Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Oxford Group's 5 C's found in AA-Confidence, Confession,Conviction,Conversion, Continuance

The 5 C's of the Oxford Group became the heart of A.A.'s Twelve Step progression. Depending on which source you choose, the five C's were Confidence-Confession-Conviction-Conversion-Continuance. For the last one, some sources us "Conservation." But the A.A. ideas for Steps 10, 11, 12 set forth the ideas of continuing what was learned from the first nine. More on the content of each of the five to come shortly.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A.A.'s Two Major Sources of Ideas

A.A.’s Two Major Sources of Ideas

Some Brief Points on the Bible and on A First Century Christian Fellowship

Dick B.

© 2014 Anonymous. All Rights Reserved

For reasons not very clear to me today, those who write and speak on A.A. sources seldom focus on the Bible. And that is wrong. They also frequently focus on, but denigrate, the “Oxford Group” (first known as A First Century Christian Fellowship). That is not wrong; but, if the historical context and disassociation with the Oxford Group are ignored, it is very wrong. So in this brief starting point, let’s look at the two identifiable major sources of A.A. ideas. And where they can be found manifested.

The Bible is the Number One Sourc

The Bible (also called the Good Book by most early AAs) was clearly stated as the major source of A.A. program ideas starting in 1935. The best and most reliable authority that confirms this source is in A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature. And the succinct summaries are in The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks and in DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, page 131—where the Akron Christian Fellowship program is summarized in seven points.

In The Co-Founders, Dr. Bob’s remarks in his last major talk are these:

I had refreshed my memory of the Good Book, and I had had excellent training in that as a youngster (pp. 11-12) . . . I felt that I should continue to increase my familiarity with the Good Book (p. 13)

. . . 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 [Matthew Chapters 5-7], the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, and the Book of James (p. 13)

It wasn’t until 1938 that the teachings and efforts and studies that had been going on were crystallized in the form of the Twelve Steps. I didn’t write the Twelve Steps. I had nothing to do with the writing of them. . . . We already had the basic ideas, though not in terse and tangible form. We got them, as I said, as a result of our study of the Good Book (p. 14)


The “Oxford Group” Was a Detoured Source

In succession, the names for the group founded by Dr. Frank Buchman about 1922 were: (1) A First Century Christian Fellowship. (2) the Oxford Group—about 1928. (3) Moral Re-Armament—about 1938; and Initiatives of Change—long after AAs had left the Oxford Group.

This A First Century Christian Fellowship source of A.A. ideas can be summarized in three groups:

(1)   The twenty-eight Oxford Group ideas that constituted their original life-changing art. See Dick B., The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living That Works! (pp. 249-297)


(2)   The more than 187 parallels between Oxford Group and Big Book Language, which we will detail in the next article. And see Dick B., The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous (pp. 340-364)


(3)   The period which Dr. Bob described as follows:


Now the interesting part of all this is not the sordid details, but the situation that we two fellows were in. We had both been associated with the Oxford Group, Bill in New York, for five months, and I in Akron, for two and a half years. Bill had acquired their idea of service. I had not, but I had done an immense amount of reading they had recommended. See The Co-Founders (p. 11).


In Akron A.A., the meetings at T. Henry Williams’s house on Wednesday were regarded as a “clandestine lodge of the Oxford Group.” We believe it was for two reasons: (1) The once-a-week gatherings were not at all like Oxford Group meetings being held world-wide. (2) Many of the Akron AAs did not like them; and sometimes held meetings in separate rooms—one for the Oxford Group people, and one for the drunks and their families.


This period ended in 1939 when the Akron people left the Oxford Group meetings.


(4)   The association between A.A. and the Group in New York was quite different: (a) Bill Wilson had received some indoctrination in Oxford Group ideas from Oxford Groupers Rowland Hazard, F. Shepard Cornell, Cebra Graves, and Ebby Thacher (b) Both Bill and his wife attended Oxford Group meetings very frequently from the date of Bill’s discharge from Towns Hospital in 1934 until—as Lois Wilson described it—“they kind of kicked us out.” And that was in August of 1937 (c) After he received authorization from Akronites to write a book, Bill worked with Rev. Sam Shoemaker on the manuscripts and later asked Sam to write the Twelve Steps, but Shoemaker declined. Nonetheless, Shoemaker—who distanced himself totally from the Oxford Group in 1941—continued as a friend, adviser, speaker, and “co-founder” of A.A. through his friendship with Wilson. See Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A., Pittsburgh ed.

In short, the Bible influence on A.A. ideas was frequently acknowledged by Dr. Bob, Bill W., Anne Smith, and Henrietta Seiberling. And the practices of early Akron A.A. Group Number One were Bible to the core. On the other hand, the Oxford Group influence was very much confined to the Oxford Group language and Shoemaker language that Bill used in the “new version of the program the Twelve Steps”—which were not published until 1939. That situation itself also changed when Bill and the “committee of four” gave in to atheists and agnostics and opened the “Broad Highway” of membership for all—regardless of their belief or lack thereof.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Bible Hunters – A Smithsonian Documentary – Many Gaps

Dick B.

© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved

This evening, while browsing TV channels, I stumbled upon a documentary that engaged my attention for two hours. The Smithsonian Library presented the film called “Bible Hunters.” And I was intent on hearing the documentary. For the Bible has played a large part in my life, with my son Ken. We have traveled many thousands of miles; visited many museums and libraries, universities and seminaries, churches and monasteries; and collected a host of Bible versions. In a trip to the Holy Land in 1979 and to Europe in 1986, and frequently since, I viewed a wide array of biblical manuscripts in the British Museum in London, in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin; the John S. Rylands Library in Manchester, England; the St. Catherina Monastery in the mid-east; the ancient biblical manuscript center at Claremont University in California, as well as manuscripts in Tel Aviv and one Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in Selma, Alabama. This has been coupled with extensive reading, lessons, conferences, and Bible fellowships.

I thought the Smithsonian program was well presented. But, like so many of the current A.A. plays, videos, movies, and books, it told only part of the story. Many aspects of the Bible manuscript trail, travel, and account were subjective in that the narrator was not a Christian; the film deftly left out a whole segment on early manuscripts and attacked the Bible as “the Word of God, and many versions and translations that abound today. Regrettably, it was clearly aimed at making Bible readers doubtful, unsettled, and concerned about reliability. And that’s about where many believers who cherish A.A. find themselves in today’s secularization of their Society.

It was a pleasure seeing this rendering of such an important subject omitting so much that it would foster religious controversy instead of inviting biblical research, information, and learning. The parallel with the “rest of the story” about A.A. history is remarkable. And, on the eve of our starting the filming of our videos and guidebook on “Bill W., Dr. Bob, and the Cure of Alcoholism: The Rest of the Story,” the program on “Bible Hunters” offers the same challenge that our program on the “rest of the A.A. story” will be doing shortly. It won’t be telling what has already been told. It will be highlighting what has never been told or accurately reported.

Bill W.'s Several References to Jesus Christ as the worker of A.A. miracles

There are many references by Bill Wilson as to the role played by Jesus Christ in recovery. One can be found on pages 216-217 of the 3rd edition of Alcoholics Anonymous. There, Abby G. in Cleveland asked Bill what this was that worked so many miracles. Hanging over the mantel was a picture of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Bill pointed to it and said: "There it is."

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Twelve Steps of AA - Basic Ideas from the Bible

In his last major talk, Dr. Bob made several points clear (See The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks, pages 12-14

1. Dr. Bob: I didn't write the 12 Steps
2. Dr. Bob: I had nothing to do with the writing of the Steps
3. The writing of the Steps did not begin until 1938
4. Dr. Bob: Convinced that the studies, teachings, and efforts that had been going on in the Smith home with Wilson and others must have influenced the Steps.
5. These studies teachings and efforts had been in progress since the founding of A.A. in 1935
5 . Dr. Bob: We already had the basic ideas. We got them from the efforts from 1935-1938
6.  Dr. Bob: We got them as a result of our study of the Good Book [Bible]

The three Bible segments early AAs Considered Absolutely Essential

The three Bible segments early AAs considered absolutely essenttial
  • In his last major address to AAs in 1948, Dr. Bob told them that the older ones in A.A. believed the answers to their problem were in the Bible. He said the parts they considered absolutely essential were the Book of James, Jesus's Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13. Have you read them. They will show you the source of many an A.A. expression, idea, or practice.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

What Dr. Bob Said in March of 1948 When He and Bill W. Were on the Stage Together at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles Before an Audience of 4,500

What Dr. Bob Said in March of 1948 When He and Bill W. Were on the Stage Together at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles Before an Audience of 4,500

Dick B.

© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved


In the March 26, 1948 issue of The Tidings magazine, there is an account of the appearance of both Bill W. and Dr. Bob on the stage of the Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles before some 4,500 alcoholics, their friends, and relatives. The magazine quotes Dr. Bob’s address;

Dr. Bob, another founder of A.A., also addressed the Shrine Assembly. As he was introduced, the audience rose to its feet in tribute. The fame of Dr. Bob is great in A.A. In soft, confident, and unhurried words, he too reiterated the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous: Read religious literature. Resume church attendance. Cultivate the habit of prayer and transmit the desires and principles of Alcoholics Anonymous to others. He particularly recommended reading the Bible.

"Defending" Christianity and Its Relationship to Alcoholics Anonymous

 Rocky M. recently asked for my thoughts about handling a man who had been a solid AA and a solid Christian, who had turned against AA, and who was slated to argue on radio with Rocky and "defend" Christianity and A.A.

Here were my suggestions as to how to deal with such a person in a "debate."

