The Compromise on “God” in Bill W.’s “New Version” of the 12 Steps of AA

Alcoholics Anonymous History and Bill W.’s Statement About God and the Big Book Manuscript “New Version of the Program”

Dick B.
© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved

The Compromise

Let’s let Bill speak for himself as he wrote the following in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age:

I was greatly pleased with what I had written, and I read t hem the new version of the program now the “Twelve Steps” (p. 162.)

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’ (p. 166.)

Praying to God on one’s knees was still a big affront to Henry [Parkhurst]. He argued, he begged, he threatened. He quoted Jimmy to back him up. He was positive we would scare off alcoholics by the thousands when they read those Twelve Steps. . . . Though at first I would have none of it, we finally began to talk about the possibility of compromise .Who first suggested the actual compromise words I do not know. . . Such were the final concessions to those of little or no faith; this was the great contribution of our atheists and agnostics. (pp. 166-67)


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.
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