Thursday, July 31, 2014

Resident Mentor Program of Bethesda Village, Mercy Way, Rescue, California

The Resident Mentor Program of Bethesda Village, 3540 Mercy Way, Rescue, CA

By Dick B.

The Special Interest of International Christian Recovery Coalition

Since our first International Christian Recovery Coalition gathering in May, 2009, at the Community Fellowship Hall of Mariner’s Church in Irvine, California, we have gathered from some 50 states and several other countries the participants in our informal worldwide fellowship of Christian recovery leaders, workers, pastors, and counselors who share our view of the importance that dissemination of the role of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible have played in recovery from alcoholism and addiction and can play for those who want God’s help. Details can be found at

Alcoholics and Addicts Need to Learn Christian “Fellowship”—and the Rest of the A.A. Story

For almost a year, we have researched, assembled, and published “the rest of the story” of Christian recovery from alcoholism and addiction that has so long been shunted aside as Alcoholics Anonymous has grown from its tiny beginnings in June of 1935, The path has gone so far astray that some writers claim A.A. never even began until the fall of 1937. But now we are presenting a huge assemblage of the missing links and vital elements that flow from the practices of First Century Christians, the Christian entities of individuals from 1850 forward to help the down and out, the Christian upbringing of A.A. cofounders Bill W. and Dr. Bob in Vermont, and the shaping and warping of the miraculous recovery ideas that captured the attention of A.A. Christian pioneers in Akron in  1935 and later were altered to suit the fancied need for a program that veered from reliance on God to emphasis on nonsense gods, higher powers, and idolatrous symbols that present the “broad highway” seen in the thinking and actions of many 12-Step groups today. Details can be found in our new website

Now They Need to Know the Enormity of the Growth of Substantive Christian Recovery Groups

And now we go to the astonishing Christian recovery movement that has so rapidly grown in the last five years. Our first effort was to speak to recovered Christian leaders and urge them to incorporate in their own recovery work an application of what we call “old school” A.A.—the “Christian technique” that began with the Bible at the hands of A.A. pioneers Bill W., Dr. Bob, and Bill D. The objective was to meld the good points and strengths of the widely used 12 Step programs with the sure and effective power of the Creator that was slipping away in the rush to “simplify” the recovery movement with such ineffectual tools as “don’t drink;” “go to meetings;” choose some “higher power” that keeps religion and the religious at bay and swallows efforts up in court cards, endless war stories, the loss of the keys to the kingdom that A.A. Number Three called “the golden text of A.A.” – calling on God who had widely cured those who renounced addictive pursuits, went to any lengths to avoid temptation, and placed their healing in God’s hands.

We Turn Now to New, Growing, Successful Christian Recovery Efforts in Progress

But this series of reports on the new and growing and successful Christian recovery movements will show how devout, dedicated, experienced, recovered Christians are working with Christians, recovery pastors, Christian program directors, and residential treatment ideas and programs that closely resemble those of the First Century Christians who inspired early AAs.

The First Christian Residential Program We Will Sketch for You is that of Bethesda Village, at Mercy Way in Rescue, California; residential program directed by Jim Gaffney; overseen by Recovery Pastor Matt Pierce of Golden Hills Community Church located at Brentwood, California; and fast at work organizing its “Resident Mentor Training Program.”

Bethesda Village is a long term residential discipleship program aimed at helping those men (18-25 years) who are seeking freedom from life-controlling issues. Bethesda Village's mission is to help those seeking freedom from life-controlling issues through personal discipleship and life skills development within the context of a healthy Christian community. Residents will receive spiritual, moral and relational instruction primarily through the Word of God, counseling and small group work, personal discipleship and life skills development. We are located in Rescue, CA on a 21acre property in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains overlooking the Sacramento Valley.


We present below the Bethesda Village resident mentor training program description sent to us by Program Director, Jim Gaffney. And there are currently openings for mentor applications:

The Resident Mentor Training program is truly a life changing experience. During their stay with us our resident mentors will grow in their knowledge and love of God through Bible study and prayer; they will also have the opportunity to develop the transferable life skills necessary to minister in a recovery community, small groups, or a local church. Resident Mentors will be participating daily, moment-by-moment, in the restoration God is doing in the lives of the young men they serve. Each mentor will also complete an extensive Servant-Leadership training program while living on the Bethesda Village grounds alongside the residents.


Resident mentors live in community with the residents, building relationships while participating in daily activities such as class, worship, work and recreation. Although Resident Mentorship is a 24-hour, residential position, there are scheduled times off (two evenings per week or one weekend day). Special arrangements can also be made for more extended time off as needed.


There are no fees for the resident mentor training program. Room and board is provided free of charge. 



First and foremost the resident mentor has to possess a willingness to learn. The resident mentor will be continually learning how to minister to hurting young men. They will be heavily involved with teaching, modeling, Bible study and Servant-Leadership training. There will be weekly and daily reading/homework assignments for all of the resident mentors. Each resident mentor will need to learn to function as part of a team of mentors.


