Thursday, March 31, 2011

Internartional Christian Recovery Coalition: New Blog

International Christian Recovery Coalition, of which Dick B. is Executive Director, has just established its own blog site.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The A.A. Christian's Plight - a Typical Letter

Today, I received the following letter from Anthony W. It is typical of those I receive with great frequency--often each day. And his letter explains: (1) Why we convened the huge nationwide conference at Mariners Church in Irvine - a conference consisting of Christian leaders and workers in recovery who gathered to tell us their experience with what has become a nationwide, if not worldwide problem in recovery fellowships today. (2) Why we immediately founded International Christian Recovery Coalition--an informal and rapidly growing fellowship of Christian leaders and workers in recovery who, participating at no cost, are helping us make known the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played in the recovery movement long before A.A., played in the founding and successes of early A.A., and can play today. (3) Why we are encouraging Coalition members to establish Christian Recovery Resource Centers around the world--centers where people who want God's help with alcoholism and addiction can find out how to begin, who to talk to, and where to go. There are already 20 of these centers established in the U.S., UK, and Canada since the project was begun in January of 2011. Here is the typical letter I mentioned at the outset: Hello, Dick. I have been having a struggle in AA lately. Most people in AA do not attend a Christian church, and many are hostile towards God, Jesus, church etc. (they should list Jesus on their 4th Step resentments). To be fair, there are people I know in AA who do not mind that I or others attend a Christian church or believe in Jesus (of course they do prefer that I not openly discuss my personal beliefs, or "preach" to them). On the other hand, there are many Christians in churches that disagree with AA, calling it non-Christian or a cult. Most of them, if not all, have never read the Big Book or know the Christian (biblical) roots of the AA program. Again, to be fair, there are also Christians who approve of AA. Maybe I'm just too sensitive to negativity. To comment, to participate in the International Christian Recovery Coalition, to learn from our class about the founding of A.A., to establish a Christian Recovery Resource Center, and to obtain the books and articles that explain the problem, the solution, and the growing movement among Christians in recovery, please contact me at

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A.A., the “Higher Powers,” and the New Thought Compromise

