Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Non-Christian Community Outreach

“An excellent new article by one of our International Christian Recovery Coalition speakers who is out in the field harvesting
and articulating a valuable approach to all who need help from
Christian leaders and workers.” Dick B.


Dale Marsh

Global Evangelism ORT-2013

Project Proposal

Non-Christian Recovery Community Outreach

   The purpose of the paper is to suggest ways to reach people in the recovery community with the Gospel. This is sometimes done in a hostile environment. However, it is also a great opportunity to meet people at a point of brokenness in their lives, in a time when they are receptive.

    There are a wide variety of recovery groups that use the 12 Step (see attachment A) program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), originally developed by Bill Wilson, Dr Robert Smith and others between 1935 and 1939. Due to the success of the 12 Step methods it has become the standard for self help in recovery from addictions of all kinds. Although the 12 Steps are biblically based, in many ways the programs today do not reflect the original intent or methods of the groups begun in Akron and Cleveland Ohio between 1935 and 1939. As a matter of fact in many cases you risk ridicule or worse with the mention Jesus Christ or the Bible at many modern 12 Step meetings.

     One of the first off shoots of AA was Narcotics Anonymous (NA). NA was begun due to a tendency in AA to not understand the needs of those addicted to narcotics and other drugs. As our culture has changed, most people entering AA today are dually addicted. Other off shoots from the original program include; Gamblers Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous and others. With the addition of these variations in the program came more changes to the original intent of AA’s founders.

       Many other changes have occurred in the treatment of addictions since those early days. Treatment facilities have practically become an industry. The options include palatial mansions with doctors and therapists on staff for celebrities and other wealthy people, to programs designed for the poor and those coming out of prison.  Fees range from free to five and even fifty thousand dollars a month. The method of delivery of treatment options is as varied as the price ranges available. These include intensive inpatient treatment, sober living environments, and out patient services. Although I cannot go into in depth descriptions of each method in this paper, most of these methods are 12 Step friendly. Although some facilities are not 12 Step friendly, they tend to use the same principles without actually using the 12 Step of AA. The principles that have the most effective results, although many in recovery have no understanding of this, are biblical.

     Let’s take a moment to look at the original AA program as developed in Akron Ohio between 1935 and 1939. The following is an outline of the program taken from the book, “Dr Bob and the Good Old Timers.”  In these early days there was no misunderstanding what the original AA’s thought about who God was. Without exception they were all Christians. The outline below was laid out prior to the publishing of the AA Big Book.

The Actual, Seven-Point, Original Akron A.A. “Christian Fellowship” Program

Summarized by Frank Amos for Rockefeller

·         An alcoholic must realize that he is an alcoholic, incurable from a medical viewpoint, and that he must never drink anything with alcohol in it.

·         He must surrender himself absolutely to God, realizing that in himself there is no hope.

·         Not only must he want to stop drinking permanently, he must remove from his life other sins such as hatred, adultery, and others which frequently accompany alcoholism. Unless he will do this absolutely, Smith and his associates refuse to work with him.

·         He must have devotions every morning–a “quiet time” of prayer and some reading from the Bible and other religious literature. Unless this is faithfully followed, there is grave danger of backsliding.

·         He must be willing to help other alcoholics get straightened out. This throws up a protective barrier and strengthens his own willpower and convictions.

·         It is important, but not vital, that he meet frequently with other reformed alcoholics and form both a social and a religious comradeship.

·         Important, but not vital, that he attend some religious service at least once weekly.

(DR. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, p 131).

It is important for those of us in the Christian Recovery movement to understand this history if we are to be prepared to witness within the non Christian recovery setting.

Recovery Community Culture

    The message about God has been distorted since those early days of the 12 Step movements. This can be distressing to the Christian in recovery, or it can be seen as an opportunity.  The simple fact is that AA has changed no more then our American culture has changed over the last seventy-six years.

   These changes can be seen throughout our society and AA as well. There has developed a clearly visible drug and alcohol culture which has also shaped the culture in the rooms of AA and NA. With the advent of New Age thinking, we can see this influence in the recovery movement as well.

    Some people in the recovery community have had bad experiences with the church. Others have been misled by pop culture and other influences to believe many untrue ideas about the church. Some have legitimate concerns due to highly publicized failures in the church. Others are just angry at God for the way their lives have turned out. Still others want to be sober but do not want to give up other sins they like, sins which are forbidden in the Bible. There are a myriad of reasons why Christians can find a hostile environment in a non Christian recovery meeting. Sometimes Christians have literally been shouted down for expressing there views on spiritual matters.

      Other cultural issues in modern recovery include things that Christians find distressing such as, foul language, anti-Christian bigotry, sexually suggestive behavior, lewd joking, 13th Stepping (entering romantic relationships), and odd conceptions of “a” god. AA misconceptions of God include: the group, a light bulb, a door knob, and many others. This is an out growth of the phrase “God as we understood Him” in Step3 and Step11. “God as we understood Him” came from an Oxford Group saying, “Give as much of yourself as you understand to as much of God as you understand.”  This is just another thing that has been distorted from the original meaning. With this knowledge the Christian can point out the true intent of “God as we understood Him.”