Resident mentors provide care and guidance to troubled young men (residents) at Bethesda Village, in a residential community setting. Resident mentors receive practical training for the purpose of ministering to the hurting. They serve, not by their own strength or character, but by the power of Jesus Christ working through them. Role modeling and sharing God's love and power through the work of the Holy Spirit are vital aspects in the healing process.


Resident mentors are men who not only have a heart for Jesus, but a heart for struggling people as well. Part role model, part teacher and part friend, a resident mentor should have an adventurous spirit and want to make a lasting difference in the lives of others.


Resident mentors make a voluntary commitment to serve, preferably for 12 months; however we are open to discuss commitments that involve shorter or longer stays. This will be a time of testing and purifying, a season where God's faithfulness and comfort are experienced in a real and life-changing way. It is an intense season of growth, practical discipleship and maturing in every way possible.


Submission to Authority

In order to provide an example to the residents, the resident mentors will need to function under Godly authority as they submit to the leadership of the Program Director of Bethesda Village.



Resident mentors are not necessarily dynamic and gregarious individuals and they dont have to be Bible scholars (or even trained counselors). However, the following characteristics are required in order to serve as a resident mentor:


1.    A strong commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ as demonstrated through a humble Christian walk.

2.    A solid foundation in Biblical truth and personal application of God's Word in his daily life.

3.    Regular attendance and fellowship in a solid Bible-believing, Christ-centered church.

4.    A burden for ministering to troubled young men and a willingness to serve them and the Lord in a selfless, full-time capacity.

5.    The ability to initiate and build relationships along with the ability to confront, encourage and admonish residents in Christ-like love.

6.    The ability to maintain a solid work ethic including extensive physical activities.


While resident mentors are not employees of Golden Hills Community Church, they are expected to demonstrate adherence to Golden Hills Community Church Code of Ministerial Ethics for Staff, Elders and Deacons as outlined in the Resident Mentor Code of Ministerial Ethics. (This will be supplied to all interested in completing an application)


Contact Information


Jim Gaffney Program Director - Bethesda Village

(925) 516-0653 x7234

or (530) 672-1648


Pastor Matt Pierce, Recovery Pastor Golden Hills Community Church

(925) 516-0653 x7131


Bethesda Village

3540 Mercy Way

Rescue, CA 95672


Golden Hills Community Church

2401 Shady Willow Lane

Brentwood, CA 94513

(925) 516-0653

Why International Christian Recovery Coalition Thrives Today

Why the International Christian Recovery Coalition Thrives

By Dick B.

© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved


Letters! We Get Letters!

It was probably not until our large meeting of recovered Christian leaders and workers held at Mariners Church Fellowship Hall in Irvine, California that we really awakened to the need for, and importance, of an informal fellowship of participants all over the United States and other countries. A coalition that would tell of the roles played by God, His Son, and the Bible in A.A. and recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction.

In mid-2009, we had gathered over two hundred people and twenty speakers, expecting they would tell the audience their progress in restoring old school A.A. to the recovery scene. There was music with Santos! Food for the gathered. And lots of opportunity for expressing thoughts about A.A., recovery today, and Christians in recovery. Elements that have grown since then.

But we heard a mountain of stories from those who were on the verge of leaving A.A. and very concerned about the lambasting suffering newcomers were getting if they mentioned the Bible, the Creator, Jesus Christ, and their own born again experiences. As a result, in July, 2009, the International Christian Recovery Coalition was founded:

And Day After Day Since 2009, We Have Received Letters Like the Ones We Mention Here Today. And They Have Spawned Group After Group of What Can Be Called “Old School A.A.”

The Letters from Paul N. of Texas

[edited very slightly]

“Good morning Dick!!!

My name is Paul N. . . . I am a recovering alcoholic with 2.5 years sober and very active in AA here in Dallas. And, oh my, what a miracle!! I almost died three times in 2011.

I am also a born again Christian. I surreptitiously encounter your work on AA history. I am intrigued. We have some "bleeding deacons" in our group who are sadly running off newcomers who even hint that they are Christian. It is not surprising. They can refer to Buddha or anyone else. But the name of Jesus is so offensive to them. And to the whole world for that matter.

Through my life I have studied the Bible arduously. I memorized it, taught it, sang it and yes, I danced it. Yet later in life it did not keep me sober. I know that there are many many stories of people turning to Christ and getting set free. Are you familiar with Cyrus Scofield? That is just not my story.

Several years ago I was in the middle of one of my many many attempts to get sober. I was new and was sharing at a meeting about how I was learning not to judge people. I was explaining how I do not have the power to read peoples mind and that I should assume their motives are pure. I just mentioned I Cor 13 where it says the "love believes all things". A man stood up and yelled at me. He said " you cannot mention that Bible at our meetings". As a newcomer, I had no idea what the protocol was. I was so confused and hurt that I went and got drunk and wrote off AA.