A.A., the “Higher Powers,” and the New Thought Compromise Dick B. © 2011 Anonymous. All rights reserved My Search for the Curious Nonsense “gods” Floating Around Recovery Talk As many know by now, my searches for the history of A.A. began when a young man told me when I was three years sober that A.A. had come from the Bible. I told him I had never heard such a thing in the thousand or more meetings I had attended, but he told me to read A.A.’s own DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers. Which I did. And the young man was right. Then, as many have often heard, I realized that A.A. had many roots. Some had never been researched. Some were scarcely known in the Fellowship. Some had systematically and intentionally been discarded or, at best, distorted. By 2000, I was speaking at the archives meeting of the A.A. International Convention in Minneapolis. I reviewed for the large audience A.A.’s roots in the Bible, in the Oxford Group, in the writings of Rev. Samuel Shoemaker, in Anne Smith’s Journal, in Quiet Time, and in the literature of Dr. Bob’s own library. But there was much more to be learned. By the end of the next decade, I had researched and identified many more roots—some large in importance, some mythical or incomplete as they had been reported, some virtually unknown, and some correctly highlighted. These included Dr. William D. Silkworth, Professor William James, Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, the Salvation Army, the Young People’s Christian Endeavor Society, the YMCA, the gospel rescue missions, conversions, and the evangelists like Dwight Moody, Ira Sankey, F.B. Meyer, and Bill Sunday. But by that time, critics of A.A. were abounding with new assertions and assumptions. They pointed to New Thought as the basis for A.A. They pointed to spiritualism as the basis for A.A. They pointed to Bill Wilson’s obsession with adultery and LSD as evidence of imbalance. They even claimed that Free Masonry had put its nose under the tent of A.A. No documentation, just unsupported attack. Critics made stronger and seemingly well-financed arguments that A.A. was not for Christians, that it was the product of “automatic writing,” and that it amounted to “twelve steps to destruction.” Most important, they claimed that no Christian could fellowship with other AAs based on what they termed biblical injunctions. Strangely some critics recognized that those who mentioned God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, and religion were somewhat regularly intimidated and denounced by a few bleeding deacons citing Traditions and Conference Approved objections as supposed authority for their remarks. And these objections fostered new Christian fellowships like Celebrate Recovery. Along the way, I was asked to publish a study of all the nonsense gods that had crept into the A.A. picture— idols like Higher Power, Power greater than ourselves, God as we understood Him, and one’s own “conception” of a god. Plus some 50 plus absurd names for the new deity that ranged from light bulbs to the Big Dipper to a rock to Mighty Mouse—not Micky, but Mighty! And, to explain as much as I had found to that time, I published God and Alcoholism: Our Growing Opportunity in the 21st Century in 2002. Still, the clamor against A.A., by a few Christians, by many atheists and humanists, and by many many disgruntled AAs—not to leave out “erudite scholars” seeking to change the recovery movement—increased and reached far beyond the light that was shining. The Increasing Body of Evidence of Recovery’s Nonsense “Higher Powers” Long ago, I had accurately identified the fact that it was mostly the New Thought writers who had invented the “higher power” idea as an integral part of their theology. Their curious chain of effort began around 1900 with Ralph Waldo Trine and Professor William James. It grew with the Emmanuel Movement. And it reached a temporary peak in the writings of Emmet Fox. But these elements were just seed planters as far as the revision of recovery ideas was concerned. Successors to and admirers of the early planters somehow believed they could fertilize and propagate widely the idea that higher powers, not-gods, and pseudo “spirituality” were an integral part of the origins and history of A.A. and effective recovery. In another article just posted on, I listed all the subsequent advocates of some peculiar higher power, strange spirituality, and absurd names for a god. These folks were not all New Thought advocates. To their ranks I added an occasional Oxford Group writing, an occasional remark by Rev. Shoemaker, numerous theories by a few A.A historians, and lots of inventions by counselors, clergy, and AAs themselves. But there remained the puzzling question: Why did Bill Wilson use such strange synonyms for what he openly acknowledged was the power of the Creator. In the process, Bill capitalized all sorts of strange names, and he put them in his writings. He also left a state of total confusion about what these strange new gods were and what they could do for the alcoholic who still suffers. The Best Early Resource for the Wilson Language that I Have Thus Far Found Ralph Waldo Trine was a New Thought writer who published In Tune with the Infinite. Trine seemed the first to invent this new “Higher Power.” But even Trine never seems to have stooped to calling his higher power a light bulb, the Big Dipper, Something, Ralph, or “not-god.” Recently, however, I stumbled upon the following book Trine published in 1917. Here is the citation: Ralph Waldo Trine, The Higher Powers of Mind and Spirit (New York: Dodge Publishing Company, 1917). And it is filled with data which foreshadowed Bill Wilson’s love affair with New Thought writing and idolatrous language. Here are some ideas which can provide homework for those who wonder about strange A.A. Big Book language—language that never came from the Bible, but was usually capitalized to indicate it referred to “God,” and was curiously accompanied by all sorts of quotes from the Bible and references to the Creator, Almighty God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible itself. The Higher Power That Ralph Waldo Trine Promoted Here are some references by Trine to “this higher power”: “. . . we open our lives so that this Higher Power can work definitely in and through us” (p. 40) ‘. . . guidance of this higher wisdom and in all forms of expression to act and to work augmented by this higher power” (p. 166) Here are some of the sources for ideas that Trine mentioned in support of his characterizatons: “Our own William James, he so splendidly related psychology, philosophy, and even religion, to life in a supreme degree, honoured his calling and did a tremendous service for all” (p. 9) “Containing a fundamental truth deeper perhaps than we realize, are these words of that gifted seer, Emmanuel Swedenborg: There is only one Fountain of Life, and the life of man is a stream therefrom, which if it were not continuously replenished from its source would instantly cease to flow” (p. 33) “The Emmanuel Movement in Boston in connection with Emmanuel Church. . . is an attestation of this. That most valuable book. . . Religion and Medicine” (142) [the higher power] “is making actual the proposition enunciated by Emerson. . .” (p. 166) [a reference to Ralph Waldo Emerson who some have claimed was the author of the whole “New Thought Movement”] And if you are wondering how a few Christian A.A. critics have managed to tar and feather A.A. as spiritualist, an offspring of Emmet Fox, and an adherent of New Thought, just look at the roster of Trine’s New Thought advocates—William James, Emmanuel Swedenborg, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. And at least two of these had in fact dickered with spiritualism. Just as Bill Wilson himself had been introduced to the Swedenborgian ideas through his marriage to and the family of Lois Burnham Wilson, his wife. The erring Christian critics ignored the plain teachings of the New Testament that “even” Christians walked in the flesh, were carnal in their meanderings, and violated God’s commandments. See Romans, Chapter 8, for example. But Wilson’s vagaries—ranging from New England Congregationalism to atheist thinking to Swedenborgian influences to born again Christianity at the Mission to spiritualism to Roman Catholic doctrine to psychic experiments—could not alter A.A. nor even Wilson’s status as a Christian, which came from his decision for Jesus Christ at Calvary Rescue Mission—the validity of which is for God and God alone to judge—not some anti-A.A. Christian writer. And here are some of Trine’s own capitalized deity names along with other ideas that so typically seemed to invite Wilson’s creation of unique and strange new gods and a supposed relationship with them: “Infinite Power” (p. 10) “Life Force of all objective material forms” (p. 10) “The Supreme Intelligence God” (p. 11) “Divine Wisdom. . . Divine Power. . . Divine Voice” (no page number given) “Voice of the Spirit” (no page number given) “Eternal Divine Life. . . Divine Being” (p. 25) “. . . eternal, Unity. . . . This Unity is God. All things have come from the Divine Unity” (p. 29) “God-consciousness” (pp. 33, 91) Let’s look at Wilson’s capitalized “gods” whose presence is still extant in one form or another in the 4th edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, published in 2001: “Creative Intelligence, Universal Mind. . . Spirit of Nature. . . Czar of the Heavens” (p. 12) “Power beyond ourselves. . . Supreme Being. . . Power greater than ourselves” (p. 46) “All Powerful, Guiding, Creative Intelligence” (p. 49) “Spirit of the Universe” (p. 52) “Great Reality deep down within us” (p 55) “Presence of Infinite Power and Love” (p. 56) “our Director. . . the Principal. . .new Employer” (pp. 61-62) “Great Fact” (p. 164) These man-made deities can simply not be found in the King James Version of the Bible that early AAs studied prior to publication of the Big Book in 1939. Were these new gods? New names for a “god?” Wilson’s own self-made “god?” Or lingo that he had picked up from his association with William James, Swedenborg, and Fox writings? Who knows! What we do know is that Wilson also placed a far greater emphasis on biblical descriptions of God—as God is known or described in the Bible from which Dr. Bob said the basic ideas had come. Originally there were no absurd names for God in the Steps. And the Big Book refers to Almighty God with biblical descriptions many many many times – “God,” “Creator,” “Maker,” “Father of Lights,” “Father,” and “Heavenly Father.” But the duality of references—some New Thought and some biblical--clearly opened a door to what Wilson called the “broad highway” which he paved when he deleted “God” from Steps Two, Three, and Eleven just before the Big Book went to print. And Wilson himself made it clear he created the Step duality to appease atheists and agnostics. See the photo of the hand-written notes and amendments in The Book That Started It All: The Original Working Manuscript of “Alcoholics Anonymous” (Center City, MN: Hazelden, 2010), page 58. Also, Bill’s explanation of deletion of “God” in Steps Two, Three, and Eleven and the replacement made to assuage atheists and agnostics. See Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age: A Brief History of A.A. (NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1957), pages 17, 162-64, 166-67. Bill seemed to lay the deletion of God at the feet of his partner, Henry Parkhurst, claiming that Parkhust “had come to believe in some sort of ‘universal power’.” (page 163). And Bill’s wife Lois Wilson confirmed that a “universal” program had been agreed upon. In fact, her comments indicated a leaning in that direction. In Lois Remembers: Memoirs of the co-founder of Al-Anon and wife of the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (NY: Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., 1987), Lois made the following remarks: The pros and cons were mostly about the tone of the book. Some wanted it slanted more toward the Christian religion; others, less. Many alcoholics were agnostics and atheists. Then there were those of the Jewish faith and, around the world, of other religions. Shouldn’t the book be written so that it would appeal to them also? Finally, it was agreed that the book should present a universal spiritual program, not a specific religious one, since all drunks were not Christian (113) Then, near the close of 1935, the powers-that-be behind the Calvary Mission forbade the alcoholic boys living there to come to the Clinton Street meetings, saying that Bill and I were “not maximum.” This not only hurt us but left us disappointed in the group’s leadership. . . . In spite of the rebuff, Bill and I were not immediately discouraged with the Oxford Group as a whole. . . . But in the summer of 1937 Bill and I stopped going to OG meetings (103) God, through the Oxford Group, had accomplished in a twinkling what I had failed to do in seventeen years. One minute I would get down on my knees and thank God . . . , and the next moment I would throw things about and cuss the Oxford Group (99) I felt I already had the knowledge and discipline these kinds of folks were seeking (98) Bill belonged to a team for a while, but I didn’t (93) I felt no personal need for their teachings. I had had a sound spiritual training [from her Swedenborgian family and church]. . . I did not think I needed the Oxford Group (91) As for me, I had never believed in emotional conversions (88) I tried to get the Y to send me abroad as an aide to the wounded. . . . But the National Board of the YWCA refused because of my religion. Their letter of rejection stated that Swedenborgians (the sect to which I belonged) and Unitarians were not considered Christians! . . . . This seemed to me not only narrow but illogical, a “non-Christian” could instruct children but could not aid wounded soldiers (26) It will be for others to decide how much Lois’ background and prejudices influenced Bill Wilson’s eventual surrender to universalism. This surrender had taken place despite Bill’s Christian upbringing as a youngster in Vermont, his conversion to God through Jesus Christ at Calvary Mission, and his active participation in the Bible studies, prayer meetings, required conversions, and Quiet Times in Akron. But then there were Lois’s Swedenborgian convictions (including those perhaps pertaining to the Wilson obsession with spiritualism); Lois’s distaste for conversions; her resentments against the Christian ideas of the Oxford Group; and the seemingly crafted omission of mention of A.A.’s Bible roots and practices. These certainly could have added fuel to the fire for the last-minute compromise that eliminated God from the Twelve Steps and opened up the “broad highway” to multiple gods and no God that swept into A.A. as the years went by. Note also that in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, Bill had said of the Episcopal clergyman Sam Shoemaker: “It was from him that Dr. Bob and I in the beginning had absorbed most of the principles that were afterward embodied in the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous” (p. 39). And, before he yielded at the last minute to the urgings of his partner Henry Parkhurst, Bill said: “We were still arguing about the Twelve Steps. All this time I had refused to budge on these steps. I would not change a word of the original draft, in which, you will remember, I had consistently used the word “God,” and in one place the expression “on our knees” was used . . Though at first I would have none of it, we finally began to talk about the possibility of compromise” (166-67). A compromise that deleted God! Is All This Confusion Fuel for Condemning A.A.? Absolutely Not! For many it is. For others in A.A., it all seems perfectly normal and perhaps gets back to “basics” of their own conception as “back-to-basics: Wally P. claims, corrupting “God” as merely an “expedient” or as “convenient.” What we do know is that many AAs don’t know Who God is, or how to “find” Him, or to Whom they are supposed to pray. Is it the Creator. Is it Jesus. Is it a rock. Is it Somebody. Is it Santa Claus. Is it the Great Fact. Is it the Spirit of the Universe. Is it Creative Intelligence. Is it Ralph. Is it Gertrude. Is it a tree. Or is it a light bulb. For all these absurd names keep popping up – regularly! If Dr. Bob were alive, it would be God. If Bill Wilson were alive, who knows? If a few want to condemn A.A. because of some strange ideas emanating from Trine, Swedenborg, James, and Fox, so be it. But for me, there was a clear challenge based on the history of A.A. itself to find out and report the role of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible in the A.A. that was founded and flourished before the nonsense gods made their mysterious and confusing entrance into “recovery.” Those of us who want to help drunks. Those of us who came into A.A. as drunks and were helped by AAs. Those who saw the clear promise in A.A.’s Big Book that God could do for us what we could not do for ourselves. Lots of us who have learned by experience what God actually can do. Lots of us who have no support to give those who talk of the gods of Ralph Waldo Trine, spiritualism, and some “scholar’s” linguistic manufacture. All of such are part of a current, growing movement to report and talk about the deeds, healings, power, forgiveness, and love of the one true living God My own experience is that a newcomer (properly armed with the same power of which Dr. Bob spoke—“Your Heavenly Father”) has little no taste for or interest in relying on rocks, trees, light bulbs, or idols. The malady is too serious; the consequences unchecked are too disastrous; and the stakes too high to warrant playing around with a man-made creation that couldn’t answer the prayer of a cricket. Those who today argue that A.A. is not Christian are right. Those who argue that no Christians should be in AA. are patently ignorant of the thousands and thousands of Christians who participate in A.A. They don’t know AAs’ own ignorance of the great compromise based on the fears of Wilson, the prejudice of Parkhurst, or the influence of Bill’s wife. A compromise that has caused many to stop helping drunks rely on Almighty God for their recovery. The revisionists patently ignore the fact that today the Red Cross, the United Way, the YMCA, the Armed Forces, the Congress, and the Constitution authorize no litmus test that will bar either Christians or non-Christians from the service work that all constantly render. Isolation and prohibition will not stop the devil’s intrusion, nor can they stop the work of Almighty God – with Whom nothing is impossible. Gloria Deo

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A.A., a Weird Higher Power, and Departure from the Creator

A.A., a Weird Higher Power, and Departure from the Creator

Outline of Proposed Points to Be Reviewed

Dick B.
© 2011 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Idolatry is Not a New Phenomenon

Exodus 20:3 – “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

Leviticus 26:1 – “Ye shall make make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.”

