Monday, March 26, 2012

A.A. Biblical History and Roots - An 11 Year Project

Making Known the Biblical History and Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous An Eleven-Year Research, Writing, Publishing,
and Fact Dissemination Project

Workshops/Conference Friday, Golden Hills Community Church, March 30


The International Christian Recovery Coalition Presents

Dick B. of Kihei, Hawaii

Speaking at “Stick With The Winners” Workshops and Conference

Hosted by

Golden Hills Community Church – Brentwood Campus

2401 Shady Willow Lane, Brentwood, CA 94513


Golden Hills Community Church Multi Purpose Room 151

The Pre-Conference Workshop Meetings

Friday, March 30, 2012, 3:00 to 5:00 PM

Meetings in Room 151 or smaller room with individuals and/or groups to discuss:

(1) Their particular fellowships or groups or meetings,

(2) How Old School A.A. can be used there to enhance their programs with Conference-approved literature, films, resource libraries, and Guides,

(3) How their programs can become connected with other recovery programs, events, speakers, resources, fellowships, and church sponsored recovery work in their communities,

(4) Their suggestions for collaboration, networking, community events, and individual groups.]

Break for Dinner (5:00 PM to 6:15 PM)

Main Conference

 (6:30 PM to 8:00 PM)

Dick B. and Ken B. Speakers

Topics To Be Covered:

·         Old-School Pioneer Recovery and Parallels to 1st Century Christianity (Book of Acts)

·         The Special Present-day Role Christian recovery leaders, groups, and fellowships have in making more effective the power, love, and healing by God in all recovery aspects today.

·         Variety of ways individual recovery efforts can use and present enhanced Christian healing and cure.

  • The call for integrating various Christian recovery programs, fellowships, and church-sponsored spiritual growth today in company with other community resources. 

For more information, you may also contact:

Dick B.                                                or                     Ken B.

Email:                                        Email:

Gloria Deo

March 29, Thursday, Good Book/Big Book Workshop, Livermore, CA

Big Book – Good Book Event, Livermore Calif. May 29, Cornerstone Church Campus

Be sure to plan on attending the hour and a half workshop meeting at Cornerstone Church, Livermore, California, at 7:00 PM, Thursday, May 29, 2012

A Unique Event:

The Big Book-Good Book Meeting at Cornerstone has set up this special meeting.

Introduced by Dominic D., Dick B. and Ken B. of Kihei, Maui, Hawaii, will be addressing three important aspects of Big Book-Good Book History; and then the floor will be open for questions from the audience.

This is to train the trainers as to the opportunities to apply and benefits of applying the practices of early A.A. in Akron. Enabling recovery meetings, speakers, and fellowships today to use the highly successful old school techniques that the pioneers  used. And taking advantage of the help from today’s 12 Step Fellowships accompanied by Conference-approved literature as well as the Bible and the history of early A.A.

Those who come and participate will learn and understand better the importance of utilizing A.A.’s own literature, A.A.’s own history, and A.A.’s own highly successful old school techniques which closely resembled First Century Christianity as described in the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible. They will learn the many specific presentations in the Big Book that support such practices today.

You will learn what an early A.A. meeting in Akron, in the early 1940’s, was like; how the fellowship was conducted; and how the old school A.A. reliance on the power of God and the Good Book continued in importance for the decade following publication of the Big Book in 1939. And why it is important now.

Christian Recovery Conferences and Workshops


International Christian Recovery Coalition

Dick B.

Growing List of Sponsors of Conferences and Workshops


Jeff and Debra Jay, Authors, Love First, Grosse Point, Michigan

Bob J., Believer and Philanthropist, Maui, Hawaii

Rock Recovery Ministries, ABC Sober Living, Soledad House, San Diego

Rev. Bill Wigmore, Chairman of  Episcopal  Diocese of Texas Recovery Committee, Austin, Texas

Rick S., Writer-Speaker, San Jose, California

Scott C., Men’s Group Leader, Honolulu, Hawaii

Hazelden Educational Services, Center City, Minnesota

Golden Hills Community Church, Brentwood, California

Cornerstone Church Fellowship, Livermore, California

His Place Church, Westminster, Orange County, California

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Importance of Benefactors

The Importance of Benefactors

By Ken B.

