Christian Recovery Leader Tells of First Edition Big Book Personal Stories

A Recovery Leader Tells His Discovery of First Edition A.A. Big Book Values

Dick B.

© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Paul R. of Tucson, Arizona, has—as a businessman—nonetheless devoted months and months to getting his hands around the early Akron A.A. history and recovery model. He’s now in process of organizing two workshop conferences in Tucson and Phoenix for next October. In so doing, he’s also formulating some huge outreach for his Arch Builders approach that thoroughly encompasses the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book and the Bible from which its ideas were taken. Just recently, Paul was on a plane to New York and studied the latest educative work we have done on the First Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Not long ago, Dover Publications phoned me, on recommendation of the Wilson House manager, and said they were reprinting the First Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous. They asked me to write an introduction. And I did so—27 pages of explanatory information, particularly highlighting the contents and importance of the almost forgotten personal stories of the pioneer A.A.’s that were included in the First Edition and then, piece by piece, removed. The surprise to me and to Paul was how much of the evidence and testimony about how early Akron A.A. worked was removed from view with the personal stories.

Here is the new book, to which Paul refers: Alcoholics Anonymous “THE BIG BOOK” Original First Edition Bill W.: With a New Introduction by DICK B. (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2011). And here is the unsolicited letter just sent to Paul’s friends and to me.

“Hi friends,

I just got off plane in NYC. Spent most of trip reading Dick B.’s foreword and then the original stories at the back for the first edition Big Book Dover edition. If you do not have a copy of the first edition, I urge you to get one. We will be buying copies for the FOBF [Friends of Bill’s Friends] Sunday meeting and the Archbuilders meeting on Saturday to have on hand.

I mistakenly thought that there were only sporadic citations throughout the stories regarding the identity of the “one who has all power” and the use of the Bible, and the fact that the solution is a relationship with God..a personal experience of Him….but I was wrong. Such citations occur throughout, and a couple of very great quotes include one story speaking of the three Christian recovered drunks(Bill Bob and Bill #2 I think?) that approached the story’s author, another story that the recovered drunks in NYC circa 1938 achieved that status by following the “cardinal teachings of Jesus Christ to keep them sober,” another story mentioning that the “Foundation Stone” of the new fellowship was Love others by following Christ’s teaching to “love your neighbor as yourself,” another story citing the Gospel of Paul extensively, and another citing the quotation by Herbert Spenser about contempt prior to investigation which was extracted from this story to appear in the appendix on Spiritual Experiences in later editions….and too many quotes to list about daily Bible reading and some of the scriptural meditation guides they used.

This IS The Path in the statement, “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed out path”. This is Christ’s path to sobriety as a benefit of true salvation . Awesome. Obvious why they mostly all stayed sober. It can be that way again.

PS: Another couple of things that popped out for me about the original stories is that they almost all mention Dr Bob, and they almost all describe their interaction with the fellowship at the time that numerous of the recovered drunks (sometimes 20 or more) were visiting them, putting them up at their house, whatever it took….going to any length to help the new guy or still suffering guy. Very prevalent theme. They did not just go to a meeting a couple times a week.

Very great stuff. Please get the book…and read it…don’t delay like I did!

God Bless

Paul R.

From: paul r
To: Donnie S….. Sent: Sunday, July 14, 2013 10:34 AM
Subject: Re: Five Smooth Stones Redux

Nice work Donnie. Wish I could be there. I am on plane to NYC. God Bless and sounds like a great meeting in store tonight.

Paul R
From: Donnie
Sent: Saturday, July 13, 2013 10:30 PM
Subject: Five Smooth Stones Redux

Hey Everyone:

Sorry to get this out so late, but I had computer issues yesterday! I thought we might move on from our exploration of Steps 6-12 and over to some ideas intrinsic to steps 1-3…and our daily surrender. Specifically, trusting in God and stepping out in faith in our recovery, and in living our lives.

To that end, I’ve included a short piece which has a “Good Book/Big Book” viewpoint regarding this. Read and enjoy and perhaps we can use part of it as our reading this Sunday. Have a great evening and I hope to see everyone tomorrow.



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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