Deuteronomy 5:8 – “Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth”

Psalm 115 (stating that idols are the work of men’s hands, mouths but cannot speak, eyes but cannot see, ears but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell, hands that cannot handle, feet that cannot walk, throats that cannot speak – they that make them are like them, so are they that trust then)

Nor is the Power of God Anything but Available and Mighty

Genesis 18:14 [God said to Abraham:] “Is any thing too hard for the LORD?”

Psalm 103:2-4 -- “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindess and tender mercies.”

Luke 1: 37 [The angel said to Mary:] “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

Luke 4:6:-8 – “And the devil taking him [Jesus] up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, And this power will I give thee. . .If thou therefore will worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Ye do err, in not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God, said Jesus

Matthew 22:29 – “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God.’”

The Long Trail of Manufacturers Who Produced the Nonsense gods
The reader can check out these sources to see a century of those who attempted to invent a nonsense god which they called a “higher power” and said could heal those who were sick, or at least keep the sick people busy trying to “find” him, her, or it.

The absurd names for “a” god: The ridiculous array of documented definitions given for a “higher power” by AAs, counselors, writers, clergy, and A.A. itself includes: a) the A.A. group, b) good orderly direction, c) a group of drunks, d) a table, e) a chair, f) a bulldozer, g) a radiator, h) a goddess, i) Something, k) Somebody, l) any god you want, m) yourself as not-god, n) the Big Dipper, o) Santa Claus, p) Ralph, q) Gertrude, r) a light bulb, s) a door knob, t) the Great Pumpkin, u) a Coke bottle, v) the back end of a city bus, w) a rock, x) a tree, y) anybody, z) Buddha, aa) Nature, bb) Mighty Mouse, cc) him, her, or it, dd) that which keeps me sober, ee) Allah, ff) God, gg) Prime Cause, hh) Divine Mind, ii) nothing at all, jj) a stone, kk) Spirit of the Universe, ll) Creative Intelligence, mm) Good, nn) Czar of the heavens, oo) Man upstairs, pp) Universal Mind qq) Mohammed, rr) Christ, . See Dick B., God and Alcoholism: Our Growing Opportunity in the 21st Century, 2002; The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living that Works, Newton ed., 1998; The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible, Bridge Builders ed., 1997.

A century of champions for an “higher power”: As we pointed out from the Bible, the erection and worship of nonsense gods is not a new phenomenon. What has been new is the strange array of those who invented or perpetuated the nonsense idea of some peculiar, ill-defined “higher power”—one that belonged in the recovery arena. They include: a) Ralph Waldo Trine. b) William James. c) The New Thought writers. d) The Emmanuel Movement. e) Emmet Fox. f) A.A. historians. (g) Treatment programs. (h) A. A. General Services Conference-approved books. i) Clergy. (j) psychiatrists. (k) government agencies. (l) Christians who claim that Jesus is their “higher power.” See Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune with the Infinite: Or Fullness of Peace, Power, and Plenty (NY: Thomas H. Crowell, 1897); William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, (NY: First Vintage Press/The Library of America Edition, 1990); Elwood Worcester, Samuel McComb, and Isador H. Coriat, Religion and Medicine: TheMoral Control of Nervous Disorders (NY: Moffat, Yard & Company, 1908); Walter Houston Clark, The Psychology of Religion: An Introduction to Religious Experience and Behavior (NY: MacMillan, 1958); Terrence Gorski, Understanding the Twleve Steps: A Guide for Counselors, Therapists, and Recovering People (Missouri: Herald/ House/Independence Press, 1980; Marianne W. Gilliam, How Alcoholics Anonymous Failed Me: My Personal Journey to Sobriety Through Self-Empowerment (NY: William Morrow, 1998); Morris E. Chafetz and Harold W. Demone, Jr., Alcoholism & Society (NY: Oxford Univeristy Press, 1962); Katherine Ketcham, et. al., Beyond the Influence: Understanding and Defeating Alcoholism (NY: Bantam Books,2000); Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham, The Spirituality of Imperfection: Modern Wisdom from Classic Stories (NY: Bantam Books, 1992); William L. White, Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America (Bloomington IL: Chesnut Health Systems, 1998); Glenn F. Chesnut, The Higher Power of the Twelve-Step Program: For Believers & Non-believers, (IN: Hindsfoot, September 2001)

Reviewing the Evidence

If I were talking to a suffering newcomer in A.A. (as I have often done for 24 years), I would ask the simple question: “Do you believe in God?” This is the question Dr. Bob asked all the newcomers in the early days. And they, like those I have addressed, responded, “Yes.” And Dr. Bob would then often say, “Now we are getting some place.” And years later, at the end of his personal story now on page 181 of the 4th edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, this A.A. cofounder – named the “Prince of All Twelfth-steppers” by his partner Bill Wilson—simply wrote: “Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!”

And I firmly believe that if I asked a newcomer if he or she would like to seek the help of a doorknob, a tree, the Big Dipper, or a bulldozer, he or she would walk away in disgust and look for the help of someone who knew and said what the real “Power” behind Alcoholics Anonymous is: the power of Almighty God.

A Sad Contemporary Discussion in Wikipedia—Looking for a Loving, Caring, Light Bulb
“Sources that may have contributed to the adoption of the term in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the first twelve-step group, include spiritualism, New Thought and the work of William James.[1] James, who wrote "The only cure for dipsomania is religiomania" in The Varieties of Religious Experience, is cited in the 'Spiritual Experience' appendix of Alcoholics Anonymous (also known as the "Big Book").[2]
“Sociologist Darren Sherkat researched the belief of Americans in a Higher Power. He based his research on data from 8,000 adults polled by the Chicago-based National Opinion Research Center between 1988 and 2000. Amongst his findings were that 8% stated "I don't believe in a personal god, but I do believe in a higher power of some kind." This is the same figure as found by the 1999 Gallup national poll of Americans. Sherkat also found that 16% of the Jewish people surveyed agreed with the statement about a 'higher power', whilst 13.2% of liberal Protestants and 10.6% of Episcopalians also agreed with it.[3]
“An empirically based recovery framework likened faith in a Higher Power to motivation for personal growth as described by Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers.[4]
“In current twelve-step program usage a Higher Power can be anything at all that the member believes is adequate. Reported examples include their twelve-step group, Nature, consciousness, existential freedom, God, science, gravity, Buddha. It is frequently stipulated that as long as a Higher Power is "greater" than the individual, then the only condition is that it should also be loving and caring.[5]


A Roster of Those Said to Be Opposed to A.A.

We certainly don't endorse this list or the views of those included in the list. But many in recovery fellowships or seeking recovery by the power of God in A.A. and elsewhere or standing tall as Christians in recovery wherever they find themselves in the recovery arena don't realize just how widespread is the attack on A.A. these days. Assuming the list is correct, it establishes that this variety of antognists includes atheists, Wilson critics, former AAs, cult-chasers, "Christian" critics, those who have failed to find recovery anywhere, and others.

At times, we have not only found A.A. lambasted, but found our own sites and names included in the attacks. Occasionally we have answered the comments. Sometimes we have found our historical research applauded. Sometimes we have been inclined to ignore the nasty remarks But we believed that "Stinkin Thinkin"--a site whose title perhaps epitomizes its approach--has assembled the list below, indicating those listed are supportive of the negative approaches. And here they are--a lengthy list of those who have beefs against A.A. whether their remarks are supported, supportable, or without support:

Addiction Recovery Resources
AA GSO Watch
Alcohol Harm Reduction Support
Drug Policy Alliance
Life Ring
My Way Out
Non 12-Step
Orange Papers
Rational Recovery ™
Science Based Medicine
Secular Organizations for Sobriety (S.O.S.)
SMART Recovery(tm)
Stanton Peele
Stanton Peele on ST
The Big Book online
The Clean Slate Addiction
The Sinclair Method
The Skeptic's Dictionary
Women for Sobriety

Addiction Inbox
Arnold ZeDville
Beyond Rehab
Blamethenile on Youtube
Go-Go Rach
Habit Doc Daily
Lunatics Anonymous
Luv Drunk
Modern Drunkard
More Revealed
My Word Like Fire
New Recovery
SMART Recovery Blog
Stop 13th Step in AA
The Clean Slate Addiction
Why Won't God Heal Amputees

My own position is easily found on several of my websites:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

International Christian Recovery Coalition 1st quarter projects; plus 1st Edition plans

In the first three months since the project was begun, twenty Christian Recovery Resource Centers were established in United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. We are just about ready to ship all the remaining free cases of Dick B. A.A. History books (before 3/31). And then on to two exciting Big Book 1st Edition projects. Taken together, these two 1st Edition works, plus Hazelden's Original Printer's Manuscript book for which we wrote an explanatory essay, will make the real importance of the 1939 book come alive. Stay tuned for posting of details on our blog

God Bless, Dick B.

