Old School AA Workshop with Dick B. May 29 held Livermore, CA

Dick B. Livermore Talk
Big Book/Good Book Study Group
Cornerstone Fellowship-Livermore Campus, California

Outline of the Workshop Conference on Thursday, March 29, 2012

1. Theme

• To show how much more the 12-Step Fellowship can offer when it learns what Dr. Bob meant when he said: “I didn’t write the 12 Steps . . . The basic ideas came from our study of the Bible.”
• Dr. Bob repeatedly said: (1) Study the Bible; (2) Cultivate the habit of prayer.
• “Old-School” Akron A.A. emphasized belief in God; coming to Him through His Son Jesus Christ; having a Father to rely on; what He expects; rewards He gives;
• Love—keeping His commandments; asking Him for help; bringing others on board.
• An alcoholic who is restless . . . seeks booze. That search disappears and is replaced with peace, purpose, love, service, and reward.

Three Topics and Questions by Dominic

2. What did Akron and Cleveland do in the 1940’s to produce 75% and 93% success rates? Sources:

The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous pamphlet (P-53);
Four AA of Akron pamphlets
DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers
The Four Absolutes
Member stories; e.g., Duke

• Qualify and hospitalize—visits, stories, Dr. Bob, Bible reading, surrender
• Meetings: Prayer, Bible, lead talks, member comments, James 5:16, Quiet Time devotionals, unfettered reading, and frequent religious and social visiting
• AA of Akron pamphlets: Dr. Bob reported and managed after Big Book of 1939
• Clarence S. added Big Book, 12 Steps, Four Absolutes, Bible, and “most of the old program,” sponsorship, and rotating leaders
• The real program (Ken): Amos, 16 Practices, three Bible segments, and church

3. Parallels between “old-school” A.A. and First Century Christianity

• The Apostles were in close fellowship with God and His Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1), and accomplished miracles
• A.A. Christian predecessors (YMCA, S.A., missions, evangelists, and C.E.) utilized many First Century approaches
• Names of those who recognized the parallels: five Rockefellers, Bob, Bill, and Lois
• Book of Acts descriptions (Ken)
• Akron fellowships practiced these principles and Cleveland expanded them. The AA of Akron pamphlets were speaking of the techniques, the miraculous actions. They used simple biblical quotations from Jesus, Peter, Paul, James, and John.
• The AA of Akron pamphlets spoke of the Steps as rules, and the Big Book called them a “design for living.”
• The underlying parallel meant seeking and establishing a relationship with God, and becoming one of His children.

4 The impact of the Bible on the Big Book and the 12 Steps

• From the Bible, AAs studied and quoted the Book of James, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13; the Ten Commandments; the two great commandments (loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself), Acts, the Gospels, and the many prayers in the Big Book and the 12 Steps.
• Dick B. specifics: The Good Book and the Big Book, the Good Book- Big Book Guidebook, The James , New Light on Alcoholism, and Twelve Steps for You.
• Specific quotes in the Big Book: “God,” biblical words describing Him (Creator, etc.), love thy neighbor, faith without works, thy will be done
• The Sermon on the Mount: underlying spiritual philosophy of A.A., thy will be done permeates the Big Book, the “Golden Rule” ideas can be seen
• The Book of James: specific language, additional ideas, the “James Club,” and A.A. language about “works.”
• 1 Corinthians 13: The many elements of love are spelled out in the Big Book and in the AA of Akron pamphlets and in Dr. Bob’s statement about “love and service.”
• Shoemaker—“Bible Christian” and “cofounder of A.A.”: Teacher of 10 of the 12 Steps and basing Step ideas on James, the Sermon on the Mount, 1 Corinthians 13, and other biblical quotes.

5. Today: There is still emphasis on finding or rediscovering God; growing in understanding and obedience; and talk about him in biblical terms.

• We have many Conference-approved books that support this approach and statement
• There are at least two important benefits flowing from a knowledge of the early biblical practices, and the parallels between them, A.A.’s Christian predecessors, and “old-school” A.A.
• For Christians and others who believe in God, this background can keep them away from the 1939 compromise and moving toward a relationship with the Creator through His Son Jesus Christ
• It enables Christians and others who believe in God to act with authority in rejecting the “Higher Power,” “God as we understood Him,” “you don’t need to believe in anything,” “spiritual, but not religious” opinions and “wisdom of the rooms.”

The Ensuing Question and Answer Portion

Along with our new workshop and topic theme, there was a one-half hour period where members of the audience posed questions, comments, and suggestions which were fielded by Dick B. and his son Ken B.


About mauihistorian

Uses pen name Dick B.: Writer, Historian, Retired attorney, Bible student, CDAAC, and active and recovered A.A. member with over 25 years of continuous sobriety. Published 42 titles and over 650 articles on the history of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Christian Recovery Movement. www.dickb.com
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