© 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Over the years, benefactors have played a significant role in making possible travel, research, writing, and book distribution by my dad, Dick B. And, it turns out, a benefactor played a key role in a series of meetings that very likely had a profound impact on the family of A.A. cofounder Robert Holbrook Smith (“Dr. Bob”), his boyhood church, his town, and his Christian upbringing. These meetings became known as “the Great Awakening” of 1875 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.[1]

During our first research trip to St. Johnsbury in October 2007, my dad and I learned of the “Great Awakening” of 1875 in St. Johnsbury in a book I found in the small reading room library of North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury. This amazing series of meetings, spread over a number of months beginning on February 6, 1875, was launched when laymen from the Young Men’s Christian Association—led by H. M. Moore of Boston and R. K. Remington of Fall River—began the first of a series of “Gospel meetings” in St. Johnsbury. These meetings resulted in the conversion of somewhere between 500 and 1,500 people in that town of about 5,000 people. The town historian, Edward T. Fairbanks, said: “. . . [T]he influence of the religious uplift here was extended for a hundred miles around, and left its permanent mark on this community.”[2]

In fact, what eventually led to this “Great Awakening” began in a meeting at Detroit in 1868 between Henry Martyn (H.M.) Moore and his friend, the evangelist K. A. Burnell, where they decided that “by the help of God the old Bay State [of Massachusetts] should be conquered for Christ.”[3] Then Moore made an “extended visit” to the home of his friend Burnell, who lived near Aurora, Illinois, in the summer of 1871. That meeting “produced the ‘regular canvass of Gospel meetings’ that started in the State of Massachusetts (in January 1872), was expanded into the State of New Hampshire (in November 1873), and was further expanded into the State of Vermont” on the basis of decisions made at the State YMCA Convention in Norwich, Vermont, on November 19-20, 1874. H. M. Moore and R. K. Remington of Massachusetts both attended that Vermont YMCA Convention.[4]

K. A. Burnell was selected by the State of Massachusetts YMCA Committee to lead the first and following “regular canvass of Gospel meetings” in Massachusetts. And he was involved, at least to some degree, in the canvasses in New Hampshire and Vermont that followed. Burnell did a great deal of traveling in sharing the gospel—not only in going from his home in Illinois to Massachusetts to lead the “canvasses,” but also in traveling to many other parts of the United States. How he was able to pay for the expenses involved in his evangelistic work is the subject of the following three short articles.

What a Christian Banker May Do[5]

Mr. K. A. Burnell,[6] the Evangelist, has been supported by Mr. C. D. Wood,[7] a banker in New York,[8] who was one of his playmates in their boyhood. Zion's Herald tells how this partnership was brought about. The banker invited the western itinerant to his house in the country, in the vicinity of New York. After tea they had a ride, and after the ride a long walk, and many questions were asked about his mission work. The next morning Mr. Burnell was asked, “How would you like a salary and go forth as the banker's representative to do the Master's work as it shall open before you?” “Nothing could be more gratifying.” Thus the firm was organized and began business. The older partner just enters upon his twenty-seventh year of continuous service, for seventeen of which C. D. Wood has supplied the sinews of war. Certainly firms like this should multiply. Boston has several of them. There are men who could furnish the capital for such a firm and reap the richest interest on their investment. The junior partner has many other investments of this character. Colleges and seminaries have received many thousands at his hand, and he has often had as many as a half dozen young men and women in college and seminary training for future usefulness. These two partners are still comparatively young, and look forward to many years of labor in the Lord's vineyard.—Honolulu, (H. I.), Friend.

Personal. Trustees.[9]

“A noble instance of long-continued and unostentatious giving to a single cause is that of Mr.  C.  D.  Wood, a Wall street banker.  For seventeen years he has paid a salary of $1,000 per annum to Mr.  K.  A.  Burnell, the well-known evangelist, and the whole sum given him that time now exceeds $22,000, Mr. Burnell devoted himself most assiduously to gospel work, helping many a soul to a better spiritual life.  Would that there were hundreds of such copartnerships as this between Mr. Wood and Mr. Burnell.” Mr.  Wood is one of the largest yearly donors to the college.

