Alcoholics Anonymous History
What Learning “Old School” Akron A.A.’s Program, Technique, and Resources Can Accomplish Today
© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved
[Do you want to know only a few things about A.A.? Or would you like to learn, study, and apply ALL of A.A. today? If it is the latter, here’s what you can do right now].
About Our “Old School” Akron A.A.
What “Old School” Akron A.A. Is Not Today. Because It Is:
Not for “reforming,” “universalizing,” or “revising” A.A., its Steps, or its Traditions.
Not desirous of turning, or aiming to turn A.A. into a Christian Fellowship today.
Not suggesting exclusion of atheists, agnostics, unbelievers, nonsense god worshippers, Protestants, Roman Catholics, Jews, or those who have no religious beliefs or affiliations.
Not teaching or promoting special recovery classes, special Christian conferences, alleged “basics,” or reform literature.
Not ignoring A.A. and 12-Step Conference-approved literature.
Not changing A.A. or its Conference-approved literature.
Not advocating your leaving A.A. or your Twelve-Step Fellowship in favor of some church, unaffiliated church group, religious group, anti-A.A. group, Christian fellowship, recovery group, therapeutic treatment plan, or splinter group.
Not proposing a return to the life-changing program of “A First Century Christian Fellowship” known as the Oxford Group and later as Moral Re-Armament.
Not approving or carrying out efforts to condemn, ridicule, insult, stifle, or prohibit some belief, religion, Bible, church, liturgy, religious literature, and religious teaching that mentions something you don’t or won’t like.
Not suggesting new therapies, treatment programs, rehabs, or therapeutic communities
What “Old School” Akron A.A. Advocates Are Trying to Enhance Your Recovery Today By Talking About:
A program that respects and tolerates a belief or practice within A.A. that advocates studying, learning, and applying the effective facets of Akron A.A. and its Christian Fellowship founded in 1935; Bill W.’s “new version” of the Twelve Steps in the Big Book, published in 1939; and the primary purpose of both A.A. programs in helping the alcoholic who still suffers—particularly the one or ones that want God’s help.
Learning, studying, respecting, and remembering our history before we forget of just lose it.
Looking at real early A.A.–Pioneer A.A. of Akron–the group Frank Amos described and summarized on page 131 of A.A. General Service Conference-approved DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers.
Reading and absorbing the First Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, and particularly the personal stories of the A.A. pioneers—most of which were removed from sight and publication for decades.
Applying the language of “There is a Solution” which appears to this day on page 25 of the latest edition of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Discovering how the first three AAs – Bill W., Dr. Bob, and Bill D. – got sober, and how they did so before there were any Steps, Traditions, Big Books, drunkalogs, or meetings like those today.
Hearing about the religious upbringing of Dr. Bob as a youngster in Vermont, and how his “excellent training” in the Bible later was applied in early A.A.—training involving belief in God, coming to Him through Jesus Christ, Bible study, prayer meetings, hymns, sermons, Scripture reading, church and Sunday school and Christian academy attendance, as well as Y.M.C.A. and Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor participation.
Comparing to Dr. Bob’s religious training the very similar religious training of Bill W. as a youngster in Vermont, and Bill’s attendance at East Dorset Congregational Church and Sunday school, Manchester Congregational Church, Burr and Burton Seminary, Norwich University, and the other features of Bob’s upbringing mentioned above. Plus adding to it Bill W.’s later decision to follow Dr. Silkworth’s advice about Jesus Christ the Great Physician, and Bill’s trip to Calvary Rescue Mission in New York to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior at Calvary Mission in New York. Plus Bill’s writing in his autobiography—“For sure I’d been born again.” Plus Bill’s decision in a drunk and despairing condition to call on the Great Physician for help at Towns Hospital. Plus Bill’s cry to God for help, the blazing extraordinary white light that filled his hospital room, Bill’s sensing that he was on a mountain top and felt the breeze of the Spirit, and concluded: “Bill, you are a free man. This is the God of the Scriptures” Plus Bill W.’s conviction that he had seen and heard from—the One whose presence he sensed in his hospital room.
Reading and learning what the first three AAs all wrote about their cure of alcoholism, their individual church backgrounds, their Bible study, and their desire to help others—epitomized by their statements about their deliverance. Thus both Bill W. and A.A. Number Three said: “The Lord has cured me of this terrible disease, and I just want to keep talking about it and telling people” (Big Book, 4th ed., 191). And Dr. Bob wrote at the end of his personal story on page 181: “Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!”
Mastering the truth that the early Akron A.A. Pioneers recovered when there were no Steps, no Traditions, no Big Books, and no drunkalogs—while at the same time, conducting prayer meetings, Bible studies, Quiet Times, and ceremonies leading members to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior This occurred when A.A., had no “nonsense gods” and idols, and no ridicule or ostracism of those with differing religious views.
Defining the real pioneer Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship program—the one which claimed a 75% success rate in Akron and spawned the Cleveland A.A. program which produced a ninety-three percent success rate, documented by Cleveland rosters, by DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, and by Cleveland A.A. founder Clarence H. Snyder.
