 1939 of A.A.'s Dr. Bob by "Your Faith" Magazine

Hear Dick B. discuss D. J. Defoe's interview of A.A. cofounder Dr. Bob in the September 1939 issue of Your Faith Magazine on the October 15, 2013, episode of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show here:



Dick B.

© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved



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Episodes of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show are archived at:



Adding an International Christian Recovery Coalition banner to your website, facebook page, or blog

The International Christian Recovery Coalition now has participants in every one of the United States, plus fourteen other countries.

Its website, banner, explanatory note, mission statement, leaders and participants, resource centers, projects, Introduction Class, Radio Show with Dick B., conferences, and articles can be found on
http://goo/gl/qP2pw. Be sure to go there first, check it out; and, if you approve, send us your listing so that you too can be named without cost as a supporter and disseminator of information about the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played in old school Akron A.A.'s Christian Fellowship program and can play in Bill W.'s "new version" Big Book and Twelve Steps of 1939.

We would be delighted to see every participant with a  website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, YouTube, and other forms of Social Media carry our banner on the page to publicize the Christian Recovery Movement that is now sweeping the recovery arena.

The banner is

Monday, October 14, 2013

Just After Publiction of the Big Book in 1939, Dr. Bob Gave This Interview to "Your Faith" Magazine

The Long-Missing 1939 Interview of Dr. Bob in “Your Faith” Magazine


Dick B.


[Dick B.: The following article is from “Your Faith" magazine. It is an article which A.A. literature had said was lost. AAs speculated that Dr. Bob wrote the article. He didn't. He was interviewed by D. J. Defoe in September 1939 for "Your Faith" Magazine. And the interview disappeared from view for years and years as far as AAs were concerned. Yet in the interview, Dr. Bob told how he read the Bible with patients. He told how they came to trust God. He told how he had been cured by prayer. He spoke about the healings of Jesus Christ. And he was talking about the many drunkards whom he had been able to help once he himself prayed, turned to God for help, and was cured--a priceless article free of the editing and revision of others who might have doubted!]



D. J. Defoe, “I Saw Religion Remake a Drunkard,” in Your Faith magazine, September 1939, 84-88



Through Liquor, this physician had lost his practice, his reputation and his self-respect. Then one night in a gathering in a private home, he found the way of escape.



WHEN a doctor starts drinking, he's usually on the skids for keeps. His profession gives him so much privacy, so great exposure to temptation both from liquor and from drugs, and his need of a stimulant to lift him from depression becomes so extreme, that many a good doctor has dropped into oblivion for no cause other than his own thirst for drink.

I could tell you about more than one doctor who came to no good end through liquor. Their stories are alike in their early furtiveness, then a brazen attitude of liquor - might -do-things-to some-men - but - I'm-different, then a broken desperation to try to keep up appearances and pretend nothing has happened, and finally exposure—and failure—and disgrace. One brilliant ex-surgeon a suicide; another exile from home; two others forgotten by their friends; so runs the history.

But Dr. X handled his liquor problem differently. He came close enough to degradation to see how the jaws of hell reaching out for him. But then something interfered and saved him.

Today Dr. X—and I dare not give his name, or even the name of the city, for reasons you will soon discover—is alive and happy and is probably a better and more popular doctor than ever before. What saved his life and reputation? What force made him into a new man?

It was simply religion, brought home to him in a way he could use it. Simply the new habit of living his religion, and the discovery that he could utilize the power of prayer.

We used to see Dr. X around a lot. He was cheery, straightforward, friendly, and successful. His field was a particularly intricate form of surgery and he did well at it.

Then for quite a while we missed him. I saw his wife now and then, and noticed—even a man can things like that—that she seemed a little shabby and not especially happy.

We began to hear ugly rumors. That's bad for any doctor. We heard he was losing his practice. When a doctor begins drinking, not many people are willing to trust their own lives to his skill with a knife.

Last year I met Dr. X for the first time in several years. He was a new Dr. X. Straight as an Indian. Clean eyes. An honest I-can-lick-the-world look in his face. He gripped my hand in a vise and said hello in a way that gave you something to tie to.

We were at a party. Someone offered Dr. X a drink. Then I remembered what had happened to him and wondered what he would do.

"I don't drink," he said evenly. "Some men can take a drink, or two drinks, and stop. I can't. I had that ability once, but not now. If I'd take as much as a swallow of alcohol now, I'd disappear—and you wouldn't see me for three weeks."

From him and from others I got his whole story, a bit here, a bit there. Here it is.

He had been drinking for longer than anyone but his wife suspected. For a while he was able to keep the matter a secret. But he missed a couple of appointments and got into some trouble. First his competitors knew it. Then his friends around the hospital got wise. Finally even his oldest patients began to leave him.

He had always been dignified and aloof, and when he was straight you hesitated to go up to him and tell him he was drinking too much. Usually he drank alone, silently, hungrily, in a sodden fashion of one who wants to forget. Just a deadly, steady sopping up of the poison. It was ghastly. In his saner moments he must have known the way he was headed. But a stubborn pride—and pride of that sort in a wayward person is a terrible thing—held him from seeking help.

Finally a friend he trusted got him to attend a little meeting in a living room one evening. It was a simple affair. Not dress-up at all. Here was a factory foreman who looked happier than almost anybody in town. When the time came to talk he told how he had been cured of drunkenness by prayer. His wife told how unbelievably happy their life was now. They didn't have much money—you could see that—but they had something that money alone had never brought them. They had love, and self-respect, and they had each other.

Dr. X was surprised to find that everyone in this little group had some sort of a fight to make, and had won. He began to look at these people in a new way. They had been weak and now they were strong. Unconsciously he began to envy them.

