Friday, January 31, 2014

Christian Recovery Radio Show on What the New "Rest of the Story" AA History Introduction Will Contain

Dick B. discusses the first, introductory video for the upcoming "Bill W., Dr. Bob, and the Cure of Alcoholism: The Rest of the Story" class on the January 31, 2014, episode of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show


You may hear Dick B. discuss the first video in the upcoming "Bill W., Dr. Bob, and the Cure of Alcoholism: The Rest of the Story" class here:



or here:



Episodes of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show are archived at:






Tonight’s radio show brings us to the brink of filming the introductory video in our forthcoming “Bill W., Dr. Bob, and the Cure of Alcoholism: The Rest of the Story” class. In the three shows, we gave you a preview of those parts of the class that show how much is missing from the details about how the first three AAs got sober, the simplicity of their actions, and the astonishing success of their efforts. This was just to give you a taste of one of the many parts of our history that are really beyond the knowledge or experience of the newcomer who still suffers. And the main purpose of the class is not to write just another “total history” of A.A. or a series of minor snippets of history that leave out some vital helps for the newcomer.


Tonight’s show looks into why our new historical account of “the rest of the story” is so important at this stage of A.A. history. It will also show you that a ship without a full complement of equipment is like a ship without a rudder engaged in a meandering voyage. It will give you a taste of a great many important historical helps that have been ignored, omitted, or forgotten up to this point. And it will provide you with some of “the rest of the story” which is really the portion most needed by books, articles, conferences, speakers, sponsors, and the still-suffering newcomer.


We note that today’s A.A. has at least five different types of programs, because few recognize either that fact or the difference in approach. Because few try to utilize and harmonize the effective parts that are virtually unknown. And because we believe from the thousands of phone calls, emails, and conversations we have had over the past 24 years of researching A.A.’s history that the cause of helping to cure the still-suffering newcomer is best be served when the full complement of historical truths and approaches is restored to view.


Synopsis of Dick’s Talk


Rest of the Story Introduction – A Draft


What? Another history of Alcoholics Anonymous!


Yes! And one that is much needed today.


Why this New Historical Account of “the Rest of the Story!”


Needed because of what is said and believed by many who speak about Alcoholics Anonymous; write about A.A.;  study alcoholism and addiction; speak about their war stories;  share their “experience, strength, and hope” in meetings; grind out more and more biographies and autobiographies; produce more timelines  and forum commentaries; and characterize A.A. as monolithic—rather than diverse in membership—and as “spiritual, but not religious,” and as a “cult,” too Christian, too much focused on an “any god” philosophy, an heretical fellowship that Christian AAs must never join or attend, and an invitation to self-made deities (called higher powers) that can be anything from a rainbow to a tree to a door knob to a light bulb, to “Somebody” or to “Something” that “saves.”


The Ship Without a Rudder


It is a fair assessment to say that none of the foregoing descriptions can be characterized as A.A. today. Nor are they commonly understood and agreed to among today’s vacillating two million members. More important, they are not representative of the views of A.A.’s original founders, the original Akron A.A. fellowship program, the biblical and Christian roots and practices of pioneer A.A., or the successes that were achieved when reliance on the Creator was the center-piece of early A.A. recovery.


What, then, is the task here? Is it to write a new, ponderous, comprehensive, complete history?


No! But


Writing about the weaknesses of a voyage devoid of a full complement of equipment constitutes conducting a voyage of meandering and opinionated theories about travel. But it is on a journey with an untrained crew.


For one thing, those who need the successful techniques of old school recovery are often still ill, perhaps poorly educated, and usually not very enthused about reading anything at all—not even their basic text, Alcoholics Anonymous. Half a loaf of history will not produce a repast that satisfies the need.