Passing on to others A.A.’s own General Service Conference-approved literature statements by its founders about Pioneer A.A. See Big Book, 4th ed., pp. 181, 191.
Putting on a “new pair of glasses” that will enable viewers to read and learn what early Akron A.A. “Spirituality” really was.
A stentorian shout that early Akron A.A. was a Bible-based, Christian fellowship that relied on God. And that present-day A.A. is currently stating in pamphlets that a newcomer need not believe in anything at all, and that the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. In short, today’s A.A. is not and will not become a Christian Fellowship. It is simply a recovery fellowship peopled with thousands of Christians.
What the “Old-school” Akron A.A. proponents today research, and urge fellow-members to learn and respect as to:
Looking first to our Creator for healing, forgiveness, and deliverance–just as Pioneers did, and just as present-day Conference-approved literature does today as exemplified by Big Book, 4th edition’s statement proclaims on page 25 that “There is a Solution” and that the Creator is at the heart of it.
Looking in the Bible as the old-school Akron AAs did for our Creator’s will, promises, and commandments.
Avoiding “listening” to God today until and unless (as the Akron A.A. pioneers did) one sees in A.A. Conference-approved literature that the Big Book frequently speaks explicitly about God and, twelve different times, asserts God, the Creator, is the “God of the Scriptures” mentioned in the first verse of the Bible, and enabling the inevitable conclusion that one does not “listen to,” cannot and does not reasonably speak to, and would not—in sound mental condition–advocate for some light bulb, door knob, or group of drunks as an object of worship, praise, and thanksgiving..
Avoiding “listening” (versus praying and communicating with God, the Creator) until you have first established a relationship with Him as His child, you’ve learned why AAs “surrendered” to Him by accepting Jesus Christ as Savior, and you know why our founders looked to the Good Book for instruction on who God is, who His Son is, what the Bible is, what it offers, and what it says about prayer, “meditation,” and obedience.
In fact, studying the Book of James, Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, and 7), and 1 Corinthians 13 to find out why these segments of the Bible were considered “absolutely essential’ to success in the early Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship program. See The James Club, http://www.dickb.com/JamesClub.shtml.
Abstaining from prattling about the “nonsense gods of recovery”–higher powers, chairs, groups, rainbows, “good orderly direction,” the Big Dipper, Gertrude, and something that is “spiritual, but not religious.”.
Why? Because early Akron A.A. pioneers knew about and talked only about the one true living Creator, Yahweh, who certainly had the “power” that early AAs thought was necessary to a cure. See Big Book, 4th ed., pp. 181, 191.
Reflections and Suggestions about “old school” pioneer Akron A.A. That Could Help You!
Help you to add and utilize “Old School” Akron A.A. approaches in today’s 12 Step programs. And teach you how and why it should be a primary history teaching made available to those who choose God’s help today. And why such information in no way constitutes making A.A. into a “Christian Fellowship.” Something long abandoned after 1939 when A.A.’s Bill Wilson and three others (a secretary, a Christian, and a man who wanted A.A. to be “irreligious”) decided to call their deity “a power greater than ourselves” and/or “God as we understood Him.”.
The “broad highway” of the Big Book does not lead to a Christian Fellowship today. It is neither “inclusive” nor “exclusive” in that realm. It enables Christians who are still suffering from alcoholism and addiction to join others with the common objective of abstinence and new life.
Helpful Reflections about A.A.’s Diverse Recovery Arena
There is no real substitute for one-on-one sponsorship, witnessing to those who still suffer, and fellowshipping with those who choose not to drink and to change their lives for the better.
Remember, literally just about anyone can form a group, hold a conference, start a class, buy tapes, and study some materials on Pioneer Akron A.A.’s biblical roots and program.
Then he or she can put his recovery efforts into learning the facts of A.A.—its origins, history, cofounders, the cofounders’ backgrounds, the way the founders got sober, the original Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship—consisting of the seven-point summary, and at least sixteen practices. See Stick with the Winners, http://mcaf.ee/s50mq.
Then, having learned about A.A.’s Big Book and other principal General Service Conference-approved literature, about the biblical sources of A.A.’s basic ideas, and about whence came the ideas for (1) the original 1935 program and later (2) Bill W.’s “new version of the program—the Twelve Steps in the Big Book—published in 1939 and then changed many times over since that time. See Alcoholics Anonymous: The Original 1939 Edition With a 23-Page Introduction By Dick B., published by Dover Publication, 2011.
Pass this information on to old-timers, newcomers, speakers, leaders, groups, meetings, and conferences and anyone else inquiring about A.A.
But Note: Adequate A.A. Teaching Begins Only with Good Teachers, Good Texts. Good Sponsors, and Good Speakers
Start with A.A.’s personal sponsorship idea. You learn. You share and compare. Then serve.
There is no substitute for learning the facts first. Therefore, start with A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature.
Master the Big Book, Twelve Steps, and the Frank Amos Reports of 1938.
Read DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers for a sketch of what pioneer A.A. was really like.
Read A.A.’s Co-founders pamphlet (Pamphlet P-53), particularly the excellent address by Dr. Bob.