A.A. Anger and Strife: Some Thoughts from Proverbs

Apparently there is nothing new about attempts within the A.A. Fellowship and elsewhere to squelch the good that is done for the drunk who still suffers and finds himself in A.A.

The scraps have gone on since the mid-1930's. But, for a long time, the A.A. fellowship grew despite the angry outbursts. Perhaps because physicians, clergy, writers, and government officials were courted and won over--perhaps because of their own ineptness at solving what Dr. Silkworth called the "medically incurable" plight of the real alcoholic.

But A.A. seemed to avoid public controversy - perhaps by stressing anonymity.

No more. Not with the internet, the courts, the atheists, the clergy, the government agencies, and disgruntled AAs themselves picking up the axes and chopping away.

Thus, if you are a Christian in A.A. and mention Jesus Christ, some bozo may tell you that you can't do that. What's the problem? You? The bozo? Jesus Christ? A.A.?

Moreover, if you are a Christian in A.A. and read what a handful of Christian writers claim is an abomination, a threat to Christ, and contrary to the Bible, you may be greatly disturbed and shrink from mention of your Savior. What's the problem? You? The erring writer? Jesus Christ? A.A.?

Or, if you failed in A.A. for a variety of reasons, there is a new array of warriors who will tell you that Bill Wilson was crazy, was a spiritualist, was never a Christian, and violated his marriage vows and the limits of sanity with his LSD use. What's the problem? You? The psychoanalysts? Bill Wilson? A.A.?

There are more. And you probably stumble across these A.A. detractors at every turn today. Furthermore, the celebrities, the newspapers, the TV shows, and the "experts" are no longer quick to extoll the virtues of this fellowship which costs nothing, demands nothing serves the downtrodden and defeated, and has no binding restrictions on vulgarity, fornication, or strife. What's the problem? You? The detractors? The harm done? A.A.?

Anger. Anger. Anger. Anger in a fellowship which says "Love and tolerance is our code" and whose underlying philosophy was Jesus' Sermon on the Mount - according to its founders.

Perhaps the real problem is the angry ones. And here are some verses from Proverbs that may inspire those who wonder at the profit of being angry about A.A. and being outspoken in reproof of those who simply came to A.A. for help and to get well.

A few Bible verses from Proverbs for a former professor and website moderator who claims his
“students” would be furious if he posted certain historical materials and thereby allowed some light to shine.:

Proverbs 15:1-2 KJV

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up strife. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.”

Proverbs 25:20-21 KJV

“Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.”

Proverbs 28:1 KJV

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

Proverbs 29:22 KJV

“An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression”

I believe the Oxford professor can understand the King’s English, and I also understand why it was that Dr. Bob’s wife Anne strongly recommended the reading of Proverbs. In my youth, we just said, “The guy is scared of his shadow.” As for me, I’ve found nothing in the Big Book or our history to be afraid of. What we don’t like we can discard. What is wrong we can ignore. What is questionable, we can explore. What is right deserves report.

Anger is devilish and destructive. And it kindles resentment, revenge, and hurt. But Proverbs offers some suggestions to the unwary--those quick to spread rumors, to kindle opposition, and to promulgate rumor and doubt

Sunday, March 20, 2011

only a few days more to get a free case of A.A. history books

Only a few days left for you to acquire a free case of Dick B. new A.A. History books. This coming week, we will be shipping over 100 cases. $30 s&h and the case is yours. For details on what's available, and how to order, see . Or email Dick B. at

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A.A. History-Cases of Books Free. Last few days

Please don't miss this rare opportunity to obtain cases of Dick B. A.A. history books for only $30. per case s & h. Only a dozen days left to secure this valuable treasure on aa history. Please call 808 276 4945 or go to for cases on hand and how to order them.

Dick B.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Co-Founder of A.A.

“So I Stand by the Door”
Reverend Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr.'s Apologia for His Life
The Poem, Its Form and Titles, and an Historical Commentary

By Dick B.
Copyright 2011 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Background Introduction
The Reverend Samuel Moor Shoemaker, Jr., S.T.D., D.D., is known to a few (far too few) members of Alcoholics Anonymous as a “cofounder” of the Society and the well-spring of its ideas.To the religious community, to Episcopalians, and to many citizens, Sam was known and applauded as one of the 10 greatest preachers in America (along with Billy Graham, Norman Vincent Peale, and others). From 1925 and for many years thereafter, Sam was Rector of the Calvary Protestant Episcopal Church in New York. Later, he was called to be Rector of the Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh. Sam took a special interest in Alcoholics Anonymous and became a good friend of A.A. cofounder Bill Wilson. In fact, Sam taught Bill Wilson most of the spiritual principles that were incorporated into A.A.'s basic text (Alcoholics Anonymous) and in A.A.'s Twelve Steps. Some 200 phrases in A.A. bear the unmistakable footprints of Sam. And, at one point, Wilson asked Shoemaker to write the Twelve Steps, but Sam declined “saying they should be written by Bill.” Nonetheless, the Steps (as is the Big Book) are replete with Shoemaker ideas on how to find God, the “turning point,” the Oxford Group life-changing steps (Confidence, Confession, Conviction, Conversion, Continuance), Quiet Time, Spiritual Awakening, prayer, fellowship, conversion and witness, and the need to “pass it on,” a phrase known to all AAs. Years after the founding of A.A. in 1935, Wilson accorded Shoemaker the singular honor of addressing the A.A. International Conventions in 1955 (St. Louis) and 1960 (Long Beach).Recently, the Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Experiment (which Sam founded) opined to me that Shoemaker's whole dedication was to opening the door and showing people how to find God. Shoemaker several times wrote articles bearing titles like “How To Find God.”It is not surprising that Shoemaker penned several versions of a poem which most have titled “So I Stand by the Door.” Actually, at Christmas time in 1958, Sam had this poem and many others privately printed by Calvary Church in Pittsburgh. The poem has taken several forms and been known by at least two titles. The first title—apparently the one that Sam himself chose—was:

So I Stay Near the Door:
An Apologia for My Life

This is the title used in the pamphlet which I found in the Episcopal Church Archives in Austin, Texas. The poem has been used, modified, reprinted, and retitled elsewhere under the better known name of: “So I Stand by the Door.”
[I have received so many inquiries about the poem, its title, its wording, and where to find it, that this rendition is made available for your blessing. Further extensive comments on Sam Shoemaker can be found it my title: New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A. (]
The Poem: “So I Stay Near the Door”
I stay near the door.I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out,The door is the most important door in the world.It is the door through which men walk when they find God.There's no use my going way inside, and staying there,When so many are still outside, and they, as much as I,Crave to know where the door is.And all that so many ever findIs only the wall where a door ought to be.They creep along the wall like blind men.With outstretched, groping hands,Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,Yet they never find it . . .So I stay near the door.The most tremendous thing in the worldIs for men to find that door—the door to God.The most important thing any man can doIs to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands,And put it on the latch—the latch that only clicksAnd opens to the man's own touch.Men die outside that door, as starving beggars dieOn cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter.Die for want of what is within their grasp.They live, on the other side of it—live because they have found it.Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,And open it, and walk in, and find Him . . .So I stay near the door.Go in, great saints, go all the way in.Go way down into the cavernous cellars,And way up into the spacious attics.In a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.Go into the deepest of hidden casements,Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.Some must inhabit those inner rooms,And know the depths and heights of God,And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.Sometimes I take a deeper look in,Sometimes venture a little farther;But my place seems closer to the opening . . .So I stay near the door.The people too far in do not see how near these areTo leaving—preoccupied with the wonder of it all.Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door,But would like to run away. So for them, too,I stay near the door.I admire the people who go way in.But I wish they would not forget how it wasBefore they got in. Then they would be able to helpThe people who have not even found the door,Or the people who want to run away again from God.You can go in too deeply, and stay in too long,And forget the people outside the door.As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,Near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there,But not so far from men as not to hear them,And remember they are there too.Where? Outside the door;Thousands of them, millions of them.But—more important for me—One of them, two of them, ten of them,Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch,So I shall stay by the door and waitFor those who seek it.
I had rather be a door-keeper . . .So I stay near the door.
Epilogue by Dick B.

