Monday, September 23, 2013

A.A. Author and Historian Dick B. Comments on the Ideas Just Published in Religion News

Many of the foregoing commentators fail to mention the number of times a Christian in A.A. is told that people who read the Bible get drunk. That was the message my grandsponsor pushed to absurdity for the first few years of my sobriety. Or the number of times a Christian in A.A. is rebuked in an open meeting for sharing what God has done for him that he could not do for himself. Or the number of times Christians in A.A. have to listen to the self-made religions that characterize a “higher power” as a chair, a table, Santa Claus, the Big Dipper, a light bulb, a Coke bottle, Something, Somebody, or “it.” The ones I have counted as friends and helped to get well over the past 27 years have heard it all. But they have managed to keep their focus on what Dr. Bob called “love and service” and what Bill W. wrote could be called the “love and tolerance” code.The degeneration of the original Akron A.A. pioneer Christian fellowship program into the blather and mindless chatter so common in meetings need not deter those who recovered and help others recover the same way the early Akron and Cleveland AAs did. All the absurd concepts and comments about “spirituality,” half-baked prayers, and higher powers are an integral part of the diverse A.A. and 12 Step meetings of today. That is why so many Christians today have gathered to make clear to those who want God’s help the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played in the history, origins, Christian upbringing of the cofounders, and the original Akron AA Christian Fellowship founded in 1939. As one who has been continuously active and sober since my first day in A.A. and who has focused for decades on the history and biblical roots of A.A. and its increasing secularization, I haven’t found it necessary or advisable to stop helping drunks in A.A., to leave the fellowship, or to try quashing the remarks of those who today have chosen to follow the great compromise that Wilson and three others made in the steps at the last minute before printing the Big Book in 1939. The successes of Christians in early Akron A.A. and of their successors in Cleveland make these important historical facts–good and bad– part and parcel of what tolerant AAs must listen to and ignore if they are to carry out in their chosen fellowship and meetings the primary purpose of helping the still suffering alcoholics to recover and to point out the long history of successes in A.A. by those who chose and choose to rely on the power and love of God for recovery. Gloria Deo! And let me suggest that I am sure I never could have dug out of the cesspool of alcoholism and sleeping pill horrors and the troubles that went with them had I not walked in the doors of A.A. on April 23, 1886 and gone to any lengths to put my trust in Almighty God, stick with the winners, and help as many drunks as possible to do likewise and be victorious. Dick B.

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