“Alcoholics Anoymous Bible” — a Joke Phrase or a Trap Idea

A handful of anti-A.A. websites have taken to using midlrsfinh catch phrases like “Alcoholics Anonymous Bible.” Unfortunately, when a viewer plugs in, he or she sees anything but “Alcoholics Anonymous Bible.”

First of all, the basic ideas of Alcoholics Anonymous came from study and effort in the Bible by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous and by the early A.A. pioneers of the Akron AA Christian Fellowship founded in 1935. This fact is well established in A.A.’s own General Service Conference-approved literature like The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks and DR. Bob and the Good Oldtimers. And you are quickly enlighted there as to what the old school AAs studied most frequently–the Book of James, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, and 7), and 1 Corinthians 13. Also, see Dick B., The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible http://www.dickb.com/goodbook.shtml and Dick B., The James Club and the Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials http://www.dickb.com/JamesClub.shtml.

Second, there is no “Alcoholics Anonymous Bible.” In early A.A., the King James Version of the Holy Bible was often referred to as the “Good Book.” It was quoted extensively. It formed the foundation for many of the ideas in Bill Wilson’s formulation of the Twelve Steps in 1939. Early AAs were required to and did study the Bible daily and also discussed its meaning in their lives. The Holy Bible was stressed in the Akron AA Christian Fellowship. As to the occasional jocular mention of “A.A.’s Big Book” and “A.A.’s Bible,” one need only look at Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 2001, to see that the Holy Bible–the “Good Book”–is not mentioned–as it was in the First Edition of the Big Book, published in 1939. But even today, the Bible is quoted in the A.A. Big Book in such phrases as “Thy will be done,” “Faith without works is dead,” “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” “Creator,” “Maker,” “Father of lights,” “Heavenly Father,” “Spirit,” and, of course, “God.”

Finally, the matter of how to use “Conference-approved” literature even today in order to conduct A.A. meetings that proceed to study and apply the principles and practices of “First Century Christianity” as was done in early A.A., there is now a book just published: Stick with the Winners How to Conduct More Effective 12-Step Recovery Meetingings Using Conference-Approved Literature: A Dick B. Guide for Christian Leaders and Workers in the Recovery Arena,” by Dick B. and Ken B. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2012). It can be downloaded with a minimal donation and a contact with dickb@dickb.com.

For further enlightenment, this Stick with the Winners title will be the subject of almost a week of meetings, workshops, classes, and conferences from May 15-21 when Dick B. and Ken B. will be in Orange County, California, at the Marriott Costa Mesa. Also when a large number of Christian recovery leaders and workers will participate in a Conference-workshop at His Place Church in Westminster, California, May 18 and 19. See http://www.ChristianRecoveryCoalition.com for program.

Today, as in Akron AA of the 1930’s, A.A. members, meetings, and groups can, and often do, study the Holy Bible and refer to it in their talks about recovery. There are literally thousands and thousands of Christians in A.A. and other 12-Step fellowships who study the Bible, renew their minds with its contents, rely on the truth of its statements, and insure help from God by learning Who He is and What He can do for those who still suffer.

Gloria Deo


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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