. . . K. A. Burnell[10]

In 1868, Mr. C. D. Wood of Brooklyn suggested that Mr. Burnell devote his life to evangelistic work from wherever the call should come and he would furnish the salary. For 37 years he led a life of intense activity along many lines. In 1869 he settled in Aurora, Ills., and from that center he traveled at the rate of 1,000 miles per month. He was intimately associated with that wonderful circle of workers, Mr. McGranahan, Major Whittle, P. P. Bliss, D. L. Moody, B. F. Jacobs, and Ira D. Sankey. . . . Mr. Sankey was singing in meetings Mr. Burnell was holding in Ohio when Mr. Moody first heard him, and soon secured his services. In 1875 Mr. Burnell made a trip around the world, spending three of the fourteen months with his brother Thomas, for forty years a missionary in India.

Perhaps you may be such a benefactor!

[1] For much more information on “the Great Awakening” of 1875 in St. Johnsbury, see Dick B. and Ken B., Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Good Book as a Youngster in Vermont (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2008).
[2] Edward Taylor Fairbanks, The Town of St. Johnsbury, Vt; A Review of One Hundred Twenty-Five Years to the Anniversary Pageant 1912 ( reprint of: St. Johnsbury, VT: The Cowles Press, 1914), 234-35.
[3] Dick B. and Ken B., Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous, 6.
[4] Again, please see Dick B. and Ken B., Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous, for these and many more details.
[5] “What a Christian Banker May Do,” in The Sailors’ Magazine and Seamen’s Friend, Vol. 56, July, 1884. No. 7. (American Seamen’s Friend Society), 227; ; accessed 3/20/12.
[6] Kingsley A. Burnell (1824-1905) was born in Chesterfield, Massachusetts. He learned the trade of carpenter and builder in Northampton. He married Cynthia Pomeroy, of Williamsburg, Massachusetts, daughter of “Old Deacon Pomeroy.” In 1852, Burnell decided to “drop the jack-plane” and entered Sunday-school work under the American Sunday-school Union. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he entered the service of the Christian Commission, meeting Dwight L. Moody. See “. . . K. A. Burnell,” in The Advance, September 21, 1905, 318-19. ; accessed 3/20/12.
[7] Cornelius Delano Wood (1832-1906) was born on December 12, 1832, in Northampton, Massachusetts. He was a member of the banking firm of Vermilye & Co. during the Civil War and “exercised a large and useful influence upon the financial arrangements of the Government at that crisis.” He later lived at 880 St. Mark’s Avenue, Brooklyn.
He was a Trustee, a member of the Executive Committee, and a Vice President of the Union Trust Company for many years; and he was one of the most prominent men in Wall Street. His listing in the book Notable New Yorkers of 1896-1899 reads: Wood, Huestis & Co. (Special Partner), Bankers. Here is other information about that firm: Wood, Huestis & Co., bankers, No. 31 Pine Street, New York. Government securities. Stocks and bonds, bought and sold on commission: New York Stock Exchange sales, October 14, 1887. Sales of bonds and stocks from 10:00 A.M. to 12 M. [Wood, Huestis & Co. were the successors to Wood & Davis (C. D. Wood and S. D. Davis), bankers and brokers.]
In Brooklyn, he took a large share in the foundation of the Children’s Aid Society, donated $125,000.00 to erect the Young Women’s Christian Association building, and had a large share in building the Tompkins Avenue Congregational Church. He was widely known in Wall Street as the representative of the affairs of the Congregational Church. See “Cornelius D. Wood . . . The Former Banker Was Well Known as a Philanthropist,” in The New York Times, published June 12, 1906; ; accessed 3/20/12.
[8] “C. D. Wood.—Banking and securities. Was formerly with Vermilye & Co., New-York City.” See “American Millionaires: The Tribune’s List of Persons Reputed to be Worth a Million or More,” in The Tribune Monthly, Vol. IV. June, 1892. No. 6., page 36; ; accessed 3/20/12.
[9] A note in the Lafayette College Journal, Vol. 9, No. 5, February 1884, 78;; accessed 3/20/12. Cornelius D. Wood was a Trustee of Lafayette College.
[10] “. . . K. A. Burnell,” in The Advance, September 21, 1905, 318-19. ; accessed 3/20/12

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

International Christian Recovery Coalition: Three Christian Recovery Priority Plans and Your H...

