Dick B. discusses A.A.’s founding and reliance on the Creator, and the role of Jesus Christ on the June 1, 2013, episode of the “Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B.”
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The Second in a Series of Radio Presentations Preparing People for The First International Alcoholics Anonymous History Conference, Portland, Maine, September 6-7. 2013
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Hear Dick B. discuss A.A.’s founding and reliance on the Creator, and the role of Jesus Christ, on the June 1, 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:
A.A.’s Founding and Reliance on the Creator and the Role of Jesus Christ
The first three AAs were all Christians and founded a Christian fellowship on July 4, 1935. This was only a few days after Bill W. and Dr. Bob had founded A.A. in June, 1935 and then carried their message to Akron attorney Bill D., A.A. Number Three, whose cure date was stated by Bill W. to be the founding of the first A.A. Group—Akron Number One.
Bill W. was raised by Christian parents and grandparents. All attended the East Dorset Congregational Church in East Dorset, Vermont. Bill went to Sunday school there and witnessed temperance meetings, revivals and conversion meetings. He studied the Bible with his grandfather Griffith. He attended Congregational Burr and Burton Seminary for 4 years in Manchester, Vermont. Bill W. there took a 4-year Bible course; went to daily chapel; went to prayer meetings; and was president of the YMCA. His girl-friend Bertha Bamford was president of the seminary’s YWCA
Bill remembered his grandfather Wilson’s conversion and healing of alcoholism. He also well remembered and repeated often his recollection of his father and mother’s singing about the “Great Father.”
Years later, when Bill Wilson was at the bottom of the heap with his drinking and sedative abuse problems, Dr. William D. Silkworth told Bill the Great Physician Jesus Christ could cure Bill of alcoholism. Bill’s friend Ebby Thacher had just been in Calvary Mission, was born again there, and was healed of alcoholism. Bill followed suit. He went to the mission altar; accepted Jesus as his Lord at Calvary Mission; wrote he had been born again; called on the Great Physician, and was cured of alcoholism at Towns Hospital when he cried out to God for help. (In his personal testimony in the Big Book, A.A. Number Three, Bill D. of Akron, quotes Bill W. as follows: “. . . [T]he 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.” Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 191.)
St. Johnsbury, Vermont, where Bob grew up, was filled with Congregational fervor. Bob’s dad was a deacon in North Congregational Church, and Bob’s mom was active in the church’s educational efforts. The church supported Christian Endeavor (in which Bob was active), prayer meetings, and YMCA affairs (where Dr. Bob’s father was YMCA president). On Sunday, there were sermons, reading of Scripture, hymns, and prayers. Bob went to St. Johnsbury Academy with daily Christian training similar to that given to Bill. Dr. Bob often spoke of his “Heavenly Father” and of Jesus Christ as the Master.
Both Bill and Bob spoke about the importance of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, the Book of James, 1 Corinthians 13, the Bible, and morning devotionals. The Big Book 4th edition carried reliance on God still further. On page 25, it spelled out “The Solution” and said that “the central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous.” On page 28, he wrote of the vital religious experience of the minister’s son who was said to have become one of the children of the living Creator. On page 29, Bill asserted as to the personal stories in the Big Book: “Each individual in the personal stories describes in his own language and from his own point of view the way he established his relationship with God”—pioneer stories in the First Edition of the Big Book that were written largely by the Akron A.A. Group pioneers and spelled out their study of the Bible, of devotionals, and reliance on God. Speaking of the lot of these pioneers, Bill wrote on page 57: “What is this but a “miracle of healing. . . He humbly offered himself to his Maker—then he knew. Even so has God restored us all to our right minds.”
Note that the nonsense gods, the absurd names for “a” god, the “half-baked prayers,” and the “self-made religion” which Bill’s mentor Rev. Sam Shoemaker deplored are not once mentioned—not even as “higher powers.” And certainly not prayer to higher-powered light bulbs, door knobs, Somebody, Something, the Big Dipper, or a chair.
There is much more in the full radio presentation by Dick B. There is ample documentation in four of his books—Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W.; Dick B. and Ken B., Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Good Book as a Youngster in Vermont; Dick B. and Ken B., Stick with the Winners!; Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous.
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