The Dick B. Papers: Stick with the Winners! Clarence Snyder and Cleveland AA wre Winners

Stick with the Winners

Clarence H. Snyder’s Contributions in Cleveland Marked Him as a Winner

Dick B.

© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved


Clarence H. Snyder got sober in Alcoholics Anonymous in February, 1938. His sponsor was A.A. Cofounder Dr. Bob. And in 1939, Clarence organized the first A.A. group in Cleveland. As stated in another Dick B. Paper, its growth was huge. And as stated, its recorded success rate was 93%.

That raises the question as to what the Cleveland A.A. groups brought with them from Akron Number One, and what they added when they began. The Big Book and its Twelve Steps had just been published. And they were used in Cleveland. A First Century Christian Fellowship, later called the Oxford Group, had developed the “Four Absolutes”—honesty, purity, and unselfishness, and love. These were incorporated in the Cleveland program. And, as DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers made clear, Akron A.A. had called itself a Christian Fellowship and stressed the Bible and prayer as essentials of their original program.

As Mitchell K., a sponsee of Clarence’s wrote in his book How It Worked: The Story of Clarence H. Snyder and the Early Days of Alcoholics Anonymous in Cleveland, Ohio, the following ideas and events were a part of Clarence’s A.A. life:

(1)  When Clarence was hospitalized in Akron City, Hospital, he confirmed to Dr. Bob that he believed in God. Just before Clarence was discharged from the hospital, Mitchell K. says that Dr. Bob and Clarence were on their knees by the side of the hospital bed in an attitude of prayer. And Clarence remembered this much of the “surrender” prayer he repeated after Dr. Bob: “Jesus! This is Clarence Snyder. He’s a drunk. Clarence! This is Jesus. Ask him to come into your life. Ask him to remove your drinking problem, and pray that he manage your life because you are unable to manage it yourself,” page 58

(2)  According to Mitchell K., when Clarence was attending weekly Oxford Group meetings in Akron, he was taken upstairs to make his “full” surrender. Doc told him, “Young feller, it’s about time you make your full surrender.” T. Henry Williams, Dr. Bob, and two Oxford Group members went into T. Henry’s bedroom. They all got down on their knees in an attitude of prayer. They placed their hands on Clarence, and prayed. Mitchell K. stated: “These people introduced Clarence to Jesus as his Lord and Savior. They explained to Clarence that this was First Century Christianity. Then they prayed for a healing and removal of Clarence’s sins, especially his alcoholism,” page 70.

(3)  In the survey, Clarence made of the members in Cleveland, he concluded, said Mitchell K., that by keeping most of the “old program,” including the Four Absolutes and the Bible, ninety-three percent of those surveyed had maintained uninterrupted sobriety. See page 108.


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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