International Christian Recovery Coalition: Three Christian Recovery Priority Plans and Your H...: Three Christian Recovery Projects We Would Like to Undertake Right Now, with Your Help By Dick B. © 2012 Anonymous. All rights...

Three Christian Recovery Priority Plans and Your Help

Three Christian Recovery Projects

We Would Like to Undertake Right Now, with Your Help

By Dick B.

© 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Christian Recovery Project #1

Conducting, recording, and posting free of charge on interviews with Christian leaders and workers in the recovery arena.

For many years, my son Ken and I have spoken of interviewing key people we have met in our travels, such as members of Rev. Samuel Shoemaker’s family, Dr. Bob’s children, Seiberling family members, Oxford Group activists and Sam Shoemaker associates and friends, archivists, historians, and devoted AAs and Christian leaders. During our September 2011 International Christian Recovery Coalition North American Summit Conference at The Crossing Church in Costa Mesa, California, I mentioned this idea publicly from the platform. And we received a very positive response. As a result, we secured the domain name, began building a Web site, and posted some early audios and new videos on the site.

Today, we know personally hundreds of Christians who are long-sober alcoholics and addicts, historians, authors, archivists, professional recovery people, treatment and sober living leaders, counselors and interventionists, clergy, pastoral counselors, recovery pastors, or otherwise informed and truthful people who can tell their stories, share how they serve, and present their ideas for advancing the International Christian Recovery Coalition’s mission. Because we know them, we can easily arrange interviews, record them, and post them on the Web free of charge.

Christian Recovery Project #2

Sharing with people in person, by phone, and via Skype how and where to study A.A. history, develop Christian recovery outreach, and conduct programs and group studies of various types that carry three important messages: (a) Conference-approved literature supports Christians’ sharing in their stories at 12-Step meetings and in their work with newcomers “how they established their relationship with God”—including mention of Jesus Christ and the Bible. (b) The seven principles and major practices of the early, highly-successful Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship” are known from current, Conference-approved literature, and are therefore well within the Traditions. (c) The application in early A.A.—especially in Akron and Cleveland—of practices of First Century Christianity as found in the Book of Acts produced much-desired healing, love, forgiveness, power, and status as children of God.

Christian Recovery Project #3

Publishing my existing and future research on the history of A.A. and its Christian heritage in the form of print-on-demand books, and in Internet-friendly forms such as electronic books, audios, and videos, in order to reduce selling prices substantially (and to make possible free distribution frequently). Help us make known the unknown, little-known, and/or previously-distorted facts!

Dick B. Introductions and Questions for Christian Recovery Leaders and Workers

Dick B. Introduction and Questions for Christian Recovery Leaders and Workers

Copyright 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved

1.       Dick B.’s areas of expertise: Dick B. has published  43 books (several of which have gone through multiple editions), written more than 900 articles, given more than 100 recorded audio talks, produced a 4-video class (with a second one in production right now), done 16 YouTube videos, and conducted meetings and conferences throughout the United States and in Canada. This over the course of 22 years of active research, writing, and speaking on the following topics:

a.       The history of Alcoholics Anonymous; specifically, relating to:

                                                               i.      Did A.A. “come from” the Bible?