      These things are considered perfectly normal to many in recovery. However it can be very confusing to the new comer and frustrating to the Christian.  These issues and more have left a vacuum and an opportunity into which Christians stepped with the advent of the Christian Recovery Movement.

      Since the origins of the twelve step programs were Christian in nature, it is easy to make connections between the programs and the teachings in the Bible. With a little knowledge of these historical origins, Christians in recovery can have a great impact on the lives of fellow recovering persons on the journey to wellness. The question is: How do we go about outreach to the recovery community? Do we attempt to mold recovery to the church culture or do we come along side in the rooms of AA and NA and work within that culture? I believe the answer to these questions is “Both!”

Christian Responses to Twelve Step Recovery

There are many responses by Christians to Twelve Step Recovery. They are as varied as the denominational differences we see throughout Christendom today. Some are very wrong, and some are just differences in the approach each Christian community takes in the ministry to which God has called them. Some take a mold recovery to the church culture approach, and others come along side the existing recovery program and work within the recovery culture. Some methods are a blending of both.

       I will not spend much time on the Christian approach which is totally against twelve step recovery programs.  In this approach you will hear things like the twelve steps are against God, God is not present at AA and NA, or AA and NA are a cult. This approach drives AA and NA folks away from Christ and encourages Christians who have had their feelings hurt at AA or NA to be completely negative and legalistic about the two programs. In my opinion this destroys a testimony that could have been leading people from AA and NA to the Lord.

     Taking a more middle ground on this are ministries that tend to get AA’s and NA’s to conform to church culture. I find that these ministries can be quite successful and that this is not a huge detriment to helping folks in recovery find Christ. Since there are many options, the net result is often positive.

     Here are some of the things I think can hold us back in Christian recovery ministries. Referring to AA and NA as secular. First of all in the strict definition of the word, secular refers to anything devoid of reference to god or spirituality. For many Christians, the word secular simply means non Christian. This tends to be a general understanding in the church. However those outside the church such as AA’s and NA’s do not have this understanding and can find it demeaning and insulting.  

      Another controversial issue is How AA’s or NA’s introduce themselves prior to sharing at a meeting. Hi I’m __________ I’m an alcoholic (or addict). I understand the theological reasoning behind the Christian dismissal of this introduction. I do believe we are new creations is Christ. But I am also reminded of Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. Although this is not necessarily always controversial, strict enforcement of how people introduce themselves can make AA’s and NA’s feel unwelcome.

     The last one I often hear is this “You can’t get sober without Christ.” Personally I know many people who have done just that, people with many years of sobriety who don’t know Christ as their personal savior. As a matter of fact these folks tend to be one of my top priorities as I witness in the recovery community. It is true that one will not have a life as joyous and free as he or she could without Christ; and, of course, in the end, not knowing Christ is disastrous. But to say that you can’t get sober with out Christ simply is not true. There are not many things more exciting to me then leading a brother in sobriety with many years of clean time to the Lord. All of a sudden ten or more people will have a Christian sponsor. What a blessed impact this has on the lives of people in the recovery community. When we say “You can’t get sober without Christ,” we look either ignorant or dishonest to those in AA or NA. This again hurts our testimony in the recovery community.

Working within the Culture

1Corinthians 9:19-23 19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings.

    “In Paul’s cultural flexibility he never compromised the absolutes of the gospel message. Some scholars have felt that there is a disparity between Paul’s principles and his practices as recorded in Acts. However, it was only in cultural matters that he was flexible to avoid offense to the gospel and totally consistent with his principles as stated above.”  (What in the world is God Doing p.276).

    The basic principles of AA are governed by the 12 Traditions (see attachment B). These principles tend to be followed to greater and lesser degrees at any given meeting. The idea of the Traditions is to regulate to some degree the method and management of the meeting environment. These loose regulations leave much room for interpretation and confusion. The Traditions do make it clear that all are welcome no matter what they believe, or what religious background they come from, including none.  This is attractive to many seeking help. If we are to operate within the Traditions, which is conforming to the culture, it becomes inappropriate to be preaching Jesus constantly in the AA or NA setting. 

     Using a good working knowledge of the history of the Christian foundations in the early recovery movement and following Paul’s example we have an excellent opportunity as Christians to have an effective witness. As one of my early Christian mentors in AA still reminds me, “AA is the best fishing hole in town!”

       The following list of AA slogans and sayings came directly from the bible or were heavily influenced by the bible. As we witness within the confines of the Twelve Traditions these slogans and sayings can be leveraged into conversations about Christ.