The Lacuna – The Gap – The Missing Tools


Several years ago, Dick B. learned from his A.A. historian friend Mel B. that a scholarly Roman Catholic priest was quite enthused over our work in unearthing A.A.’s missing historical points. We were just about to publish Turning Point: A History of Early A.A.’s Spiritual Roots and Successes (San Rafael, CA: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1997). The priest was Father Paul B., M.A., Ph.D., Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City, Missouri. The gracious priest kindly agreed to endorse the Turning Point book, saying:


Though there have been excellent histories of A.A.’s beginning years, each and corporately, have left one major lacuna—the precise origins of A.A.’s spiritual principles (page 1)


Now, let’s ask what the average AA knows about Professor William James, author of The Varieties of Religious Experience—the man whom Bill Wilson had named as one of the three sources of A.A.’s Twelve Steps. What does the average AA know about this foundational statement in which Professor James wrote:


Self-surrender has been and always must be regarded as the vital turning-point of the religious life, so far as the religious life is spiritual and no affair of outer works and ritual and sacraments.


Some years later, Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr., author of Realizing Religion—and the clergyman whom Bill Wilson had named as a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous as well as one of the three sources of A.A.’s Twelve Steps (ten of the twelve in Shoemaker’s case)—wrote:


Now the thing which is striking about much of the misery one sees is that it is spiritual misery. It is the unhappiness of spiritual very often—souls who are too fine-grained to get along without religion, yet who have never come to terms with it. It is the sadness of maladjustment to the eternal things, and this throws out the whole focus of life. Rest cures and exercise and motor drives will not help. The only thing that will help is religion. For the root of the malady is estrangement from God—estrangement from Him in people that were made to be His companions. . . . Now St. Augustine said truly: “We are not born Christians, but we become Christians” (pages 4-5).


All of us cling, despite all proofs to the contrary, to the idea that we are different, and need something that others do not need, and never can be satisfied with any generally accepted ideas about religion. But this is our old pride raising its head for a last thrust. Our heavenly Father knows where we are really different (pages 8-9)


What you want is simply a vital religious experience. You need to find God. You need Jesus Christ (page 9).


Years later, Reverend Shoemaker helped Bill Wilson shape the proposed manuscript of A.A.’s “Big Book.” The two men actually worked together in Shoemaker’s book-lined study on the Twelve Steps. Bill actually asked Shoemaker to write those steps. but Shoemaker declined. Yet those words by Shoemaker in Realizing Religion still seemed to be ringing in the ears of A.A.’s cofounders Bill W. and Dr. Bob as they completed their portions of the Big Book.


Shoemaker’s role in the language of “The solution” emanating from a vital religious experience. As the years have rolled by, A.A. has altered its seminal phrase “vital religious experience.” First, it substituted “spiritual experience.” Then, “spiritual awakening.” And finally,  the so-called Spiritual Appendix which offers a variety of choices for a solution, one including a “personality change.”


But it was not always so. The “vital religious experience” phrase had at least one origin in the William James volume “The Varieties of Religious Experience.” Shoemaker then used the expression in Realizing Religion. In a manuscript Dick B. found at Stepping Stones in the early 1990’s, Bill had written:


And the GREAT FACT is just this and no less; that all of us have had “deep and effective religious experiences” (page 10).


Then, writing about what Dr. Carl Jung had told Rowland Hazard, Bill stated:


Sporadically, here and there, once in a while, alcoholics have had what are called “vital religious experiences. . . His [Rowland’s] faith and his religious convictions were very good as far as they went, but that in his case, they did not spell “the vital religious experience so absolutely imperative to replace his insanity.” (page 11).


Finally, speaking for himself, Bill then wrote:


So it began to look to us as though we must have “a vital religious experience” or perish. Our friend [Rowland Hazard] did finally have such an experience and we in our turn have sought the same happy end.


What happened to the “vital religious experience?” It’s missing. Yet Professor James wrote extensively on the variety of religious experiences. Reverend Shoemaker wrote that, to find God, you needed a vital religious experience. Dr. Carl Jung told Russell Hazard that “vital religious experiences” had at times solved the alcoholism problem. And then Bill himself said it began to look as though we “must” have a vital religious experience. Who changed this, and why!


