Thursday, August 13, 2015

Early AAs Said They Were Cured of Alcoholism

Early AAs Said They Were Cured of Alcoholism
By Ken B.
I recently wrote an article based on research done by my dad (pen name: "Dick B.") titled: "Have You Been Talked out of A.A.'s Cure for Alcoholism?" In that article, I pointed out that, in strong contrast to the single negative use of the word "cured" on page 85 of the current (fourth, 2001) edition of Alcoholics Anonymous ("the Big Book"), there are seven occurrences of the word "cured" used in a positive sense of "cure of alcoholism" on pages 1-192 of the Big Book. The most important of the seven occurrences is A.A. cofounder Bill W.'s own declaration in mid-July 1935 to the wife of "Alcoholic Anonymous Number Three" (Akron attorney Bill D.): ". . . 'Henrietta, 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. (New York City: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 2001), 191; emphasis added].

The fact is that many early AAs referred to themselves as having been cured of alcoholism, a "disease" which the medical community of the time had considered "incurable." Here is another of those seven occurrences of the word "cured" in a positive sense of the cure of alcoholism:

"Nineteen years ago last summer [i.e., in 1935], [A.A. cofounder] Dr. Bob and I [A.A. cofounder Bill W.] saw him (Bill D.) for the first time. Bill lay on his hospital bed and looked at us in wonder.

"Two days before this, Dr. Bob had said to me, 'If you and I are going to stay sober, we had better get busy.' Straightway, Bob called Akron's City Hospital and asked for the nurse on the receiving ward. He explained that he and a man from New York had a cure for alcoholism. Did she have an alcoholic customer on whom it could be tried?" [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 188; emphasis added].

A.A. cofounders Bill W. and Dr. Bob were two of many early AAs who spoke of having been cured of alcoholism. In October and November 1939, only a few months after the first edition of the Big Book was published in April 1939, the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper published a number of articles about A.A. by Elrick B. Davis. According to the website on which the articles were reproduced (, they were "reprinted from the Cleveland Plain Dealer with permission."

Oct. 21, 1939, Alcoholics Anonymous Makes Its Stand Here: Part 1
Oct. 23, 1939, Alcoholics Anonymous Makes Its Stand Here: Part 2
Oct. 24, 1939, Alcoholics Anonymous Makes Its Stand Here: Part 3
Oct. 25, 1939, Alcoholics Anonymous Makes Its Stand Here: Part 4
Oct. 26, 1939, Alcoholics Anonymous Makes Its Stand Here: Part 5
Nov. 2, 1939, A Noted Divine Reviews "Alcoholics Anonymous"
Nov. 4, 1939, A Physician Looks Upon Alcoholics Anonymous

You might enjoy counting the occurrences of forms of the word "cured" in a positive sense of the cure of alcoholism. As my dad (Dick B.) likes to say, "Where there is one piece of truth, there is (quite often) more."

For more information on this and other topics relating to the roles played by God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible in early A.A.'s astonishing success, please see, for example, my dad's main website ( and the many Christian Recovery resources available at "A.A. History: The Rest of the Story, with Dick B." (                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

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