I am now at another group. That same man is has now started to attend my new group. He is doing the same thing to others.

There is another "bleeding deacon" in our group. We had a new lady whose sobriety is so fragile. She mentioned one day in sharing how much the beautiful passage in Jeremiah meant to her. She was referring to Jer 29:11-13. "God has a plan for you” I love that passage!! This man was called on to share right after her. He attacked her for referring to the Bible. She also like me did know the "rules" She ran out crying never to return.

I have been blessed with an "elder statesman" as a sponsor. He too is a born again Christian. He has been able to help me tremendously in working through these resentments.

I love doing research. I was recently at Intergroup and noticed a nicely framed long version of the Serenity Prayer. I was pleasantly surprised that it was the verse that said “taking as Jesus did . . . ." I had to purchase it. I did my research on which long version is accurate. My conclusion is that nobody knows for sure.

Before I go further, I need to know if you are willing to answer some questions and continue a dialogue. I have no idea if you have the time and energy.

Your brother in Christ.

And thanks for all of fine work!!!!




Thank so much for the "occurrences" attachments! I do so much enjoy my own "occurrences" research. My latest -- Bill W. was so impressed by Ebby's statement - "God has done for me what I could not do for myself". This is evidenced by his frequent use of the phrase. See

pages 25, 71, 84 (last of the 9th Step promises), 457; and in The Language of the Heart, page

25. Page 76 in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

I wonder if Ebby [Thacher] had read Ephesians 3:20--"Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us”



Examples of the Growing Number of Substantial Residential and/or Long-Term Christian Recovery Homes

Often through the early years of A.A., there were comments by members, observers, clergy,

physicians, and charitable organizations that the concerns and  programs which preceded and

accompanied early A.A.’s Christian Fellowship in Akron, Ohio, closely resembled First Century


The ingredients of these efforts included prayer, Bible study, Quiet Time, witnessing, breaking

of bread together, worship together, enabling others to become children of God by coming to

Him through His Son Jesus Christ, converting the willing, and healing the needy.

This turn of direction came as Christian organizations and individuals like the Young Men’s

Christian Association, Salvation Army, Rescue Missions, great evangelists like Dwight Moody

and F.B. Meyer, Congregationalism, and Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor focused

on the plight and needs of the down and outers – the derelicts, alcoholics, and addicts. A.A.’s

cofounders Bill W. and Dr. Bob were born and raised during this period in their upbringing in


The “community” approaches were not only quite simple. They enabled many suffering

unfortunates to obtain God’s help as they realized their own helplessness They approached

the suffering soul on his own miserable turf. They suggested he could get well if he

gave up his addiction, gave His live to God, studied the Bible to understand God’s promises and

power, prayed together with others, and obeyed God’s will. They insisted that he must help

those next in line to recover by the same means. They often made it possible for the afflicted to

live with others during the difficult withdrawal period.

The original Akron A.A. program differed. It did not call for money. It did call for love,

compassion, and brotherly concern. And it stressed helping others as a prime element for

maintaining the new relationship with God—the relationship that Bill W. was later to call being

 of maximum service to God and others.

But times changed. Insurance money factored into recovery. Large buildings were erected to

enable “treatment.” Expensive treatment programs required money and thereby limited the

duration of fellowship and experienced help for most. Reliance on God and Christian fellowship

waned as new folks left their safety nets. And candor required admission that relapse,

recidivism, and continued help for others lost much of its impact as old ideas, old relationships,

and “God-sufficiency” gave way to short term self-sufficiency.

A new call for change occurred in Orange County, California in mid-2009; and Christian

churches, clergy, counselors, recovery pastors, and leaders began to realize that the former

effectiveness of pioneer A.A. needed to be fostered and returned.

We will shortly be providing examples today of how the former, successful, fellowship of

Christians began to welcome recovery, provide Christian leadership, and enable Christian

servants to strengthen the original ideas just as they had done In the previous century.

The aim was not to exclude others from fellowships. It was not to force religious views on

newcomers. It was not to criticize those holding different views about God, atheism, humanism,

unbelief, and diverse religions.

It was to inform those seeking complete healing that they could do so in today’s recovery arena

by turning to God for help using the same “old school” program ideas that characterized early

Akron A.A.’s Christian Fellowship and successes.

As we will illustrate with specific examples among effective endeavors today, this focus on

renewal of Christian recovery from alcoholism and addiction whenever hands reached out for

God’s help isa growing, thriving, nationwide and worldwide effort right now.

Paradise Research Publications, Inc. (Open Library)

Paradise Research Publications, Inc. publishes most of the books on Alcoholics Anonymous History and the Christian Recovery Movement that have been written by author Dick B., author Ken B., or both,_Inc.