Shoemaker’s Role in the A.A. Language about Finding God: Shoemaker had said that, to overcome spiritual misery and become companions of God, men needed to “find God.” In the same Stepping Stones manuscript named above, Bill wrote:


All of us are the children of a living Creator with whom we may form a new relationship. The author of each personal narrative “will describe in his own language and from his own point of view that way in which he happened to find the living God (pages 11-12).


How did finding God suddenly shift to finding a “higher power?”


Bill Wilson had written in the Big Book: “Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power—That One is God. May you find Him now!”

On page 193 of the First Edition of the Big Book, Dr. Bob wrote:

If you think you are an atheist  an agnostic, a skeptic, or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you. . . . Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!

Did AAs suddenly conclude that Dr. Bob had just opened a “broad highway” for atheists and agnostics? What role had he played in the great compromise that did so? He didn’t!

Shoemaker’s Role in Specifying the need for Jesus Christ::Shoemaker concluded his vital religious experience remarks in Realizing Religion with the statement: “You need Jesus Christ.” And, in so doing, Shoemaker was referring to the Bible requirement as expressed in John  14:6 (KJV) “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”


And every early Akron A.A. was required to make a “real surrender” in which he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. That concept is missing from A.A. Conference-approved literature? Why?


The Example Above: Filling the Holes with the True Solutions


The challenge here is to identify the chunks of history that have been omitted, ignored, or misstated. The challenge is to identify which of the missing pieces of historical information is directly applicable to today’s A.A. fellowship, to the recovery and cure of still suffering AAs, and to today’s stated solution for the problem of alcoholism—a solution emblazoned in an entire chapter of A.A.’s basic text (There Is A Solution), and articulated on Page 25 of even today’s Fourth Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous.. Today’s challenge is to investigate and report those portions of A.A. history that are either unknown or not sufficiently known and therefore not a significant part of what is being spoken about, taught to, or practiced by the alcoholic who still suffers. One of these is seeking a “vital religious experience.” One is “finding” God. And one is coming to God through His son Jesus Christ—the needed factor Shoemaker explained.


A.A. is not a church. It is not a hospital. It is not a place where self-centered whining attains the prize—a cure! That cure by “the Lord”—called by one of the first three AAs “The Golden Text of A.A.”—is the one all three of the first successful AAs specified—healing by the power of God. The Creator whom A.A. cofounder Dr. Bob called his “Heavenly Father” and declared would “never let you down!”


And A.A. either is, or it is not a place where the stentorian tones of “circuit speakers,” their ability to bring both laughter and compassion, to produce little information about the guts of A.A. or the history of A.A. or to relate how they (those present-day icons) practiced the principles of A.A. in recovering their own sanity, in helping others, and in living godly, useful, sober lives.


The Missing Historical Elements Are Numerous But Simple in Character


One of the things that will be made apparent in this introduction and in the history class is the simplicity of the many elements of recovery that were used with success by Christian organizations and individuals almost a century before A.A. was founded. Also how those early elements of recovery were absorbed by A.A.’s founders before they ever got sober and established their fellowship. Also how closely the actions of the first three AAs in getting sober. as well as how the program of recovery that A.A. founders originally developed beginning in 1935—constituted a program that was itself simple, easily understood, directly founded on abstinence, reliance on the power of God, and helping others recover in the same manner. This simple formula involving renouncing of liquor, relying on and understanding God, and helping newcomers do likewise constitutes a program still as viable, effective, and consistent with recovery today as it was at the beginnings of the A.A. Christian Fellowship founded years ago in 1935.


A Brief Summary of the Subjects in the Remaining Chapters


Here, once again, we will be talking about what’s missing. We will also be talking about what the restoration of missing links can do for those who still suffer and want to be cured. And we will leave the details and documentation to the following chapters. The subjects to be underlined are:


·         First Century Christianity: The Book of Acts and what the Apostles did. The many comments on the resemblance of early A.A. practices to the acts of the Apostles. Other comments linking A.A. origins to First Century Christianity itself; to “A First Century Christian Fellowship”—one of the influences on the cofounders; and to the early Akron A.A. “Christian Fellowship”—the name given to the original Akron Christian Group’s program.