Just for Today / One Day at a Time ------------ Matthew 6:34

First Things First ---------------------------------- Matthew 6:33

Faith with out works is dead. -------------------- James1:20

We were reborn. ----------------------------------- John 3:3

Thy will be done.  --------------------------------- Matt 6:5-13              

The Lords Prayer ---------------------------------- Matt 6:5-13    

    Not only do we have these and many other sayings inspired by the Bible, we also have the founders’ own accounts of how AA began--such as the following quote from Dr Bob. “But we were convinced the answer to our problem was in the Good Book. To some of us older ones, the parts we found absolutely essential were the Sermon on the Mount, the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians and the book of James.” (The Cofounders of Alcoholics Anonymous / Biographical Sketches / Their Last Major Talks / Pamphlet P-53 p13).

Also, in the same publication, we find: “I didn’t write the twelve steps. I had nothing to do with the writing of them. But I think I probably had something to do with them indirectly. After my June 10th episode, Bill came to live at our house and stayed for about three months. There was hardly a night that we didn’t sit up until two or three o’clock, talking. It would be hard for me to conceive that, during these nightly discussions around our kitchen table, nothing was said that influenced the writing of the Twelve Steps. We already had the basic ideas, though not in terse and tangible form. We got them, as I said from out study of the Good Book.” (The Cofounders of Alcoholics Anonymous / Biographical Sketches / Their Last Major Talks / Pamphlet P-53 p14).

      The list of AA slogans, and the two quotes from Dr Bob, are just a small sampling of the biblical influence on the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous. There are many more to be found throughout AA literature. Another excellent source of information about AA’s biblical history is books by AA historian Dick B in his over forty publications about AA history.

The Practical Application

    Now let’s consider the practical applications of this knowledge. First of all let’s discuss Christ Centered Recovery. At Serenity Group we constantly use the knowledge of our AA roots to connect people to Christ. We teach AA history classes at least twice each year, and I use AA history throughout the opening devotionals each week. In our small groups we instill the value of the recovery movement and use of the Bible throughout the discussion. Our Serenity Bible is an excellent way to help those interested in Jesus to see how their recovery fits with the Bible and God’s church. Many have come to know Christ and become able to relate their relationship with Him to their healing in the recovery process. Recovery is so much more fulfilling with Jesus, the true higher power personally involved in our lives.

    One of the other values that helps us be more effective is our desire to instill the feeling of being “ok” to be at a Christ Center recovery program. We want the newcomer to feel comfortable. We do this by making Serenity feel like AA or NA with extras. We do not tell our folks how to introduce themselves, and we don’t lay a lot of church culture on them. One example of this is cussing. We don’t even mention that we don’t cuss at Serenity. It has just never been a problem. If I need to confront someone about cussing, I do it privately so as not to embarrass them. In the twenty years we have been doing the ministry I can count on one hand the number of times I have had to deal with the cussing issue. Most of the time, people who have attended a few times let folks know that we don’t cuss in church. About the only inappropriate behavior I deal with publicly is when someone begins to bad mouth other recovery programs. We simply do not allow this and all our group leaders are trained on this issue. We cannot have rumors starting in the community that we talk against other recovery efforts.

    An often heard criticism of AA and NA is that it is all a bunch of whining. Let’s face it; people are dealing with very difficult issues if they have entered a recovery program. There will be much discussion of some depressing circumstances in people’s lives. We counter this with a time of praises during the opening devotionals before we break into small groups. This is sometimes the most inspiring part of the evening. Here is a little example of what I am talking about. One evening there were two lady newcomers. Of course, there are always new comers at the meeting. During the praises, they got up and walked out. One of them was clearly quite upset. Once we were breaking for small groups, they came back in and emphatically demanded to speak to me. I was a little nervous as I thought we had offended them. I was surprised by her question that followed.  The lady asked, “Is this real? Are these people really this happy?”  At this point, a sense of relief came to me as I could see the Holy Spirit was working on them. As one of our small groups leaders passed by, I asked her to share a bit of her testimony. I am a strong believer in ladies sharing with ladies. I stepped back for a few minutes and let them interact. Shortly our ladies group leader was praying with her. As the prayer came to a conclusion I asked the newcomer if she would like to accept the Lord. She answered “Yes.” We prayed again. If we can help folks to relax and understand that we are not at odds with others in the recovery community, folks seem to be more receptive.

     One other thing we insist on is taking announcements for any and all recovery events in Oroville. Although AA and NA will not announce Serenity events, we take that in stride and just love on them. The next thing you know people are telling everyone what we’re doing out of a sense of fairness. A supreme value is that we love God and love others especially in the Recovery Community of Oroville.