"I received a message about your appearing on a radio program to defend Christianity and A.A. You asked for my thoughts. My views are these: (1) A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. (2) Contempt prior to investigation is an everlasting bar to factual knowledge. (3) The history of A.A.'s Christian origins and early program is overwhelming: (a) Its ideas came largely from the Bible as used by YMCA, Salvation Army, Gospel Rescue Missions, Congregationalism, evangelists like Dwight Moody, and Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor. Ask  your tormenter if he knows that or has ever researched  the facts. (b) Dr. Bob and Bill were solid students of the Bible in East Dorset Vermont, Manchester Vermont, and St. Johnsbury Vermont. Ask your tormenter if know about Bill's 4 year Bible study course, his presidency of the YMCA in high school, and his daily attendance at chapel. (c) Dr. Bob and Bill and their families regularly attended Congregational Churches in East Dorset, Manchester, and St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Ask your tormenter if he knows anything at all about the Smith--Wilson--Griffith participation in those churches. (4) Early AAs called themselves a "Christian fellowship." Ask your tormenter if he knows where  that fact is reported in A.A. Conference-approved literature. . (5) The first three AAs all believed in God, were Christians, and had been Bible students or teachers in church. Ask your tormenter where the first three AAs told of their reliance on the "Lord" and on their "Heavenly Father." See also

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The New “Anniversary Edition” of A.A.’s First Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous

The New “Anniversary Edition” of A.A.’s First Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous

Dick B.

© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved

I just received and answered an email from a long-time Christian AA who told me he had just received copies of A.A. General Service Conference-approved Anniversary Edition of the Big Book First Edition.

After all these years, I believe readers need to  understand what has come about in restoring to “official” view the stories of the A.A. pioneers whose personal stories are in the 1939 Big Book. I also believe, and point out, in the exchange of letters set forth below, the tools that will make the new edition of real importance and value to its readers.

The Correspondence (with full name removed for anonymity purposes)

My reply to the letter below “Dear J,. . . Thanks for the heads up on the new book. Our whole research on old school A.A. certainly includes the personal stories of the pioneers. It was they  who were NOT writing about Bill’s Twelve Step program. Bill’s 1939 Big Book chapters had not yet been completed as far as Bill’s chapters are concerned. The pioneers were writing primarily about how they practiced the Akron program set forth on page 131 of DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers. There is much more, and it will be covered in the video series and guidebook we have just about completed. May I suggest that those who want a full understanding of what the First Edition was all about need these following three additional tools:

1.         The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks (Pamphlet P-53). It will show you where the old school A.A. really began – 4 years before the Big Book was published.

2.         Our new book Dick B. and Ken B. Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous: God’s Role in Recovery Confirmed. It will open your eyes to the pioneer stories’ real message.

3.         Alcoholics Anonymous; The Big Book The Original  1939 Edition Bill W. With a New Introduction By Dick B. (Dover Publications, Inc.). This edition may well have prompted the long overdue publication of the First Edition by A.A. itself. But my introduction to the Dover Publications edition is 27 pages and explains what the problem is.

Thanks again for writing, and don’t hesitate to give me a phone call if you wish to discuss all this further.

God bless,


Richard G. Burns, J.D., CDAAC

Author and A.A. historian, retired attorney, Bible student (pen name “Dick B.”)

46 published titles & over 1,450 articles on A.A. history and the Christian Recovery Movement

Exec. Dir., International Christian Recovery Coalition

Christian Recovery Resource Centers - Worldwide

Christian Recovery Radio

(808) 874-4876

PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837

Facebook: DickBmauihistorian





Letter to Dick B. Received Today From: J. . . .

Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 8:28 AM


Subject: RE: Dick B. FYI Message: The Recovery Resources That Need a Boost in Recovery Content

Hello Dick I just got my copies of the 75th Anniversary of the Big Book first edition copy in the mail I am looking forward to reading the stories to see how much they enlighten me about the roots of early AA, the book looks great, it has thick pages and same look as the original first edition, did you order a bunch of copies to give away, from J. . . .canada

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Temptation - A First Century Christian Fellowship - A.A. - and the Book of James

A Tidbit on “Temptation” in the 24 Communications, Inc. Quarterly

Dick B., April,  2014

Dr. Bob said in The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks that older AAs believed the answers to their problem were in the Good Book. He then said they believed that the Book of James, Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians were “absolutely essential” to their program.

In my early A.A. days, that sparked my interest in the Book of James. It caused some of our brothers across the country to form “James Clubs” which is what the old-timers wanted to call A.A. And it later prompted me to write The James Club: The Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials

James 1:12-16 has always seemed to me to deal with “temptation” the recidivist alcoholic or addict lure—a topic Dr. Bob mentioned more than once. The James verses read:

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

            Do not err, my beloved brethren

Dr. Bob and his wife Anne frequently mentioned and cited verses from James; and I think the foregoing verses, when coupled with James 4:7, can be particularly helpful to those AAs who consider the Bible the “main source book of all” as Anne put it.