The poem contains many reminders of the A.A. I found—newcomers crying out for help in finding God. Hesitant, frightened, even reluctant newcomers—coming in and out by the thousands each year. Newcomers who seek a guiding hand—only to hear that “god” can be a light bulb, a radiator, a chair, or “Someone.” Newcomers who can't find Shoemaker's “door” because there is no one leading or pointing to the right power, Yahweh, the Creator. Newcomers who—amounting to 50% of those who come in the A.A. door—are out of it within the first year. Back to drinking. Back to drugs. Back to misery. Back to sure and certain death by one means or another if they remain “outside” the real door—the door to the power of God.How valuable it will be for people to see Shoemaker's poem today. As we take “God” out of our Pledge of Allegiance. As we take “God” out of our courtrooms. And as AAs are adjured to take “God” out of their belief system with a supposed freedom to choose just “anything at all.”The A.A. I found, almost 20 years ago, included, among other things, these signposts:
“Remember that we deal with alcohol—cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power—that One is God. May you find Him now!” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 59-60; and the first chapter of Shoemaker's first title, Realizing Religion, 1923).“. . . [E]ither God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn't. What was our choice to be?” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 53; and Shoemaker's title which preceded A.A., Confident Faith).“Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 55).“When we drew near to Him, He disclosed Himself to us!” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed ., p. 57).“We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 59; and many of Shoemaker's titles, including his first, Realizing Religion).
Many of the early A.A. pioneers in Akron, Ohio, were not trying to establish “a relationship with God” as the fourth edition of Alcoholics Anonymous says on page 29. Rather, as the “Multilith Edition” (also known as the “Original Manuscript”) pre-publication version says, they were trying to “rediscover God.” The many early A.A. Christian pioneers already knew God. They had to draw closer to Him. They got their information, their belief system, and their instructions from the Bible. They studied the Bible. And they believed that God is (See Hebrews 11:6). So did I. Devastated by the ravages of excessive drink, like the pioneers, I sought to rebuild my relationship with God—to establish daily fellowship with Him (1 John 1). And to seek His protection and care at every turn, mindful that obedience to His will was a vital part of the effort. Like early AAs, I was cured of alcoholism and have not had a drink from the first day in A.A. rooms until present.For doubters, unbelievers, and those like Bill Wilson—who, at times, had said he had been an “atheist” and had lacked both a relationship and fellowship with God—A.A.'s basic text was written to show newcomers the steps to take to find God. The very thing Rev. Sam Shoemaker was teaching to his friend Bill Wilson in New York. They told “how it worked!”
** For more information on Rev. Sam Shoemaker—whom A.A. cofounder Bill Wilson called a “founder” of Alcoholics Anonymous—see Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and Alcoholics Anonymous (

**** If you know other individuals, groups, churches, and/or organizations who would be blessed to learn about A.A. “cofounder” Sam Shoemaker's role in early A.A.'s astonishing successes among “seemingly-hopeless,” “medically-incurable” alcoholics who thoroughly followed the original Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship” program, please see the March 2011—while supplies last—offer of entire free* cases of new Dick B. books ($30.00 for U.S. Postal Service Media Mail Shipping and Handling):
Gloria Deo

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Alcoholics Anonymous History - Free cases of books till 3/31

There has never been an opportunity like this, and the offer ends March 31, 2011 when we expect all our cases on hand to have been distributed. After that, it's order individual titles through us or through or Barnes and Noble or a bookstore at retail price per book.

The point is that Dick B. is the leading A.A. historian today. He has published 42 titles, over 500 articles, done radio shows, and spoken all over the United States before AAs, churches, conferences, seminars, the Wilson House (where Bill W. was born), Akron where it all started at Dr. Bob's Home in 1935, and in St. Johnsbury, Vermont where Dr. Bob was born and raised.

For 20 years, Dick has been reporting what he has unearthed, studied, and analyzed about all aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous History. That's about 2 books per year. And they cover the waterfront--endless aspects of A.A. history that have never been researched or reported or adequately discussed.

The subjects have included Dr. Bob's Library, Anne Smith's Journal, the Bible, Quiet Time, devotionals, the Oxford Group, Rev. Sam Shoemaker, William James, Carl G. Jung, Dr. William D. Silkworth, the conversion of Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob's upbringing in Vermont, early A.A. belief in God and acceptance of Jesus Christ, the books early AAs read, and much much more.

This rare opportunity for free cases of books will expire on March 31 when all of the available 350 cases will have been distributed.

For the last two and a half months, many have ordered 30 cases of books, 29 cases of books, five cases, four cases, two cases, and individual cases. There is only one title per case, and the number of titles availalabe is limited to the original 350 we had on hand. And going fast. You only need pay $30.00 per case to receive each case media mail. Some cases have 70 books. Some around 40. One with 12. One with 14. And all new.

The inventory of these books is available on Or you can call Ken B. or email to find out what books are still available for the free offer, and you can order from Ken B. at 808 276 4945, or through, or use paypayl on our main website

Call if you need information. Call if you want to know which cases are still available. Call if you wish to order one or more cases--which are free--for the cost of $30.00 per case media mail.

You can distribute the books to your sponsor and sponsees, your study group, your James Club, your church, your Christian recovery fellowship, your treatment center and alumni groups, your counselor, your sober living, to jails and prisons, to hospitals and mental wards, and to the many thirsting to know where A.A. really came from.

God Bless, Dick B.

Gloria Deo

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Revival of the First Edition of the A.A. Big Book Planned

A revival of the importance of the First Edition of the A.A. Big Book is in progress, and a conference is planned to inform you of resources.

There are three important historical contributions to A.A. history that need to be examined, discussed, and--where appropriate--utilized.

The first is the "Holy Grail" manuscript that Ken R. acquired for a little less than one million dollars and turned over to Hazelden which recently published this working "Printer's Manuscript." Lots of hype about it, and not much understanding of its real importance. A.A. and A.A. members will soon have that opportunity.

The second is the forthcoming reprint of the First Edition, in an affordable form - with lengthy introduction by Dick B. which will point up the importance of the long-abandoned personal stories and also the major changes in the program that occurred after the First Edition. A.A. and A.A. members will soon have the opportunity to learn and discuss and utilize.

The third is a work in progress by a talented, experienced A.A. old-timer who will present and publish a Sponsor's Guide to the First Edition - a further resource for learning and utilizing the historical, biblical, and experience roots of early A.A. today.

Finally, we hope soon to have a conference of speakers and others in Orange County, California where there can be brainstorming, thoughtful discussion, and effective planning about how these new A.A. resources can be used to help the alcoholic who still suffers. Today

Monday, March 14, 2011

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

Applying “Old School” A.A. in Today’s 12-Step Fellowships
Dick B.
© 2011 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 Dick B. Comprehensive 29 Volume Reference Set

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A.A., Charlie Sheen, and David Arquette

A.A., Charlie Sheen, and David Arquette

By Dick B.
© 2011 Anonymous. All rights reserved

This Is All about the News Accounts

I believe it was the famous star and commentator Will Rogers who said: “All I know is what I read in the newspapers.” And, while I have 24-plus years in A.A., the only thing I know about Charlie Sheen and David Arquette is what I’ve watched almost daily on TV and seen in the
news stories. The gist of the news seems to be that A.A. is mentioned in most of the accounts.
Charlie Sheen has blasted A.A.. And David has just celebrated 60 days of sobriety in A.A. despite his recent auto accident. What a difference!

Alcoholics Anonymous and What It Offers

Early A.A.—with the 75% success rate early A.A. claimed among its “seemingly-hopeless” and “medically-incurable” pioneers; and early Cleveland A.A.'s documented 93% success rate, and its growth from one group to 30 in a year—offers a compelling lesson for those who enter 12-Step programs today.

Following his visit to Akron in February 1938, Frank Amos, John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s agent, summarized the original Akron A.A. “Program” in seven points. Here are those points, as quoted on page 131 of the A.A. General Service Conference-approved book Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers (New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1980):
· An alcoholic must realize that he is an alcoholic, incurable from a medical viewpoint, and that he must never drink anything with alcohol in it.
· He must surrender himself absolutely to God, realizing that in himself there is no hope.
· Not only must he want to stop drinking permanently, he must remove from his life other sins such as hatred, adultery, and others which frequently accompany alcoholism. Unless he will do this absolutely, Smith and his associates refuse to work with him.
· He must have devotions every morning—a “quiet time” of prayer and some reading from the Bible and other religious literature. Unless this is faithfully followed, there is grave danger of backsliding
· He must be willing to help other alcoholics get straightened out. This throws up a protective barrier and strengthens his own willpower and convictions.
· It is important, but not vital, that he meet frequently with other reformed alcoholics and form both a social and a religious comradeship.
· Important, but not vital, that he attend some religious service at least once weekly.

The message carried by the successful ones—a message that can still be found in the fourth edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, A.A.'s “Basic Text” (affectionately known as the “Big Book”)—was: “God has done for me what I could not do for myself.” A.A. cofounder Bill Wilson was even more specific. According to page 191 of the fourth edition of the Big Book, Bill stated to the wife of A.A. Number Three (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.”

Bill’s cofounder partner, Dr. Bob, put it emphatically in the last line of his personal story quoted on page 181 of the fourth edition of the Big Book:

Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!

Many in today’s A.A. don’t subscribe to the statements in the foregoing paragraph. But tens, if not hundreds of thousands, do.

Regrettably, the news accounts today simply don’t mention the help of God as an option for the afflicted alcoholic and drug addict.

