Saturday, February 22, 2014

Alcoholics Anonymous Addresses, Leads, and Speakers

Many a miserable newcomer shies away from the Big Book, the Steps, God, the Bible, and Working with others. Why?
Perhaps fear. Perhaps poor examples. Perhaps lack of good instruction. Perhaps pride. Perhaps old resentments. Perhaps lack of knowledge of simple messages like the one from Ebby to Bill:

God has done for me what I could not do for myself.

The abc's provide a basic guide: (a) I couldn't. (b) They couldn't. (c) I shall let God and seek Him now! He can and will if our relationship with Him is right.

When you are given the opportunity to speak at a meeting, a group, or a conference, why not make certain you are talking about the Big Book, the Steps, how you established your relationship with God, what God has done for you, and how you learned to pass this message along successfully.

War stories are entertaining. However, alcoholics may be sick, but they are not stupid. They can understand very quickly a message that says you were down and out; you turned to God for help, you decided to learn more, and then to help others.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Author and AA Historian Dick B.'s Books Can Be Searched and Found on has an excellent search capacity for locating, describing, and pointing to places that sell and distribute the books of A.A. Author and AA Historian Dick B.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Latest Dick B. Radio Show on Supportive Christian Recovery Leaders

You may hear Dick B. thank supportive Christian Recovery leaders on the February 16, 2014, of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show here:



or here:



Episodes of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show are archived at:


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Thank you to Churches, Christian Leaders, AAs --

Christian Churches “Friendly” to God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, Recovery, Newcomers, Alcoholics, Addicts, AAs, Steps, and Big Book

Dick B.

© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved

On Christian Recovery, broadcast from Maui Hawaii this evening, we will discuss and name informally a number of Christian Churches who have opened their doors to our talks; most of whom have a recovery pastor or director of care or director of recovery ministry; and in whose facility we have spoken. Were found by us personally to be friendly to alcoholics, addicts, AAs, NAs, Christians, believers who want God’s help, Bible, Jesus Christ, Big Book, Twelve Steps and who have supported our work in many ways. In a number of cases, their pastors and recovery leaders are recovered, clean and sober, former alcoholics and addicts:

Rock Church, San Diego, California – largest church in the city where  thousands regularly attend services on Sunday, are often residents of one of the small Christian residential recovery houses, who attend an orientation meeting as recovery begins, the bonfire meeting, the Bible study, A.A. meetings, sometimes coming formerly from their Christian treatment facilities. And then there is their Rock Recovery Ministries morning quiet time texting, and prayers. A wonderful model led by a vigorous young, married Christian who keeps this in the mode of a daily Christian recovery program friendly also to Alcoholics Anonymous.

His Place Church, Westminster, California—a fast growing recovery oriented Christian church pastored by two married Christians who are recovered alcoholics and addicts. Every Friday, they have a large and growing meeting—always announcing, “The Bible and the Big Book are the basic texts at this meeting.” Why not take the Bible as one of the two texts? Early AAs did. Why not take the Big Book as the other. That’s the way to utilize old school A.A. in today’s diverse recovery arena. Prayers, helpful sharing, and important outreach through International Christian Recovery Coalition and 12 Step or Christian recovery programs largely in the Orange County area. One of their team is a member of the Speakers Bureau of our Coalition.

The Crossing, Costa Mesa, California—a Christian church noted for its vigorous executive recovery pastor who leads the heavily attended Lifelines meeting on Fridays. There, each week, there is a top speaker usually on a Step; there is a “chip” meeting largely for newcomers from nearby fellowships, programs, and the church itself. Conducts small groups after the large meeting. It has a growing outreach to homeless and to young people. Has hosted International Christian Recovery Conference and welcomed Dick B.’s talks. From this we can learn how large, expertly taught, lively meetings focused largely on newcomers can then be brought into small groups for discussion. And then become the catalyst for homeless and youth service as well.

Cornerstone Fellowship, Livermore, California—two meetings a week on the Bible, the Steps, and recovery from alcoholism and addiction.  The meetings are led by two men who are experienced, recovered, Christian AAs. Has hosted large Christian recovery meetings where we have spoken. Is preparing a play on what the early Akron AAs did in their Christian Fellowship meetings; has acquired and distributed a large number of Dick B. books on Alcoholics Anonymous History and the Christian Recovery Movement. What’s the lesson? Teachers! Teachers like old school A.A. where the Bible, the Steps, and Christian recovery are melded in a thoroughly supported church effort to help the still suffering alcoholic and addict establish a relationship with God.

Golden Hills Community Church, Brentwood, California. A large Christian church with a large recovery staff and meetings with music, prayer, Bible, Big Book study, and community outreach. We have spoken there numerous times. The church supports a Fellowship Hall and our work. It has undertaken an important Christian residential recovery facility to be known as Bethesda, in the town of Rescue, California. Many leaders and participants in International Christian Recovery Coalition have spoken at Christian recovery conferences there. The lesson? Direct leadership of residential Christian recovery and of church recovery fellowship meetings where recovered AAs and NAs carry the message. Opinions are not the standard. Helping others receive God’s help is!

Oroville Church of the Nazarene, Serenity Group; Oroville, California, led by a vigorous recovery pastor who is in touch with many of our supportive churches, speaks in their pulpits or meetings and reciprocates. He’s a long-sober veteran as sponsor, teacher of Steps and Big Book, and witnessing Christian who can and does lead hungry AAs and NAs to God through accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.Very strong on networking among Christian Churches which have strong and friendly outreach. Has a regular outreach to recovery-oriented Christian churches in the Northern California Area. Its recovery pastor is on the Speaker’s Bureau of International Christian Recovery Coalition.

Calvary Church, Los Gatos, California. This Christian Church has provided its recovery pastor with a special building devoted to Christian recovery fellowship meetings. It has acquired many First Edition Big Books and many of Dick B.’s books. Its recovery pastor is in close touch with other Christian recovery fellowship churches in Central California and has their leaders speak at Calvary. Their emphasis is on First Century Christianity and the old school practices and principles of the early Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship which was often called “First Century Christianity at Work.” The recovery pastor is one of those fairly rare Christian AAs who knows the Bible, the Big Book, the Steps, and the Way to a relationship with God for those needing and wanting God’s help.

First  Presbyterian Church of Miami, Florida. Special facts about this church and its recovery outreach are these: (1) CROSS-FLORIDA is a rapidly growing conference of Christian leaders from many areas. (2) We have spoken there and traveled from Hawaii to do so. (3) It has a broad outreach in the Southern Florida area. (4) Its major sparkplug is a top speaker (attorney Russell S.) who is invited more and more often and more and more widely to speak at Step meetings that pull no punches when it comes to Conference-approved  literature, the Bible, Jesus Christ, and A.A. history. Russell’s tapes are so important that we broadcast them on They show the appeal, success, and utility of old school A.A. in recovery today.

New Life Spirit Recovery, headquartered in Huntington Beach, California. Its leaders are Dr. Robert T. (pastor, trainer of counselors, leader of New Life Spirit Recovery, Inc. program; and his wife Stephanie who specializes in treating and publishing on codependency.) Dr. Robert and his wife video taped first Dick B. and Ken B. educational presentation on A.A. roots, the A.A. Fellowship, 12 Step Christian origins, the original program, and pertinent literature of ours. It is used at his treatment program and elsewhere by Dick B. and Ken B. He is president of the Association of Christian Alcohol and Drug Counselors Institute; speaks widely on Christian recovery, treatment, and counseling, and provides an Orange County office for International Christian Recovery Coalition. Dr. T. speaks widely in Southern California in addition to pastoring his church and the other recovery activities mentioned.

Christian Recovery Fellowships and Treatment Programs Scheduled for Mention

Calvary Ranch, Lakewood, California

Neighborhood Alcoholics for Christ, Escondido, California

The Hideaway, North Hollywood, California

Freedom House, Costa Mesa, California

CityTeamInternational, San Jose, California

WonWay Out, Wyoming, Delaware

Episcopal Diocese of Texas Recovery Committee, Austin, Texas

Came To Believe Retreats, Steve F., Winter Park, Florida, Chief Shepherd

Three James Clubs, Norco, California

Manna House Ministries, Jamestown, Tennessee

Dr. Bob’s Core Library, St. Johnsbury, Vermont located on Main Street at North Congregational Church where all the Smiths attended and participated regularly.

Shoemaker Room, Calvary Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Griffith Library to which our benefactors donated over 30,000 books and historical materials in East Dorset, Vermont

Youth with a Mission Addictive Behavior School, Kona, Hawaii


As the variety of social media expands in numbers, diversity, and competition, he who seeks truth there must dig and travel!

The more and more that which we post about the History of Alcoholics Anonymous, about Bill W. and Dr. Bob and their roles in A.A., and about God, the more the forums, the chats, the Tubes, videos, tapes, DVD's, movies, the blogs, the newsletters, the commentaries, the censorship, the proliferation and inadequate films and videos proliferate. And the selective reporting abounds!

I'm one who takes a certain amount of time perusing the piles and piles or writings and resources because many a time there will be a germ of truth or a lead or a pathway that comes to light and is worthy of further search. You don't learn it by berating the writer. You learn it by studying and evaluating his or her work.

That doesn't mean anyone is handing out History of Alcoholics Anonymous on a platter or correctly or organized. Some do their best. The same is true of the Christian roots of Alcoholics Anonymous and of the various A.A. programs through the years.

What does hinder is when some moderator refuses to post truth, or when some critic personalizes criticisms, or others just plain distort or limit or bury facts. Therefore, there's work to be done. Look at them all even if they slander and slither. If you don't know about it, they may pass you on the highway and leave you groveling in the dust. You may not be able to duplicate, but you need not replicate.

And don't expect to find it all on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Tumbler, Linked-in, Hub, WordPress, In the Rooms, Blogger, cyber recovery social, daily recovery, newsletters, or other proliferating comments.

Just plow through your own reservoir of A.A. History facts. Plough through A.A. Conference-approved literature. Plumb through those complete websites like  that have a vast array of pictures and facts and sources. Plug through the many books on Alcoholics Anonymous History you can find on, Barnes & Noble, Ebay, Google, etc. Many a writer just never gets that far and moves toward opinion and away from pursuit.

In fact, many a writer or historian or academic just never got around to working with a newcomer; traveling to Vermont where it all started germinating, visiting GSO in New York where you could find the archives and Nell Wing and Frank Mauser; visiting the libraries or buying the books that contained the facts, interviewing in Akron, Maryland, Cleveland, Maine, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, California, Texas, Michigan, and so many other places where the doers were doing.