                                                             ii.      What roles did God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible play in early A.A.’s astonishing successes with “medically-incurable” alcoholics (and addicts!) who thoroughly followed the early (Akron) A.A. path.

b.      The Christian predecessors to A.A. who influenced A.A., N.A., and C.A. and/or were effective in working with alcoholics and addicts; e.g.:

                                                               i.      The Young Men’s Christian Association;

                                                             ii.      The Salvation Army;

                                                            iii.      Rescue Missions;

                                                           iv.      The Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor;

                                                             v.      Christian evangelists, such as Dwight L. Moody and Ira D. Sankey, Henry Moorhouse, Henry M. Moore, Allen Folger, and F. B. Meyer.

c.       Key First Century Christianity concepts, principles, and practices—particularly as found in the Gospels and the Book of Acts—which were successfully employed by A.A.’s Christian predecessors and by early A.A., and which can be used to enhance Christian Recovery efforts today.

d.      Modern Christian Recovery Efforts

                                                               i.      Working within A.A.;

                                                             ii.      Christian-oriented, 12-Step efforts outside of A.A., N.A., and/or  C.A. that incorporate attendance at these fellowships;

                                                            iii.      N.A., C.A., and other 12-Step efforts to deal with alcoholism, prescription drug abuse, and addiction to illegal drugs;

                                                           iv.      Encouraging non-12-Step Christian Recovery efforts—such as Teen Challenge—to incorporate the lessons learned from the godly aspects of A.A. and its Christian predecessors as to working effectively with alcoholics and addicts.

2.       Questions for Christian leaders and workers in the recovery arena:

a.       What program(s) are you working on now that are focused on alcoholics, addicts, and others with life-controlling problems, and/or those impacted by the lives of alcoholics and/or addicts?

b.      Why did you start the program(s)? What need(s) did you want to address?

c.       Which program(s), if any, did you start and later abandon?  Why?

d.      What would you like to see happen in “carrying the message to those who still suffer” in the short-term? How about the long-term?

e.      What problems, if any, have you encountered along those lines with which you would like help in resolving?

f.        How many times each week do you offer meetings addressing these issues? Why that frequency?

g.       What other local churches or groups, if any, do you work with in these efforts?

h.      What other Christian Recovery efforts are you networking with in other parts of your state, other states, and/or other countries? Do you want to do more of that?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Alcoholics Anonymous History and A.A.'s Christian Roots

Alcoholics Anonymous History
Alcoholics Anonymous History and Its Christian Roots

Dick B.
© 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved.

I am one of the tens of thousands (probably hundreds of thousands) of Christians who deeply appreciate the recovery from alcoholism and addiction that Alcoholics Anonymous made possible in our lives. Many of us have been criticized for mentioning Jesus Christ and the Bible in our talks at meetings. But most of us know that God is our sufficiency. We ask Him in the name of Jesus Christ to deliver us. And we recover. So did Bill Wilson as he is quoted on page 191 of the latest edition of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Many of us who are Christians involved in A.A. do believe in God, the accomplishments of His Son Jesus Christ, and the truth about both that is found in the Bible. Many of us, as Christian members of Alcoholics Anonymous, had no idea whatsoever that early A.A. was a Christian fellowship, that its members believed in God, surrendered to Jesus Christ, and studied the Bible on a daily basis. Many of us had no idea whatsoever that the early, Christian-oriented A.A. claimed an overall 75% success rate among the “seemingly-hopeless,” “medically-incurable,” “last gasp case” alcoholics who thoroughly followed the pioneer A.A. program. And many of us never learned that the Original Akron program is summarized rather well in on page 131 of the A.A. General Service Conference-approved book, DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers.

How could so many of us have been unaware of these facts?

The answer, in part, is that, as the First Edition of A.A.’s Big Book manuscript was being written and edited in 1938 and early 1939, many additions, omissions, and changes were made to the highly-successful Akron Christian program Bill W. and Dr. Bob began developing in the summer of 1935. For example, as Bill W. stated on pages 166-67 of the A.A. General Service Conference-approved book, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age:

We [Bill W., Hank P., Ruth Hock, and John Henry Fitzhugh M.] were still arguing about the Twelve Steps. All this time I had refused to budge on these steps. I would not change a word of the original draft, in which, you will remember, I had consistently used the word "God," and in one place the expression "on our knees" was used. Praying to God on one's knees was still a big affront to Henry. He argued, he begged, he threatened. He quoted Jimmy [B.—i.e., Jim Burwell] to back him up. . . . Though at first I would have none of it, we finally began to talk about the possibility of compromise. . . . In Step Two we decided to describe God as a "Power greater than ourselves." In Steps Three and Eleven we inserted the words "God as we understood Him." From Step Seven we deleted the expression "on our knees." . . . Such were the final concessions to those of little or no faith; this was the great contribution of our atheists and agnostics. [Emphasis added]

Bill W.’s wife Lois spoke about another major change on page 113 of her autobiography, Lois Remembers:

Finally it was agreed that the book should present a universal spiritual program, not a specific religious one, since all drunks were not Christian.