He surprised himself by starting to say something. He admitted he had a tremendous hunger for liquor, and sometimes it got him down. He found that just merely talking about his trouble seemed to bring relief. As long as you conceal your difficulties, no one can help you. But once you bring your trouble out in the open, you can invite help and encouragement from friends. And you can benefit by the strengthening power of prayer.


Merely getting on his knees and asking for help wasn't the whole story of Dr. X's reformation. Many a drunk knows there's a wide difference between promising to go straight and sticking to it!

What enabled him to hold fast to his resolution was the discovery that he, who had just started to climb back to sobriety and respectability, had the ability to help other desperate and disheartened drunks to live decent lives too.

In fact, that's a big part of the cure. When Dr. X gets an inebriate started on a new life of decency, he sees to it that the man gets on his feet now and then and talks to other people in the same predicament. Telling yourself and the world that you're going to go straight helps you to remind your subconscious mind that you are going straight.

There have been a lot of ex-drunks that have come within Dr. X's influence since that fateful night he was turned back from a drunkard's grave. Forty-three of them, no less, owe their new lives to him. He'll leave a party or a dinner, almost leave an operation, to go and sit up all night with some drunk he probably never saw before but who he knows needs help.

He has worked out a little system. Usually he puts the drunk to bed in a hospital, where he can sleep off his liquor quietly but can't get any more. There the sick man—for a drunk really is a sick man—receives regular care, and hot meals, and also some measure of discipline and restraint. There he has privacy, and time to think.

"But you can't do much for a man until he hits bottom and bounces back up, can you?" I asked.

"A man doesn't necessarily have to hit bottom, but he has to come close enough to it to see where he's going if he doesn't stop drinking," replied Dr. X quietly. "And he's got to want to be helped before we can do much with him or for him"

When a drunk in the hospital starts to sober up, Dr. X closes the door and starts to talk to him.

"I know where you hide your bottles," he'll say. "I know every sneaky little thing you do to get liquor when you're not supposed to have any. I've been there myself. And I want to tell you, my fine young friend, it's getting you nowhere. You're rotten. You're ashamed of yourself. Now let's do something about it."

So there in that white, silent hospital room they read the Bible together. Then they pray. Very simply. First the Doctor, then, falteringly, the man himself. He finds his voice gains in confidence. He finds it is easy to talk to God, and talk out loud. He finds a huge load is lifted off his chest. He begins to feel he could hold his head up again. He gets a fresh look at the man he might be. The whole idea becomes real and feasible to him. He becomes enthusiastic and eager about going straight. He promises to read the Bible, and Dr. X leaves him.

Then, like as not, the sick man slips up, and badly. Success is not that easy. Those nerves that have been accustomed to bossing the mind and the body can't be straightened out without a last tough fight. The patient begs for just one more last little drink, and when the nurse refuses, he is angry at Dr. X and may storm about and threaten to go home. Fortunately, the foresighted Dr. X had carefully removed the patient's pants and shoes and locked them up in his own locker in the surgeons' room of the hospital.

And then, because he knows the fight the sick man is going through, Dr. X comes back in time to bring new comfort and new cheer and to again call forth the searching and ever-available help of prayer. And in a couple of weeks the man, rested and refreshed and with the eyes alight as a result of decent living, goes home to his friends and his family that had almost given him up for dead.

"No, I don't dare let you tell about this," Dr. X said to me when I asked him for a signed interview.

"We can't publicize these cures. These men are outside the realm of every day medicine. They have tried everything and been given up as hopeless. We don't succeed every time ourselves. We can't brag. Every case is a new battle."

"But if word got out that we can do anything at all for a drunk, then derelicts would come into this town by the TRAINLOAD. We couldn't handle them. We couldn't handle a dozen. Two is a lot. One at a time is plenty. I can't talk to one of these fellows for more than an hour or two without feeling spent and tired, unless I talk like a parrot, and talking like a parrot wouldn't do them any good".

"Do you remember when Christ turned around in the crowd and asked, 'Who touched me?' and some woman confessed she had touched his robe because she wanted to be cured? Christ felt some of his power pass out from him at that touch. It's the same way with helping people. You're giving something. It tires you.

"We fellows who are doing this sort of thing feel we have hold of something, but we don't dare use our names in connection with it. Look up the new book, Alcoholics, Anonymous which we helped write. We studied around for a long while to find how we could tell our story without using our names. That book was the answer. It tells some actual stories—my own among them—but no names are given. Even the publisher doesn't know our names."


"But Dr. X," I insisted, "Why not let these drunks pay you something for what you do for them? After all, they have been a burden to their friends. You put them back where they can earn a living again and live a decent life. You deserve any kind of fee you want to charge."

"No, we can't commercialize the idea," the doctor said firmly but kindly. "That would spoil everything. We've got to keep our work as a gift to anyone we are able to help.

"Moreover, I'm not sure we could set up a sanitarium and cure people effectively in any wholesale manner. I'm convinced this idea has to grow, one cure at a time."

I tried to argue still further. "But Christ was willing to let folks invite him in for supper and the night," I suggested. "You and your wife have food to buy, and rent to pay, and overhead expenses in the way of taxes and insurance and shoes for your daughter. It's your own fault if you don't let these reformed drunks help pay their own way."

"I'm satisfied," he said with a quiet smile that permitted no debate. "My wife and I are happier than we have ever been in our lives. We can keep going very nicely as long as I get a few operations from time to time, as I am doing. I'm doing a good job of living, and am happy," he ended.

Then he handed me this final thought. "I have found that no one can be permanently happy unless he lives in harmony with the rules set down in the Good Book," he said. "Try it some time! You don't need to wait till you're down and out before you ask for help. There's help waiting for you right now, if you just ask God to help you."

† † †


The gifts of friendship have only the value that

friendship gives them.—The Advance.