In fact, though I have been to all of them many times researching, reading, interviewing, and speaking, I often see that East Dorset Vermont, Manchester Vermont, Northfield Vermont, St. Johnsbury Vermont, Barre Vermont, Montpelier Vermont, Burlington Vermont, and the churches at Calvary Church in New York, St. George's Parish in New York, Calvary Church in Pittsburgh, St. Paul's Church in Akron, Princeton Archives and Library, Stepping Stones, Hazelden,Yale, and so many other places have enabled us to get far far far ahead of those who are still taking pictures of Bill Wilson's paramour, his Bible pledges, his LSD friends, and  the Ph.D.'s who opine about them hat they've never seen or studied the thousands and thousands of A.A. history treasures that contain manuscripts, pamphlets, correspondence, books, photos, tapes, and  the rich records of the Salvation Army, YMCA, Rescue Missions, Evangelists, churches, academies, Christian Endeavor Society, Shoemaker archives in Texas and Pittsburgh and the immense First Century Christianity records in England, Washington DC, Claremont California, Fort Myers Beach, Connecticut, and elsewhere.
For example, the Episcopal Church Archives in Austin, Texas had over fifty boxes of materials we examined for a week (and that was long after at least two other persons or groups had lifted they had thought was the wheat from the chaff)

You don't need to visit them today. Lots of us have already posted the treasures on the internet. In fact, one distinguished professor at Harvard has lodged a set of my books there; and another Oxford Grouper saw to it that many were placed in the Library of Congress with the Purdy Collection. Just plug along, learn the facts, and do the best to document then and be accurate in the references.

Remember too that moles get their sustenance underground and termites in the woodwork. Lawyers don't look for evidence in the courtroom; they look for it where it is owned or kept. That doesn't mean their feasts are appealing. It just means that there is more than one way to get fed what you need or at least what others think you need.

Try going to God first. Look at James Chapter 1 (; and if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally. But in faith. Without doubt. God has the answers to life; and he's made them available in many places besides the internet and the Bible and the newspapers. God speaks. Men can listen. The Spirit of God is what enables spiritual understanding, not the natural man's conjectures. And "Thy Word is truth."

I like the old school A.A. approach: Admit that you are licked. Concede that neither you nor others around you can provide all the answers for curing alcoholics and addicts. Believe in, seek, and obey our Creator. Grow in understanding. And help others! Help others!

God Bless, Dick B.; 808 874  4876; And use the phone!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Harold Wilkey, New Tennessee Participant In International Christian Recovery Coalition


Welcome to New Participant, International Christian Recovery Coalition,



Harold Wilkey, Director, Hope Center Ministries, 167 Woodycrest Rd.

Dickson, TN  37055,


God Bless, Dick B., Executive Director, International Christian Recovery Coalition

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

History of Alcoholics Anonymous 2014

History of Alcoholics Anonymous

The Bibliography, Resources, Successes, and Workbook Details


A Continuing Research Effort and Resource Guide In Process


By Dick B.

© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved


Each year brings to the fore a plethora of new findings about the History of Alcoholics Anonymous. Unfortunately, neither the host of history of Alcoholics Anonymous writers, books, biographies, films, forums, and seminars have not kept pace with the volume of facts that show in greater and greater detail exactly how the “best of A.A.” and the “Rest of A.A.” need to be reported, studied, and put in such complete and accurate form that they can and will really help the alcoholic who still suffers. This can be accomplished only when those who have a hands-on period of experiences in the trenches, with sick and frightened and problem-filled newcomers, with the fellowship, with its several different and varied programs, with its speakers and sponsors, with its “Conference-approved” literature, with the myths, with the subjective tidbits of opinion tidbits, and with the “wisdom of the rooms,” have looked at the entire recovery arena today. And have examined the foregoing historical pieces of evidence for what they show has been done and for what can be extracted from the evidentiary history of Alcoholics Anonymous in a new light. The examiners will get the best results when hostility to A.A. itself, hostility to religion, intolerance of varying discoveries and works, and attempts to revise A.A. and change its history as was done in 1939 by a committee of four just before the “new version” of the program was altered as it went to the printer for publication.


It is not the restored and revised present-day efforts that will win the day for those who s till suffer. It is the ability to look at such early concepts as total abstinence, reliance on God, expectation of cure, biblical and historical roots, and helping others that will avert the clear and present danger that comes from nonsense gods, self-made religion and recovery, and pseudo “spirituality” that is neither fully explained nor understood.


This revised and updated history will not offer revisions or opinions as to the facts. It will try to limit the voluminous compilation to resources which offer choices, facts, experience, and  results based on what  fellowship members have achieved when they went to any lengths to conquer  their alcoholism.


This article has been updated to include the latest materials discovered and reported and available as the result of continued and continuing 24 years of research by authors Dick B. and his son Ken B. Dick B. is the 88-year-old, fully-recovered alcoholic and still very active A.A. Ken B. often calls himself “the wreckage of his dad’s past.” But he has put his shoulder to the wheel of detailed research of materials, of biblical studies, of teaching of the Bible to those who have wanted to learn it, of hands-on help for the hundreds of alcoholics and addicts who have surfaced by visit, by meetings, by hosting, by phone calls, by email and web communications, and of learning the ravages that alcoholism and drug addiction bring to the alcoholics and addicts, their families, their society, their pocket-books, and their freedom.


Ken is not an alcoholic or an addict. He is a trusted and extremely valuable resource for recovery among those hungry for and dedicated to seeking God’s help.


This resource intends to focus readers on accurate, truthful, comprehensive Alcoholics Anonymous history—particularly as it extends from the pre-A.A. Christian roots of mid-1800’s to the period just after Bill Wilson published the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous in April 1939. It will lay out the history in various chunks that can be examined and studied as time permits and that should prove useful to the recovery community and to those who desperately want and need help.


[This work has been updated to February 12, 2014, with Dick B. and Ken B.’s latest titles, articles, videos, conference addresses, and radio show episodes. Later revisions will contain full bibliographic references and publication data, and will be updated as well.]


Let’s Begin with Alcoholics Anonymous General Service Conference-Approved Literature


I began my own search for the real history of Alcoholics Anonymous by reading all the available, accurate, relevant literature published by A.A. itself. I still get grounded there and recommend looking at A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature first—instead of speculating on what A.A. is or isn’t. Once that is done, the reader can fill in the holes, straighten out the distortions, correct the misrepresentations, eliminate subjective gossip, find out what most in the recovery community have simply not heard, and make his or her own choices as to what to utilize.


And the recommended books, in the order of the publication, are:


Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism, 1st ed. (New York City, N.Y.: Works Publishing Company, 1939). [Note that this book was “NOT Conference-approved,” as there was no “Conference” in existence at publishing time to “approve” it.]


RHS (New York, N. Y.: The A.A. Grapevine, 1951). This January 1951 issue of the AA Grapevine is dedicated to the memory of the Co-Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, DR. BOB (i.e., Robert Holbrook Smith—“RHS”)


Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism, 2d ed. (New York City, N.Y.: Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing, Inc., 1955)


Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age (New York: Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 1957).


The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches: Their Last Major Talks (New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1972, 1975). Item # P-53. This pamphlet is currently available online from A.A.:; accessed 1/30/13.


Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd ed. (New York City: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1976).


DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, (New York, N.Y.: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1980)


‘PASS IT ON’: The Story of Bill Wilson and How the A.A. Message Reached the World (New York, N.Y.: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1984).


The Language of the Heart: Bill W.’s Grapevine Writings (New York: The AA Grapevine, Inc., 1988).


Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed. (New York City: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.,2001).


Experience, Strength and Hope: Stories from the First Three Editions of Alcoholics Anonymous (New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 2003).


Next, Look at Relevant, Reliable Books and Other Literature

about the History of Alcoholics Anonymous That Can Be Helpful to Newcomers and You Today


Piece by piece, manuscript by manuscript, research trip by research trip, archive by archive, library by library, interview by interview, Alcoholics Anonymous history—in its full form, and in a form that is comprehensive, accurate, and able to be used and applied in recovery today—emerged from and is reported in the following History of Alcoholics literature:


Alcoholics Anonymous: “The Big Book”: The Original 1939 Edition, with a New Introduction by Dick B. (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2011)


AA of Akron Pamphlets, n.d.: Available at Akron Intergroup Office (revised several times)


·         A Guide to the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous


·         A Manual for Alcoholics Anonymous


·         Second Reader for Alcoholics Anonymous


·         Spiritual Milestones in Alcoholics Anonymous


Akron A.A.’s: What Others Think of Alcoholics Anonymous


Central Bulletin, Box 1638, Station C, Cleveland, Ohio (3 Volumes)


 Cleveland: A.A. (articles in Houston Press), A.A. in Cleveland, A.A. Sponsorship


 Cleveland Plain Dealer articles (before edited, altered, and republished under new name)


[All available Cleveland Intergroup archives materials were reviewed by Dick B. and Ken B. in 2012, and discussed by Wally P. in But for the Grace of God (1995), 30-46.]


Autobiographies of Bill Wilson


Bill W., My First 40 Years (Center City, MN: Hazelden).


Chapter 1 “Bill’s Story,” Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed. (2001), 1-16.


The many manuscripts by Bill that Dick B. found, was permitted to copy, and which are contained in a bound volume in Maui, Hawaii. All found by Dick at Stepping Stones, most of which are discussed at some length in Dick B., Turning Point: A History of Early A.A.’s Spiritual Roots and Successes (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, 1997).


Biographies of Bill W.


“Born again” and “In Christ” (2014) –


Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W. (Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2006).


Susan Cheever, My Name is Bill (2004).


Tom White, Bill W.: A Different Kind of Hero (2003).


Francis Hartigan, Bill W., A Biography . . . (2000).


Matthew Raphael, Bill W. and Mr. Wilson (2000)


Nan Robertson, Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous (1988).


Robert Thomsen, Bill W. (1975).


“Bill W.” (New York: The AA Grapevine, 1971).


Biographies of Dr. Bob


RHS (1951).


The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches: Their Last Major Talks (copyright 1972, 1975). Item # P-53.


“Doctor Bob’s Nightmare,” in Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed. (2001), 171-81.


DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers (1980).


By Dick B. and Ken B.,


The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 4th ed. (2013).


Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous (2008).


Dick B.,


 The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, Newton ed. (1998).


Dr. Bob and His Library, 3rd ed. (1998).



“Alcoholics Anonymous and Dr. Bob,”


“16 Specific Practices Associated with the Original Akron A.A. ‘ChristianFellowship’ Program,”


“Get Honest with Yourself, Pray. Alcoholics Anonymous Advise,” The Tidings, Page 17, Friday, March 26, 1948, page 17.


D. J. Defoe, "I Saw Religion Remake a Drunkard" in Your Faith (September 1939), 84-88. (Your Faith is "a McFadden Publication")--Dr. Bob is called "Dr. X" in this  


Biographical on A.A. Number Three, Bill D.


Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 4rd ed., 2013.


“Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three,” Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 182-192


‘PASS IT ON,’ 356-57.


“Bill Dotson: A.A Number Three’s Recovery by the Power of God”


“Bill Dotson – AA’s Number Three,


“Bill Dotson: A.A. Number 3”:


Biographical on Bill W. and Dr. Bob


Dick B. and Ken B.