The Dick B. (Open Library)

The Dick B. (Open Library) covering 38 works of Author on and Historian of Alcoholics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous History is OPEN

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Welcome to Kenneth Gantz (Psy.D.) who lives in Costa Rica, helps afflicted, and spreads the Word

Dr. Kenneth Gantz (doctor of psychology) is the latest recovered Christian leader to join International Christian Recovery Coalition. He lives in Costa Rica. He teaches an English class, and he maintains a marketing business. He is passionate about wanting to help others in 12-Step movements, and in their understanding of God. Welcome to him. And here's his contact : Kenneth Gantz <>

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Life House, Inc. in West Virginia and Its Fast Growing Group of Christian Residential Recovery Homes

The Life House, Inc. of Huntington, West Virginia

A Rocketing Growth of Christian Recovery Residential Homes

Dick B.

© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Attn.: Rocky Meadows

PO Box 503

Huntington, WV 25701

Cell: 1-304-416-5000

Raymond "Rocky" Meadows





Since the founding of International Christian Recovery Coalition in Orange County, California, beginning with May, 2009, participants have been listing themselves as Christian Recovery leaders, workers, and participants who constitute an informal world-wide fellowship disseminating the role that God, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Bible have played in burgeoning movement to make Christian recovery from alcoholism and addiction available to those who want God’s help. The Coalition now has participants in 50 states and many countries elsewhere.

Our latest effort has been to locate and describe Christian Residential Recovery facilities and programs that our emails, phone calls, and messages tell us are so much in demand.

The Life House has grown from one to eight homes like a lightening flash. And if offers, church services, 12-Step training, Christian Fellowship, Bible study, and prayers for both men and women residents.


The Lifehouse is a therapeutic community organization located in Huntington, WV. The Lifehouse is a non-profit organization created to help men and women recover from alcoholism and substance abuse. The homes associated with The Lifehouse solely exist to help men and women in West Virginia continue their journeys of sobriety with the adequate support and services to implement the life stability that is required for continual substance abuse recovery.

The first facility of The Lifehouse opened in January 2012 by Raymond "Rocky" Meadows. Mr. Meadows acted upon his desire to see a new sober living option for men and women  in Huntington, WV that have recently hit the lowest points of their lives. These men and women have made the decision to overcome an addiction, are starting their lives over after  completing a substance abuse program or after incarceration due to criminal behaviors related to drugs and/or alcohol.

Mr. Meadow's passion to begin this exciting new program was birthed through his own triumph over addictions and the impact that a relationship with Jesus Christ made in his recovery. Mr. Meadows offers a hands-on approach to the men that live at The Lifehouse. He is able to stand before each participant and show, through his own life, that a better life is available after one has allowed drugs and alcohol to tear them apart. He is able to influence the men from a position of example instead of a new rule enforcer. Mr. Meadows himself struggled with addictions for 24 years.

It was after his last period of incarceration that he was able to begin his own journey of sobriety. After re-entering society Mr. Meadows committed himself to never look back and to help others accomplish similar personal victories. During his recovery process, which began in 2008, Mr. Meadows has worked at a local recovery program, became a Men's Chaplain, completed a course in Pastoral Counseling,(ACPE) and achieved his  Degree from Mountwest Community and Technical College (emphasis in pastoral care). He credits his continued success to God, the support that has been available to him through local Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous programs, friends and family, and the availability of sober living facilities.

Our viewers will learn, facility by facility, home by home, and program by program some important details about Christian programs and  facilities already operating across the United States and elsewhere.


Christian Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation at Celebrate Hope addresses all aspects of substance abuse and the ways to live a Drug and Alcohol free life, plus so much more.




Sunday, July 20, 2014

Christian Residential Recovery Care - the Covered Bridge in Dr. Bob's St. Johnsbury, Vermont

