Applying “Old School” A.A. in Today’s 12-Step Fellowships
By Dick B.
© 2011-2015 Anonymous. All rights reserved
What the First, Original,
A.A. Program Was
and Did Akron
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
Pioneers, discussed in The Dick B.
Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010, pp. 54-57 Akron
(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
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. Akron
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
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
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,
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
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
of Alcoholics Anonymous Akron
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 www.dickb.com/titles.shtml; available through Amazon.com or Dick B.’s website www.dickb.com]
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. www.dickb.com/Christian-Recov-Guide.shtml
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 http://bit.ly/erD3tW
The comprehensive, 31-volume "Dick B. A.A. History and Christian Recovery Reference Set": http://www.dickb.com/DickB-Reference-Set.shtml.