Bill W., Dr. Bob, and the Cure of Alcooholism: The Rest of the Story (to be released in 2014)


Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Green Mountain Men (2013)


Biographical on Rowland Hazard


[Rowland had been told by Dr. Carl Jung in Switzerland that he had the mind of a chronic alcoholic but could possibly be cured by a vital religious experience (Bill often also called it “conversion”) Rowland returned to America, became associated with the Oxford Group, studied with Rev. Sam Shoemaker, and became active in Shoemaker’s Calvary Church. Rowland had been impressed by the simplicity of the early Christian teachings as advocated by the Oxford Group. Rowland made a decision for Jesus Christ. Rowland and two other Oxford Group friends (Cebra Graves and Shep Cornell) had decided to witness to Ebby Thacher and told Ebby many Oxford Group principles and practices, the Bible, life of Christ, the importance of prayer—things Ebby said he had believed and been taught as a young man. Ebby, an old drinking friend of Bill Wilson’s who had become a “real alcoholic” recalled that two of Rowland’s Oxford Group friends one of whom was (an old friend of Bill Wilson’s and a “real alcoholic”) had told Ebby “things they had gotten out of the Oxford Group based on the life of Christ, biblical times.” Ebby said: “It was what I had been taught as a child and what I inwardly believed, but had lain aside” The men had suggested that Ebby call on God and try prayer. Rowland and the two others lodged Ebby in Shoemaker’s Calvary Mission. Occasionally, a religious writer—either disdainful of, or unfamiliar with, A.A. facts and origins will say erroneously: “Alcoholics Anonymous does not use the words sin or conversion” See Linda Mercadante, Victims & Sinners, 1996, 70. Or, as she does on page 91: “God does not ask any more than simple acknowledgement of divine existence.” But our readers should look at A.A.’s Third Step prayer—“May I do Thy will always” and A.A.’s Seventh Step prayer—“Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.” Then spend a moment with Exodus 15:26, Exodus 20:1-17—the Ten Commandments; Matthew 22:36-40—the two Great Commandments; and James 2:8-11; and read all of Hebrews 11:6.]


T. Willard Hunter, “IT STARTED RIGHT THERE,” 2006


Bill C. and Jay S., Kitchen Table A.A. Sponsorship Workshop, Carlsbad, 2007


Jay Stinnett, “Why Our Lives Were Saved,” A.A. Spiritual History Workshop, Reykjavík, Iceland, March 11, 2007.


‘PASS IT ON,’ 1984.


Mel B., Ebby: The Man Who Sponsored Bill W., 1998.


Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W.


Bill W. My First 40 Years


Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age


Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the Green Mountain Men of Vermont: Vermont Connections to A.A. Personalities and Early A.A.’s Original Program (Kihei, HI: Paradise

Research Publications, Inc., 2012)


Dick B., The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous, 2d ed/


Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A., Pittsburgh ed.


Tom White, Bill W.: A Different Kind of Hero, 2003.


Biographical on F. Shepard Cornell (“Shep”)


Bill W., My First 40 Years




Mel B., Ebby


Leslie B. Cole, Rogers Burnham: The Original Man behind Bill W.


Charles Clapp, The Big Bender, pp. 105-50


Bill Pittman and Dick B., Courage to Change: The Christian Roots of the Twelve-Step Movement, pp. 135-50.


Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the Green Mountain Men of Vermont.


Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, Newton ed., pp. 5, 19, 28, 142-45, 152, 159, 162, 168-70.


Dick B., The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous, new rev ed., pp. 128-30.


Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A.., Pittsburgh ed., pp. 333-35.


Helen Smith Shoemaker, I Stand by the Door, p. 177.


John Potter Cuyler, Calvary Church in Action, p. 57.


Lois Remembers, p. 91.


Biographical on Cebra Graves


Bill W., My First 40 Years




Mel B., Ebby


Leslie B. Cole, Rogers Burnham: The Original Man behind Bill W.


Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Green Mountain Men of Vermont


The Importance and Influence of Vermont on Alcoholics Anonymous


Michael Sherman, Gene Sessions and P. Jeffrey Potosh, Freedom and Unity: A History of Vermont, 2004


T. D. Seymour Bassett, The Gods of the Hills: Piety and Society in Nineteenth Century Vermont, 2000


John M. Comstock, The Congregational Churches of Vermont and Their Ministry 1762-1942


Edward Taylor Fairbanks, The Town of St. Johnsbury: A Review of One Hundred Twenty-Five Years to the Anniversary Pageant, 1912,


Charles Edward Russell, Bare Hands and Stone Walls: Some Reflections of a Side-Line Reformer, 1933


Frederica Templeton, The Castle in the Pasture: A Portrait of Burr and Burton


Richard Beck, A Proud Tradition A Bright Future: A Sesquicentennial History of St. Johnsbury Academy, 1976.


Francis E. Clark, Christian Endeavor in All Lands, 1906


Allen Folger, Twenty-Five Years as an Evangelist, 1905


Arthur Fairbanks Stone, North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury,Vermont, 1825-1942


The First Congregational Church Manchester, Vermont 1784-1984


Gary Thomas Lord, “History of Norwich University: Images of Its Past,” (Louisville, KY: Harmony House, 199 5)


Minutes of the Eightieth Annual Meeting of the General Convention of Congregationalist Ministers and Churches of Vermont, Held at Bennington, 1875


Year Book of the Young Men’s Christian Associations of North America for the year1896 .


Charles G. Ullery, Men of Vermont, 1894.


James F. Findlay, Jr., Dwight L. Moody: American Evangelist 1837-1899.


Dick B. and Ken B.,


Bill W., Dr. Bob, and the Green Mountain Men


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


Biographical on William D. Silkworth, M.D.


[Silkworth’s name itself may not be well known to most AAs. But they certainly know of the “Doctor’s Opinion” written by Silkworth as an introduction to their Big Book. And they probably have grasped the fact that Silkworth established in Bill Wilson’ thinking that alcoholism was a disease—an allergy of the body kicked into gear by an obsession of the mind. But, as Silkworth’s biographer observed after he had researched Silkworth’s life and papers, Silkworth has not been given credit for the role he played in convincing Bill and others that they could be cured of their alcoholism by the “Great Physician,” Jesus Christ. And that solution—long since tossed aside before the Big Book was published--became the foundation of Bill’s conviction that “conversion” was the answer to alcoholism and that it was manifested by a “spiritual experience.” “Divine Aid,” Bill was still calling it in his address at the Shrine Auditorium in 1948 with Dr. Bob on the stage with him as well. The information about the Great Physician and cure was conveyed to Bill on his third hospitalization when he was given a virtual death sentence promise if Bill did not quit drinking immediately. The specifics of Silkworth’s advice on alcoholism were confirmed by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.]


Dale Mitchel, Silkworth: The Little Doctor Who Loved Drunks, Hazelden


Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W.


The Language of the Heart


Dick B. and Ken B., The Christian Recovery Guide, 4rd ed., 2013.


Bill W., My First 40 Years, 2001


Norman Vincent Peale, The Positive Power of Jesus Christ


Biographical on Edwin Throckmorton Thacher, “Ebby,” Bill’s Sponsor


[While Ebby was in Calvary Mission, he went to the altar and made a decision for Jesus Christ. He then visited Bill as he himself had been visited by Rowland Hazard, Cebra Graves, and Shep Cornell. Ebby told Bill he had “found religion,” and that he had tried prayer—something he specifically recommended to Bill Wilson. Bill concluded that Ebby had been “reborn.” But taking no chances, Bill went to Shoemaker’s Calvary Church, listened to Ebby’s testimony, and then decided that if the Great Physician had helped Ebby, he (Bill) could probably receive the same help. Armed with Silkworth’s advice and Ebby’s eye-witness testimony, Bill went to Calvary Mission himself. He went to the altar. He made his own decision for Jesus Christ. He quickly wrote, “For sure, I had been born again.” And then, still drunk and still despondent, Bill made his way to Towns Hospital where he decided to call on the Great Physician and had the experience—which Silkworth called a conversion experience—and sensed the presence of God in his room. He concluded: “Bill, you are a free man. This is the God of the Scriptures.” He never again doubted the existence of God. He never drank again. And he believed he had been commissioned by God to help all the drunks in the world. Bill later wrote his comment: “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,” Big Book, 4th ed., 191]


T. Willard Hunter, “IT STARTED RIGHT THERE.” 2006


Bill W., My First 40 Years,


Dale Mitchel, Silkworth: The Little Doctor Who Loved Drunks.


Mel B. Ebby: The Man Who Sponsored Bill W., 1998




Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age


Richard M. Dubiel, The Road to Fellowship, 2004, 79-80: “[Rowland Hazard] must have had some sort of influence on early A.A.’s who knew about him, whether at first or second hand . . . it is clear that behind Ebby Thatcher [sic], the messenger who brought the message of salvation to Bill Wilson in the kitchen of Bill’s apartment in November 1934, lay the figure of Rowland Hazard III, the mysterious messenger behind the messenger.”


Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W.


Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 4rd ed. 2013.


Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Green Mountain Men of Vermont


Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W., Dr. Bob and the Cure of Alcoholism: The Rest of the Story, 2014


Biographical on Dr. Bob’s Wife, Anne Ripley Smith


Dick B., Anne Smith’s Journal, 1933-1939, 3rd ed., 1998


Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, 2d ed., 1998


Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows, Children of the Healer, 1992


Charlotte Hunter, Billye Jones, Joan Zieger, Women Pioneers in 12 Step Recovery, 1999


DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers




The Language of the Heart


Biography on Bill W.’s Wife, Lois Wilson


Lois Remembers, 1979.


William Borchert, When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story


Bill W. My First 40 Years


Nell Wing, Grateful to Have Been There


Mel B., New Wine


Dick B.., New Light on Alcoholism, Pittsburgh ed.


Biography on Henrietta Buckler Seiberling


[The tiny home where Henrietta Seiberling lived with her three children, befriended and helped Dr. Bob and Anne Smith, helped launch the early A.A. meetings, introduced Bill Wilson to Dr. Bob has been acquired and turned into a museum on the huge Seiberling Estate grounds in Akron. It contains my books on Henrietta and many other historical A.A. treasures. It was launched by a philanthropist friend of mine in Akron—now deceased]


Dick B., Henrietta B. Seiberling: Ohio’s Lady with a Cause


Charlotte Hunter, Billye Jones, Joan Zieger, Women Pioneers


Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, 2d, ed,


DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers


Biography of T. Henry and Clarace Williams


Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, 2d ed.


DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers


T. Willard Hunter, “It  Started Right There!”


Biographical on Dr. Frank N.D. Buchman, Founder of the Oxford Group


Garth Lean, Frank Buchman: A Life, 1985


Frank Buchman, Remaking the World, 1961


H. W. “Bunny” Austin, Frank Buchman as I Knew Him, 1975


Peter Howard,


That Man Frank Buchman, 1946


The World Rebuilt: The True Story of Frank Buchman. . . , 1951


Frank Buchman’s Secret, 1961


R.C. Mowat, The Message of Frank Buchman, n.d.


 James D. Newton, Uncommon Friends


T. Willard Hunter, World Changing Through Life Changing, 1977


Alan Thornhill, The Significance of the Life of Frank Buchman, 1952


Dick B., The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous, Newton ed.


Biographical on Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr


Dick B.,


            New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A., 2d ed.


Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A.


The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous


Real 12 Step History


Bill Pittman and Dick B., Courage to Change, Hazelden


Irving Harris, The Breeze of the Spirit, 1978.


