Meeting Dick B. – A Maui Visitor Comments

While on holidays the past 2 weeks, I had the privilege of meeting Dick B.

Dick is regarded as one of the most notable historians on Alcoholics Anonymous. Being one of few, if not the only person, to have researched in-depth the individuals and material used in the orignal AA fellowship.

Dick has met and interviewed numerous family members and others who knew AA founders such as Bill W, Dr. Bob, Anne Smith (Dr. Bob’s wife), and Reverend Samuel Shoemaker. He has researched many of their published and unpublished writings and visited the places they lived and worked.

It was fascinating to hear of the origins of AA in contrast to where it has gone today. I was able to recognize the source of some of my discomfort with my current experiences in AA. I was also able to see areas I can redirect my focus in recovery and personal growth closer to ways that worked for the original AAs.

The AA founders did not endeavor so much to please everyone. They found what worked and focused intently on it. They believed in God and sought him diligently. They seemed to have far greater purpose than what I experience today in the rooms of AA.

This experience left a question malingering in my mind. Why, when in AA we hear so many warnings against anything centred around “self”, do we then accept the suggestion by many AA’s to self-design our own god/higher-power?

This is not what the original AAs practiced. I have begun reading more on original AA and am discovering an AA that I never knew.

Thanks Dick for a great chat and lunch together in the beautiful setting on the island of Maui. It was particularly special given that our meeting happened to be on the day of my sobriety anniversary.



Dick B’s web site is


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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