Such major manuscript changes from the Original Akron A.A. “Christian Fellowship” program obscured the simple solution the A.A. pioneers in Akron discovered; specifically, that a cure from alcoholism was available through reliance on Almighty God, coming to Him through His Son Jesus Christ, and reading and studying the Bible—along with the other principles and practices of the early days. [For the Frank Amos summary of the Original Akron A.A. “Program,” and the other principles and practices of the Akron fellowship, see: Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Manual (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2009), 44-46, 49.]

The Lesson from the First Three AAs

Early AAs knew one another. They visited one another. They had address books with the phone numbers (if a given member had a phone) and addresses of the other members. And they kept rosters which showed the sobriety dates and sobriety history of the members.

The 75% overall success rate early A.A. claimed was remarkable because it was attained by what Bill W. called the “seemingly-hopeless,” “medically-incurable,” “last gasp” cases who gave their all to God and received the blessed healing and deliverance that followed. Bill W. and Dr. Bob did indeed state that there were “failures galore.” But there weren’t failures galore among the real hardcore members who turned to God and gave the program everything they had.

A very important part of the historical record is how the first three AAs got sober in late 1934 and in 1935. When they got sober:

There was no Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous was published in April 1939);

There were no Twelve Steps;

There were no Twelve Traditions;

There were no “drunkalogs”; and

There were no “meetings to make”—at least of the kinds normally seen in today’s A.A.

The Creator of the heavens and the earth was there. See, for example, Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed.:

“my Creator” (page 13)

“My Creator” (76)

“our Creator” (pages 25, 68, 72, 75, 83)

“a living Creator” (page 28);

“his Creator” (page 56, 80, 158)

“their loving and All Powerful Creator” (page 161)

The “Great Physician,” Jesus Christ, was there. See, for example: Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W.: More on the Creator’s Role in Early A.A. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2006), 59ff.

The Bible (which Dr. Bob often called the “Good Book”) was there. See, for example, page 13 of the A.A. General Service Conference-approved pamphlet, The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (Item # P-53; available for reading online at; accessed 8/5/09):

At that point, our stories didn’t amount to anything to speak of. When we started in on Bill D., we had no Twelve Steps, either; we had no Traditions.

But we were convinced that the answer to our problems was in the Good Book. To some of us older ones, the parts that we found absolutely essential were the Sermon on the Mount, the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, and the Book of James.

A.A. Number One, Bill W., learned from Dr. Silkworth that Jesus Christ could cure him. Bill learned from his old drinking friend Ebby Thacher that Ebby had been to the altar and been reborn, causing Ebby to tell Bill that God had done for him (Ebby) what Ebby could not do for himself. Bill then went to the altar at Calvary Rescue Mission, made a decision for Christ, wrote that he had been born again for sure, and then decided to seek the help of the “Great Physician,” Jesus Christ. At Towns Hospital, Bill cried out for help, had a dramatic spiritual blazing “indescribably white light” experience, perceived that he had been in the presence of the “God of the Scriptures” (as Bill wrote on page 284 of The Language of the Heart), and never drank again. Bill proclaimed he never again doubted the existence of God. And his message became: “The Lord has cured me of this terrible disease, and I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 191) No Big Book. No Twelve Steps. No Twelve Traditions. No drunkalogs. No meetings. Just the power and love of God that Bill had sought and relied upon.