“S.M. S.—Man of God for Our Time,” Faith at Work, 1964.


AJ Russell, For Sinners Only


Norman Vincent Peale, “The Unforgettable Sam Shoemaker,” Faith at Work, 1964.


Louis W. Pitt, “New Life, New Reality: A Brief Picture of S.M.S.’s Influence,” Faith at Work,


Sherwood S. Day, “Always Ready, S.M.S. as a Friend”, Calvary Evangel, 1950


Helen Smith Shoemaker, I Stand by the Door, 1967


Bill Wilson, “I Stand by the Door,” The A.A. Grapevine, 1967


“Ten of America’s Greatest Preachers,” Newsweek,


“Calvary Mission,“ Pamphlet, NY Calvary Episcopal Church, n.d.


John Potter Cuyler, Jr., Calvary Church in Action, 1934.


The Language of the Heart


Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age


Samuel M Shoemaker, Jr.:


So I Stand by the Door and Other Verses, Pittsburgh, CalvaryRectory.1958


My Life Work and My Will, Pamphlet, 1930


“A First Century Christian Fellowship,” Churchman,


Calvary Church Yesterday and Today, 1936.


Realizing Religion, 1923


“How to Find God,” The Calvary Evangel, 1957.


Get Changed; Get Together; Get Going: A History of the Pittsburgh Experiment, n.d.


Biographical on Rev. W. Irving Harris, of Calvary Church


The Breeze of the Spirit


Courage to Change


New Light on Alcoholism


Biographical on Clarence H Snyder


Three Clarence Snyder Sponsee Old-timers and Their Wives, Comp & ed. by Dick B., Our A.A. Legacy to the Faith Community: A Twelve-Step Guide For Those Who Want to Believe, 2005


DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, 1980.


Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age


Clarence Snyder,


Going through the Steps, 2d ed., 1985


My Higher Power-The Light Bulb, 1985


A.A. Sponsorship


Mitchell K., How It Worked: The Story of Clarence H Snyder and the Early Days of Alcoholics Anonymous in Cleveland, 1997.


Dick B., That Amazing Grace, 1996.


Biographical on Sister Ignatia


[Though author Mary Darrah endeavors to select an earlier date for the A.A.-Ignatia connection, it is clear that Ignatia came on the A.A. scene about mid-August 1939. And her contributions were with Dr. Bob at St. Thomas Hospital from that point on. Her book makes clear that Father John C. Ford, S.J. had—like Father Dowling, S.J.—had a real part in editing Bill Wilson’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and his Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age—both published in the 1950’s]


Mary Darrah, Sister Ignatia, 1992, 13, 25-26, 33-37.


DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, 1980


Biographical on Father Ed Dowling, S.J.


[Though Dowling did not meet Bill until the winter of 1940, he became a friend and sponsor to Bill, and edited Bill Wilson’s Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Dowling and Rev. Sam Shoemaker were both speakers at A.A.’s St. Louis Convention]]


Robert Fitzgerald, S.J., The Soul of Sponsorship, 1995. See 55-66, 89


“Pass It On,” 1980, 240-243, 281-282, 354, 371, 387.


Other Resources


Central Bulletin, Volumes I – III, Cleveland Central Committee, Dec. 1942-Dec. 1945


William White, Slaying the Dragon


Nell Wing, Grateful to Have Been There, 1992.


Stewart C., A Reference Guide to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, 1986.


Bill Pittman, AA The Way It Began, 1988.


Ernest Kurtz, Not-God, 1979


How to Study, Learn, Teach, and Apply the Historical Elements Today


Dick B. and Ken B.,


Stick with the Winners! How to Conduct More Effective 12-Step Recover y Meetings Using Conference-Approved Literature: A Dick B. Guide for Christian Leaders and Workers in the Recovery Arena, 2012


Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous: God’s Role in Recovery Confirmed!, 2012


The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 4th ed., 2013


Dick B.,


Making Known The Biblical History and Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous: A Sixteen Year Research, Writing, Publishing, and Fact Dissemination Project, 3rd ed., 2005


The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible. 1997


The Good Book-Big Book Guidebook, 2006 


Cured!: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts, 2d ed, 2006


The James Club and The Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials, 4th ed., 2005


Twelve Steps for You: Take the Twelve Steps with the Big Book, A.A. History, and the Good Book at Your Side, 4th ed., 2005


God and Alcoholism: Our Growing Opportunity in the 21st Century, 2002


Why Early A.A. Succeeded: The Good Book in Alcoholics Anonymous Yesterday and Today (A Bible Study Primer for AAs and other 12-Steppers), 2001


By The Power of God: A Guide to Early A.A. Groups & Forming Similar Groups Today, 2000


Utilizing Early AA.’s Spiritual Roots for Recovery Today, 2000.


Now to Alcoholics Anonymous History: Item by Item, on the Origins of A.A.


Dick B.,


Introduction to the Sources and Founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, 2007


Real Twelve Step Fellowship History: The Old School A.A. You May Not Know, 2006


Making Known the Biblical History and Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd ed. 2006


The First Nationwide Alcoholics Anonymous History Conference, 2d ed., 2006.


Turning Point: A History of Early A.A.’s Spiritual Roots and Successes, 1997.


Mel B.


New Wine: The Spiritual Roots of the Twelve Step Miracle, 1991


My Search for Bill W., 2000.


Alcoholics Anonymous History: Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr.


Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A., 2d ed., 1999.


Bill W., I Stand by the Door, The A.A. Grapevine, 1967.


Charles Taylor Knippel, Samuel M. Shoemaker’s Theological Influence on William G. Wilson’s Twelve Step Spiritual Program of Recovery, 1987


Helen Smith Shoemaker, I Stand by the Door: The Life of Sam Shoemaker,1967.


John Potter Cuyler, Jr., Calvary Church in Action, 1934.


W. Irving Harris, The Breeze of the Spirit, 1978.


Samuel M. Shoemaker, Calvary Church Yesterday and Today, 1936,


Samuel M. Shoemaker, Realizing Religion, 1923


Alcoholics Anonymous History: the Oxford Group


Dick B., The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous, Newton ed., 1998.


Frank N. D. Buchman, Remaking the World, 1961.


Garth Lean,


Frank Buchman: A Life, 1985.


Good God, It Works, 1974.


James D. Newton, Uncommon Friends, 1987.


Henry B. Wright, The Will of God and a Man’s Life Work, 1909.


Howard A. Walter, Soul Surgery, 1928.


Harold Begbie, Life Changers, 1927.


Howard J. Rose, The Quiet Time, 1937.


Cecil Rose, When Man Listens, 1937.


Harry J. Almond, Foundations for Faith, 1980.


Peter Howard, That Man Frank Buchman, 1946.


Robert E. Speer, The Principles of Jesus, 1902.


B. H. Streeter, The God Who Speaks, 1930.


Sherwood Sunderland Day, The Principles of the Group, n.d.


T. Willard Hunter,


It Started Right There, 2006.


World Changing Through Life-Changing, 1977.


The Layman with a Notebook, What is the Oxford Group? 1933.


Kenneth Belden,


Meeting Moral Re-Armament, 1979.


Beyond the Satellites: Is God Speaking? Are We Listening, 1987.


Alcoholics Anonymous History and the “Temperance Movement”


[Temperance, Abstinence, and the Widespread Concerns of Society: Bill Wilson had made such a fuss over the “failures” of the Washingtonian Movement that it can be said that his A.A. took no position on “liquor” issues. But the Washingtonian Movement was but a speck on the temperance front. It lasted only a short time. It was dismissed by many as not a religious movement, and it is fair to say that its emphasis was on “pledges” and not on healing by God. Nonetheless, the backdrop of Dr. Bob’s and Bill’s boyhood days was temperance—abstinence from drink—however much people may have disagreed on what was really involved—religion, morality, social problems. There are several pieces of literature that may or may not be known by, or of interest to those who might just dismiss the whole picture by saying, “We don’t want to be like the Washingtonians. They failed.” But the failure occurred before the major influences on A.A. background got under way.]


Harry S. Warner, Rev. Francis W. McPeek, and E.M. Jellinek, “Lecture 19, Philosophy of the Temperance Movement” Alcohol, Science and Society, As given at the Yale Summer School of Alcohol Studies, 1945, 267-285; McPeek: “I don’t believe that the temperance movement can be understood in any sense unless the framework in which it developed is understood, and this framework is essentially Christian.,” 279.


Rev. Roland H. Bainton, “Lecture 20, The Churches and Alcohol, Alcohol, Science and Society, 287-298


Rev. Francis W. McPeek, “Lecture 26 – The Role of Religious Bodies in the Trreatment of Inebriety in the United States, Alcohol, Science and Society, 1945, 406-411.


Jared C. Lobdell, This Strange Illness: Alcoholism and Bill W., 2004, 30-38.


William L White, Slaying the Dragon, 1998, 4-14.


Alcoholics Anonymous History: the Co-Founder Dr. Bob’s Christian Roots and Upbringing in Vermont


Dick B. and Ken B.,


Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Good Book as a Youngster in Vermont, 2008.


Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Green Mountain Men of Vermont, 2012


Visit the Dr. Bob Core Library, North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury, VT



[The Town of St. Johnsbury—Dr. Bob’s birthplace]



Edward Taylor Fairbanks, The Town of St. Johnsbury, Vt; A Review Of One Hundred Twenty-Five Years to the Anniversary Pageant, 1912


Claire Dunne Johnson, “I See By the Paper,” 1987.


[The People, including the Fairbanks family and the Smith family]


Albert Nelson Marquis, Who’s Who in New England


Charles G. Ullery, Men of Vermont, 1894.


Hiram Carleton, Geneological and Family History of the State of Vermont, Vol I.


Lorenzo Sayles Fairbanks, Geneology of the Fairbanks Family… 1897


The “Fairbanks Papers” 1815-1889,.


William H. Jeffrey, Successful Vermonters, 19


[Congregationalism and North Congregational Church of St.Johnsbury]


John M. Comstock, The Congregational Churches of Vermont and Their Ministry, 1762-1942. 1942.


John E. Nutting, Becoming the United Church of Christ in Vermont, 1995


History of North Congregational Church, 2007


Arthur Fairbanks Stone, North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury, Vermont, 1825-1942, 1942.


[Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor]

Francis E. Clark.


Memoirs of Many Men in Many Lands, An Autobiography, 192


Christian Endeavor in All Lands, 1906


World Wide Endeavor: The Story of the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor and in All Lands, 1895.


Amos R. Wells, Expert Endeavor, A Textbook of Christian Endeavor Methods and Principles, 1911.


John R. Clements, The Francis E. Clark Year Book: A Collection of Living Paragraphs From Addresses, Books, and Magazine Articles by the Founder of the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor,


John Franklin Cowan, New Life in the Old Prayer Meeting, 1906.


[St. Johnsbury Academy]


Arthur Fairbanks et. al. [including Dr. Bob’s mother], An Historical Sketch of St. Johnsbury Academy 1842-1922


Charles Edward Russell, Bare Hands and Stone Walls, 1933


Richard Beck, A Proud Tradition A Bright Future


Robert Miraldi, The Pen Is Mightier: The Muckraking Life of Charles Edward Russell, 2003.