Incidentally, James 4:7 says:

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

I was drawn to this subject by an article in the Spring 2014  AAA 24 Quarterly, on page 16. It was titled “Buchman’s Advice for Handling Temptation”

Buchman had learnt that temptation, of whatever kind, was best resisted at its earliest stage. It was easier, he sometimes said, to divert a small stream than to dam a river. He defined the progression of temptation as “the look, the thought, the fascination, the fall,’ and said that the time to deal with it was at the thought—“Tackle temptation well upstream.” This was not a new idea. Thomas a Kempis, whose writings he would not likely have encountered at Mount Airy but whose Imitation of Christ went with him everywhere during his adult life, describes the same progression. “The enemy is more easily overcome,” write a Kempis, “if he be not suffered in any wise to enter the door of our hearts” but be resisted without the gate at his first knock.”

Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman was the founder of A First Century Christian Fellowship later known as the Oxford Group.

If you are looking at a challenging study topic that is really related to the Bible, the Oxford Group, the Book of James, and a subject that will provide plenty of useful discussions by alcoholics and addicts, this tidbit may be something you can use in your James Club or in any discussion meeting.

Gloria Deo

Five Excellent Radio Talks by Dick B. in Commemoration of the Opening of Griffith Library, East Dorset, Vermont

The Griffith Library in East Dorset, Vermont, is adjacent to the East Dorset Congregational Church which is adjacent to the Wilson House in East Dorset, Vermont, and the Wilson House is where A.A. cofounder Bill Wilson was born. The Wilson House was restored by Ozzie and Bonnie L.; and then they decided to restore the Griffith Library  where Bill was reared by his grandfather Fayette Griffith and wife Ella. Benefactors of mine made it possible for me to donate to the new library some 30,000 books, papers, articles, news reports, and manuscripts covering almost every aspect and phase of early Alcoholics Anonymous History.

For eight years, at the request of Ozzie and Bonnie, I delivered a weekend heritage seminar at the Wilson House, and each covered A.A. history subjects, one by one each year.

Finally, the Griffith Library restoration was completed; and I delivered a series of five talks on  the occasion of the event. And here, on radio, are each of the five A.A. history presentations of 2005:

Important AA Book: "Utilizing Early A.A.'s Spiritual Roots for Recovery Today," 2000, by Dick B.

We would like to feature a small, effective, and comprehensive book on "Why It Worked" of the "A.A. History Series" delivered in one of my Heritage weekend seminars at the Wilson House. And important guide. Title: "Utilizing Early A.A.'s Spiritual Roots for Recovery Today," 3rd Impression, 2000 by Dick B. See

Monday, April 14, 2014

History of Alcoholics Anonymous, 2005 Radio Series One, Two, and Three

History of Alcoholics Anonymous, 2005 Radio Series


Dick B.

© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved





Number One – Dick B. A.A., Recovery and History Series – The Bible (called “Good Book”)


The Basic A.A. Ideas Came from the Teachings, Study, and Efforts in the Bible - 1935-1938



Hear the Bible and Alcoholics Anonymous.  Then see


Hear Studying A.A. History.  Then see   


Hear A.A. Successes.  Then see


Hear The James Club, 4th ed.  Then see




Number Two – Dick B. A.A., Recovery and History Series


The Ideas from Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker (“co-founder” of A.A.) and the Twenty-eight A First Century Christian Fellowship (later called the Oxford Group) that influenced A.A.


Go to  to hear these 11 radio shows


Hear the role of Reverend Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr. – the man Bill asked to write the Steps, and later named a cofounder -    4 parts.  Then see New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A.


Hear the twenty-eight ideas from A First Century Christian Fellowship (later called the “Oxford Group”) – 7 parts.  Then see The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living That Works – 7 parts




Number Three – Dick B. A.A., Recovery and History Series


Alcoholics were cured; Quiet Time was a must; and Bible study—prayer—Quiet Time were “musts”



Hear alcoholism, Alcoholics Anonymous and Cures (early Akron AA Christian Fellowship members were cured of alcoholism, and said so.  Then see Cured!: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts –


Hear the A.A. Meditation Series – Quiet Time was a “must” in the early Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship.  Then see The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous.


Hear about Bible Study, Prayer, and Meditation – These were also “musts” in the early Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship. Then see Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A.


More to Come


Gloria Deo

An Edited Response to a Query About A.A. Bashers

An Edited Response to a Query About A.A. Bashers

Dick B.

© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved

[A Christian physician sent me a letter this morning inquiring about a book by Lance Dodes, M.D., and the program of Smart Recovery as well. The real question is whether A.A. has a success rate as low as 5%. Since I have already written a book about Dodes and some of the other A.A. bashers, I declined to do so. My book is Dick B., God and Alcoholism: Our Growing Opportunity in the 21st Century, 2002. The comments about Dodes can be found on pages 31-33. Many other parts of the book talk about: (1) The Nonsense “gods” of recovery (2) “higher-power-ism” (3) The views of a good many M.D. writers who eschew A.A. (4) Anti-AA Christian writings by the Bobgans and also Dr. Playfair. (4) The substantial evidence of “cures.” (5) The detours presented by “new thought” and “spirituality” writings. (6) The real opportunity for looking at the heart of the A.A. program in the early years—abstinence, surrender to God, obedience of God, spiritual growth with the Bible and prayer, helping others get well, and fellowship with like-minded believers.]