Christian Residential Substance Abuse Care in Dr. Bob’s St. Johnsbury Village
“Covered Bridge” at 184 Pearl St., St. Johnsbury, Vermont, is a Vital Recovery Treasure in the Quest for A.A. Cofounder Dr. Bob’s Christian Upbringing and for Authentic Data on the Origins of Early Akron A.A.’s “Christian Fellowship”
Dick B.
© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved
More and more suffering substance abuse people are becoming aware of the importance of the State of Vermont and its influence in the Christian origins, ideas, practices, people and institutions which played an important role in the Christian upbringing and later founding deeds of and influences on the two Vermont cofounders of Alcoholics Anonymous—Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith, born and raised in St. Johnsbury, Vermont; and William Griffith Wilson, born and raised in East Dorset, Vermont. And the awareness of Bill Wilson’s Vermont experiences has been heightened over some 30 years due to the hard work of Ozzie Lepper (now deceased) and his widow Bonnie Lepper Burke.
Take a look at the website of “Covered Bridge Therapeutic Communities,” on 184 Pearl Street, Saint Johnsbury, VT 05891. See The House Manager is Bruce Laferriere. The mail address is PO Box 569, St. Johnsbury, VT 05819. The phone is  802 748 6948. The email is
We have made four extensive investigative trips to St. Johnsbury to see where Dr. Bob received his excellent training in the Bible as a youngster in Vermont. We have researched at the library and archives and campus of St. Johnsbury Academy where Dr. Bob attended and graduated; where his mother had attended, taught, and was an historian; and where his father Judge Walter Smith served as an examiner.
Of course, we visited Dr. Bob’s house on Summer Street, but there is little there that would educate students of A.A. and of Christian recovery. We spent many hours at nearby North Congregational Church of St. Johnsbury where we established the Dr. Bob Core Library with thousands of books and materials germane to Dr. Bob’s Christian upbringing.
Records made it clear that the church expected parents to inculcate their child as to salvation and the Word of God. It conducted four services each week—which were usually attended by the entire Smith family. These were the Sunday service, Sunday school, Sunday vespers, and Wednesday prayer meetings. In addition, the church had a vibrant Christian young people’s group—the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor—in which Dr. Bob was a member and his parents were involved.
Bob’s father, Judge Walter P. Smith, was a deacon, on the church executive committee, and a long-time Sunday school teacher. His mother, Susan A. Smith, was in charge of the entire church education program, sang in the choir, headed the woman’s group, and helped write the church history. All the records are there, and the pastor and archivist generously let us pour over the year books, sermons, membership records, and other important memorabilia.
Our visits to St. Johnsbury also included the following important historical sites and their records: (1) the town library known as the “Athenaeum.” (2) the courthouse across the street where Bob’s father served as Probate Judge. (3) the portion of Main Street devoted to city offices, to several churches, and to several Academy buildings and residences. (4) the location of the Young Men’s Christian Association building (now destroyed by fire) where Bob’s father served as President, which was active in North Congregational Church events and St. Johnsbury Academy events, and where Bob himself was active. (5) the Fairbanks Museum which contains thousands of records about St. Johnsbury schools, churches, libraries, community leaders, and much more.
Thanks to archivist Jim H. from Washington, we have hundreds and hundreds of pictures of the St. Johnsbury scene, the welcome center, the new heritage project, hotels, and banks where Bob’s father was an executive.
You can find all these historical treasures in an easy walk on Main Street to the academy, library, court house, YMCA’s former location, village offices on Main Street and, a block up, to the grammar school and boyhood home of Dr. Bob on Summer Street.

We visited extensively at the Covered Bridge House—located very close to all these places and events. We learned of its beliefs about the Creator and about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the attention given to Bible and prayer. The House Manager and staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and top Christian “family” recovery leaders who know the St. Johnsbury scene and the importance of the Smith family quite well.
We cover much of this scene in Dick B. and Ken B., Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Good Book as a Youngster in Vermont. And we have posted in other places a great deal on the strong Christian training and leadership of Dr. Bob. See, for example,,,; and we strongly recommend two A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature pieces: DR.BOB and the Good Oldtimers and The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches: Their Last Major Talks.
Visitors to Dr. Bob’s home village will find an effective and compassionate Christian recovery residential program at Covered Bridge; people who live right where A.A. history was first made in Dr. Bob’s youth; and who can guide you around this delightful village.
Christian Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation at Celebrate Hope addresses all aspects of substance abuse and the ways to live a Drug and Alcohol free life, plus so much more.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Heather Layne, Christian Recovery Artist and Published Songwriter Interviewed on Christian Recovery Radio Today

Dick B. interviews Christian Recovery leader Heather Layne on the July 18, 2014, episode of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show



Dick B.

© 2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved.



You may listen to Dick B. interview musician and songwriter Heather Layne on the July 18, 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:




Highlights of the Interview


Our guest, Heather Layne, is a Nashville Christian Country Recording Artist and Published Song-writer. Her voice and songs can be heard on Country Music Radio in the United States and overseas. Heather was invited to perform on world stages including the 2010 Alcoholics Anonymous World Convention in San Antonio, Texas, with over 60,000 people.


Heather had her dark days of abuse and relationship difficulties. But she was invited to join a 12-Step Group where she realized God loved her, would help her, and had a plan for her life. She particularly grew in Bible study as she sought to understand God better and discern His will for her service. Today her music is available at; and she can be contacted through


Heather had always loved singing. But the leader of her 12-step recovery group asked her to share one of the new songs she had recently started writing. Scared beyond words, she sang her heart out one night in front of about 150 people. She became the Music Leader at that 12-Step group in Central California; and her dream to sing and play guitar became a reality. She believes God was restoring what she was meant to be and realized she was born to do that work.


Heather has been playing and singing at 12-step recovery programs like Celebrate Recovery, rescue missions, Teen Challenge events, fairs, women’s events, and churches since 2001. She is a very inspired and talented musical entertainer in the recovery arena.