The Academy Student (1897), (1898)


[Young Men’s Christian Association]


Year Book of the Young Men’s Christian Association of North America, 1896


C. Howard Hopkins, John R. Mott, 1865-1955.


Laurence L. Doggett, History of the Young Men’s Christian Association


Richard C. Morse, History of the North American Young Men’s Christian Associations, 1919.


Sherwood Eddy, A Century with Youth, 1884-1944, 1944


[Salvation Army]


[In Lecture 26, cited below, Rev. McPeek states: “Much work was done in the city missions and particularly by the Salvation Army. . . . Generally speaking. The Salvationists have capitalized on the same techniques that have made other reform programs work: (1) Insistence on total abstinence. (2) reliance upon God. (3) the provision of new friendships among those who understand. (4) the opportunity to work with those who suffer from the same difficulty. (5) unruffled patience and consistent faith in the ability of the individual and the power of God to accomplish the desired ends.” 414-415]


William Booth, In Darkest England and the Way Out, 1890,


Harold Begbie


The Life of General William Booth: The Founder of the Salvation Army (Vol I and II), NY: MacMillan, 1920.


Twice Born Men, 1909


Rev. Francis W. McPeek, “Lecture 26 - The Role of Relisious Bodies in the Treatment of Inebriety in the United States,” Alcohol, Science and Society, 1945, 403-418.


Howard Clinebell, Understanding and Counseling Persons with Alcohol, Drug, and Behavioral Addictions, 1998, 184-194.


Alcoholics Anonymous History: the Christian

Upbringing of Co-Founder Bill Wilson


Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W.


Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Green Mountain Men


Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W., Dr. Bob, and the Cure of Alcoholism: The Rest of the Story


Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 4th ed., 2013.


[The conversion that cured Bill Wilson’s grandfather Willie of alcoholism]


Francis Hartigan, Bill W.: A Biography…, 10-11


Robert Thomsen, Bill W., 14


Bill W., My First 40 Years, 6


Susan Cheever, My Name is Bill, 17.


[The Evangelists]


Allen Folger, Twenty-Five Years as an Evangelist, 1906


Bob Holman, F. B. Meyer: “If I Had a Hundred Lives…,” 2007


Edgar J. Goodspeed, The Wonderful Career of Moody and Sankey in Great Britain and America, 1876.


Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, 2000


J. Wilbur Chapman, Life and Work of Dwight L. Moody


Mark O. Guldseth, Streams, 1982


[East Dorset Congregational Church]


Dick B. and Ken B.,


The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed


Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Green Mountain Men


Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W., 7-10, 27-28, 72-73


Susan Cheever, My Name is Bill W., 4, 44


Francis Hartigan, Bill W., 175


Robert Thomsen, Bill W., 15, 30-9. 200


[Bible study-in East Dorset and in a 4 year Bible study course at Burr and Burton Seminary]


Dick B. and Ken B.,


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


Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Green Mountain Men


Susan Cheever, My Name is Bill, 37-38, 47-48.


Robert Thomsen, Bill W., 30-39, 200.


[Christian Revivals and Conversion Meetings Bill attended]


Bill Pittman, AA The Way It Began, 79


Francis Hartigan, Bill W., 10-11, 53, 58, 59


Matthew Raphael, Bill W., 77


Susan Cheever, My Name is Bill, 44-45,


Mel B., New Wine, 127-28


Bill W. My First 40 Years


[Gospel Rescue Missions]


D. Samuel Hopkins Hadley, Down in Water Street: A Story of Sixteen Years Life and Work in Water Street Mission: A Sequel to the Life of Jerry McAuley, n.d.


J. Wilbur Chapman, S.H. Hadley of Water Street, 1906.


“Pass It On,”


William James. The Varieties of Religious Experience, 1990, 188-9, 146


John Potter Cuyler, Jr., Calvary Church in Action


Howard Clinebell, Understanding and Counseling, 172-193


[Burr and Burton Seminary and the Manchester Congregational Church]


Dick B. and Ken B.,


The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide 3rd ed


Bill W.and Dr. Bob: The Green Moutain Men


Bill W.: My First Forty Years


Frederica Templeton, The Castle in the Pasture: Portrait of Burr and Burton Academy, 2005,, 25, 42. 44, 56, 67


Mel B., Ebby


Dr. Robert J. Wilson III and Phebe Ann Lewis, The First Congregational Church, Manchester, Vermont 1784-1984 (Manchester, VT: Bicentennial Steering Committee, 1984), 88-91, 128.


A few A.A. history writers and Christian critics of A.A. are often quick to assert that Bill Wilson could not possibly have been a Christian because of his alleged beliefs about Jesus Christ. The problem is that there is no evidence that they have examined or understood the Confession of Faith and Church Covenant of both the Manchester and the East Dorset Congregational Churches which would readily clear up their misunderstanding should they choose to accept the facts discovered. In fact, one of the first A.A. history writers made the untenable statement that little is known about Wilson’s religious background because there is little to know—a blatant admission that there was lots about Wilson’s Christian upbringing, his Congregational Churches and chapels, and his Bible studies that such writers just never investigated and hence don’t know.


[Young Men’s Christian Association-Bill as President, girl-friend as YWCA President, active in both]


Bill W., My First Forty Years, 29


Robert Thomsen, Bill W., 57


Frederica Templeton, The Castle in the Pasture, 78-79, 69


Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Green Mountain Men


[Bill’s return to Jesus Christ, the “Great Physician,” in despair, on the advice that this Great Physician can and does cure alcoholics


Dick B.,


Turning Point: A History of the Spiritual Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous, 99-100.


The Conversion of Bill W., 47, 94,


A New Way In: Telling the Truth, 61-66.


Norman Vincent Peale, The Positive Power of Jesus Christ. 1980.


Bill W. My First 40 Years


Dale Mitchel, Silkworth, The Little Doctor Who Loved Drunks


Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 60-63.


Mel B.,


Ebby: The Man Who Sponsored Bill W.


New Wine: The Spiritual Roots of the Twelve Step Miracle


“Lois Remembers: Searcy, Ebby, Bill & Early Days”: Recorded in Dallas, Texas, June 29, 1973.


T. Willard Hunter, It Started Right There


W. Irving Harris, The Breeze of the Spirit


“Pass It On”


William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience


[Bill Wilson’s first unsuccessful attempts for six months to carry a message]


William Borchert, When Love is Not Enough


Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 191.


Lois Remembers, 94-95


Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 64-65


The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, 9-10, 26.


[Alcoholics Anonymous History – The Fellowship Begins]


How the First Three AAs Got Sober by simply turning to God for help.


Bill W.


[As a youngster in Vermont, Bill had repeatedly heard the story of how his alcoholic grandfather Willie had been converted to God through Jesus Christ on a mountaintop next to Bill’s village. Willie was saved, said so, and never touched a drop during the remaining years of his life. And Bill was no stranger to revivals, conversion meetings, temperance meetings, and salvation teachings—the latter in his church and Sunday school


One of the most difficult mythical approach to overcome includes completely erroneous statements like this: “Although loosely Protestant in background, Bil had been raised without any religion.” See Robert Fitzgerald, S.J., The Soul of Sponsorship (Hazelden, 1995), ix.]


If modern day opiners continue to ignore East Dorset Congregational Church, the Wilsons and the Griffiths as its members, grandfather Willie’s conversion, the Wilson family’s Pew 15 in the East Dorset Congregational Church, Burr and Burton daily chapels and required services at Manchester Congregational Church and Bill’s presidency of the YMCA there, as well as his experiences at Norwich University, the great lacuna will only widen; and Bill will continue to be labeled by anti-AAs or anti-Christian and church writers as an atheist or an agnostic or a man without God or Christ or the Bible. Especially, might they begin to claim Bill never heard of the Great Physician, the God to whom he cried out, his “born again” experience at Calvary Mission, and his attendance at Shoemaker’s Calvary Church. But the facts will stand out more and more for all to see and learn “the rest of the story.” Thus:


(1)   Dr. Carl Jung had told Rowland Hazard that he had the mind of a chronic alcoholic and that a vital religious experience might heal him


(2)   Reverend Sam Shoemaker had written in Realizing Religion in about 1923 that man’s spiritual misery could only be conquered by “finding God,” “a vital religious experience,” and a need for Jesus Christ.


(3)   Rowland Hazard made a decision for Jesus Christ, joined the Oxford Group, and worked

 actively with Rev. Sam Shoemaker.



(4)   Shoemaker had frequently spoken of and quoted William James who had written

 entire book on vital religious experiences—The Variety of Religious Experiences.


(5)   Rowland and two other Oxford Group friends told Bill Wilson’s long-time drinking

friend Ebby Thacher the solution that Jung had proffered. Rowland taught him about the efficacy of prayer. He informed Ebby of a number of the Oxford Group’s Christian principles. Then Ebby was lodged in Calvary Rescue Mission in New York.


(6)   Meanwhile, Bill Wilson had made his third visit to Towns Hospital. Dr. William D.

Silkworth, Bill’s psychiatrist, had a long talk. Silkworth had given Bill a virtual death sentence contingent upon his continuing to drink. Dr. Silkworth, a devout Christian and a long-time parishioner of Sam Shoemaker’s Calvary Church, told Bill Wilson that the “Great Physician” Jesus Christ could cure Bill.


(7)   In this same period, Ebby Thacher had made a decision for Jesus Christ at Calvary

Mission, decided to witness to Bill, visited Bill, and told Bill what had happened at the Mission.


(8)    Bill decided to check out Ebby’s story and went to hear him give testimony at Calvary Episcopal Church.


(9)    Bill decided that since the Great Physician had helped Ebby recover, he might help Bill.


(10)               Bill W. accepted Jesus Christ at Calvary Mission, wrote in his autobiography that “For sure I had been born again.”


(11)              Bill continued to drink, became severely depressed, and thought, If there be a GreatPhysician, I had better call on him.


(12)  Bill staggered on to Towns Hospital drunk and very depressed and was hospitalized.


(13)He said to himself, “I’ll do anything, anything at all. If there be a Great Physician, I’ll  call on him.


(14) He cried out, “If there be a God let him show himself.”


(15)He said the effect was, instant, electric. Suddenly my room blazed with an

 indescribably white light.


(16 ) He continued: Then, seen in the mind’s eye, there was a mountain. I stood upon its

summit where a great wind blew. A wind, not of air, but of spirit. In great, clean strength it blew right through me.


  (17) he light and the ecstasy subsided. Bill became more quiet. A great peace stole over



(18) Then he became acutely conscious of a presence which seemed like a “veritable sea

                     of living spirit.” 


(19) He thought, “This must be the great reality.” And in one account, he said to himself:

                   “ Bill, you are a free man. This is “the God of the Scriptures.”


(20) He said, “I thanked my God who had given me a glimpse of His absolute Self.


(21) He said that faith had suddenly appeared—no blind faith—but faith fortified by the

        consciousness of the presence of God.


(22) Briefly he stopped doubting God and said “this great and sudden gift of grace has

        always been mine.”


(23) He never drank again.


(24) But he did have his “hour of doubt.”