Now for the Edited Response About the Anti-AA Folks and How I Answered My Physician Friend – a Christian and an AA

“I am quite familiar with the writing of James Dodes, M.D. You will find a discussion of him and his position and a critique thereof on pages 31-33 of my book God and Alcoholism: Our Growing Opportunity in the 21st Century.

First of all, Dodes never mentions God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, A.A. History, the early A.A. Christian Fellowship, or the distinction between the today’s widely varied A.A. membership composition and the Akron A.A. program laid out in DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers at page 131 and also the book by my son and me--Stick with the Winners.

Second, take God out of A.A., and what have you? Nothing. Nothing that resembles the method by which the first three got sober; the Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship program succeeded so well; Bill Wilson’s “new version” of the program the Twelve Steps which was filled with mention of God, the Creator, Maker, Heavenly Father, Lord; or the great compromise which took God out of Steps Two, Three, and Eleven just before the Big Book went to the printer in 1939.

Third, he, who endeavors to analyze what A.A. is, needs to be examined as to what he knows about the nature of A.A. itself, namely that: (a) A.A. is not monolithic. (b) A.A. has about two million members who come and go with the wind, are not identified, and who flip from meeting to meeting. (c) Today there is no “qualification” of newcomers and therefore A.A. is filled with passers-through, “be-backs,” and “compulsory attenders.” The latter include those ordered to go to A.A. by courts, parole officers, and probation officials. They include those who are bussed to meetings by treatment programs. They include those who are “dumped” into A.A. without any orientation by their counselors or pastors or physicians or family or by people who make no investment in the A.A.’s program and often have little or no knowledge of what A.A. is about. (d) A.A. wears a coat of many colors—Unbelievers, atheists, agnostics, humanists, Buddhists, Hindus, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, and some very very very sick people who don’t know what they are, where they are, how they are to beging,  or who God is. (e) Moreover, he who writes about A.A. and fails to distinguish between the various epochs in its development and diverse program is writing about something that doesn’t exist.

One epoch involves how the first three got sober, were cured, and said so. The second epoch concerns the bible-oriented program that WAS A.A. from at least 1935 to 1938 and just seldom if ever gets mentioned today. The third consists of the “new version” where Bill put together a polyglot book.

The first part of the “first edition” of that basic text talks about a program that didn’t yet exist—the Twelve Steps and all the other chapters. It repeatedly uses the word “God” and is thoroughly discussed in Stick with the Winners!  It deceptively talks about a program that was Oxford Group in character, non-biblical in content, and sports higher powers, new thought, and Bible ideas that are not identified as such.

As to the second part of the “first edition,” it contains the personal stories of pioneers. Most were from Akron or the Midwest area. Almost all, if not all, the stories were written before Bill completed putting his part, his chapters, and his program together. Though intended to be testimonials as to how and why Bill’s Twelve Steps worked the personal testimonials don’t mention his program, the Steps, or the Big Book.

The personal stories in the “first edition” are testimonials primarily by those who followed Dr. Bob’s Akron program. See Dick B. and Ken B., Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous: God’s Role in Recovery Confirmed, 2012. Sad yet significant it is, that for over 50 years the personal stories were, one by one, almost all removed from later editions of the Big Book. Why? Because they depicted some personal viewpoint and experience that some dude in NY didn’t like! And there and elsewhere excused the obliteration justifying it by the age of the drunks, the outrageous behavior supposedly exceeding that of the younger wrongdoers, and the lack of relevance, time-wise, in the accounts of how the really successful pioneers applied the principles of their Akron Christian Fellowship program.

The well-known failure rate of those who come to A.A. (not the A.A. Society itself but those drunks who participate in it) has been reliably estimated by men that I personally know and who are scientists.

One was the head of a major governmental alcoholism effort. One is a professor at University of New Mexico, J. Scott Tonigan, Ph.D. who is a statistician, and a psychologist. One is Joan Matthews Larson, Ph.D. who favors vitamins but who lays out the sad success rate. Again, I would say that most of these are right if you just look at statistics instead of people, if you just talk about science instead of God, and if you just talk about A.A. as if it has some special kind of deity which can be a tree, a door knob, a light bulb, the Big Dipper, Ralph, Gertrude, and the back end of a city bus.

I discuss all these writers in my God and Alcoholism book, and I strongly suggest that you read it thoroughly so that you will know the dramatis personae when you see the remarks of this or that pro-AA, self-proclaimed Christian A.A., Big Book thumper, agnostic, atheist, unbeliever, or raging bleeding deacon

Not that it is earth-shaking in importance,  but my own observation as an active AA for 28 continuous years of membership and sobriety is that most AAs fail—possibly as many as 95%. Its archivist told me about 1991 that one-third were out the door in their first 90 days and that 50% were gone by the end of their first year.