      Next let’s consider participation in AA and NA meetings. One thing we always do is respect the rules (The Twelve Traditions). Even though in my heart I want to stand and shout about Jesus from the roof tops, this would only destroy my ability to reach those I am trying to reach. It is quite easy to intertwine scriptural principles with the program. It is also easy to use quotes from AA approved literature which proclaim Christ. As long as it’s AA approved, there is not a problem. Although some don’t like it when I do this, I am acting within the spirit of the 12 Traditions.

     There are other little things we can do as Christians to reach our brothers and sisters in recovery. I like to say things like “I finally decided to just go with the same higher power at Dr Bob and Bill Wilson”. That one always gets someone asking questions after the meeting. Likewise I can say something like “I always like to use the same book that Dr Bob always read when he did his 11th step work”. You might have guessed, that book is the Bible. It is not hard to be a bit creative and loving to make great strides for the kingdom.

       I will never forget one of the finest compliments I ever got at an AA meeting. This grumpy old time AA guy who was as tough as nails came up to me and stuck his finger in my chest. I didn’t know what was coming next. He looks me in the eye and says “Hey, you’re the guy who leads the Christian meeting that respects us.” Only a short time later he became very ill. Before he passed, one of our Serenity guys lead him to the Lord in the hospital. I am so glad that I get to see him again on the other side of eternity. He was a member of AA for over twenty years before he accepted Christ.

Vision for the Future

    When our people know our recovery history, it gives them a sense of empowerment to operate within the meetings throughout the community. In the past many Christians abandoned AA and NA because of the treatment they received for their opinions about the Bible and Jesus Christ. Our goal is to teach them to couch their discussion of Christ and the Bible in the historical context, and to do so with humility. When we do this, things change.

     It is our desire that everyone in the recovery community of Oroville gets the chance to hear about Jesus. We want them to know that in truth He is the author of the recovery movement. We want our lives to represent Him to them. My friend and Mentor Brother Al who likes to call AA the best fishing hole in town also likes to tell me that Christians cannot give up on AA.  He reminds me that we may be the only Jesus that many in recovery may ever see.

   The results are impressive. At Serenity we are usually around 150 in attendance on a regular night. On our dinner / speaker night we usually run over 250.  We draw from at most a population of about 27,000. It has been estimated that Nation wide statistics claim that about ten percent of the population is in active addiction. If half of them are seeking recovery, which I doubt, that means we are reaching over ten percent of our local recovery community on a regular night and over twenty percent on our dinner / speaker night. The other impressive result is that at any given AA meeting. half of the folks in the room will be Christians. Only a few years ago almost no one in the room was Christian. Without our trying to change the culture of AA, the culture changes when half the people there are Christians.

 We love to use this little motto from St Francis of Assisi.

 “Preach the gospel everywhere you go, if necessary, use words.”

Recovery Pastor Dale Marsh's Great New Article.

Recovery Pastor Dale Marsh of the Oroville Church of the Nazarene is a pumped up message carrier to the addicted population. He has just sent a great article which takes account of today's drift away from the power of God. He shows the possible solutions in action. And we will be widely circulating it as he utilizes it in his Orovilee, California community area. Stay tuned. Dick B.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chaplain Leonard Grubb to Further Historical News

A.A. History Center

“Impaired No More: A Real Solution”

The Historical Resources that Demonstrate Prospects for Widespread Success

By Dick B., Executive Director

International Christian Recovery Coalition

© 2011 Anonymous. All rights reserved

A Project to Plant and House a Free, Accessible, Original A.A. History Resource Collection

The Need and Backdrop

International Christian Recovery Coalition has undertaken a number of projects since its establishment in May of 2009. They are summarized in

Our consistent, overall, worldwide mission has been to discover, present, and widely disseminate the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played in the origin, history, founding, Original A.A. Christian Fellowship program in Akron, and its astonishing successes. Also to show how these Christian roots can be applied in Christian treatment centers, 12 Step Fellowships, Christian recovery fellowships, Christian counseling, Christian sober living, and other entities purposed to show the still suffering newcomer how he or she can recover and

be healed by the power and love of God if he or she fervently wants, seeks, and receives them.

Through benefactor help, Dick B. has already acquired and donated many thousands of historical books, articles, pamphlets, letters, tapes, manuscripts, papers, and documents. These are now in place at the Griffith Library (Wilson House) in East Dorset Vermont, the Dr. Bob Core Library at North Congregational Church of St. Johnsbury, the Shoemaker Room in Calvary Church at Pittsburgh, the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Library in Akron, the large collection of long-time-now-retired archivist at Dr. Bob’s Home in Akron, and the Stan Hywet Museum Seiberling Gate Lodge in Cuyahoga Falls.

But there is still an enormously important historical gap to be filled.

The utter void in knowledge of the real early Christian roots of today’s recovery movement is still there. And yet there now is this new and different collection assembled and/or planned by A.A. historian and author Dick B. and his son Rev. Dick B.. This occurred over the past three years.

This new collection and resource has become critically needed and valuable to the huge, growing, worldwide Christian Recovery Movement blowing in the wind today.