The Charlie Sheen Story

By all news accounts, Charlie may be clean, but he clearly still needs help. The key question is does he really want the help he needs to stay clean and sober. And if so, what kind of help does he want? There is no mention of God. There is lots of condemnation of A.A. The TV gurus who talk about his problems have claimed several possibilities: (1) He is in the throws of typical and severe withdrawal. (2) He is hypomanic. (3) He is narcissistic. (4) He is bipolar. (5) He is in great danger; and, some say, needs an intervention.

What about Charlie? He rants on and on, and frequently suggest he is “Winning.”

Many years back, a well-known A.A. oldtimer in Marin County, California—an alcoholic for sure—told of his incarceration in a mental ward. Finally, as he was about to be discharged, he remonstrated to the gatekeeper that he was still crazy. The reply was: “If you don’t drink, maybe
nobody will notice it.”

Many of us watch the erratic behavior, have seen it before among some AAs, and just wonder if Charlie will recognize that—with his admitted use of seven grams of coke on at least one occasion—there’s not much chance that anyone will be sure if he’s crazy or not. Lots of us might point out, however, that if he will decide to quit alcohol and drugs once and for all, turn to God for help, stick to his guns in treatment and A.A., and start helping others, maybe nobody will notice the mental diagnoses.

The David Arquette Story

I know practically nothing about David Arquette. I read that he just celebrated 60 days of sobriety in A.A. I read that he was in an auto accident, swerving into the other lane. I read that he was sober and refused pain pills. And I read that he hustled himself off to an A.A. meeting. No mention in the news of God, the Big Book, the Twelve Steps, a Sponsor, or the frequency of
his attendance at A.A. meetings. And nothing about his helping others.

But, at 60 days of sobriety in A.A., enmeshed in his typical recovery problems, it was refreshing to see that he was doing something about his alcoholism problem and refraining from blaming it on A.A. or someone else. It takes time to recover. And it’s good to see someone is bending an effort to bring recovery about.

I hope to see that Arquette has also turned to God for help, cleaned house, and decided to devote himself to helping others—as a few of the other successfully-recovered celebrities have done.

[Dick B. is a writer, historian, retired attorney, Bible student, CDAAC, and an active and recovered member of the A.A. fellowship. He has published 42 titles and over 500 articles on the history of Alcoholics Anonymous and on the Christian recovery movement]

Gloria Deo

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Dick B. March 9th Interview on Global Talk Radio

Today, March 9, 2011, author Dick B. was interviewed for 20 minutes by the Global Talk Radio show. The topic was the Origins of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.). The URL for Global Talk Radio and the A.A. talk is

This talk will also be posted on the main Dick B. A.A. History Website, along with his previous extensive address at Betty Ford Center Awareness Program in the Palm Springs Area in February. See

Dick has been interviewed and spoken on many radio shows across the United States in the various cities where he has spoken at A.A. Conferences in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Baltimore, Delaware, Pittsburgh, and others. His major A.A. radio talks and interviews have been on: (1) Take 12 Radio - KHLT - from Albany, Oregon, a weekly show featuring A.A. history with Dick B. (2) Last Call - from Utah - which has conducted two interviews with Dick B. on A.A. history. (3) People Helping People - from Canada - where Dick B. has given several interviews. (4) Global Radio Talk Show - the interview given today, March 9th. on the origins of A.A.

In addition, Dick B. has recorded and placed on the internet a large number of his own audio talks which can be heard through his websites and

Gloria Deo

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

A.A. is not a Christian Fellowship - Not Today

A.A. is not a Christian Fellowship. And anyone who reads the Fourth Edition of the A.A. basic text, or attends meetings, or learns how it changed in 1939 needs no confirmation.

In fact, however, there are a few, seemingly well-financed anti-A.A. Christian writers who turn the picture around. They claim A.A. is not Christian. They claim--completely erroneously--that A.A.'s founders were not Christians. They claim that the Bible forbids Christians from belonging to the A.A. Society. And they totally ignore the fact that the early A.A. Christian Fellowship, founded in Akron in 1935, was not only Christian, but insisted that all newcomers accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. This was a direct result of Bill Wilson's own decision for Christ at Calvary Mission, just before he got sober, and his calling on Jesus Christ, the Great Physician for the cure that his doctor, William D. Silkworth had assured him Jesus Christ could bring about. It was also the result of the fact that all three of the first three AAs (Bill W., Dr. Bob, and Bill Dotson) all had studied the Bible extensively, believed in God, and had received solid Christian upbringing. Dr. Bob and Bill Dotson had long been Christians when A.A. was founded. And all three of the first AAs got sober simply by calling on God for help - when there were no Twelve Steps, no Twelve Traditions, no Big Books to read, no drunkalogs, and no meetings. They relied on the promises in the Bible they all knew.

The great compromise that took A.A. out of the Christian category did not occur until just before its Big Book first went to press in 1939. At that time, 400 pages of manuscript materials containing Christian and biblical discussions were tossed out. The Twelve Step language was modified to delete God in order to pacify the few atheists and agnostics who were denying God or believed mention of Him might impeded Big Book sales.

What's the situation today? (1) Our own experience is that there is an onrushing movement among Christians inside and outside of A.A. to learn and apply the biblical principles upon which A.A. was founded (See Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed. (2) There are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Christians in A.A. who are intimidated by the pressure of others to prevent them from
mentioning God or Jesus Christ, studying the Bible, or even studying the very Christian literature that early AAs read--on the urging of their co-founder Dr. Bob and his wife. (3) When Bill Wilson agreed to the compromise in 1939, he left the door wide open to Christian members and application of the program by Christians. Thus the word "God" was mentioned in one form or another (including Creator, Maker, Father, Father of Lights, Heavenly Father) some 400 times. Favorite expressions from the Bible--favored in early A.A.--were quoted without attribution (faith without works is dead; Thy will be done; Love thy neighbor as thyself; Good Samaritan). And A.A.'s own General Service-Conference-approved books published many years later in the 1980's mentioned the Bible roots and particularly the study of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, the Book of James, and 1 Corinthians 13.

So what's the picture today? A.A. is no longer a Christian Fellowship. It welcomes Christians, Jews, Atheists, Agnostics, Hindus, Buddhists, unbelievers, and those who believe in nothing at all. By all observations, Christians are predominant in the number of present-day AAs--particularly those who espouse Roman Catholicism. The history of early A.A.'s Christian origins and original Christian fellowship is sweeping the recovery community in a way which no longer
seemed likely. Thousands of Christians in A.A. are applying biblical and Christian principles in a way consistent with A.A.'s basic text and doing so with knowledge of their Christian heritage.
Gloria Deo

A.A. is not a Christian Fellowship - Not Today

Monday, March 07, 2011

Christian Recovery Resource Centers Checklist

Christian Recovery Resource Center Guide and Checklist

Taken from

The Dick B. Handbook for Christian Recovery Resource Centers and Persons Worldwide
By Dick B., with Ken B.
© 2011 Anonymous. All rights reserved

What Those in Need May Not Find or Hear When They Cry Out for Help
How Christian Recovery Resource Centers and Persons May Inform and Assist Those in Need

The Importance of Stressing the Availability of Healing by the Power of God—A Fact That the Cofounders of A.A. Made Crystal Clear to AAs

The Bible is filled with accounts of healing in the Old Testament, the Gospels, and the Book of Acts. Moreover, there are clearly-documented cases of healing by Christians in the centuries following. See Dick B., The First Nationwide Alcoholics Anonymous History Conference, 2d ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2006), 1-19, 25-33, 89-97.

A.A. cofounder Bill Wilson’s own experience and remarks attested to the fact that God healed him of alcoholism. And the trail to a cure began with his doctor, William Silkworth, and his old friend, Ebby Thacher: (1) Silkworth, Bill’s physician, had told Bill that the Great Physician (Jesus Christ) could cure him. [See Dale Mitchel, Silkworth The Little Doctor Who Love Drunks: The Biography of William Duncan Silkworth, M.D. (Center City, MN: Hazelden, 2002), 33-35, 44,, 47-51.] Wilson confirmed Silkworth as “very much a founder of A.A.” [Mitchel, Silkworth, 107.] (2) Having received Silkworth’s advice about cure, Bill received a surprise visit from his old schoolmate and drinking friend, Ebby Thacher. Ebby told Bill a number of things that not only paralleled Silkworth’s advice, but demonstrated that Ebby too had believed in healing and had specifically sought it. (a) Ebby told Bill: “I've got religion;” (b) “Oxford Groupers had suggested that Ebby needed to call on God . . . to help him with his problem.” (c) “[T]hese fellows told me they had run into a group called the Oxford Group, and had gotten some pretty sensible things out of it based on the life of Christ, biblical times.” (d) They had lodged Ebby in Calvary Mission, operated by Rev. Shoemaker’s Calvary Episcopal Church. (e) “finally how he’d tried prayer just as an experiment and had found to his surprise that it had worked.” (f) Ebby had surrendered (made a decision for Christ at the Mission altar) on November 1, 1934, about a month before he called on Bill. (g) “that the desire [to drink] had been lifted right out of him. It had simply vanished. He no longer sat on a powder keg. He was released. He was free.” [See Mel B., Ebby: The Man Who Sponsored Bill W. (Center City, MN: Hazelden, 1998), 6-7, 10, 49-51, 58-59, 62, 64-65, 68.]