The question is: Who are they? Did the failed ones dive into the program, turn to God for help, and then help others! Did they believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible! Do they know the slightest thing about the progression of A.A. history! Had they gotten tangled up with members of the opposite or same sex or unsupportive wives! If you think the 12 Steps really have an impact, have they studied them in the Big Book, the instructions for taking them, and in fact taken them! Do they even know that all those in early A.A. who made the grade almost uniformly said publically that they were cured! Do they have a common agreement on what “cured” and “recovered” and “in recovery” mean from a Conference-approved literature viewpoint or even from a “wisdom of the rooms” viewpoint.

My suggestion is that many of the bashers and doubters and revisionists have a bone to pick with A.A. But it is a bone that is bare when they learn or concede why many winners and successes have renounced alcohol and drugs for good, professed belief in God and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Who actually asked God for deliverance, and then grew spiritually through prayer and Bible study and reading. Who  fellowshipped with like-minded believers, started helping others as soon as possible, and isolated themselves from the losers who have a grudge against A.A. Or those who have failed in A.A., or dislike A.A., or want to judge it only by evidence-based tests instead of the truth in God’s Word. Or who are atheists or agnostics or unbelievers, are really concerned that they might lose a client, a patient, a newcomer, or a member if they discuss God, or are grinding the axe of some particular denomination or facility.

Fortunately, I can introduce you to hundreds, probably thousands, across the nation and the world who satisfy the believer criteria above and who have been clean and sober for many years. In fact, I was writing books about them even before so many began writing, emailing, and phoning me—saying “I never knew” and “I want to know more.”

God bless,

Richard, J.D., CDAAC

A Letter to us from an AA oldtimer believer who likes what he has

Hi Dick and Ken,

Just wanted to thank you for the articles you sent to me yesterday and today.

They each represent a clear articulation of the essence of our program of recovery - e.g. the cure for alcoholism based on a working relationship with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Today's missive points out how or why so many academics find it necessary to throw rocks at AA and indirectly at God. Ebby Thatcher's point blank declaration that "God had done for him what he could not do for himself' was the spiritual spark that ultimately ignited Bill and our whole movement.

I'll take our Lord and Savior any time over all of this nonsense that keeps pouring out at an ever growing rate.

Our success rate in our Akronite groups up here continues to run at over 90% in spite of the early resistance we often experience from newcomers to the groups - I call that fear the "God - Fear". But time, persistence, and a loving attitude based on biblical principals seem to be a power that cannot fail over the long run.

Our two new British Columbia groups are doing fine as well.


Your BIC,


Sunday, April 13, 2014

History of Alcoholics Anonymous: Dick B. Radio Talks Number 3

History of Alcoholics Anonymous, 2005 Radio Series

Dick B.

© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Number Three   Dick B. A.A., Recovery, and History Series


To hear the talks by Dick B. on the radio shows:


Alcoholism, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Cures – Early Akron AAs were cured and said so.

A.A. Meditation Series – Quiet Time was a “must” in the Akron Christian Fellowship

Prayer and meditation, along with Bible study, were also “musts” in the Akron AA Christian Fellowship


For detailed study:


Cured!: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts

The Books Early AAs Read for Spiritual Growth, 7th ed.

Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Meditation, Morning Watch, and A.A.


Alcoholics Anonymous History Dick B. Radio Series - Two - Shoemaker & Oxford Group 11 Parts

History of Alcoholics Anonymous, 2005 Radio Series

Dick B.

© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Number Two  Dick B. A.A., Recovery, and History Series

To hear the 11 radio shows:

Reverend Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr. – the man Bill asked to write the Steps, and later named a cofounder -    4 parts

The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living That Works – 7 parts

For detailed study:

New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A.

Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous

Dick B. Papers: Dick B. Radio Talk Archives 2005

Listen to the archives of Dick B. talks at the Wilson House, and about Oxford Group, Shoemaker, Bible, Meditation, and some other points in 2005

Friday, April 11, 2014

Alcoholism Recovery Speakers, Writers, Sponsors Today

A.A. Speakers, Writers, Sponsors

The Recovery Resources That Need a Boost in Recovery Content


By Dick B.

© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved


The Talent before You Right Now


Right now, take a look at the speakers, sponsors, and counselors you know or have known in your A.A. or other 12-Step Fellowship. I’ve been involved with hundreds of them, and you may have been too.


Many are talented, experienced, and articulate speakers and, in fact, good instructors. They are also caring, loving, giving people. But what are you learning from them today? There are hundreds and hundreds of women and men in the recovery movement who have never studied A.A.’s basic text or learned how to take people through the Twelve Steps in accordance with the instructions.


There are far more who haven’t a clue about A.A.’s history and roots, and haven’t any idea where the recovery program got its ideas. And many of these have never opened an A.A. history book, been to an A.A. history conference, or even cared to learn our history. Why? Generally speaking, it’s because they’ve had no resources to work with or with which they cared to work. Sometimes because they just don’t care.


And you—based on what we have learned from phone calls and messages we are receiving almost daily—can help these speakers, writers, and sponsors. You certainly can help newcomers and meetings. And you can fulfill your desire to have a full and faith-filled recovery for good.


What are resources are available to those who want to correct the situation? The Big Book contains virtually no history. The First Edition did! And the history was in personal stories of the pioneers. But  for decades, those stories were missing and had been removed piece by piece.