Summary of the Proposed Project

First, Dick and Ken B. have found and assembled a large, new, unique, accurate, comprehensive collection of resources. The resources are vitally needed if the gap is to be filled. Vital too provided the resources are not simply locked away in glass cases rather than enabling the content to be free, totally available for view, and accessible now. Available to all those desiring pass along or receive help in overcoming alcoholism and addiction by the power of God and using many of the successful Christian techniques the original Akron AAs applied from at least 1935 to 1938.

Second, the new resources document the huge Christian epochs that preceded A.A. by dozens of years. The resources tell of: (a) The Great Awakening of 1875 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. (b) The thunderous output from great evangelists like Dwight L. Moody, Ira D. Sankey, Henry Moorhouse, Allen Folger, F. B. Meyer, and even the widely known Billy Sunday of later years. (c) The later 1850’s canvass, conversion, revival and Gospel work of lay Young Men’s Christian Association brethren. (d) The enormous successes New York rescue missions like Water Street and Cremone that were headed by Jerry McAuley and S. H. Hadley, and also Calvary Mission—operated by Rev. Sam Shoemaker’s Calvary Episcopal Church in New York where Bill Wilson and his “sponsor” Ebby Thacher made their decisions for Jesus Christ, were born again, and—for however long—were released from their bondage. (e) The simple and tireless efforts of General William Booth and the Salvation Army among the derelicts, drunks, homeless, and criminals in the streets and slums. (f) The 4.5 million membership of the Young People’s Christian Endeavor Society founded in Maine by Rev. Francis Clark in 1881. (g) Also, to a limited degree, the link of these early forces to the impact of the Oxford Group and Rev. Sam Shoemaker, Jr. on A.A.

Third, they unearth and highlight the Christian upbringing of A.A. co-founders William Griffith Wilson and Robert Holbrook Smith as youngsters in the State of Vermont. This upbringing emphasized, as to salvation and the Bible, parental teaching, church and Sunday school, prayer meetings, Bible study, corollary YMCA activities, and the intense Congregational discipline at Vermont academies where Dr. Bob and Bill W. matriculated. They report the treasures at St. Johnsbury Academy in Dr. Bob’s home village, and Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester near Bill’s East Dorset home. Also the emphasis in both places on Bible study, required prayers, daily chapel, sermons, church attendance, and the YMCA.

Fourth, the materials tell exactly how the first three AAs got sober and were cured. Each believed in God, were or had become Christians, had studied the Bible, and had attended Christian churches and Sunday schools, revivals and temperance functions, conversion meetings, and YMCA functions by the time of their deliverance. Each was healed before the original Akron Christian Fellowship was developed between July of 1935 and November of 1938. Each did so by turning to God for help at a time when there were no Big Books, Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, drunkalogs, or meetings as we see them today.

Fifth, they specifically set forth all the basic principles of the Original Akron A.A. program. These were summarized in A.A.’s own General Service Conference-approved literature. The practices can be found almost and are substantially described in the printer’s manuscript of DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers. The pioneer successes are attested by a number of studies, original documents, rosters, news stories and columns, as well as the activities of the A.A. pioneers.

Sixth, they present many of the recently discovered or published materials that describe Christian elements of pioneer history that derived from Dr. Carl G. Jung, Professor William James, Dr. William D. Silkworth, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, William Borcherts’s Writings, Anne Smith’s Journal, Lois Wilson’s memoirs and diaries, and Bill Wilson’s own autobiography and Bill’s little known but numerous manuscripts found by Dick B. at Stepping Stones.

Seventh, these new historical materials were primarily collected by Dick B. and Ken B. and now belong in a free, accessible, climate-favorable, steward-friendly, long-term office, library, room, or facility very probably in Hawaii, Southern California, or Texas.

Finally, the materials can and will be used in such a way that they may easily be seen, conveniently viewed, and freely accessed. They can and will become the basis for lectures, seminars, films, radio and TV presentations, and instructions suitable for treatment, Christian counseling and recovery, 12 Step Fellowships, Christian fellowships, sober Christian residences, and class activities.

The Projected Simple Costs

  • For acquiring (at almost cost), assembling, arranging, and packing existing

items                                                                                                                      $15,000.

  • For purchasing, adding, and preparing additional resources still available           $  5,000.

  • For travel, meals, lodging, phones, and incidental expenses involved

in setting up the center and filling the center                                                        $ 7,500.

  • For writing, indexing, and cataloguing the collection                                           $ 2,500.

  • For housing and maintaining the collection – at an existing church,

Salvation Army property, or open Christian library – hopefully donated free                0.


Total to complete                                                                                                              $30,000.


Charitable, tax-deductible contributions to the tax exempt St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Akron (Dr. Bob’s own, last church) which has processed and supervised such donations with and by Dick B. for about 20 years--welcoming and supporting this historical work

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Dialogue with an AA Who Likes A.A. History, But Fears Christian Viewpoints in A.A.