Then learn the major Biblical roots of early Akron A.A.’s Christian Fellowship: (1) The Bible, (2) Quiet Time, (3) Anne Smith’s Journal, (5) The religious books early AAs read. (6) Group prayers. (7) the teachings of Rev. Sam Shoemaker, (8) The details of Bill W.’s conversion to God—per the recommendation of Dr. William Silkworth (Bill W.’s surrender and new birth at the Calvary Mission altar, (9) Bill W.’s vital religious experience in his hospital room where he cried out to God, sensed the presence of God in his hospital room, said to himself, “Bill, you are a free man. This is the God of the Scriptures.” (10) Bill then lost all of his doubts about God, and he never drank a drop again. (11) the life-changing program of A First Century Christian Fellowship, later called the Oxford Group, and still later Moral Re-Armament., and (10) the religious books early AAs read.
Also learn to recognize how early A.A. thinking was touched by the ideas of Professor William James; by “new thought” writers such as Ralph Waldo Trine and Emmet Fox; by the “higher power” language that later overwhelmed A.A. literature and by the ensuing babble in the 1950’s and the many years following Dr. Bob’s death. These ideas emerged in A.A. from a small group of new thoughters who often disputed the biblical teaching of salvation and then countered with the idea that everyone had “Christ in him.”
Finally, see the difference in origins, approach, content, and beliefs between “Akron A.A.” and “New York A.A.”: (1) Akron developed ideas from the Bible in a Christian fellowship, with “old fashioned prayer meetings,” Bible study, Quiet Time, and Christian literature. (2) New York fashioned today’s basic text primarily from ideas of Rev. Sam Shoemaker, Dr. William D. Silkworth, Professor William James, and the life-changing principles and practices of the Oxford Group. Or so said Bill W.
Next comes your decision, mission, and work with others carrying a helpful message about the foregoing
Will you continue to be a student? If so, there’s lots more to study.
Do you want to be a teacher? If so, there’s lots more to learn and organize.
Do you want to be a speaker? If so, prepare to tell our complete A.A. story; your own story of how you entered the rooms of A.A., how you established your relationship with God, whether and how you have taken the 12 Steps, and what you have done and will do to help others.
Do you want to be the leader of a group? If so, first find members, topics, literature, a format, and a cadre.
Find a cadre of two or three who first are willing to learn, to study, to strive for accuracy, and to help and lead.
Help others by helping them to learn–individually, as a cadre, and–only then–as a group
Suggested Resources You and Your Cadre can Acquire, Study, and Use
You can begin your work with one or more of the Dick B. or Dick B. and Ken B. titles or groups of titles. E.g.:
Use Turning Point for a comprehensive overview of our spiritual history and roots, or
The Akron Genesis of A.A. for an accurate picture of how Pioneer Akron A.A. took shape, or
Study of our major biblical roots: (1) The Good Book and The Big Book, (2) Good Morning!–(quiet time, etc.), (3) Anne Smith’s Journal, (4) New Light on Alcoholism–Shoemaker, (5) The Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous, A.A., and (6) Dr. Bob and His Library and The Books Early AAs Read for Spiritual Growth.
For background: (1) Making Known the Biblical Roots of A.A., (2) That Amazing Grace, and (3) The Golden Text of A.A.
For your cadre, your teaching, or study group itself: (1) The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible. (2) Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A. (3) God and Alcoholism: Our Growing Opportunity in the 21st Century. (4) By The Power of God: A Guide to Early A.A. Groups & Forming Similar Groups Today. (5) Why Early A.A. Succeeded: The Good Book in Alcoholics Anonymous Yesterday and Today (A Bible Study Primer for AAs and other 12-Steppers). (6) Utilizing Early A.A.’s Spiritual Roots for Recovery Today.
For our latest– (1) Cured!: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts. (2) The Conversion of Bill W., (3) Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Good Book as a Youngster in Vermont. (4) Bill W. and Dr. Bob: The Green Mountain Men of Vermont. (5) A.A. Articles on our History: A Collection of over 1500 Articles by Dick B. (6) The acquisition of the Dick B. 29 Volume A.A. History Reference Set, for only $249.00
My own suggestions for planning your purchases, studies, and future service and glorification of God, and service to our fellow men
Don’t start a group. Start learning from texts, as an individual, with a sponsor, or with friends.
Purchase my entire 29-Volume A.A. History Reference Set at the substantial discount of $249. Shipping and handling free in the USA
Then you can pick and choose your books for study, or
Instead, purchase one of the books that interests you; or, preferably, if you know what you want to organize and study, select one or several titles for you group and receive these at the substantial group discount of 50% of retail, plus shipping and handling, or
When and if you start a group or gather as a group, you may purchase 10 or more titles of your choosing at a 50% discount plus shipping and handling [i.e., 10 Good Books (worth $179.95) at half price ($89.97), plus 10% retail shipping and handling].
Please don’t hesitate to contact Ken B. or me for further details: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Ken B. (c) 808 276 4945; Mail: Dick B., PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837. To order now, simply use our online Order Form and adapt it, deducting discounts allowed above.
P.O. Box 837