As we have organized, led, and conducted Christian recovery conferences in various parts of the United States, we have often been blessed to have the talented percussionist Walter Santos bring his music and move audiences to ecstatic enjoyment as he sang doo-wap, Gospel Songs, and innovated music about the conferences, the speakers, and the importance of Jesus Christ.


And this caused us to see that a very important part of recovery can be found through music and from the talents of singers like Santos and now Heather Layne.


Many years back, in Wisconsin, I attended and spoke at a recovery meeting with Grace Snyder, widow of oldtimer Clarence Snyder. And the thing that caught my attention was the music that preceded the meeting and then the singing of a talented women that put a whole light into the event. I never forgot the result. And, on several recent occasions, we have heard the famous Harmonica Hall of Fame entertainer Darrell Mansfield as he performed with his little combos, used harmonica after harmonica, and treated recovered and recovering Christian audiences to contemporary and gospel music.


The joy of having Heather as a guest today came largely from the fact that I realized that talented, professional singers like Heather, the woman performer in Wisconsin, Santos as he travels around the country, and Darrell Mansfield and his concerts can bring one of the many joys of participating in Christian recovery groups, 12-Step events, and conferences.



Christian Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation at Celebrate Hope addresses all aspects of substance abuse

 and the ways to live a Drug and Alcohol free life, plus so much more.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Great Conversation on A.A. History about Beliefs of Bill W. and Dr. Bob

An Important Exchange of Questions and Answers Between Ken B. and “Paul” who is a major, active, recovered AA member in the Southwest USA. About Bill W., Dr. Bob, and their Christian beliefs.


Thank you for the quick, preliminary response. I look forward to your thoughts after you have had time to reflect on the information more fully. My dad (Dick B.--www. and I really appreciate your ongoing love and support for our work. Benefactors continue to make possible our ongoing research and publications of books, video classes, audio talks, conferences, etc.

In GOD's love,

Dick B.'s son, Ken

On Jul 15, 2014 7:00 AM, "paul  Oh my gosh thank you! This is awesome! In between meetings in soon


To: paul

Cc: Dick B. <>

Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 7:02 AM

Subject: Paul

Aloha, Paul!

Thank you for your email message below.

I heard two surprising things on my trips with my dad to Founders Day in Akron, Ohio, in 1992 and 1993:

1. In Akron during Founders Day, it was very common to hear people being asked: "Are you a friend of Dr. Bob?"

2. Dr. Bob's daughter, Sue Smith Windows, liked to be at Dr. Bob's Home on 855 Ardmore Avenue in Akron during the Founders Day weekend in June. And she would say to people there: "There are two founders of A.A., you know."

As I believe you know, my dad's and my research and travels and interviews over the past 25 years--starting before A.A.'s International Convention in Seattle in 1990--began with the attempt to answer the question put to my dad: "Dick, did you know that A.A. came from the Bible?" By 1997, and with 10 books already published, we were able to answer "Yes" to that question based on thorough research. Our ongoing research of A.A.'s early history--mainly up to the publication of the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous (the "Big Book") in April 1939--then began to move toward identifying and publishing the roles played by God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible in early A.A.'s astonishing success among "seemingly-hopeless," "medically-incurable" alcoholics who thoroughly followed the early A.A. path. And today, we are focusing on sharing with interested people "the rest of the story" of A.A.'s early history so that they can carry an accurate message to alcoholics and addicts who still suffer today.

Over the years, my dad and I have come across many, many surprising pieces of information--particularly about the roles played by God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible in early A.A.'s astonishing success--after having studied the two A.A. General Service Conference-approved books you mentioned in your email message (i.e., DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers and 'PASS IT ON').

I would like to expand on that thought through my responses interleaved with your comments below.

In GOD's love,

Dick B.'s son, Ken

On Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 1:13 AM, paul

The AA Founders biographical books are amazing. Anyone in a 12 Step Recovery program, or anyone associated with members of that "Fellowship of the Spirit", (as it is so aptly named in the last sentence of the Book Alcoholics Anonymous on p 164) should take the time to read Dr Bob and the Good Old Timers, and Pass It On.

[Ken: You are absolutely right, Paul.

The A.A. General Service Conference-approved biography of A.A. cofounder Bill W.--'PASS IT ON': The Story of Bill Wilson and How the A.A. Message Reached the World--contains some gems. For example, we read of promises Bill wrote to Lois ". . . in the family Bible, the most sacred place he [Bill W.] knew . . ." on four separate occasions:

1.            October 20, 1928 [p. 81];

2.            Thanksgiving Day of 1928 (November 29) [p. 81];

3.            January 1929 [p. 81]; and

4.            September 3, 1930 [p. 86]

The A.A. General Service Conference-approved biography of A.A. cofounder Dr. Bob--DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers: A Biography, with Recollections of Early A.A. in the Midwest--contains many gems as well. You referred to one great example further down in your email message; i.e.:

"(Dr. Bob was always positive about his faith, Clarence [S., Dr. Bob's sponsee who founded the third A.A. group in the world in Cleveland on May 11, 1939] said. If someone asked him a question about the program, his usual response was: 'What does it say in the Good Book?' Suppose he was asked, 'What's all this "First Things First"?' Dr. Bob would be ready with the appropriate quotation: '"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."'" [p. 144]

Another example occurs on the very next page, on which Clarence's wife Dorothy is speaking about the wife of AA Number Three, Akron attorney Bill D. and is quoted as follows:

"I remember Henrietta D--------- talking about faith. The words were like a hammer, striking away all the fears when she said, 'God had a plan.'