(25) Dr. Silkworth appeared and sat by Bill’s bed. Bill told Silkworth what had happened.  

        Bill asked: “Doctor, is this real? Am I still perfectly sane?”


(26) Sikworth assured him that he was sane. He said “You have had some kind of

        conversion experience.”


(27) Ebby showed up at the hospital, agreed with Bill that he and Bill had a release that

        was a gift, real. He handed Bill a copy of a book by Professor William James. It was

        called “The Varieties of Religious Experience.” Bill he had read it “all day.”


            (28) The James book was filled with studies and stories of the cure of alcoholism at

                     missions such as the one founded by Jerry McAuley at 316 Water Street in 1872,

                     and later (in 1882) at 104 West Thirty-second Street, known as Cremorne Mission.

                    In 1886, S.H. Hadley took charge of the Water Street Mission. Hadley had been                           converted at Jerry McAuley’s Cremorne Mission, and in the years of service in

Water Street not less than seventy-five thousand persons came to the mission for help. Hadley died in 1906.


(29) Before his discharge from Towns Hospital in December of 1935, Wilson had been

        inspired to help drunks everywhere.


(30) On his discharge, he raced feverishly to the streets, the missions, the hospitals, the

Bowery, and flea bag hotels. He went with a Bible under his arm and insisted that

                   drunks give their lives to God.


            (31) Bill’s story is briefly told as follows in the Big Book: “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.


(32) Dick B. and Ken B. spent a week with Sam Shoemaker’s younger daughter in

Florida going over some of Shoemaker’s personal journals; and they are filled with   references to the Shoemaker-Wilson-Newton-Cornell—Tex Francisco—Phillip Brown references to Bill’s activity in Shoemaker’s church. (New Light on Alcoholism, 2d ed., 537-43.


 (33) When Dick B. visited the Calvary Church-St. George’s Parish archives in New

         York, he found that: (a) In March, 1935, when Shoemaker’s parishioner Frederick

E. Breithut was baptized, Bill Wilson was present in the church at the ceremony and served as Breithut’s godparent. They also show that Ebby Thacher was becoming a communicant at Calvary in the same ceremony as Breithut with Shep Cornell as Ebby’s godparent. See New Light on Alcoholism, 2d ed., 556.


(34) In was also made clear from Calvary Church books and from a personal interview by

        Dick B. with L. Parks, Shipley, Sr. that Bill had joined in a processional from

        Calvary Church to Madison Square (with Shoemaker in full vestment and the group

        carrying a sign that said “Jesus Christ Changes Lives” and other signs urging

        onlookers to “Come with Us To Calvary Church”—after which Wilson witnessed

        from a soap box at Madison Square. See New Light on Alcoholism, 2d ed., 556.


(35) But in his first six months of witnessing, Bill was unable to get a single person



Dr. Bob


[Dr. Bob was born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont when the entire state was still swirling from the effect of “The Great Awakening of 1875 in St. Johnsbury.”


(1) His parents were married when the events were taking place. They taught Bob about salvation and the Word of God.


(2) He heard similar sermons and teachings in the family’s North Congregational Church of St. Johnsbury.


(3) Temperance was in the air.


(4) The Young Men’s Christian Association had been active in bringing about the Great Awakening and was still very active during Bob’s growing-up period.


(5) The great evangelists—Moody, Sankey, Moorehouse, Meyer, and Folger--had inspired Vermont with their talk of salvation, the Bible, and God’s healing power.


(6) The Salvation Army was becoming well known for its outreach and resulting healing of derelicts and drunks.


(7) So too were the rescue mission events involving Jerry McAuley, Water Street Mission, and S.H. Hadley.


(8) The Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor, in which Dr. Bob was active, had laid out a program of confession of Jesus Christ, conversions, Bible study meetings, prayer meetings, Quiet Hour observances, and reading and speaking on Christian literature. Their program, though not aimed at drunkards, was certainly focused on bringing young people back to their churches.


(9) In his early sobriety, Dr. Bob had turned back to church for himself and Sunday school for his children. And the program of the early Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship closely resembled the conversions which were so much a part of Bill’s life, and the principles and practices of Christian Endeavor.]


[Dr. Bob’s road back to sobriety could—like Bill Wilson’s—be said to have begun when he was at the bottom of the heap in 1931. I learned little about him at that time. But I researched and learned a lot about what happened in Akron in 1931. It revolved around the Firestone family, and Harvey’s protégé Jim Newton—a young man from Florida. When Jim arrived in Akron, he befriended Russell Firestone but found that Russell had a serious drinking problem. Jim tried to help Russell by Oxford Group techniques. But finally, the family decided to call in Rev. Sam Shoemaker of New York—an Oxford Group leader of that time. They (Harvey, Russell, Jim and Sam) boarded a train for a Bishop’s conference in Denver—with Russell well supplied with liquor. But on the trip back, Sam Shoemaker took Russell into a train compartment and led Russell to a new birth in Christ. By the time the train arrived back in Akron, Russell was healed, and his doctor felt it was a miracle. Russell and Jim then began traveling together and witnessing to others about the Oxford Group’s life-changing program. By 1933, the family was elated at Russell’s progress. They invited Dr. Frank Buchman and a retinue of some 30 Oxford Group activists to come to Akron, speak in the pulpits and public places, and inform the press. I have personally seen the Akron newspapers of that early 1933 period; and they are alive with talk of Russell and his “miracle,” of Jesus Christ, of the Bible, and of Christianity. And a large part of the town turned out to hear Russell, Jim, Buchman, and others give testimony.]


[The wheels of sobriety began to grind for Dr. Bob. His friend Henrietta Seiberling and his wife Anne attended the 1933 functions. They were excited. They persuaded Dr. Bob to join a small Oxford Group. And, though he continued to drink, Dr. Bob read all the Oxford Group literature he could get his hands on. He studied the Bible extensively once again. He read it from cover to cover three times. He prayed. And he enjoyed the people. But he concluded to Henrietta that he just didn’t want to quit drinking and was a “wanta wanta” guy. But Henrietta was undeterred. She convened a tiny group, including Bob. They all engaged in life-changing stories. Dr. Bob joined in and confessed that he was a “secret drinker.” Henrietta asked him if he wanted to pray for his deliverance. And Bob joined the group on his knees on the rug at the T. Henry Williams home, asking God for help. Help did not come at once. But a seemingly miraculous phone call reached Henrietta from an unknown stranger from New York. It was Bill Wilson saying that he was an Oxford Grouper, a rum hound from New York, and needed to talk with a drunk. Henrietta was sure this was an answer to the prayers and thought of Bill, “This is manna from heaven.” She arranged a visit at her home between Bob and Bill. It lasted six hours. Bob said he had heard it all before, but that Bill talked his language—the story of a drunk. Bob said he picked up on the idea of “service” which was something his religious endeavors had not gotten through to him.


And, after one last binge, Bob decided to put his surgery and his life in God’s hands. He quit forever while Bill Wilson was living with the Smiths in their home.]



Bill Dotson (A.A. Number Three)


[We have run across very little concerning Bill Dotson, except as set forth in the biographical information above. However, we know for sure that: (1) Dotson was an attorney in Akron. (2) Dotson believed in God, went to church, taught Sunday school, and became a Deacon in the church. (3) His alcoholism had progressed to the point that he had been strapped to a hospital bed eight times in the preceding months. (4) And when Dr. Bob inquired of a nurse whether there was a hospitalized drunk who needed help, she told them she had a dandy—Bill Dotson. (5) Bill and Bob visited Dotson, told him their stories, told him he needed to seek God’s help, and that—upon being healed—he must go out and help others in like situations. (6) Dotson did turn to God for help and was instantly cured. In fact, he subscribed to Bill Wilson’s statement on page 191 of the Big Book that “the Lord had cured” him and that he just wanted to keep talking about it and telling people. He called the statement the “golden text of A.A.” for him and for others. (7) And, when Bill and Bob had returned to the hospital, Dotson had been relieved of his drinking problem, He left the hospital with his wife. The date was July 4, 1935; and Bill Wilson proclaimed that as the founding date for A.A.’s first group—Akron Number One. Dotson remained active in A.A. and often led groups with a Bible in his lap, ready to help someone who needed help.]


The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (Pamphlet P-53)


Dick B. and Ken B.,


The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed,, 2010.


“Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery” Class


The Original Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship Program Founded in June, 1935, and the first group—Akron Number One—founded July 4, 1935 when Bill D. was cured.  


DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers


Dick B.,


The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous


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


Turning Point: The Spiritual History of Alcoholics Anonymous


Henrietta B. Seiberling: Ohio’s Lady with a Cause


Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 66-72.


The Principles and Practices of the Original Akron A.A. Pioneers


Dick B. and Ken B.,


The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide 3rd ed., 2010


Stick with the Winners!


Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous: God’s Role in Recovery Confirmed


Dick B.,


When Early AAs Were Cured and Why


Real 12 Step Fellowship History


DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers


Sue Smith Windows and Robert R. Smith, Children of the Healer, 1992


The Role of the Bible in Earliest A.A.


The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous


DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers


Dick B.,


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


The Good Book-Big Book Guidebook


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


Anne Smith’s Journal 1933-1939


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


Cured: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts


The First Nationwide Alcoholics Anonymous History Conference


“Prayer and Meditation” in Earliest A.A.


DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers


Dick B., Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A.


Howard Rose, The Quiet Time


Donald Carruthers, How to Find Reality in Your Morning Devotions, Penn State College, n.d.


Nora Smith Holm, The Runner’s Bible


Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest


Henry Drummond: The Greatest Thing in the World


E. Stanley Jones, Victorious Living


Mary W. Tileston, Daily Strength for Daily Needs


The Upper Room


The “Real Surrender” to Jesus Christ in Early A.A.


Dick B.,


The Golden Text of A.A.


A New Way In


When Early AAs Were Cured and Why


That Amazing Grace


A New Way Out: New Path, Familiar Road Signs, Our Creator’s Guidance


Mitchell K., How It Worked


Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 4th ed.


[The Akron Formula for Christian Fellowship Recovery]




[Bible based, Christ-centered, bringing the Creator’s Power and Cures Back into Focus. And we believe the following are the ingredients common to most all successful Christian efforts to bring deliverance to alcoholics:


1. The choice of abstinence.


2. The choice of avoiding temptation.


3. The choice of entrusting one’s life to the care, direction, and strength of the Creator.


4. The choice of establishing a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.


5. The choice of obeying His commandments and eliminating sinful conduct—putting off the “old man.”


6. The choice of growing in knowledge and fellowship with Him, His son, and His children through Bible study, prayer, religious fellowship, worship, and witness—putting on the “new man.”


7. The choice of passing along to others with love and service the message that will enable those others to help and be helped in the same manner.]


Dick B., A New Way Out, 63-64.


