Dick B. Interviews Jayson J. of Houston, Texas
on the January 26, 2013, episode of the
“Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B.” show
Copyright 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved
You Can Hear This Radio Interview Right Now
You may hear Dick B. interview Jayson J. of Houston, Texas, on the January 26, 2013, episode of the “Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B.” show here:
Episodes of the “Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B.” show are archived at:
Dick B.’s Introduction of Jayson J. in Today’s Interview
Our guest today is Jayson J., MA, MARE, LCDC. Jayson has just been elected Southeast Texas Area AA Archives Chair. We were glad to connect with Jayson because many of the people we know are interested in A.A. archives work—including a number of long-time archivists. Many such people have contacted us for in-depth information on the history of A.A. and the Christian Recovery Movement.
This is exciting for us because we were a part of the earliest reborn A.A. archive days when Frank Mauser and Nell Wing were both still alive and helping to bring historians and archivists together.
Often, the archives community seems focused on preservation and conservation of documents and manuscripts, while we, as writers and historians, are much more focused on unearthing the documents, reporting their locations and stewards, making their contents available in our books and articles and online, and endeavoring to make sure that sponsors, speakers, and newcomers learn what their history was. Not just that it is in a locked glass case somewhere.
Based on our November 2012 research trip to the Cleveland A.A. District Office Archives, to the Akron A.A. Intergroup Archives & to Dr. Bob’s Home in Akron, we saw that A.A.’s history is becoming more available at the archive level in some of those important locations.
Jayson has been accumulating Oxford Group literature and A.A. memorabilia, and has a special interest in the well-known Oxford Group book For Sinners Only by A.J. Russell. As many know, I have read just about every Oxford Group book in existence and donated thousands of Oxford Group books and papers to various libraries and archives around the U.S. So Jayson and I have lots to chat about.
Now I will turn Jayson loose to share with us his passion for A.A. history and archives; his remarkable observations and questions about For Sinners Only; and information about his own family, education, professional work, religious affiliation, and plans for the future.
Some Interview Highlights
Jayson told us he is one of those in and out trudgers in A.A.—a person with religious training; degrees in arts and religious education; seminary attendance; and acquiring a good deal of professional training in recovery. But, in his own experience, he began to see at a critical point that, figuratively, recovery programs didn’t work; A.A. didn’t work; and his Christian background did not work. At least that there was something wrong with those features as far as he had been working them and judging them.
Then Jayson had a spiritual experience—which he prefers to call a spiritual awakening. He got a sponsor and fellowshipped with a group of serious old-timers. He read the Big Book many times. He read the Bible many times. And he had learned from his fellowship with believers that God was foundational in their view of the Bible, the fellowship, and any successful treatment approach.
This led Jayson also to dive deeply into A.A.’s own conference-approved literature such as DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, “Pass It On,” Alcoholics Anonymous comes of Age, and, of course the Big Book. He saw all these materials in a new light—that they were about God’s Way, not the individual’s way. The same perception became a part of his Bible study.
Jayson went much farther along the study path. For one thing, he was able to acquire an Oxford Group favorite—For Sinners Only—and get a genuine taste for the relationship between the Oxford Group ideas and those ideas that were embodied in Bill Wilson’s “new” program published in 1939 which built on three stated sources: the work of Dr. William D. Silkworth, the work of Professor William James, and the teachings to Bill of Oxford Group life-changing ideas by Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr.—whom Bill actually dubbed a “cofounder” of A.A.
This led Jayson to some of my A.A. History and Christian Recovery books on the Bible, the Oxford Group, Quiet Time, and the importance of working with others in the same way that the First Century Christians did with others and among themselves—daily fellowship, belief in God, coming to Him through Jesus Christ, obeying His will, eliminating sin and living love, and changing lives by the action exercises codified into the Big Book and Steps in 1939.
Jayson also made an effort to track down and study the important news articles written by Larry J. for Texas newspapers; and he also saw the techniques and relevance of old school A.A. and its stated “cure” of alcoholism spelled out by this Dr. Bob protégé.
The rewarding part of getting to know Jayson was the realization that he is hungry for getting much into the working with others that Dr. Bob saw as so important. And learning and imparting to others several of the main root ingredients of both old school A.A.—the Akron Christian Fellowship, Bill Wilson’s “new” program embodied in the Big Book in 1939, the major ideas of the Oxford Group that have been codified into A.A.’s ideas and literature, and a deep respect for the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played in A.A. origins, history, founding, original Christian Fellowship program, and astonishing successes in the 1930’s.
Fortunately, Jayson has the religious and recovery credentials that can open doors for him more swiftly than for some. He has been in the trenches and bears the wounds. He reached his bottom and sought hope in place of hopelessness. He has worked with a pastor who is currently in London but may soon return to the Texas area and help Jayson do what so many experienced, devoted, recovered Christian believers are doing these days—urging the establishment of recovery groups (starting small and building large) which pass along the history, the biblical basics, the Oxford Group links, and the tools that newcomers need to have before them whether they enter recovery through church, treatment, counseling, sober living, or recovery pastors. This is rapidly becoming a key path for so many of our International Christian Recovery Coalition leaders, workers, newcomers, and concerned members of the public today.
We expect to see much of Jayson; and his ties to A.A. itself have recently been strengthened by his election as Chair of the Southeast Texas Area A.A. Archives. He is already asking us what treasures we can point him to.