·         The Christian organizations and  people from the 1850’s forward who developed the biblical ideas and techniques for healing the down and out drunks of those days. Organizations and others such as the YMCA, rescue missions, Salvation Army, Congregationalism, the evangelists like Moody, and Christian Endeavor.


·         The Christian upbringing of Dr. Bob and Bill W. in Vermont and how these youngsters were exposed to the relevant Christian ideas spawned largely by the foregoing organizations and people and were being used to help drunks.


·         How the First Three AAs got sober, and this First Epoch of A.A.’s Recovery Ideas.


·         The complete details of the Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship’s program and the practices that implemented it. Also the source of documentation of program details in The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous; DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers; Personal Stories of the Alcoholics Anonymous Pioneers; and more.


·         The proof of victory – the counting of noses in 1937; the Frank Amos report on the Akron program, and the precise written records of those who succeeded

·         The variant and so-called six word-of-mouth ideas Bill W. expounded as being in use after 1935, though controversial and, and used as the basis for his Twelve Steps.


·         The outline by Hank Parkhurst of the proposed contents of the Big Book – commenting on the cure of alcoholism and religious experience – expressions which correspond to Bill’s characterizations in Bill’s descriptions of religious experiences.


·         The “New Version” Program of Twelve Steps that Bill constructed, naming William Silkworth, William James, and Samuel Shoemaker as the sources.


·         The great compromise made in the printer’s manuscript by the self-appointed committee of four.


·         Self-made religion derived from the great compromise and including in the fellowship atheists, humanists, people that were religious but not Christian, and those who believed in “something” or in “nothing at all.”


·         Absurd names and peculiar attributes for “a” god derived from concepts about “higher powers,” “a power greater than ourselves,” and “God as we understood Him.”


·         The “spiritual but not religious” dilemma and the attempts to characterize A.A. as something it was never established in the beginning to be.


·         The self-appointed governors who attempt to impose personal rules on AAs and their groups and meetings. This in contravention of A.A. traditions of non-interference with autonomous groups and non-governance and inability to control by leaders.


·         The importance for believers of learning and standing upon undisputed history and its incontrovertible relevance to 12 Step recovery today as believers wish to practice it and express themselves.


·         What the International Christian Recovery Coalition is engaged in fostering and encouraging.


·         Conclusion.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Dr. Bob Story - The Rest of It - Dick B. AA History Radio Show

Dick B. gives another preview of our forthcoming historical video series on the January 29, 2014, episode of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show
You may hear Dick B. give another preview of our forthcoming historical video series on the January 29, 2014, episode of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show here:

or here:

Episodes of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show are archived at:



Tonight, we will delve into the proposed content of our upcoming video series, "Bill W., Dr. Bob, and the Cure of Alcoholism: The Rest of the Story." Right now, we are developing an outline for the A.A. history presentations and the format for an appealing Introduction showing what has been missed and what we will supply.
Yesterday, we proposed that there were five epochs in A.A. history from A.A.'s founding in 1935 to Bill W.'s publishing of "the new version of the program" in the Big Book in 1939. The first epoch deals with how the first three AAs got sober before there were any 12 Steps, 12 Traditions, Big Books, war stories, or meetings like those today. We also acquainted you with the missing facts about how A.A. Number One, Bill W., got sober and how that information can be used to help others.
This evening, we will deal with the missing facts about how A.A. Number Two, Dr. Bob, got sober and how that information can be helpful in the same way. The following show will have to do with how A.A. Number Three, Akron attorney Bill D., got sober and what his statements contribute to the healing process.
If time permits, we will introduce you to all five A.A. History Epochs that will be covered in these shows and in our videos. In brief, they are: (1) How the first three got sober. (2) The original Akron A.A. "Christian fellowship" program. (3) The so-called six "word-of-mouth ideas" Bill claimed were in use before he wrote the 12 Steps. (4) Bill's "new version of the program," the 12 Steps, published in the Big Book. (5) The very significant compromise in language referring to God made in Steps 2, 3, and 11 just before the Big Book was published--a change made by a mere four people, yet attributed to atheists and agnostics.
And now, here come the documentation, footnotes, and facts.