A Dialogue with an AA Who Likes A.A. History, But Fears Christian Viewpoints in A.A.

Dick B.

Dear Paul P.

Thank you for writing. A.A. is not a Christian Fellowship today. It

cannot be a Christian Fellowship today. And it will not be a Christian

Fellowship in the future. In fact, I cannot think of a quasi religious

program that is more diverse and varied than A.A. You might consider the

difference between Bill's "broad highway" and Dr. Bob's Twelfth-stepping

Christian techniques in Akron. They did not quarrel or split. I believe you confuse my 42 volume, 700 article reports on our roots--biblical, new thought, Oxford Group, Jungian, Jamesian, Roman Catholic, secular, agnostic, atheist, humanist, and unbelieving with my devoted attention to letting Christians who are in recovery be free from intimidation and ignorance coming from those who do not recognize the difference between diversity and tolerance. I hold with what may be the best of A.A. today:

(1) A focus on helping the newcomer who still suffers. (2) Love and service

as the essence of the Steps, and (3) love and tolerance as a code for members. There is plenty of room for Christians in A.A. today.

And there is more than enough room for those who are in therapy, hospitals, detox, rehabs, recovery, in treatment, in churches, in synagogues, in Ashrams, in Indian Sweat tents, in Buddhist shrines, and humanist organizations to help others recover from alcoholism by learning what A.A. was, is, and should continue to be.

Former General Manager, Chairman of the Trustees, and "senior advisor" Bob P. hit the nail on the head when, on his retirement, he said his biggest concern is the rigidity the fellowship has developed--trying to control others, telling them what they can do and read, and barring them from writing about what they believe. Thanks for expressing your view and interest in our history. It is this latter point in your message that propels me to take the time to answer your courteous letter.

Should you wish to support and further the historical quest, let me know.

Dick B.

Author, 42 titles & over 700 articles on A.A. History and the Christian Recovery Movement

Exec. Dir., International Christian Recovery Coalition

Christian Recovery Resource Centers - Worldwide

(808) 874-4876

PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837

Ps 118:17 (NJB):

I shall not die, I shall live to recount the great deeds of Yahweh.

Facebook: DickBmauihistorian




-----Original Message-----
From: Paul P
Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2011 1:22 PM
Subject: Your AA history blog

  I have read some of your blogs with interest. You are certainly

correct the history is not discussed anymore, at least not within the

meetings I attended. My recent attempt to bring some history to my home

group has been met with apathy and poor attendance during our book

studies of Pass It On, Dr Bob and the Good Old Timers, and AA comes of age.

I am a little, and i think this is the only word I can use, disturbed by

what appears to be an attempt, desire or wish on your part to make AA a

christian organization once more.

Many of us have sought out groups that are specifically not within a

church or religious setting as we do not believe in the idea of Jesus

been our savior.

The program works because of a God of OUR understanding. Not mine not

yours nor the particular group chairman's but yet as an all inclusive

God that we can all believe in.

I look forward to reading more of your blog and my own personal history

search into the roots of AA.

Paul P

Alcoholics Anonymous History Open, Unrestricted Contributions

A New Group to broaden unrestricted, accurate, ongoing contributions to and comments on Alcoholics Anonymous History: Group name: dickbaahistory
Group home page:
Group email:
Facebook friends, Twitter Followers, and Those Focused on helping the alcoholic and addict who still suffers are invited and welcome.
dickbaahistory: Dick B., Accurate A.A. History

Friday, November 25, 2011

A.A. Holiday Studies of A.A. and the Oxford Group

Alcoholics Anonymous History

Holiday Study of the Oxford Group Root of A.A.

One of Many


Alcoholics Anonymous History:

Alcoholics Anonymous History -- the origins, the roots, and the early tools can be your special, simple, inexpensive way of reading, studying, learning, and applying the varied roots of A.A. in recovery today. This is the Oxford Group root. A.A. didn’t come from the Oxford Group; but by the time its Big Book was written and published, Bill Wilson had used Oxford Group ideas (or, as “Pass It On” expressed it) the Big Book was “heavy with Oxford Group” materials.

Studying the Oxford Group impact.

First of all, the original Akron program was Bible-based—not Oxford Group-based. As published in DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, the Akron program was summarized in seven points on page 131. It was also made clear that the Akron Christian Fellowship was not based in any way on affiliation with the Oxford Group. Garth Lean wrote a biography of Oxford Group Founder Frank Buchman and echoed the non-Oxford Group comment in A.A.’s DR. BOB. Lean quoted Oxford Group activist James D. Newton as to the agreement worked out in the early Akron days with the Oxford Group. It was: “You look after drunken men. We’ll try to look after a drunken world.” Garth Lean, Frank Buchman: A Life (London: Constable, 1985, 152. This position should be compared with the Akron comment that its regular Wednesday meeting was a “clandestine” lodge of the Oxford Group.

