Thursday, June 25, 2015

Applying “Old School” A.A. in Today’s 12-Step Fellowships

Applying “Old School” A.A. in Today’s 12-Step Fellowships

By Dick B.

© 2011-2015 Anonymous. All rights reserved


What the First, Original, Akron A.A. Program Was and Did


The Way the First 3 AAs – Bill W., Dr. Bob, Bill D. – Got Sober Before the Program. See The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010, pp. 57-59


            No Steps. No Traditions. No Big Book. No drunkalogs. No meetings as we know them.

            Each believed in God, was a Christian, asked God for deliverance, and received it.


The Summary by Frank Amos, Published in DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, page 131


Five required points: (1) Permanent abstinence. (2) Surrender of one’s life to God. (3) Obedience to God’s will—eliminating sinful conduct, living love. (4) Growing in understanding through Bible study, prayer, seeking guidance, reading religious literature. (5) Helping others get well the same way. Two recommended points: (6) Social and

religious comradeship. (7) Attending a religious service once a week.


The Fourteen Practices of the Akron Pioneers, discussed in The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010, pp. 54-57


(1)   Qualifying the newcomer. (2) Hospitalization. (3) Belief in God, accepting Jesus

Christ as Lord and Savior. (4) Left hospital with Bible and instructions to “go out and fix drunks as an avocation.” (5) Most lived in residences of recovered Akron pioneers.. (6) Christian fellowship meetings every day. (7) Morning Quiet Time at Smith Home led by Dr. Bob’s wife. (8) “Regular” Oxford Group meeting each Wednesday with “real surrender.” (9) Extensive reading of Christian devotionals and literature. (10) Studying Book of James, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13 stressed.  (11) Instructions to reach out to newcomers. (12) Frequent socializing in the homes. (13) Members knew each other well, visited, phoned, kept address books. (14) Rosters kept of names, addresses, sobriety dates, relapses (if any), and successful pioneers.


The spiritual resources used in that first, original Akron A.A. Program – See Dick B., Real Twelve Step Fellowship History: The Old School A.A. You May Not Know, pp. 27-30, 85-92


(1)   The Bible; (2) Conversion to God through Jesus Christ; (3) Anne Smith’s Journal; (4)

Background ideas from (a) Professor William James, (b) Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, (c) Dr. William D. Silkworth, (d) lay therapist Richard Peabody, (e) New Thought writings of Emmet Fox, (f) Writings of Rev. Sam Shoemaker; (5) Christian literature Dr. Bob circulated, (6) Quiet Time, (7) Daily Devotionals, (8) Oxford Group 4 Absolutes and restitution practices, (9) Biblical training and Christian upbringing of Dr. Bob as a youngster in Vermont.



The major Christian influences that impacted on the work and plans of the cofounders. See The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., pp. 8–26.


(1) Evangelists and revivalists like Dwight Moody and Billy Sunday, (2) The Gospel Rescue Missions, (3) YMCA lay workers, (4) The Salvation Army, (5) Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor, (6) Oxford Group books, (7) Writings of Rev., Sam Shoemaker, Jr.


Documented 75% success rate of the original, serious, real alcoholics who really tried. See The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., pp. 77-85


            Dr. Bob’s own hand-written list of 1939, now in Rockefeller Archives, New York.


Where and What to Study and Learn


Bible – King James Version


            The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches, Their Last

                        Major Talks

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

            The James Club and the Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials

            Why Early A.A. Succeeded (a Bible Study Primer)


Belief in God and the decision to come to Him through Jesus Christ


            Hebrews 11:6, John 3:16, 14:6, Romans 10:9

The Conversion of Bill W.: More on the Creator’s Role in Early A.A.

Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Good Book as a

Youngster in Vermont

            The Golden Text of A.A.: God, the Pioneers, and Real Spirituality

            A New Way In: Reaching the Heart of a Child of God in Recovery with His Own,

                        Powerful, Historical Roots


The Teachings of Dr. Bob’s Wife, Anne Ripley Smith – “Mother of A.A.”


            Anne Smith’s Journal 1933-1939: A.A.’s Principles of Success, 3rd ed.

            Children of the Healer: The Story of Dr. Bob’s Kids


The Influence of Professor William James and Dr. Carl Gustav Jung – Spiritual experience and necessity for conversion


            Real Twelve Step Fellowship History: The Old School A.A. You May Not Know

            The Conversion of Bill W.: More on the Creator’s Role in Early A.A.

            “Pass It On”: The Story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. Message Reached the World,       

                        pp. 381-286


Influence of William Duncan Silkworth, M.D. – Seemingly hopeless, “medically incurable”


            Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., pp. xxv-xxxii

            The Conversion of Bill W. More on the Creator’s Role in Early A.A.

            The Liitle Doctor Who Loved Drunks: A Biography of William Duncan Silkworth, M.D


Christian Literature Circulated by Dr. Bob and at Meetings


            Dr. Bob and His Library, 3rd ed,

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


Quiet Time – Bible reading, Prayer, Seeking Guidance, Anne’s Journal


            Good Morning: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation and Early A.A., 2d ed.

            The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living That Works, 2d ed.

            Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Bible as a Youngster

                        In Vermont


Daily Devotionals


            The Runner’s Bible by Nora Smith Holm

            The Greatest Thing in the World by Henry Drummond

            The Upper Room (quarterly of the Methodist Church)

            My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers


The Four Absolutes – Honesty, Purity, Unselfishness and Love


            The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous

            Anne Smith’s Journal 1933-1939,


The History of the Early Program


The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous

Real Twelve Step Fellowship History

            Turning Point: A History of Early A.A.’s  Spiritual Roots and Successes


Basic Ideas of Early A.A. Fully Available and Applicable Today as a Choice


Complete Abstinence from Drinking Alcohol of Any Kind


Qualifying the Newcomer


Hospitalization and possible detoxification


Surrender of one’s life to God, and becoming one of his children through Jesus Christ


Obedience to God’s Will – Eliminating Sin and Living Love


Growth in understanding: God, His Son, the Holy Spirit, Bible, commandments, salvation, healing, guidance, forgiveness, love, the renewed mind, dealing with the Adversary, prayer, thankfulness, fellowship, witness; and the return of Jesus Christ


            Study of the Bible – particularly Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, James, 1 Corinthians 13

            Individual and group prayer

            Seeking God’s guidance from the Bible and from His revelation

            Studying Christian literature on the Bible, prayer, thankfulness, love, forgiveness, healing


Intensive personal work helping others to get straightened out by the same path


Recommended social and religious fellowship and attending a religious service weekly


Making & Using Links Between the Founders & Present-Day A.A.’s Basic Text


Bible Basics: Book of James, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, 1 Corinthians 13, Book of Acts


Overview: Shoemaker’s definition of spiritual awakening: prayer, conversion, fellowship, witness


The Solution: Establishing a relationship with, or finding or rediscovering God now!


More about Alcoholism: Conceding the one’s innermost self that he cannot drink at all


How It Works: [the abc’s, ending] God could and would if He were sought


Chapter Five – Surrender, Inventory, Confession, Conviction, Conversion, Amends,

Continuance in Step 10, Prayer and Meditation in Step 11, Witnessing and Practicing the principles from the Bible through Step 12.


“Taking” the 12 Steps as Clarence Snyder Taught Them


Reading the First Edition Personal Stories – almost all of which are now deleted


Understanding the importance of fellowship with like-minded believers, worship


Spiritual Tools Bill W. Had Before Him When He and Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker Expanded Bill’s 6 Word-of-Mouth Ideas to 12 Steps



The Bible references and the references to sources are based on the verses and the writings the early AAs actually used – not some fabricated thoughts about relevant verses or ideas


Step One: Dr. Silkworth’s view of problem of Alcoholism; and Psalms 23, 91; “O God Manage Me because I can’t manage myself” prayer used by the Oxford Group, Shoemaker, and Anne Smith


Step Two: Hebrews 11:6; God either is, or He isn’t; and Power greater than ourselves from Anne Smith and Shoemaker; and Bill’s statements that only God could restore us to sanity.


Step Three: “Thy will be done” – Matthew 6:10; James 4:7 Shoemaker


Step Four: Inventory of faults using the Four Absolutes – Matthew 7:1-5; Anne Smith, Oxford Group, Shoemaker


Step Five: Confession of Faults – James 5:16, Anne Smith: to God, ourselves, another


Step Six: Conviction of Faults – Oxford Group


Step Seven: Conversion – John 3:16, Romans 10:9, James 4:10 - Shoemaker


Steps Eight and Nine:  Willingness and Restitution – John 7:17, Matthew 5:23-26; Shoemaker, Anne Smith


Step Ten: Continuance: Shoemaker, Oxford Group, Anne Smith


Step Eleven: Quiet Time – Psalm 5:1-3; Shoemaker, Oxford Group, Anne Smith


Step Twelve – Awakening (Matthew 7:20-29), Pass It On (Mark 16:15-20), Practice the Principles (Matthew 5:1-16, 38-48; Matthew 6:9-13, 33; 7:9-12, 16-20) – Shoemaker, Oxford Group. In summary: Ten Commandments, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Book of James, 1 Corinthians 13, Four Absolutes taken from Speer’s The Principles of Jesus.


Further Specific Suggestions for Christians and Those Who Want to Become Children of God in Today’s Fellowships


[The following are books by Dick B.; published by Paradise Research Publications, Inc.; described in; available through or Dick B.’s website]


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


The Good Book-Big Book Guide Book


Twelve Steps for You: Take the Twelve Steps with the Big Book, A.A. History, and the Good Book at Your Side, 4th ed.


By the Power of God: A Guide to Early A.A. Groups & Forming Similar Groups Today


(Big Book, Twelve Step, and Bible Study Groups; James Clubs; Bible fellowships, Christian Recovery Fellowships, Prayer Groups, Retreats, and Churches)


Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed.


Dick B. and Ken B. “Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery 4 DVD’s and Guides


Dick B. with Ken B., The Dick B. Handbook for Christian Recovery Resource Centers (available to those participants in International Christian Recovery Coalition who establish Christian Recovery Resource Centers


The comprehensive, 31-volume "Dick B. A.A. History and Christian Recovery Reference Set":

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