The Five Alcoholics Anonymous History Epochs – 1935 to 1939
The Programs of Recovery that AAs Used – And When!
Dick B.
© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved

The First Epoch – The First Three AAs to Get Sober. And How!
[The First Epoch from 1934-1935. The Period When the First Three AAs Achieved Permanent Sobriety, and Then Immediately Followed by the Founding of Akron’s First Group—Akron Number One]

Part Two of the First Epoch:  “The First Three AAs”: A Summary of how and when Dr. Robert H. Smith (known as Dr. Bob,  A.A. Cofounder and A.A. Number Two) was cured of his alcoholism after admitting his seeming hopelessness and, in beginning the march back to healing, seeking God’s help through prayer with  Akron Oxford Group friends in 1935 and again just before his last drink

September 1931:
Russell Firestone of the Firestone rubber dynasty gets saved and healed of alcoholism with the help of Rev. Samuel Shoemaker on the train back to Akron from the 50th triennial General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church—a General Convention of the Episcopal Church—held in Denver, Colorado, September 16-30, 1931.

October 1931 through January 1933
Russell and his friend James D. Newton travel widely for the Oxford Group in the ensuing months, giving their testimony in the United States and elsewhere.

January 1933
At the request of Russell Firestone’s father, Harvey Firestone, Sr., Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman—founder of “A First Century Christian Fellowship” (also known as “the Oxford Group”)—and other Oxford Group members, hold a series of testimonial meetings in Akron from January 19-23, 1933. Dr. Walter F. Tunks, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Akron, is actively involved in hosting the meetings. Russell Firestone attends and speaks at several of the many Akron meetings, which are heavily covered by the Akron newspapers. He and others give testimony as to their Oxford Group life-changes through Jesus Christ.

January 1933
Henrietta Seiberling (of the well-known rubber dynasty family), Dr. Bob’s wife Anne, and two other ladies attended the large, January 1933 Akron Oxford Group events. They soon start attending the small, weekly, Thursday night West Hill Oxford Group meeting, persuading Dr. Bob to join the group. And Dr. Bob attends Oxford Group meetings regularly until Mother’s Day, May 12, 1935, when he met Bill W. Dr. Bob had also followed his friends’ suggestions by joining a church, reading an immense amount of Oxford Group literature, refreshing his memory of the Bible, in which he had had excellent training as a youngster in Vermont, and enjoying fellowship with the Oxford Group people.
But Bob didn’t want to quit drinking.
He didn’t, and his alcoholism progressed still further.

January 1933 through May 1935
During this period, and while still drinking, Bob feels it necessary to “renew” his familiarity with the Bible in which he said he “had had excellent training” as a youngster in Vermont. He reads the Bible three times from cover to cover. He joins a Presbyterian Church in Akron, the church of which Rev. J.C. Wright was pastor. He reads all kinds of Christian literature (which is still available for view at Dr. Bob’s Home in Akron as to one part, and at Brown University as to the other part). In addition, Bob said he read all the Oxford Group literature he could get his hands on.

Late April, 1935(?)
Henrietta Seiberling feels guided to convene a special meeting for Dr. Bob and asks Oxford Grouper members T. Henry and Clarace Williams if their home could be used for the meeting. Henrietta then gathers some Oxford Group members to attend. She wants them to share things that were very costly in order to make Dr. Bob lose his pride. She warns Anne Smith about the meeting and tells her: “Come prepared to mean business. There is going to be no pussyfooting around.” But she doesn’t tell Mrs. Smith that the meeting was for Dr. Bob.  At this meeting, all shared deeply of their shortcomings and the victories achieved in overcoming them. Then they waited for Dr. Bob to share.