The Daily Meetings, Family Emphasis, and Close Contacts Among Members—Resemblance to First Century Christianity




[A.A. History – A.A. and First Century Christianity. There were multiple “First Century Christianity at Work in A.A.” Quotes Among The Rockefeller People Who Investigated. Five of the Rockefeller people involved with the Frank Amos report commented as follows on the First Century Christianity nature of the Akron A.A.:


Frank Amos: As stated, Rockefeller’s investigator Frank Amos had observed that the meetings of Akron people had, in many respects, taken on the form of the meetings described in the Gospels of the early Christians during the first century (Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, pp. 135-36)


Albert Scott: In December, 1936. a meeting was held in John D. Rockefeller’s private board room. Bill W., Dr. Bob, Dr. Silkworth, Dr. Leonard Strong, and some alcoholics from New York and Akron met with Rockefeller’s associates Willard Richardson, A. Leroy Chapman, Frank Amos, and Albert Scott. The meeting was chaired by Albert Scott, chairman of the board of trustees of New York’s Riverside Church. Each alcoholic was enjoined to tell his own personal story, after which, the chairman Albert Scott exclaimed, “Why, this is first-century Christianity. What can we do to help?” (Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, p. 148)


Nelson Rockefeller: In February of 1940, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. had arranged a dinner for Bill and the AAs. John D. had intended to attend, but was too ill to do so and sent his son Nelson Rockefeller to host the dinner. As Bill’s wife Lois Wilson records in her memoirs, “When Nelson finally got up to talk, there was a great deal of expectancy. He told how impressed his father [John D., Jr..] was with this unique movement, which resembled early Christianity.” (Lois Remembers, pp. 128-29)


Willard Richardson and John D. Rockefeller, Jr., himself: What they’d been hearing, he [Albert Scott] said, was like first century Christianity, where one person carried the word to the next. . . . Willard Richardson was in charge of all John D. Jr.’s philanthropies. . . Willard Richardson added his approval to the report and immediately passed it on to Mr. [John D.] Rockefeller. . . Rockefeller was impressed. He saw the parallel with early Christianity and along with this he spotted a combination of medicine and religion that appealed to all his charitable inclinations (Robert Thomsen, Bill W., pp. 274-75).


The best comparative material showing what the Apostolic Christians did can be found in Acts 2:41-47:


“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.


And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.


And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.


And all that believed were together, and had all things common;


And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all [men], as every man had need.


And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,


Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved


Not surprisingly, Dr. Bob, co-foundr of A.A. frequently called the early A.A. Akron program a "Christian Fellowship"


DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers


Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2013.


The Counting of Noses in November, 1937 that proved God had shown the founders how to succeed


[DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers also comments on the November 1937 meeting between Bill W. and Dr. Bob which led to the decision that a book about their cure for alcoholism would be needed.


In November of that year [i.e., 1937], Bill Wilson went on a business trip that enabled him to make a stopover in Akron. . . .


Bill's writings record the day he sat in the living room with Doc, counting recoveries. "A hard core of very grim, last-gasp cases had by then been sober a couple of years," he said. "All told, we figured that upwards of 40 alcoholics were staying bone dry


Up to then, prospects had come to the founders from other cities. Now, the question was whether every alcoholic had to come to Akron or New York to get sober. Was it possible to reach distant alcoholics? Was it possible for the Fellowship to grow "rapidly and soundly"?


This was when Bill began to think . . . of writing a book of experiences that would carry the message of recovery to other cities and other countries.


Let us now look at this vitally-significant, November 1937 meeting in more detail.


In an October 1945 article in the A.A. Grapevine titled "The Book Is Born," Bill referred to his meeting with Dr. Bob in Akron in November 1937 as follows:


By the fall of 1937 we could count what looked like forty recovered members. One of us had been sober three years, another two and a half, and a fair number had a year or more behind them. As all of us had been hopeless cases, this amount of time elapsed began to be significant. The realization that we had "found something" began to take hold of us. No longer were we a dubious experiment. Alcoholics could stay sober. Great numbers, perhaps! While some of us had always clung to this possibility, the dream now had real substance. If forty alcoholics could recover, why not four hundred, four thousand — even forty thousand. RHS: Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous: Our Beloved DR. BOB (NY: A.A. Grapevine, Inc., 1951), 8.


The article from which this quote is taken also occurs in The Language of the Heart and is titled "Dr. Bob: A Tribute." This quote appears on page 359 of that article.


In the quote above, Bill spoke of having counted "what looked like forty recovered members." He also speculated about possible, much larger numbers of alcoholics—"even forty thousand"—recovering.


Bill W. spoke more clearly and at greater length about his November 1937 meeting with Dr. Bob in Akron in his tribute to Dr. Bob in the special memorial issue of The A.A. Grapevine in January 1951 titled "RHS":


Meanwhile a small group had taken shape in New York. The Akron meeting at T. Henry's home began to have a few Cleveland visitors. At this juncture I spent a week visiting Dr. Bob. We commenced to count noses. Out of hundreds of alcoholics, how many had stuck? How many were sober? And for how long? In that fall of 1937 Bob and I counted forty cases who had significant dry time — maybe sixty years for the whole lot of them! Our eyes glistened. Enough time had elapsed on enough cases to spell out something quite new, perhaps something great indeed. . . . A beacon had been lighted. God had shown alcoholics how it might be passed from hand to hand. Never shall I forget that great and humbling hour of realization, shared with Dr. Bob.


But the new realization faced us with a great problem, a momentous decision. It had taken nearly three years to effect forty recoveries. The United States alone probably had a million alcoholics. How were we to get the story to them?


Here again, Bill declares that he and Dr. Bob "counted forty cases who had significant dry time" and refers to "forty recoveries." And note that Bill credited God with having shown them "how it might be passed from hand to hand." RHS: Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous: Our Beloved DR. BOB (NY: A.A. Grapevine, Inc., 1951), 8. The article from which this quote is taken also occurs in The Language of the Heart and is titled "Dr. Bob: A Tribute." This quote appears on page 359 of that article.


Bill wrote about his November 1937 meeting with Dr. Bob in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age:


. . . [T]his trip [in the fall of 1937] gave me a much needed chance to visit Dr. Bob in Akron. It was on a November day in that year [of 1937] when Dr. Bob and I sat in his living room, counting the noses of our recoveries. There had been failures galore, but now we could see some startling successes too. A hard core of very grim, last-gasp cases had by then been sober a couple of years, an unheard-of development. There were twenty or more such people. All told we figured that upwards of forty alcoholics were staying bone dry.


. . . [A] benign chain reaction, one alcoholic carrying the good news to the next, had started outward from Dr. Bob and me. Conceivably it could one day circle the whole world. What a tremendous thing that realization was! At last we were sure. . . . We actually wept for joy, and Bob and Anne and I bowed our heads in silent prayer. Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 76. See also: Debra Jay, No More Letting Go: The Spirituality of Taking Action Against Alcoholism and Drug Addiction (New York, NY: Bantam Books, 2006), 287-88.


Here again, we see Bill commenting about the "upwards of forty alcoholics" who "were staying bone dry," while speaking almost in the same breath about how "it could one day circle the whole world."


The A.A. General Service Conference-approved book "Pass It On" also discusses this November 1937 meeting.


“Later in 1937, Bill . . . did visit Bob and Anne in Akron. It was on this visit that the two men conducted a "formal" review of their work of the past two years.


What they came to realize as a result of that review was astounding: Bill may have been stretching things when he declared that at least 20 cases had been sober a couple of years; but by counting everybody who seemed to have found sobriety in New York and Akron, they concluded that more than 40 alcoholics were staying dry as a result of the program! "Pass It On": The Story of Bill Wilson and How the A.A. Message Reached the World (New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1984), 177-78.


Bill W. also spoke briefly about this meeting with Dr. Bob—without mentioning numbers of recoveries—in his May 1955 article in the A.A. Grapevine titled "How AA's World Services Grew, Part 1," in The Language of the Heartt, See also: Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, 224-25.


Bill W.'s wife Lois remarked on the 40 in her memoirs:


The business depression returned in 1937, and toward the end of the year Quaw and Foley had to let Bill go. He went to Detroit and Cleveland looking for new job ideas and, of course, stopped off at Akron on the way


He and Bob assessed the current status of the movement. They were surprised to find that, although many of those they had worked with had fallen by the way, forty members enjoyed an average of two years' solid sobriety. This was flabbergasting, awe-inspiring. They really had hit on a program for helping alcoholics. Now they saw it could develop into something tremendous—if it was not diluted or garbled by word of mouth. Lois Remembers: Memoirs of the Co-founder of Al-Anon and Wife of the Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (New York: Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., 1987), 107.


Here are some key comments about this important tally of successes by other writers. And we believe that  all these comments should be taken as a whole, compounded, and absorbed. For a few cynical A.A. writers have said that talking about this November “nose counting” and the forty sober alcoholics is somehow frivolous worship of a non-existent golden age of A.A. In fact, however, A.A. with its inadequate funding, unknown founders, and somewhat tawdry group of alcoholic organizers were hardly capable of producing a “golden age.” But what they did produce was an astonishing record in the face of repeated declarations that medical cure of alcoholics was an impossibility, that there was little hope of anything but death or insanity for the addicted sufferer, and that repeaters were so commonplace they weren’t worth the effort to help them—except for such benign people as Dr. Silkworth, the Salvation Army, the Rescue Missions, the evangelists, and the concerns of the YMCA. In other words, Bill and Bob embarked almost alone on a seemingly hopeless and impossible task and, between 1935 and late 1937 they had turned hopelessness into hope, medical incurability into cure, and death and insanity into manageable proportions. How?


By giving their lives to God! That’s how. And in many cases, it took little but a dedication to quitting forever, a devoted surrender to God, and an unpaid service to those who still suffered.


That was not a golden age. It was a case of some thirty or forty miracles. And it caught attention.


In November [of 1937] Bill had to make a trip to the Midwest in connection with the brokerage job he was trying to nail down. Although nothing came of his efforts concerning the job—another depression had hit the country in the fall of '37—the trip gave him an opportunity to visit Dr. Bob in Akron. Bill had been sober almost three years, Bob two and a half, and this, they figured, should be ample time for them to see where they were and even make some sort of informal progress report.


There had been failures galore. Literally hundreds of drunks had been approached by their two groups and some had sobered up for a brief period but then slipped away. They were both conscious of their failures as they settled down in Bob's living room and began comparing notes. But as the afternoon wore on and they continued going over lists, counting noses, they found themselves facing a staggering fact. In all, in Ohio and in New York, they knew forty alcoholics who were sober and were staying sober, and of this number at least twenty had been completely dry for more than a year. Moreover, every single one of them had been diagnosed a hopeless case.


As they sat, each with a paper in hand, checking and rechecking the score, a strange thing happened; they both fell silent. This was more than a game they were playing, more than a little casual bookkeeping to be used for a report. There were forty names representing forty men whose lives had been changed, who actually were alive tonight because of what had started in this very room. The chain reaction they had dreamed about—one alcoholic carrying the word to another—was a reality. It had moved onward, outward from them. Robert Thomsen, Bill W. (New York: Harper & Row, 1975), 266-67.


Although Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith had communicated through dozens of letters, sitting down together again after almost two years turned out to be an astonishing experience. Whey they compared notes in person, they realized that they had actually found something that doctors and laymen had been searching for as long as anyone could remember: a way to help alcoholics get sober that actually worked. Between them they counted forty men who hadn't had a drink in more than a year Susan Cheever, My Name Is Bill: Bill Wilson: His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous (New York: Washington Square Press, 2004), 147.


