Frank Mauser, now deceased, was the second archivist of A.A. upon the retirement of Nell Wing. Frank became a good friend of mine, and he was a strong supporter of suggesting to AAs that they heed the saying about how a civilization or society perishes or declines because there is always one condition present. They forgot where they came from.
It's time to think through the opportunities for success and growth in A.A. that can and will come when the importance and diversity of study groups is once again recognized and organized.
Of late, we have women's groups. We have atheist groups. We have agnostic groups. We have gay and lesbian groups. We have Step Study groups, Big Book study groups, Traditions groups, and history groups.
But when it comes to the kind of study groups that emanated from the Joe and Charlie Big Book Seminars, lots of learning is shelved in favor of roundups, flings, dances, and circuit speakers. Content is not the test of value and quality; but large crowds, famed speakers, "spirituality" groups, and Buddhist groups seem to trump the kind of research, preparation, and utility that can come from learning how AA began, what it's strong points were, what has been changed, what has been eliminated, and what is sometimes barred by moderators, "conference-approved" barriers, and arguments about what Traditions permit or don't permit.
We will be inviting your comments on and suggestions concerning some often-mentioned and very important studies that more and more in the fellowship are seeking to conduct.
It's not about what's permitted. It's not about what's banned. It's not about which "evidence-based" pharmaceutical or psychological counseling has been discovered and found useful. It's not about what some office manager, secretary, "trusted servant," or delegate thinks A.A. is, should be, and should do.
What will soon be evident is that the strength, duration, and value of A.A., its roots, its literature, its Steps, and its discussions can and should be led by avid researchers who employ history, medicine, religion, community, archives, interviews, and great teachers to tell us what we did. To tell us what we have forgotten. To tell us the facts about working with drunks and addicts and helping them to be cured.. And to point us to the speakers, the literature, and the meetings that help us to grow.
What kind of meetings? Big Book, Step, Bible, History, Roots, the personal stories of the pioneers, and the recorded success rates of such groups as early Cleveland A.A. developed, polished, enhanced, and assured great success--far more than had been achieved theretofore. There can be prayer meetings, devotional meetings, guidance meetings, and a host of others whose very names have been forgotten.
Well that's what is in the burner. It's coming from those who have faith in A.A., see the shortcomings of the "wisdom of the rooms," and want to thinking and leadership of those who founded some of the great recovery ideas of yesteryear.