        "I was never so exhilarated in all my life. I went home from that meeting, and for the first time in years, I got down on my knees. And I said, 'God, if you have a plan for me, I want that. I don't want any of my own plans.'" [p. 145]

Interestingly, on the web site, which continues to be periodically "beefed up" when it comes to A.A.'s history, we now find mention of four (4) A.A. General Service Conference-approved books in the "Archives and History" area (, in the "History and Resources" section (

1.            'PASS IT ON';

2.            DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers;

3.            Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age; and

4.            As Bill Sees It

Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age also contains many historical gems. For example, after Bill W. is quoted as saying that he ". . . had seen some kind of light . . ." at Calvary Mission; and that he had ". . . kept pondering that mission experience"; he is quoted as follows:

So if there was  a great Physician who could cure the alcoholic sickness, I had better seek Him now, at once. I had better find what my friend [Ebby] had found. [p. 61]

Even As Bill Sees It has an historical gem. On the page titled "No Personal Power," Bill W. speaks of the six-month period between his release from Towns Hospital in New York on December 18, 1934, and his meeting with Dr. Bob on Mother's Day, May 12, 1935, in Akron, Ohio. During this period, he very actively sought out drunks to help, with a Bible under his arm, with the message that the drunks needed to give their lives to God in order to be cured of their alcoholism, but without any lasting results. But here is Bill's view of that period:

"At first, the remedy for my personal difficulties seemed so obvious that I could not imagine any alcoholic turning the proposition down were it properly presented to him. Believing so firmly that Christ can do anything, I had the unconscious conceit to suppose that He would do everything through me--right then and in the manner I chose. After six months, I had to admit that not a soul had surely laid hold of the Master--not excepting myself." [p. 114; letter, 1940]

The Language of the Heart: Bill W.'s Grapevine Writings--which, although not an A.A. General Service Conference-approved publication, is published by the AA Grapevine, Inc.--also contains a number of historical gems. For example, note the exact language Bill uses in describing part of what happened during his final stay at Towns Hospital December 11-18, 1934, when his hospital room "blazed with an indescribably white light":

". . . then the great thought burst upon me: 'Bill, you are a free man! This is the God of the Scriptures.' And then I was filled with a consciousness of a presence. A great peace fell over me, and I was with this I don't know how long." [p. 184]

Could the words "Bill, you are a free man! This is the God of the Scriptures" have been revelation from God to Bill W.? Food for thought.]

These books, which are published by AA, contain the actual stories of the founders, the progression of their disease, and then the progression of their faith and recovery.

[Ken: The two A.A. General Service Conference-approved books you mentioned, Paul--'PASS IT ON' and DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers--do contain biographies of A.A.'s cofounders. But what about "the rest of the story"--the roles played by God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible in early A.A.'s astonishing success among "seemingly-hopeless," "medically-incurable" alcoholics who thoroughly followed the early A.A. path? Here are some points to consider as to how thoroughly the two A.A. books you mentioned actually present the full picture of A.A.'s cofounders, Bill W. and Dr. Bob:

1.            DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers was published in 1980, about 30 years after A.A. cofounder Dr. Bob died on November 16, 1950. Just one observation--with several parts(!)--on this book for now. The book devotes eight (8) pages--i.e., from the middle of page 9 to the top of page 17 (with one of the pages being a full-page picture of Dr. Bob with no accompanying text)--to Dr. Bob's upbringing in St. Johnsbury from his birth on August 8, 1879 (page 9) to his graduation from St. Johnsbury Academy in mid-1898 and subsequent departure for Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, that fall (top of page 17). In contrast, my dad's and my 2008 biography of Dr. Bob during his childhood years--Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Good Book as a Youngster in Vermont ( more than 300 pages to Dr. Bob's strong Christian upbringing in St. Johnsbury. Note the following statement by Dr. Bob in his last major talk given in Detroit, Michigan, in December 1948, of which a transcript is provided in the A.A. General Service Conference-approved pamphlet The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (item # P-53: "I [Dr. Bob] had refreshed my memory of the Good Book [since joining A First Century Christian Fellowship (aka: "the Oxford Group") in 1933], and I had had excellent training in that as a youngster." [pp. 11-12]