In November [of 1937], Bill . . . was able to spend some time in Akron. . . .


. . . He and the Smiths decided to take an inventory. Among those they had tried to help, the failures were endless, and many of those who seemed sincerely willing to try their approach were struggling. When they were done counting, though, they realized that between Akron and New York there were now forty alcoholics staying sober, and half of them had not had a drink for more than a year. Francis Hartigan, Bill W.: A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson (NY: St. Martins Press, 2000), 101.]




The Documented 75% Success Rate in the Akron A.A. Program Among Those Who Really Tried



Richard K., Early A.A.—Separating Fact from Fiction: How Revisionists Have Led Our History Astray, 2003


Richard K. New Freedom: Reclaiming Alcoholics Anonymous, 2005


The one-page list in the hand of Dr. Bob—now in the Rockefeller Archives


Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 4th ed., 2012



Bill Wilson’s Preparation for a New, Oxford Group-Oriented Program



The Preparation of the First Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous


[This story begins with what Bill Wilson had learned from his extensive contacts with the Oxford Group, its meetings, its house parties, its teams, and Oxford Group leaders and activists such as Dr. Frank N.D. Buchman, Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Irving Harris and his wife, Rowland Hazard, Shep Cornell, Cebra Graves, Garrett Stearly, Cleve Hicks, Victor Kitchen, Garth Lean, and others. He learned Oxford Group ideas from Shoemaker, Rowland Hazard, Ebby Thacher, and attendance at their meetings. Bill is mentioned personally in some of the Shoemaker personal journals we have seen. He was given a major post in bringing the president of the League of Nations to America. Bill left the Oxford Group in August of 1937, but he soon returned to become a personal friend and collaborator with Sam Shoemaker. Bill had gone to Akron to obtain permission to write a book, and he received it—by a bare majority of those voting. According to Bill, Shoemaker, and Irving Harris, Bill began working with Shoemaker on the contents of the book. They were closeted in Shoemaker’s book-lined study at Calvary House. Bill showed Shoemaker the first manuscript of the book. And he actually asked Shoemaker to write the Twelve Steps though Shoemaker declined. This charts the Big Book connections. And part of the preparations for the book were the so-called six word-of-mouth ideas Bill claimed were being used before the Big Book. Bill said there was no agreement on the contents of the six, and their contents certainly differed.


Here are the various ways Bill’s alleged six “steps” (or word-of-mouth ideas) were phrased, for example, as to God


1, “We prayed to God.” See Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, 256-257; The Language of the Heart, 200; William White, Slaying the Dragon, 132.


2. “We prayed to whatever God we thought there was.” Dick B., The Akron Genesis, 256; “Pass It On,” 197; Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age. 160; Jared Lobdell, This Strange Illness, 242.


3. “We prayed to God as you understand him.” Jared Lobdell, This Strange Illness, 242; Dick B., Turning Point, 100.


4. Bill Wilson also said his “six steps” came from the Oxford Group; and Lois Wilson contended that the Oxford Group said: “Surrender your life to God.” Lois Remembers, 92; Dick B., The Akron Genesis, 257.


But, acting on the research and opinion of Oxford Group activist T. Willard Hunter, A.A.’s own publication “Pass It On” concluded the Oxford Group had no such six steps or any steps at all.“ Pass It On,” 206, Footnote


5. From some source or for some reason undocumented and questionable at best, the purported author of a Big Book personal story titled, “8. HE SOLD HIMSELF SHORT,” (almost certainly Earl Treat of Chicago) was quoted with reference to six steps plus several other ideas attributed to Dr. Bob as saying: “Dependence and guidance from a Higher Power.” The story was added to the 1956 edition of Alcoholics Anonymous several years after Dr. Bob’s death. And it is my opinion, based on extensive research of and writing about Dr. Bob that the language on page 263 is language easily attributable to Bill Wilson but not typical of the way Dr. Bob spoke of God as “Heavenly Father” and “God” and not as some higher power. Examples of the questionable words are: 1. “Complete deflation.” 2. “Dependence and guidance from a Higher Power.” Dr. Bob had apparently asked a newcomer if he believed in “God”—not “a god”—God!


6. In The Language of the Heart, in an article dated July, 1953, Bill makes the following comments about his six word-of-mouth ideas: “. . . our growing groups at Akron, New York, and Cleveland evolved the so-called word-of-mouth program of our pioneering time. As we commenced to form a Society separate from the Oxford Group, we began to state our principles something like this. . . . Though these principles were advocated according to the whim or liking of each of us, and though in Akron and Cleveland they still stuck by the O.G. absolutes of honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love, this was the gist of our message to incoming alcoholics up to 1939. . .,” 200. 


To see some of the inconsistencies in Bill’s statements and dates, consider these points: (a) Bill and Lois left the Oxford Group in August of 1937. (b) In 1938, Frank Amos summarized the Akron program in seven points—practically none of which paralleled Bill’s six. DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, 131. (c) Clarence Snyder did not found the Cleveland groups until May of 1939, after the Big Book’s April publishing date. (d) In his two major speeches in 1948. Dr. Bob spoke about prayer and reading the Bible. He spoke favorably about the Four Absolutes. He said nothing that indicated he had departed from his adherence to the seven points summarized by Frank Amos in 1938


o For example, in referring to God, Bill spoke of praying to God, praying to God as you understood Him, and praying to whatever God you think there is. In one recital of the six points attributed without documentation to Dr Bob (a recital that I believe Bill himself wrote) the writer of the story uses and speaks typical Bill Wilson language—higher power, deflation in depth, and other ideas that I have not seen in usage in any other materials attributed to Bob and his Akron ideas.


o The first phase of Big Book preparation itself took the form of two chapters that Bill wrote in reverse order to those in the first two chapters of the Big Book. “Pass It On,’ 193. He then began sending the chapters, one by one, to Dr. Bob in Akron for approval. And the approval was forthcoming. Details are set forth in Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, 233-239;


o At some point, the materials were assembled into what has been called the “multi-lith.” This was sent out to somewhere between 200 and 400 people for their comments.”Pass It On,” 200.Then they consolidated all comments on one multi-lith which can be seen in The Book That Started It All: The Original Working Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous (Center City, MN: Hazelden, 2010.


· Other important changes occurred along the way, at times and by persons I have been unable to identify though much effort has been expended in that direction. So I will simply list several of the changes made before and perhaps during the handling of the Working Manuscript. These were: (1) A large amount of material containing Christian and biblical material had been discarded over the objections of John Henry Fitzhugh Mayo. It had apparently contained material “learned from the missions and the churches that had helped AAs.” The discard was verified in a conversation between Ruth Hock, the typist and secretary and Bill Pittman, director of historical information at Hazelden. (2) We know that at least 400 pages of manuscript material was cut by an editor, but no one who described the incident—even though hired by A.A. General Services to write “Pass It On”—could confirm anything but the truthfulness of the 400 page discard. But not what the pages contained or who discarded them. “Pass It On,” 204. (3) Tom Uzzell of New York University edited the manuscript, and I have been unable to locate any information about him at NYU or concerning the changes he made. “Pass It On,” 204. (4) Substantial changes were made in the Working Manuscript itself. They were hand-written, and the authors have not yet been identified. However, it was then that Steps Two, Three, and Eleven were changed to eliminate the word “God.” And the changes were made in a compromise designed to appease atheists and agnostics. “Pass It On,” 199. Bill described the contending forces. He said: “Fitz wanted a powerfully religious book. Henry and Jimmy wanted none of it. They wanted a psychological book. . .” Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 17. Bill said, “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. The changes from “God” to “Power greater than ourselves” and to “God as we understood Him. Such were the final concessions to those of little or no faith; this was the great contribution of our atheists and agnostics.” Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 166-167. “Fitz thought that the book ought to be Christian in the doctrinal sense of the word and that it should say so. He was in favor of using Biblical terms and expressions to make this clear. . . Paul K. was even more emphatic. Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 162.


· But Lois Wilson described those change those changes as follows: “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 or 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? Finally it was agreed that the book should present a universal spiritual program, not a specific one, since all drunks were not Christian.” Lois Remembers, 113.


It is more than fair to say that the end result of the 1939 Big Book project was far far different from the program summarized as the Akron program by Frank Amos. Thus Bill finally made the following admissions in The Language of the Heart, pp. 297-298:


So, then, how did we first learn that alcoholism is such a fearful sickness as this? Who gave us this priceless information on which the effectiveness of our program so much depends? Well, it came from my own doctor, “the ;little doctor who loved drunks,” William D. Silkworth. More than twenty-five years ago at Towns Hospital, New York, he told Lois and me what the disease of alcoholism actually is.


Of course, we have since found that these awful conditions of mind and body invariably bring on the third phase of our malady. This is the sickness of the spirit; a sickness for which there must be a spiritual remedy. We AAs recognize this in the first five words of Step Twelve of the recovery program . . . Here we declare the necessity for that all important spiritual awakening. Who,then, first told us about the utter necessity for such an awakening, for an experience that not only expels the alcohol obsession, but which also makes effective and truly real the practice of spiritual principles “in all our affairs”? Well, this life-giving idea came to us AA through William James, the father of modern psychology. It came through his famous book Varieties of Religious Experience. . . William James also heavily emphasized the need for hitting bottom/ Thus did he reinforce AA’s Step One and so did he supply us with the spiritual essence of Step Twelve.


Where did the early AAs find the material for the remaining ten Steps? Where did we learn about moral inventory, amends for harms done, turning wills and lives over to God? Where did we learn about meditation and prayer and all the rest of it? The spiritual substance of our remaining ten Steps came straight from Dr. Bob’s and my own earlier association with the Oxford Groups, as they were then led in America by that Episcopal rector, Dr. Samuel M. Shoemaker.


The Heart of the Successful Program That Relied on God


Learning the difference between this twelve step program which Bill said emanated from Sam Shoemaker and Dr. Bob’s statement that the basic ideas came from their study and effort in the Bible. And the summarized heart of that program is found in the Frank Amos report in DR BOB and the Good Oldtimers, 131:


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 in Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers:


· 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.


As stated in previous articles, there is still more work to be done—time permitting—editing this material further, providing more detailed bibliographic references, and adding new research as completed.


And we believe that if you master the original program, study the Big Book, look at our history, and then take the Twelve Steps, it is possible to get the best results from the Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship—just as Clarence Snyder did when he brought those elements to Cleveland and soon measured a 93% success rate there. As a matter of fact, International Christian Recovery Coalition grows each day, has now participants in 50 states and in other countries—dedicated to friendship. By that, they mean: 1. Tell people the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible truly played in the recovery scene. 2. Show them from their own Conference-approved literature today exactly how and why the door is wide open to those who want to benefit from and serve in the A.A. and/or 12 Step program that made them so welcome in their early days. 3. Be friendly with those in the fellowship who do or don’t believe in God, the Bible, Jesus Christ, or anything; help them with basic facts from history and official literature; and 4. Stand confidently on their right to pursue their own beliefs in complete accord with A.A.’s history, Steps, and Traditions.


Gloria Deo