Alcoholics Anonymous History – “The Rest of the Story” that Fills in the Many Blanks

“The Rest of the Story” about A.A.

By Dick B.
© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved

July 2014 marks the date when we are making available to the recovery community the fruits of our 25 years of researching, traveling, interviewing, and gathering of historical materials concerning “the rest of the story” about the history of Alcoholics Anonymous. The primary vehicle for publishing our work is our new http://www.AAHistoryChristianRecovery.com website. It tells facts about the history of recovery that so many writers, articles, and films have left out of their presentations on “relapse prevention” and effective “recovery rates.” It provides relevant recovery details, successful early recovery techniques, and the real story of Alcoholics Anonymous. Particularly the importance of the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played and can play in the recovery arena.

In this initial announcement, we will sketch out two parts of our approach.

The first has to do with the scope of the many videos and photos now available on our new http://www.AAHistoryChristianRecovery.com website. They include:

1. “Bill W., Dr. Bob, and the Cure of Alcoholism: The Rest of the Story” video class and optional Guidebook.
2. “A.A. History Sources”–my 2001 narrated interview by Steve G. of approximately 30,000 books and articles on the history of A.A. that were gathered on Maui and donated to such important historical locations as:
a. The Wilson House in East Dorset, Vermont;
b. The Shoemaker Room in Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania;
c. The collection of Ray G., retired archivist at Dr. Bob’s Home in Akron, Ohio;
d. The Seiberling Gate Lodge Museum in Akron, Ohio; and
e. The “Dr. Bob’s Core Library” at North Congregational Church in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
3. The “Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery” video class, and optional Instructor’s Guide and Student Guide.
4. Some 650 photos of the entire Vermont scene that so much influenced the boyhood and Christian upbringing of A.A. cofounders Bill W. and Dr. Bob.
5. YouTube videos on the “DickBChannel” and other videos by Dick B.

The second describes the many epochs of history that led to the new version of the A.A. program, namely the “Twelve Steps” that Bill W. and Rev. Sam Shoemaker fashioned together. Those epochs include:

1. Practices of First Century Christians as described in the Book of Acts and much paralleled in the original Akron “Christian fellowship” program founded in 1935.
2. The little-known Christian organizations and people who were the highly-successful precursors of the original A.A. program of 1935. They include
a. the Young Men’s Christian Association;
b. Gospel Rescue Missions;
c. great Christian evangelists like Moody, Sankey, Meyer, Moore, Folger, and Drummond;
d. the Salvation Army,
e. Congregationalism—especially as seen in Vermont from 1870 to 1917;
f. the United Society of Christian Endeavor; and
g. to some extent, A First Century Christian Fellowship (also known beginning in September 1928 as “the Oxford Group.”)
3. The Christian upbringing of Bill W. and Dr. Bob in Vermont.
4. How the first three AAs got sober before there were any 12 Steps, 12 Traditions, Big Books, war stories, or meetings as we know them today.
5. The seven-point summary of the Akron “Christian fellowship” program as it looked in late-February 1938 that was included in a report Rockefeller agent Frank Amos provided to John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (The summary is quoted on page 131 in DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers.)
6. The 16 practices of the early Akron A.A. members that implemented the original program. (See Dick B. and Ken B., Stick with the Winners!).
7. “The new version of the program”—the Twelve Steps—that Bill W. wrote in consultation with Rev. Samuel Shoemaker around the late summer/early fall of 1938 and that he included in the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous (the “Big Book”) published in April 1939.
8. The compromises and resulting changes in the wording of Steps Two, Three, and Eleven made shortly before the Big Book went to press which opened the door to atheists, agnostics, and those who believed in nothing at all.

Many of the foregoing details are described in one or more of my 46 titles, 1,700 articles, blog posts, YouTube videos, and radio shows. However, these new video and photographic presentations will make available some much-needed history of how A.A. really worked in its earliest days, where it came from, how it changed, and how information about “old-school” A.A. can be adapted today to enhance recovery efforts and help prevent revolving-door relapses.

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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. www.dickb.com
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