Second, the Big Book program was taken in small part from Dr. Silkworth as to Step One, from Professor James as to Step Two and the “spiritual experience” solution of Step Twelve. But there were twenty-eight Oxford Group ideas that impacted on the Big Book itself and on Steps 3 through 12. Bill Wilson made this clear in his article published in

The Language of the Heart, page 298.

Learning A.A.'s Roots in the Oxford Group as taught to Wilson by Rev. Sam Shoemaker.

The Oxford Group contribution – from its sources and founding to the 28 ideas incorporated by Bill Wilson—is thoroughly covered and documented in Dick B., The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living that Works

You can order it online.

Alcoholics Anonymous and The Principal Oxford Group Ideas

Relevant Items to Look for:

The eight Oxford Group categories that include the twenty-eight Oxford Group roots are these:

(1)    In the beginning, God.

(2)    Sin—Estrangement from God—the Barrier of Self

(3)    Finding or Rediscovering God

(4)    The Path They Followed to Establish a Relationship with God.

(5)    Jesus Christ.

(6)    Spiritual Growth – Continuance

(7)    The Spiritual Experience or Awakening

(8)    Fellowship with God and Believers, and Witness by Life and Word.

Holiday Study Groups incorporating study of the easily recognized Oxford Group ideas:

These Oxford Group ideas included Biblical descriptions of God, His plan, Man’s chief end, and believing. Also, the important idea of sin as that which separates man from God and from others. Also, finding God through Surrender, “Soul-surgery”—the “Art” or Way, and Life Change as the result. Then the path which parallels A.A.’s Steps—Decision, Self Examination, Confession, Conviction, Conversion, and Restitution. Next, Jesus Christ as the source of power. Then, spiritual growth through continuance which included continuance as an idea, daily surrender as a process, guidance, the Four Absolutes, Quiet Time, Bible study, Prayer, Listening to God for leading thoughts, checking. Then the resultant spiritual experience called for by Carl Jung, defined by William James, and articulated by the Group and Shoemaker, Finally, Fellowship and Witness.

Since we first featured this piece of history, many AAs, Christian and otherwise, have formed Big Book/Bible Study groups. Some called "James Clubs."

Your Specific A.A. Guide: The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living that Works, Newton ed.

Use this all-important guide by Dick B., You can order this online.

You'll find each specific Oxford Group idea, language, and even words that closely parallel and are instructive about significant Big Book and other A.A. literature.

Three Suggested Study Tools:

Your study tools: The Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous; New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A., and By the Power of God—a guide to study groups. All available to you on line, and see descriptions on, 808 874 4876.

Alcoholics Anonymous History: Holiday A.A. Study of 1 Corinthians 13

Alcoholics Anonymous History

Holiday Study of 1 Corinthians 13

And the greatest of these is Love

Alcoholics Anonymous History:

Alcoholics Anonymous History -- the origins, the roots, and the early tools can be your special, simple, inexpensive way of reading, studying, learning, and applying three of the early A.A. Christian Fellowship program's absolute essentials--as Dr. Bob called them. The three, in the order of your holiday study of A.A, can be (1) The Book of James in the Bible. (2) Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in the Bible, and (3) 1 Corinthians 13 in the Bible--the so-called chapter on love.

Studying Each Chapter in the Bible along with A.A. Literature - one portion at a time

Your study can be easy. You can take one Bible chapter at a time. You can use one of Dick B.'s commentaries on the segment and the chapter. And you can have the Big Book and Steps at your side.

Asking Guidance from God, and Learning A.A.'s Roots in the Bible

The starting place, of course, is seeking God's guidance as to what He wants you to read, absorb, and apply from the particular chapter of what Dr. Bob called "the Good Book." See: Dick B., The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.'s Roots in the Bible. You can order it online.

Alcoholics Anonymous and 1 Corinthians 13 – the greatest of these is “love.”

The word “charity” is more properly translated “love.” But we quote the King James Version, which is the version used in early A.A. and quoted in the Big Book. 1 Corinthians 13 concludes:

“And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

Dr. Bob highly recommended 1 Corinthians 13. He said old-timers considered it absolutely essential to the early program. He strongly recommended that early AAs read Professor Henry Drummond’s The Greatest Thing in the World. Drummond wrote this essay on the nine ingredients of love. That study, and those nine ingredients, are covered in The James Club book sets forth the nine Bible ingredients, then Drummond’s descriptions of each, and then the language in A.A. literature which corresponds to the nine—one by one. Bill Wilson also spoke of the early A.A. interest in “Corinthians.”

Relevant Items to Look for:

The nine ingredients of the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation are—as Drummond described them:

(1)   Patience – “Love suffereth long.”

(2)   Kindness – “And is kind.”

(3)   Generosity – “Love envieth not.”