Dr. Bob shares: “I am going to tell you something which may cost my profession. I am a secret drinker, and I can’t stop.” Those present asked: “Do you want us to pray for you?” And someone said, “Should we get on our knees?” Dr. Bob answered, “Yes” to both questions. So those present, including Dr. Bob, dropped to their knees on the rug in the home of Oxford Group leader T. Henry Williams. And they all prayed for Dr. Bob’s deliverance

The next morning, Henrietta says a prayer for Bob. She prayed, “God, I don’t know anything about drinking, but I told Bob that I was sure that if he lived this way of life, he could quit drinking. Now I need Your help, God.” She then reflected: “Something said to me—I call it ‘guidance’; it was like a voice in my head—‘Bob must not touch one drop of alcohol.’” Henrietta calls Bob and tells him she had guidance for him. He comes over at ten in the morning. She he tells him that her guidance was that he mustn’t touch one drop of alcohol.  [See DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, pages 53ff. for these details.]

Bob continues to drink excessively. And he didn’t find an answer until he met Bill Wilson. He would say to Henrietta Seiberling: “‘. . . I think I’m just one of those want-to-want-to guys.’ And she’d say, ‘No, Bob, I think you want to. You just haven’t found a way to work it yet.’” [DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, 59]

May 1935
Two weeks later, Bill Wilson arrives in Akron. He was a person unknown to Henrietta Seiberling, to Dr. Bob, and to Anne Smith—a complete stranger.

May 1935
Bill Wilson had failed in a business venture and was tempted to drink. Instead, he calls Dr. Walter Tunks from the Mayflower Hotel in Akron.  Tunks gives Bill a referral that leads to Henrietta Seiberling. For Henrietta received a telephone call from this absolute stranger. And it was Bill Wilson.
Bill tells her: “I’m from the Oxford Group, and I’m a rum hound from New York. And I need to talk to a drunk.” Said Bill: “I got the guidance to look at the minister’s directory. I just looked there. And I put my finger on one name—Dr. Walter Tunks. So Bill called Dr. Tunks and was, in turn, referred to Henrietta Seiberling. Bill recalled: “Something kept saying to me, ‘You’d better call her’.”

May 1935
Henrietta thought and concluded, ”This is really like manna from heaven. I (who was desperate to help Bob in something I didn’t know much about) was ready.” “You come right out here,” she said. And she planned to put these two men together. Bill came out to her Gate Lodge home and stayed for dinner. She told Bill to come to church with her the next morning and that she would get Bob, which she did.

She arranges to have Dr. Bob come to her home at the Seiberling Gate Lodge to meet with Bill W. Dr. Bob was virtually roused  from his prior day’s drunken stupor. Yet the next day he went to Henrietta’s home. Dr. Bob vowed he intended to stay there for 15 minutes “tops.” But the two men talked for six hours.

May 12, 1935
Bill W. and Dr. Bob meet on Mother’s Day, May 12, 1935. After talking with Bill W., Dr. Bob concludes that, despite his and Bill’s association with the Oxford Groups, only Bill had grasped their idea of “service”—helping others get well. Something Dr. Bob said he had never thought of, considered, or done.

Bob noted that Bill “was a man. . . who had been cured by the very means I had been trying to employ that is to say, the spiritual approach. . . he was the first living human with whom I had ever talked who knew what he was talking about in regard to alcoholism from actual experience. In other words, he talked my language. He knew all the answers, and certainly not because he had picked them up in his reading.

Bill recalled: “We were under awful compulsion. And we found that we had to do something for somebody or actually perish ourselves.
Bob stated: “Bill had acquired their (the Oxford Group’s) idea of service. I had not.” The two men started trying to help yet another drunk. And a letter from Bill dated May 1935 showed they had started carrying the message together at least within two weeks or so of their first meeting.

June 1935 through August, 1935
Bill was invited to and did in fact live for the next three months with the Smiths. He said: “I shall always believe they gave me more than I ever brought them.” He said that each morning there was a devotion. After a long silence in which they awaited inspiration and guidance, Anne would read from the Bible. “James was our favorite,” Bill said. Also, Bob said the two men would stay up until the wee hours of the morning discussing the possible solution for alcoholics and the possible basic biblical ideas for a program.