Several additional points about Bill and Ebby are discussed and documented elsewhere: (a) Ebby’s Oxford Group “sponsor” was Rowland Hazard. (b) Hazard had been treated
for alcoholism by the famous Dr. Carl G. Jung, but he had failed to recover. Rowland aligned himself with the Oxford Group; and, “In these surroundings, Roland [sic] did find a conversion experience that released him for the time being from his compulsion to drink.” [“Pass It On” (New York, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1980), 382-83.] Subsequent research established that Rowland had made a decision for Christ. Jay Stinnett conducted a workshop in Reykjavik, Iceland, on March 11, 2007, and titled it “AA Spiritual History Workshop: Why Our Lives Were Saved.” Material from that workshop that appeared on the Web, with a date of 10/26/07, stated the following: “1932 New York. Rowland [Hazard] returns and joins the Calvary Church, studies with Rev. Sam Shoemaker, and gives his life to Christ. His obsession to drink is removed.” (c) Stinnett also wrote: “September 1934, New York. Ebby Thacher made a decision for Christ at Calvary Mission, and his obsession is removed.” (d) In his visit with Bill W., Ebby “made the point-blank declaration that God had done for him what he could not do for himself.” [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed. (New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 2001), 11.]

Remembering Ebby’s report about his (Ebby's) decision for Christ at Calvary Mission, Bill decided to go to the Mission and see for himself what they did there. [Bill W.: My First 40 Years: An Autobiography by the Cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous (Center City, MN: Hazelden, 2000), 136.] Bill went to Calvary Mission and made his own decision for Christ at the altar. [Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W.: More on the Creator’s Role in Early A.A. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2006), xiv-xv, 60-62, 73-74, 88-95.] Echoing Ebby’s own words, Bill wrote: “I’ve found religion;” and shortly thereafter at Towns Hospital, Bill proclaimed, “I’ve found something” [Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W., 95.] Soon thereafter, Bill wrote: “For sure I’d been born again” [My First 40 Years, 147.] And, after Bill’s new birth at the altar, he got drunk, and went to Towns Hospital depressed and despairing. Remembering Silkworth’s talk with him about the Great Physician and cure, Bill thought to himself: “Yes, if there was any great physician that could cure the alcohol sickness, I’d better seek him now, at once. I’d better find what my friend had found.” On arrival at Towns Hospital, Bill said: “I remember saying to myself, ‘I’ll do anything, anything at all. If there be a Great Physician, I’ll call on him.'” Then Bill said, “I cried out, ‘If there be a God, let him show himself.’” His room “blazed with an indescribably white light.” He thought “You are a free man.” “I became acutely conscious of a presence which seemed like a veritable sea of living spirit.” “‘This,’ I thought, ‘must be the great reality, The God of the preachers.’” [My First 40 Years, 136-47.] Bill never drank again!

Bill’s firm confidence that he had been healed by the power of God is attested by three
documented events. First, Bill left Towns Hospital a free man. He immediately began looking everywhere for drunks to help—at the Mission, Towns Hospital, flea bag hotels, the Bowery, and even Oxford Group meetings. Second, as Bill sallied forth, “With Lois’s full support, he was soon walking through the gutters of the Bowery, into the nut ward at Bellevue Hospital, down the slimy corridors of fleabag hotels, and into the detox unit at Towns with a Bible under his arm. He was promising sobriety to every drunk he could corner if they, like he, would only turn their lives over to God.” [William G. Borchert, The Lois Wilson Story: When Love Is Not Enough: A Biography of the Cofounder of Al-Anon (Center City, MN:: Hazelden, 2005), 170.] Finally, Bill’s message was crystal clear as to his belief that he had been cured. That message is preserved to this day in Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed, page 191: “'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.'”

With typical brevity and clarity, Dr. Bob simply wrote: “Your Heavenly Father will never
let you down!” Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 181.

Dr Bob had a host of healing and prayer books in his library and among the books he circulated to early AAs and their families. One of these healing books reporting thousands of healings worldwide was James Moore Hickson, Heal the Sick (London: Metthuen & Co., 1924). A second was a review of biblical healings and personal healings: Ethel R. Willitts, Healing in Jesus Name (Crawfordsville, IN: Ethel R. Willitts, Publisher, 1931).

Possible Sources of Inquiries You Can Develop and
from Which You May Hear

ñ The Internet: Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Articles, Forums, Cross-links, your own Web site.

ñ Newspapers and magazines of all kinds.

ñ TV and radio shows.

ñ Word-of-mouth mention.

ñ Clergy, churches, pastoral and recovery counselors, physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists.

ñ Fellowships.

ñ 12th Steppers, sponsors, mentors, peer counselors.

ñ Counselors and social workers.

ñ Interventions.

ñ Chaplains.

ñ Call Centers and law enforcement.

ñ Conferences and recovery seminars, programs, meetings.

ñ Speakers and our own International Christian Recovery Coalition Speakers Bureau.

ñ Study groups, Big Book groups, Step groups, Bible groups, prayer groups.

ñ Bookstores.

ñ Restaurants.

ñ Welcome and information centers.

ñ Hospitals.

ñ Treatment centers, rehabs, detox facilities, aftercare, alumni, and sober living programs.

ñ Community service agencies—veterans facilities, military facilities, the United Way, the Salvation Army, the YMCA, churches, welfare agencies, mental health agencies, community medical centers, the Red Cross, the Chamber of Commerce, service clubs, support groups, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and Campfire Girls, coaches, teachers, schools, colleges, libraries, housing facilities, retirement centers, elderly care agencies, volunteer groups, and clinics.

Initial Inquiry and Interview

When a person who wants God's help with overcoming alcoholism and/or drug addiction (or someone else concerned about a family member, friend, employee, etc., who may want such help) contacts you or your group or your organization, we suggest you conduct a preliminary talk with that inquirer. A talk which, on your end, may be led by a recovered alcoholic, addict, or codependent A.A., N.A., or substance abuse worker. A leader who will tell the afflicted and the affected about healing and cure, about alcoholism and addiction, about signs of trouble, and about his or her own experience.

We suggest you ask the newcomer to tell you their personal story. Review with that newcomer the famous “Twenty Questions” originally published by Johns Hopkins. Review the “More About Alcoholism” chapter in the Big Book, and the suggested test on 44 of the Big Book. Find out if the newcomer has had enough misery and trouble; if he or she wants to quit drinking and abusing drugs for good; and if he or she concedes to his or her innermost self that he or she is an alcoholic and/or addict. Determine whether he or she is willing to go to any lengths—i.e., to do whatever it takes—to get well. Learn whether he or she believes in God and wants to seek God’s help. Find out whether he or she is born again; and, if not, whether he or she is willing to come to God through Jesus Christ His Son.


Establish that the newcomer wants to pursue comprehensive Christian recovery.

Explain: (1) the option of seeing a professional, licensed Christian alcohol, drug, and codependency counselor; (2) what to read about Christian counseling if there is interest; and (3) how a Christian counselor might be helpful.

Help the newcomer determine whether immediate medical diagnosis, assistance, and/or detoxification are needed, and where to find medical help—even in the nearest Emergency Room.

Explain the option of an intervention by a skilled interventionist who will use love first—not just break down the patient or family—and will insure that a willing alcoholic or addict, or non-alcoholic or non-alcoholic family member of friend will also seek God’s help and be able to find it as the end result of the intervention.

Explain a comprehensive effective program elements in a Christian or Christian Track treatment program.

Provide Relevant Information about Christian Recovery

Show the person or persons interviewed why the original Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship” program founded in Akron in 1935—and its predecessors in the Young Men's Christian Association (the YMCA), the Salvation Army, Gospel rescue missions, revivals, and the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor—were so enormously successful through reliance on the help of God. Show them the “Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery” class on four DVD’s, or enable them to procure and view the class at home or elsewhere. Explain how the first three AAs got sober; the original, seven-point, A.A. “Christian fellowship” program developed and followed in Akron, and documented in February 1938 by Frank Amos; and the 14 practices of the original Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship” program.

Make it clear that Christian recovery help will only begin if:

ñ The person in need: (1) believes that he or she is “licked”—i.e., fully concedes to his or her innermost self that he or she is an alcoholic and/or addict; (2) really wants help; and (3) is willing to listen and cooperate in order to overcome his or her alcoholism, addiction, and related self-destructive behaviors and life-controlling problems.