A.A. Number Two, Dr. Bob S., prayed for deliverance on the rug at the home of T. Henry Williams in Akron. Miraculously, help showed up in the visit of Bill W. to Akron. Henrietta Seiberling declared Bill’s visit to be “Manna from Heaven.” Bill soon moved in with Dr. Bob and his wife, studied the Bible with them, and nursed Dr. Bob back from one, brief and last binge. Dr. Bob never drank again and told the nurse at City Hospital that he and Bill had found a cure for alcoholism. No Big Book. No Twelve Steps. No Twelve Traditions. No drunkalogs. No meetings. Just the power and love of God that Dr. Bob had sought and relied upon. Dr. Bob closed his story in the Big Book with these words:

Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!

Bill W. and Dr. Bob sought a drunk to help. They found A.A. Number Three, the hospitalized Akron attorney Bill D., a Christian. After Bill D. heard what Bill W. and Dr. Bob had to share, Bill D. decided to entrust his life to God’s care. Shortly, when Bill W. and Dr. Bob returned to the hospital, Bill D. told them what had happened. Bill D. then left the hospital a free man and never drank again. No Big Book. No Twelve Steps. No Twelve Traditions. No drunkalogs. No meetings. Just the power and love of God that Bill D. had sought and relied upon. Bill D. found himself echoing Bill W.’s statement on page 191 of the Fourth Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous:

The Lord has cured me of this terrible disease, and I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.

Bill D. called Bill W.’s statement the “golden text of A.A.” for him and for others.

Three men! The first three AAs. All healed by the power of God—never to drink again!

What they did is scarcely known by AAs and recovery workers today. I know, for I have spoken and written about it in front of audiences all over the United States and in Canada—in person, in books, in articles, in emails, in phone calls, and on radio and television. Yet that is the message they seem hungry to hear.

These first three AAs recovered by the power of God. And other “seemingly-hopeless,” “medically-incurable,” “last gasp case” alcoholics who thoroughly followed the early Akron A.A. “Christian Fellowship” program path were able to recover by the power of God. But what I especially want you, the reader, to take away from this discussion is that what was done in 1935 and the next three years can be done and is being done today.

Benefitting Today from the “Lessons Learned” by A.A.’s Pioneers

I’m a proponent of A.A. I recovered immediately when I entered the rooms of A.A. in 1986 and have never relapsed since. I credit the support I received in A.A., the work I did in learning the program of recovery in the Steps and helping others to take those Steps, and the complete dedication I had to the A.A. way. But I have never for one moment doubted that God must ultimately receive the credit—just as He received the credit from the mouths of the first three AAs—Bill W., Dr. Bob S., and Bill D. I believed and still believe that once a person has become a child of the living God through Jesus Christ, he can diligently seek God’s help, ask for it in the name of Jesus Christ, and be healed—whether involved in the A.A. program or not. And the challenge then becomes one of maintaining fellowship with God, His Son Jesus Christ, and other believers, and heeding the warning about temptation in Chapter One of the Book of James.

When a Christian in A.A. is buffeted with intemperate remarks from others about the Creator of the heavens and the earth, His Son Jesus Christ, the Bible, his faith, or his church, he needs to stand solid on the real recovery factor that is available in A.A. today, just as it was available in the Christian Fellowship founded in Akron in 1935. A.A. was founded on statements such as this: God could and would if He were sought. He can. He will. He does. And He is available to every drunk or addict who wants to seek and obey Him. That was proved in 1935. It is being proved today among those Christians in recovery who choose to avail themselves of His help. His help is available in prisons, mental hospitals, A.A., other Twelve Step Fellowships, homeless shelters, treatment programs, and counseling offices.

The problem with naysayers is that they cherry pick stories, irrelevant associations, and certainly sins and shortcomings which, they say, prove that, if they stray into A.A., they are disobeying God and most surely on the way to destruction. If that were true, then the teachings of Jesus and the other New Testament books would be of no importance. But they are. Anyone who reads the first six chapters of the Book of Acts, and then the story of Paul’s conversion, will have no problem with the need to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. In fact, a look at Romans 10:9 will provide the starting place—followed by ample statements that obedience to God’s commandments and asking in accordance with His Word, are a necessary part of receiving the promises in 1 John 5:14 -15.

Dick B.: PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837; (808) 874-4876; Email:;