The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions contain virtually no history. Conference Approved pamphlets by the dozen tell you nothing significant about our history, our early program, and the  pioneer successes. And the two or three significant A.A. history books either omit the details, omit entire segments of history, or focus on what they think AAs should hear, rather than on what actually occurred.


And are treatment programs any different? Ask yourself how much you heard about history in a treatment program or rehab. For that matter, about the Big Book, the Twelve Steps, the Bible, the founders, and our history. Are sponsors any different? Ask yourself how much your sponsor talked to you about A.A. history.


Are certification courses, continuing education presentations, and religious facilities teaching history? Ask someone who is certified. Ask them about history, and watch them go blank.


Then there are the “history” books currently proliferating outside the fellowships. Do they talk about God? Do they talk about the Bible? Do they talk about the literature early AAs read? Do they detail the contributions of such major A.A. influences as Anne Ripley Smith (“Mother of A.A.”) and her journal; the books and teachings of Rev. Sam Shoemaker (a, “cofounder of A.A.”); Dr. William Silkworth (the “doctor’s opinion” and a founder of A.A.); the life-changing program of the Oxford Group which underlies the Steps, the daily Bible devotionals which were a major part of Quiet Time. And what have you heard about the basic ideas A.A. borrowed from the Bible itself?


It was quite clear from Dr. Bob’s last major talk (found in The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks) that the Book of James, Jesus’s “Sermon on the Mount)” (Matthew 5-7), and 1 Corinthians 13 were considered absolutely essential to the program. And yet, have you ever heard them read, discussed, or studied in your program or meetings, or by your conferences, or by your sponsor, or by any counselor you’ve encountered?


Would Talented Speakers and Sponsors Revolt if Challenged?


Dr. Bob never let a pigeon loose from the hospital without asking him if he believed in God. Have you ever put that question to a potential speaker, sponsor, or treatment facilitator? When asked a question about the program, Dr. Bob usually replied: “What does it say in the Good Book?” Have you ever put such a question to those we mention? The Big Book states clearly that “God either is, or He isn’t.” Have you ever asked a speaker or instructor if he agrees?


Bill and Bob were speaking at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles before 4,500 people. Bill commented on the “religious element” of A.A. and the need for “Divine Aid.” Have you ever inquired about these? The Big Book says a number of times that its stories were written to tell how, from the writer’s own viewpoint and experience, he “established his relationship with God.” Have you ever asked a speaker or instructor to do likewise?


At the Shrine Auditorium talk in Los Angeles, the entire audience rose in tribute to Dr. Bob. And he succinctly suggested that all “cultivate the habit of prayer” and “study the Bible.” Have you ever asked your teachers about that one?


We now know that early Akron A.A.’s many roots included United Christian Endeavor; the Salvation Army; the Rescue Missions; Christian evangelists like Dwight L. Moody, Ira Sankey, F.B. Meyer, H. M. Moore, and Allen Folger; A First Century Christian Fellowship (also known as “the Oxford Group”); and even the Young Men’s Christian Association. They definitely included the Bible and Bible study.


They included the required daily chapel, reading of Scripture, prayers, and sermons at the academies Dr. Bob and Bill each attended. They included parental guidance, church services, prayer meetings, and Sunday school.


Have you ever asked that these be explained to you?


The roots included Dr. Carl Jung’s views on “a vital religious experience”—the very solution Rowland Hazard, Ebby T., and Bill W. sought when they were born again. The roots included Professor William James’s views on the variety of religious experiences he’d studied. Do your instructors talk about these?


Dr. William D. Silkworth told Bill Wilson and several of Silkworth’s other patients that the Great Physician Jesus Christ could cure them? Have you ever heard that? Have you ever had the Four Absolutes, the Five C’s, Quiet Time, Continuance, and Conversion explained to you in terms of their A.A. significance?


Have you ever learned the books that early AAs read, the devotionals they used, and the contents of Anne Smith’s Journal which was shared with AAs and their family every day? Have you asked about them?


They represent the heart of what Bill codified from the Oxford Group. When I went to high school in Stockton, California, an American History Course was required of the students. Why? So they could be better citizens, aware of their country’s beginnings, informed about their constitutional rights and government, and better able to cast votes for those they wanted to have govern them. Are there equally sound reasons for AAs to learn their origins and practices and where they came from?


What a Speaker, a Sponsor, a Writer Can Be and Do; and Offer Our Friends


The A.A. speakers that are entertaining and dynamic attract large crowds. I’ve been one who has heard many now to be mentioned. How many people have rushed to hear Clancy I., Gene Duffy, June G., Eve, Poor Richard, Geraldine D., Mel B., Joe McQ., Charlie P., Father Martin, and dozens of others—because these men and women are entertaining and dynamic. I’ve heard them all, and I’ve been entertained. They’ve made me laugh, and laughter is either “the best medicine” or a great help. They’ve made me cry, and receptive emotion is part of needed enthusiasm. They’ve made me admire what they’ve done and what they’ve become.