ñ The family, friends, relatives, employers, teachers, etc., of the afflicted alcoholic and/or addict don’t think that they can—by themselves—“fix” the person in need, or “force” or “persuade” the person in need to seek help; and that they recognize that they too may need counseling, and/or one or more treatment sessions.

ñ The afflicted alcoholic and/or addict concedes, through learning: (1) he or she is beyond his or her own help, or the help of others; (2) he or she has an uncontrolled alcohol and/or drug problem; and (3) that alcoholism and drug addiction get progressively worse and produce even more problems.

ñ The afflicted alcoholic and/or addict has decided to: (1) quit permanently; (2) get well; (3) end the misery; (4) do whatever it takes to overcome his or her alcoholism and/or addiction; and (5) discipline himself or herself to stick with the effort.

ñ The afflicted alcoholic and/or addict stops tolerating recidivism, relapse, and revolving door treatment; and that they “go for the gold”—complete recovery, hard-won, once and for all.

ñ The afflicted alcoholic and/or addict at least glimpses the idea that “nothing changes if nothing changes.” In other words, the afflicted alcoholic and/or addict, as well as those affected by them, all need new “playmates” (i.e., friends and associates)—not former tempters, dealers, failed quitters, or enablers. They need new “playgrounds” (i.e., places where they will not be readily tempted to drink or use)—not bars, or other dark and “slippery” places. They need completely new ideas and approaches to their problems. And they must acquire new tools to use to overcome temptation, guilt, shame, fear, anger, self-centeredness, dishonesty, and trouble.

ñ In our opinion, the afflicted alcoholic and/or addict:

◦ believes in—or is willing to believe in and seek—God;
◦ understands what it means to become a child of God by coming to Him through His Son Jesus Christ;
◦ understands the importance of appropriate and habitual prayer to God in the name of Jesus Christ;
◦ recognizes the need for Bible training and understanding;
◦ sees the necessity for keeping company with healthy, convicted, loving fellow-believers;
◦ wants to have fellowship with God, His Son Jesus Christ, and like-minded children of God;
◦ Understands that real, “old school” A.A. (i.e., the original Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship” program) was astonishingly simple; amazingly successful; and based on reliance on God, cleaning house, and helping others.
◦ Understands that “old school” A.A. can be followed within modern 12-Step programs today by those who want God’s help in recovery without “violating the Traditions.” This present-day opportunity still exists because A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature still in print and offered for sale by A.A. —e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous, (the “Big Book”), DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, and other “Conference-approved” literature—do talk extensively about God, His Son Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, prayer, healing, religious growth, and church. This situation exists even though the Society of Alcoholics Anonymous today also now condones and welcomes people with other beliefs, with no beliefs, or reject God outright. No matter! The “support system” of modern A.A. can still be of great value if one knows the pitfalls in present-day literature, meetings, and chatter.
◦ Understands that there is idolatry; secularism; an array of “nonsense gods;” undefined “spirituality;” and a good deal of Christian-bashing, religion-bashing, and church-bashing in many parts of the United States and other countries within modern A.A. Consequently, the afflicted alcoholic and/or addict may find it necessary to leave A.A. And seek Christian churches, fellowships, and/or groups exclusively.

Referral Options and Possible Actions

Make sure that the afflicted alcoholic/addict understands that a comprehensive Christian recovery today may require committed utilization of all the following items (as well as the many just mentioned):

ñ Qualification of the afflicted alcoholic and/or addict as to whether he or she: (1) concedes he or she is helpless; (2) understands that determined and disciplined effort are needed to overcome his or her problems; and (3) has firmly resolved that all the former temptations, dangerous habits, slippery places, slippery people, dark activities, and the like must be dumped!

ñ Medical assistance or detoxification.

ñ Good vitamin, supplement, and nutrition habits; exercise; adequate sleep, filling lonely hours.

ñ Perhaps competent Christian intervention and referral.

ñ Early insistence on belief in God, and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

ñ Early introduction to: (1) the Christian origins of the recovery movement and the 12-Step groups that arose from it; (2) the history, founding, original program, successes of the original Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship” program; and (3) the changes that were made to the original Akron program, beginning with the publication of the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous on April 10, 1939.

ñ Emphasis on reading the Bible and praying in one's personal life.

ñ Perhaps competent licensed or other lawful Christian counseling.

ñ Perhaps competent Christian pastoral counseling.

ñ Perhaps competent Christian chaplaincy in situations where a newcomer or patient may be located.

ñ Continued medical monitoring and possibly mental health treatment.

ñ Effective Christian residential or outpatient treatment.

ñ Contemporaneous and complimentary treatment for family, children, concerned others

ñ Participation at A.A. or 12-Step programs and meetings, and involvement in them, to the extent reasonable.

ñ Participation in Christian Recovery Fellowships—now proliferating around the world.

ñ Bible instruction and study.

ñ Prayer instruction and meetings.

ñ Individual “Quiet Times”—including prayer, Bible reading, reading of devotional literature, seeking guidance from God, and sharing.

ñ A.A., N.A., Al-Anon meetings, Christian recovery fellowships—meeting schedules.

ñ Regular contact and communication with a sponsor, mentor, or peer counselor.

ñ Regular communication with those in recovery and/or involved in Christian activities.

ñ Competent Big Book and 12-Step instruction for those pursuing A.A. participation.

ñ Christian Aftercare.

ñ Supervised Christian sober living.

ñ Church or Bible Fellowship.

ñ Unselfish, unremunerated, vigorous work with unrecovered alcoholics, addicts, and codependents. This is the missing link today. Such work may include sponsorship, speaking, making 12-Step calls, visiting hospitals and prisons, and conducting Big Book and Step studies. Workers involved in such activities may be called sponsors, peer counselors, mentors, “disciplers,” or Twelfth-steppers. They may be called compassionate recovered drunks or druggies who are servants. But the workers need to help others. They can help others. And because such workers are often absent in today's recovery scene, it is missing a major ingredient of the original recovery movement ideas and Steps.

ñ Assistance in obtaining help and resources in the community—for veterans; the elderly; children; the mentally-impaired; the disabled; the indigent; the homeless; those needing transitional housing; the abandoned; the incarcerated; those needing financial counseling and relief; those facing legal and criminal proceedings; those facing divorce and child custody matters; those needing marital and family counseling, and those needing psychiatric help.

ñ A plan for new dedication to serving and glorifying God and His Son Jesus Christ; turning to God for revelation as to details on salvation, healing, forgiveness, guidance, comfort and consolation, peace and love, the principles and teachings of Jesus Christ, and the results described in the Book of Acts regarding early Christianity.

Suggested Reading for Further Guidance

The Holy Bible, King James Version
The Runner’s Bible by Nora Smith Holm (NY: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1913)
Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed.
Alcoholics Anonymous, 1st ed. (forthcoming Dover Publications paperback reprint with
Introduction by Dick B.)
DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers (NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.,
The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches: Their Last Major
Jesus the Healer by E.W. Kenyon (Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, Inc., 2000)
Heal the Sick by James Moore Hickson (London: Methuen & Co., 1924)
Healing in Jesus Name by Ethel R.Willitts (Crawfordsville, IN: Ethel R.Willitts
Publisher, 1931)
How It Worked:The Story of Clarence H. Snyder and the Early Days of Alcoholics
Anonymous in Cleveland, Ohio, by Mitchell K. (Washingtonville, NY: AA Big
Book Study Group, 1997)
Our A.A. Legacy to the Faith Community: A Twelve-Step Guide for Those Who Want to
Believe by Three Clarence Snyder Sponsee Old-timers and Their Wives.
Compiled and Edited by Dick B. (Winter Park, FL: Came to Believe Publications, 2005)
The Conversion of Bill W.: More on the Creator’s Role in Early A.A. by Dick B. (Kihei,
HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2006)
The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible, 2d ed., by Dick B. (Kihei,
HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1997)
The James Club and the Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials, 4th ed., by Dick B.
(Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2005)
When Early AAs Were Cured and Why by Dick B. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research
Publications, Inc., 2006
The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide: Historical Perspectives and Effective
Application, 3rd ed. by Dick B. and Ken B. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research
Publications, Inc., 2010
Love First A Family’s Guide to Intervention: Updated Tools and Techniques to Help
Loved Ones Heal from Addiction, 2d ed., by Jeff Jay and Debra Jay (Center City,
MN: Hazelden, 2008)
Understanding and Counseling Persons with Alcohol, Drug, and Behavioral Addictions:
Counseling for Recovery and Prevention Using Psychology and Religion, Rev and Enl Ed., by Howard Clinebell, PhD (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1998)
Handbook for Christ-Centered Substance Abuse and Addiction Counselors, by Michael
Belzman, PhD, MDAAC, MRAS (Redlands, CA: Xulon Press, 2010)
The Dick B. Handbook for Christian Recovery Resource Centers, by Dick B. with Ken B.
(Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2011)
As We Understand Him Meditations for Christians One Day at a Time through the Big
Book and the Bible by Cheryl Outman (Niceville, FL, 1985)