(4)   Humility – “Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”

(5)   Courtesy – “Doth not behave itself unseemly.”

(6)   Unselfishness – “Seeketh not its own.”

(7)   Good temper – “Is not provoked.”

(8)   Guilelessness – “Taketh not account of evil.”

(9)  Sincerity – “Rejoiceth nt in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth

Holiday Study Groups incorporating study of the meaning of God’s love.

Since we first featured this piece of history, many AAs, Christian and otherwise, have formed Big Book/Bible Study groups. Some called "James Clubs."

Your Specific A.A. Guide: The James Club and the Original A.A. Program's Absolute Essentials:

Use this all-important guide by Dick B., The James Club and the Original A.A. Program's Absolute Essentials. This guide book covers each of the nine “essential” Bible segments considered absolutely essential. And therefore it is a great guide to A.A. and why 1 Corinthians 13 and Drummond’s essay were so valued.. You can order this online.

You'll find a verse by verse, comparison of portions of 1 Corinthians 13, with the writings of others on this chapter, and with significant Big Book and other A.A. literature.

Four Suggested Study Tools:

Your study tools: The Thirteenth Chapter of 1 Corinthians, The James Club and the Original A.A. Program's Absolute Essentials, Henry Drummond’s The Greatest Thing in the World, and The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.'s Roots in the Bible. All available to you on line., 808 874 4876.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Alcoholics Anonymous History: Holiday A.A. Study of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount

Alcoholics Anonymous History

Holiday Study of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

Alcoholics Anonymous History:

Alcoholics Anonymous History -- the origins, the roots, and the early tools can be your special, simple, inexpensive way of reading, studying, learning, and applying three of the early A.A. Christian Fellowship program's absolute essentials--as Dr. Bob called them. The three, in the order of your holiday study of A.A, can be (1) The Book of James in the Bible. (2) Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in the Bible, and (3) 1 Corinthians 13 in the Bible--the so-called chapter on love.

Studying Each Chapter in the Bible along with A.A. Literature - one portion at a time

Your study can be easy. You can take one Bible chapter at a time. You can use one of Dick B.'s commentaries on the segment and the chapter. And you can have the Big Book and Steps at your side.

Asking Guidance from God, and Learning A.A.'s Roots in the Bible

The starting place, of course, is seeking God's guidance as to what He wants you to read, absorb, and apply from the particular chapter of what Dr. Bob called "the Good Book." See: Dick B., The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.'s Roots in the Bible. You can order it online..

Alcoholics Anonymous and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

Bill W. and Dr. Bob—both cofounders of Alcoholics Anonymous—each said that Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew Chapters 5, 6, and 7) contained the underlying spiritual philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous. And there is much much more to the link than that.

Relevant Items to Look for:

These three chapters of the Gospel of Matthew (5, 6, and 7) form the foundation for many specific expressions and also many of the words in the A.A. Big Book and program. One can start with “Thy will be” done which is found in the Big Book and Matthew 6:10 where Jesus used those words in what some call the “Lord’s Prayer. And in the beginning of A.A. and for many years thereafter, the Lord’s Prayer closed each meeting of the fellowship.

Sermon ideas can be found in Jesus’ Sermon as well as Big Book-Step ideas such as the Third Step “decision,” the Fourth Step Inventory where one is called on to look for his part or wrong in a resentment or harm situation. Also in Steps 8 and 9 where one is called on to agree with his adversary and to settle up any wrongs (make amends) before he goes to the altar to worship. Step 10, of course, is a repeat of many of the ideas in 3, 4, 5, 8, and 9. Dr. Bob’s frequently used “Heavenly Father” language comes from this and other Gospel segments. “Practicing the principles” in Step 12 originally encompassed obeying the Ten Commandments (of which Jesus spoke when he talked of loving God and your neighbor), the Beatitudes which Dr. Bob’s wife called “Christ-like virtues to be cultivated,” and the so-called “Golden Rule” embodied in so many of the suggestions for kind, loving, patient, and forgiving nature.

Holiday Study Groups incorporating Jesus’ Sermon

Since we first featured this piece of history, many AAs, Christian and otherwise, have formed Big Book/Bible Study groups. Some called "James Clubs."

Your Specific A.A. Guide: The James Club and the Original A.A. Program's Absolute Essentials:

Use this all-important guide by Dick B., The James Club and the Original A.A. Program's Absolute Essentials. This guide book covers each of the three “essential” Bible segments considered absolutely essential. And therefore it is a great guide to A.A. and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. You can order this online.

You'll find a chapter by chapter, verse by verse, comparison of portions of Matthew 5, 6, and 7 (the entire sermon) with significant Big Book and other A.A. literature.

Three Suggested Study Tools:

Again, your study tools: The Book of James, The James Club and the Original A.A. Program's Absolute Essentials, and The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.'s Roots in the Bible. All available to you on line., 808 874 4876.