But how many times have you or I heard them talk about the early A.A. fellowship?


Can they? Could they? Will they? Would you have the courage to ask them?


We’re big in A.A. about “love and service.” We even insist that our “leaders” are but trusted servants. And in fact, all speakers, sponsors, and counselors are also “but trusted servants.” And what do trusted servants do? I’d like to think they do the service that is suggested.


But nobody tells these speakers what to say. Not the “staff” at World Services. Not the editors of the AA Grapevine. At least, they don’t tell you or me— Why? The servants are beyond the reach of the masters, and their instructors are long dead and gone. They are frequently peopled or persuaded by professionals, universalists, revisionists, and outspoken unbelievers.


The servants often seem to dote on pleasing everyone and eliminate anything they themselves think might detract from “their” message.. Thus if they write a piece of literature like a daily reflection, they seem disposed to seek out 365 views, one for each day, than to select from the hundreds of pieces of literature which were part and parcel of early A.A. and its successful  techniques. Devotions with prayers, thoughts for the day, verses for Bible study, and help for the seeker.


How Long Will You Wait?


We’ve reached the point in Twelve Step history where there are few, if any, who ever met, talked to, or learned directly from Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob, Anne Smith, Henrietta Seiberling, Sam Shoemaker, Dr. Silkworth, or even A.A. Number Three—Bill Dotson. Hence speakers cannot speak from experience about these people and what they did and what they said.


But they can learn!


Speakers can, could, and would (if asked) spend the same amount of time looking into A.A. history resources that Joe and Charlie spent in studying the Big Book so that they could explain it and teach it to our members all over the world. But finally, even these servants hung up their jock straps as they played “the last quarter of the game,” as Charlie put it to me.


Instead of bemoaning the absence of “old timers” or “elder statesmen” or “people who knew or were sponsored by Bob or Clarence Snyder” or even archivists who have studied and know the archives, why not supplement their efforts with new information, new questions, and bring up a new crop as well?


Would you rather listen to Eli Whitney tell you how he invented the cotton gin, or would you find it more instructive if a football star told you how he helped win the Super Bowl?


Look at the Early Teachers


Our founders were humble. Our founders were students. Our founders were ever on a quest to learn more. Our founders believed in God. Our founders read the Bible. Our founders read all kinds of religious literature. Our founders put their learning to use in directly working to help others with what they had found.


Dr. Bob read the Bible three times to refresh his memory before helping others with Bible materials. Anne Smith was in the trenches, reading her Bible, suggesting literature, and teaching from her journal. So was Henrietta Seiberling. So were Mr. and Mrs. T. Henry Williams. And so was Bill until he got hung up with depressions shortly after he published the Big Book.


Rev. Sam Shoemaker never stopped writing, preaching, and teaching. And these, plus Dr. Silkworth, were the people who handed us the most information.


And What about You!


Are you willing to look for speakers, sponsors, and programs which will provide a full platter of information? Are you willing to read whatever you need to read to learn what you’ve been missing? Are you willing to organize meetings, seminars, and conferences that will tell others our history? Are you willing to pass along what you learn? Are you willing to stand up and be counted when someone asks if you believe in God, if you believe in the importance of the Bible to AAs, if Jesus Christ has any place in your heart, and if you attend a church or Bible fellowship or Christian study group?


Are you willing to be a student, a researcher, a learner, a speaker, a teacher, an organizer, and a supporter of the quest to learn the truth and carry it to others in order to help them recover, get well, and be cured?


Would you rather promote and pass on information about the program Frank Amos described when he told of the seven-point program in Akron that had produced such astonishing results? It’s all plainly there for you to see in A.A.’s own DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers on page 131.


You don’t even have to go to the bookstore or library. Surprise! Lots of facts are free to view online today. You can study the Book of James, the Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13 by buying a used Bible and reading it. You don’t even have to go to church or to your rabbi, minister, or priest for “helpful books.” Although it could help!


If you don’t want to be one who does or leads, are you willing to support those who do? Do you realize that in the World Services offices of A.A. itself there are scrap books that contain hundreds of newspaper clippings and articles that tell of the cures early AAs claimed they had received at the hands of their Creator?


Have you thought of ordering, reading, or donating one where it will actually help someone?


And, if you found great joy, at learning what the Big Book was all about and how to take the Twelve Steps properly, are you willing to start or join a group that does this and studies history as well?


The Bottom Line


Have you helped a drunk today? Do you belong to a group that really carries out its primary purpose of helping the alcoholic who still suffers? Do you vote with your feet when you hear a speaker, a sponsor, or a counselor who talks about “higher powers,” about “spirituality,” about meeting-makers and what you don’t need to know, about how much he drank, about how much trouble he had, and yet who never mentions whether or not he established a relationship with God and has had something more than a dry drunk in his life?


Think about it. Think how much you can help others if you are able to tell them what God has done for you, what God did for the pioneers, and how they learned about Him from the Good Book!


Dick B., PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837;; 1-808-874-4876;


Gloria Deo