Dick B. on Early A.A. and Bill W.’s “New Version” of the Program
© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved
You Can Hear Dick B.’s Talk Right Now!
You may hear Dick B. speak about early A.A. and Bill W.'s "new version of the program" on the March 5, 2013, episode of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show here:
Episodes of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show are archived at:
Today, people striving for recovery from alcoholism often think that A.A. itself offers two divergent ways to recover. The little-known, first way is the way the pioneers did it. We call it "old-school" A.A. Its principal tenet is reliance on God, coupled with helping others. The second alternative often finds AAs struggling with Bill W.'s "new version of the program." This “new version alternative confronts them with the ever-present idea that they can recover by relying on some ill-defined "Higher Power" or even by believing in nothing at all. However, we believe "old-school" A.A. offers the best choice for those who really understand that they are unable to help themselves, that probably no human power can help them, but that God can. And will. And has. We will tell you four reasons for reexamining and applying "old-school" A.A. ideas today. We will also tell you four major barriers to the potential for recovery in present-day A.A. And we will lay the foundation for sobriety, recovery, and deliverance with the solution that works.
Highlights of Dick B.’s Radio Talk
“Why We Support “Old-School” A.A. in Company With
Bill W.’s “New Version of the Program””
© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved
Introduction to the Problem
There are three analogies which present the problem for someone entering A.A. today. I call the three (1) the “sober horse thief” example; (2) the “Model T” example. (3) the “butterfly” example. For AAs and commentators need to keep in mind: (1) If a drunken horse thief gets sober, you merely have a sober horse thief. (2) If you drive a “Model T. Ford” into a garage and park it and nothing changes, you can’t expect to see a Cadillac emerge later. (3) When a caterpillar spins his cocoon, he will only emerge a beautiful butterfly if there is a metamorphosis – a seemingly miraculous transformation –a complete change. And so it is with the suffering alcoholic who walks into the rooms of A.A., finds a seat, is told he must never drink again, but changes nothing and leaves the meetings only to get drunk one more time.
Several ideas severely critical of Alcoholics Anonymous are gaining support in the recovery arena today primarily because their proponents ignore the various phases of Alcoholics Anonymous history, development, and posture. They just don’t report its history correctly, or they don’t know its complete history, or they often don’t report all of it at all!
But here are the phases of the history of Alcoholics Anonymous, which are discussed and documented elsewhere in my writings, and that need to be at the heart of any examination of the society of Alcoholics Anonymous—whether searching its origins, its beginnings, or various diverse activities and diversity in the composition of its members.
The first phase has to do with the people and organization that catalyzed the development of A.A. ideas long before A.A. was founded. The second phase involved the Christian upbringing and beliefs of the first three AAs including its cofounders. The third is the phase where the first three AAs were cured by the power of God before there was any A.A. group at all, before there were any Steps or Big Books at all, and only shortly after A.A.’s “founding.” by the first two members.
Then there is the phase that has been shelved for years and yet involved the original A.A. Christian Fellowship of the 1930’s, together with its emergence and quick transformation from study and effort and teaching from the Bible and Christian principles.
Unfortunately, there followed the phase where Cofounder Bill W. was turning away from the Akron A.A. Christian fellowship technique and program and being strongly influenced in part by Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr., and the Oxford Group life-changing ideas. This was followed by the phase in which Bill called his writing and publication of the Big Book and the Twelve Steps a “New Version of the Program”—an incontrovertible nomenclature describing the change in A.A.
Finally there was the phase where the entire A.A. “new version” was further changed just before the Big Book went to press. And at the hands only four people, and at the threshold of the launching of Bill’s new version, the idea of “One” God, the Creator, the Maker, the Father of Light, the Heavenly Father of the Lord Jesus Christ gave way to an intentional effort to inject new gods as well as no god into Wilson’s new version. This despite Bill’s original book manuscript drafts and plans for the Twelve Steps—an historical foundation that was built on Bill W.’s initial written and unqualified references to “God” and God Almighty – the One and only.
This dramatic shift at the threshold of publication of the Big Book underlines the fact that today there is no A.A. dogma, creed, liturgy, religious idea, or any rule or charter that unites members based on a particular delivering belief or to any belief at all.
But the problem does not have to do with what A.A. is or isn’t, or what A.A. ought to be or ought not to be. For A.A. “is what it is.”
And neither analysts nor AAs can do much but say today that anyone can walk in the door and sit down whether a drunk or not and whether he or she wants to quit drinking or not.
Our discussion of the importance of knowing about “old school” early A.A. really begins rights there.
Let me therefore give you four powerful reasons for re-examining and then applying Old School A.A. ideas today:
1. So you can gain permanent sobriety immediately through God’s help—just as the first three AAs did in 1934 and 1935.
2. To prevent relapse—utilizing the standard of permanent abstinence, rather than accepting or excusing revolving-door recidivism approaches
3. To guide speakers and sponsors—and instruct newcomers on the two points just mentioned.
4. To enhance sobriety, recovery, and deliverance itself—through belief in the Creator and His healing and forgiving power, in fellowship with like-minded believers, by recognizing through whom and how temptation rears its ugly head, by submitting to God and resisting temptation, by effectively praying, by receiving God’s wisdom and guidance, and by claiming real healing and cure of alcoholism.
Let me also show you four major barriers to potential permanent recovery in today’s recovery arena
1. The “Higher Power” craze (a) [illustrated by Psalm53: “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God;” and Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”]. (b) Touting some nonsense god made by man [See Psalm 115: “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not hear. . . hands but they do not handle. . . Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them.”] (c)Using absurd names and call “it” a “higher power.” (d) Returning to yesteryear’s “medically incurable” emphasis on failed human help, treatment, and “therapeutic” approaches. Today’s candidates for counseling certification are often required to master some 12 “models.”
2. There is the abrupt stopping--short of turning to and relying upon God—the “power source” named as our “Heavenly Father” in today’s Big Book page 181, and as “the Lord” in today’s Big Book page 191.
3. The failure to know God and grow in knowledge of Him and denying the necessity for seeking and relying on God—See Hebrews 11:6.
4. The day-in day-out swallowing of outright myths:
a. Belief is not required—But see Heb. 11:6.
b. A.A. is “Spiritual, but not religious”—a meaningless detour.
c. Relapse is okay—a growing excuse for failing programs that ignores the looming, resultant, “death, insanity, or jail.”
d. You may choose your own conception of some unknown “power”—But see Psa 115.
e. You may claim A.A. was never Bible-based nor Christian, and attributing it to multiple irrelevant and unproven “sources” for its variety of phases and ideas—Buddhism, Roman Catholicism, the Oxford Group, Emmet Fox, New Age, spiritualism, Free-Masonry, and the lack of importance of sin and the devil as causative factors.
f. [Every one of these myths is built on someone’s undocumented opinion, and certainly not on the history of Alcoholics Anonymous itself]
Now let’s agree, as early AAs did, that sobriety, recovery, and deliverance require a SOLUTION:
And here we cease the broadcast synopsis and invite the listener and reader to go to page 25 of today’s Big Book and learn how it phrases the idea that recovery is based upon establishing a relationship with God—Almighty God, the Creator.