Then came a brief and final relapse on Bob’s part.

Bob had decided to attend the American Medical Association Convention in Atlantic City. Bob began drinking everything he could get as soon as he boarded the train. Bob had a blackout during this period. They brought him home when he got back to Akron, and Bill stayed with Bob in the corner room where there were two beds. Upon Dr. Bob’s return, they found he was scheduled to perform surgery three days later. To prop him up, they gave him some beer to steady his nerves.

At four o’clock in the morning of the operation, Bob turned to Bill and said: “I am going through with it.” Bill said: “You mean you are going through with the operation?” Bob said: “I have placed both the operation and myself in God’s hands. I’m going to do what it takes to get sober and stay that way.”

Much later, Bob returned home after the operation. The bottle of beer Bill gave him that morning was the last drink he ever had.  Dr. Bob was cured, and he said so. As to the date of this last drink, A.A. literature stated: “Although arguments have been and will be made for other significant occasions in A.A. history, it is generally agreed that Alcoholics Anonymous began there, in Akron, on that date: June 10, 1935.

Henrietta and Dr. Bob felt his cure (which is what Bob called it) was in answer to the prayers. Dr. Bob said so.

The Five Epochs of A.A. History from 1935-1939

By Dick B.
© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved

ONE: How the First Three AAs got sober before there were any 12 Steps, 12 Traditions, Big Books, drunkalogs, or meetings as they are seen today. They believed the answers to their problems were in the Bible.

TWO: The original Akron A.A. “Christian fellowship” program consisting of seven points as summarized and 16 practices implementing the program as summarized. The data comes from four major sources:

1.      DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers;
2.      Dick B. and Ken B., Stick with the Winners!;
3.      Dick B. and Ken B., Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous (about the 29 personal testimonies in the “Personal Stories” section of the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous; and
4.      Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W. and Dick B. and Ken B., Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous

THREE: The various “six” “word-of-mouth” ideas as to which Bill Wilson said there was no common agreement, but which were nonetheless used until 1939 and were, he said, the basis for the 12 Steps.

FOUR: The “new version of the program” which Bill had fashioned between 1938 and 1939, and which he said involved Twelve Steps which were drawn from three men he called “founders” of A.A.: (1) Dr. William D. Silkworth of Towns Hospital, particularly as to Step One. (2) The book by Professor William James and called The Varieties of Religious Experience, particularly as to Step Twelve. (3) The other ten Steps drawn straight from the Oxford Group, “as then led in America by the Episcopal Rector, Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr.”

FIVE: The compromised program which was fashioned by four people (the secretary Ruth Hock; Bill’s partner Henry Parkhurst; the Christian John Henry Fitzhugh Mayo; and Bill Wilson himself). In addition to the many changes in Bill’s  “new version” of the program (the Twelve Steps) in the loan copy manuscript, there were three major ideas adopted after a sizzling battle over portions of that manuscript. The changes were agreed to in the A.A. offices—with only the named four individuals present. The three changes were these: (1) There was said to be “too much God” in the manuscript; and the language of Steps Two, Three, and Eleven was changed to delete the unqualified word God and substitute “Power greater than ourselves” and “God as we understood Him”  in three of the twelve steps. (2) This was done over the vigorous objections of Fitz who wanted religious content with Bible and Christian sources, gleaned in part from what A.A. had learned from the missions and the churches. But Fitz was overruled. Wilson said the changes were made due to “the great contribution of the atheists and agnostics” when they took their position as to “God” to the program. (3) A handwritten summary, erroneously suggesting that Ebby Thacher had told Bill he could “choose your own conception of God,” was inserted at the very front of the typewritten loan copy manuscript though no author was named or identified in any way. This change opened the “broad highway” that eventually became the path to higher powers, not-god-ness, unbelief, and a host of religions other than Christianity.