2.            'PASS IT ON' was published in 1984, about 13 years after A.A. cofounder Bill W. died on January 24, 1971. Again, just one observation--with several parts(!)--on this book for now. The book devotes 24 pages--i.e., from the middle of page 13 to the middle of page 37 (with four pages and part of a fifth in that chapter being comprised of pictures with almost no explanatory text)--to Bill W.'s upbringing in Vermont from his birth on November 26, 1895, to his failure to graduate from Burr and Burton Seminary in the late spring/early summer of 1913. And yet there is no specific reference to East Dorset Congregational Church situated on the lawn between the Wilson House and the Griffith House. Nor of the relationships of his paternal and maternal grandparents, and of his parents, to that church. And there is no mention of Bill's perfect attendance at Sunday school in that church for the final quarter of the year in 1906. Nor of his having to take a required, four-year Bible course at Burr and Burton Seminary. Nor of his being president of the Young Men's Christian Association at Burr and Burton Seminary. And the list goes on. Those facts and others led to my dad's writing his biography of 2006 biography of Bill W., titled The Conversion of Bill W.: More on the Creator's Role in Early A.A. ( To provide further details that we learned about A.A.'s cofounders, we published Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the Green Mountain Men of Vermont: The Roots of Early A.A.'s Original Program in 2012.]

Dr Bob is quite clear about the spiritual foundation of the fellowship being the Bible,

[Ken: Absolutely, Paul. As Dr. Bob put it in The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: "In early A.A. days, . . . our stories didn't amount to anything to speak of. When we [Bill W. and Dr. Bob] started in on Bill D. [AA Number Three, Akron attorney 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 we found absolutely essential were the Sermon on the Mount, the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, and the Book of James." [page 13] ]

and his common response to anyone inquiring about living problems or seeking guidance in sobriety was "What does the Good Book say?"

[Ken: Again, Paul, right on the money. The following is stated about Dr. Bob in DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers: "(Dr. Bob was always positive about his faith, Clarence [S., Dr. Bob's sponsee who founded the third A.A. group in the world in Cleveland on May 11, 1939] said. If someone asked him a question about the program, his usual response was: 'What does it say in the Good Book?' [page 144] ]

Bill's recount of his spiritual experience is inedible and a very compelling testimony  about his life long assertion about the importance of  "total ego deflation"(hitting bottom in modern day fellowship lingo) in order to let God into their lives completely.

[Ken: I agree, Paul, if by "Bill's recount {sic} of his spiritual experience . . ." we include the whole 1934 sequence of "spiritual events":

1. "During his [Bill W.'s] third visit to Towns Hospital [in September 1934], Bill had a discussion with Dr. Silkworth on the subject of the 'Great Physician.' . . . Bill Wilson himself wrote that he had thought about this discussion before he decided to check himself into Towns for the last time, . . . In Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age: A Brief History of A.A., Wilson wrote: 'Alcoholism took longer to do its killing, but the result was the same. So if there was a great Physician who could cure the alcoholic sickness, I had better seek Him now, at once.'" [Dale Mitchel, Silkworth: The Little Doctor Who Loved Drunks, 44--which I quoted correctly from Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 61]. This is so important because people are only aware of Silkworth's conversation with Bill's wife Lois, in which Silkworth told Lois that "[s]he would soon have to give . . . [Bill] over to the undertaker or the asylum" [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 7];


2. Ebby T.'s visit with Bill W. at 182 Clinton Street in late November 1934 during which Ebby told Bill:

a. "I've got religion" [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 9. These were Oxford Group "code words" meaning that Ebby had accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and had become born again];

b. "[T]wo men . . . had told of a simple religious idea and a practical program of action." [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 9]; and

c. ". . . God had done for him [Ebby] what he could not do for himself." [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 11]

3. Ebby T.'s return visit a few days later, accompanied by Shep C. of the Oxford Group, to see Bill W. at 182 Clinton Street. (This was the same Shep, who along with Cebra G., had told Ebby in July 1934 in Vermont that ". . . they had run into the Oxford Group and had gotten some pretty sensible things out of it based on the life of Christ, Biblical times." ['PASS IT ON,' 113]. Shep presented the Oxford Group message to Bill W. at this meeting with Ebby and himself.

4. On the evening before he went to Calvary Mission in early December 1934, Bill ". . . had been at Calvary Church . . . [and had seen] Ebby T. get up in the pulpit and give witness to the fact that with the help of God he had been sober a number of months. Bill said that if Ebby T. could get help here, he was sure he needed help and could get it at the mission also." ['PASS IT ON,' 119]

5. Bill W. went to Calvary Mission the next day. And Bill reported that "John Geroldsek . . . was on the platform and in charge of the meeting. The brotherhood took turns at conducting the meetings, selecting the Bible lesson, the hymns, and then leading off with their own testimony. Geroldsek had just finished the Bible . . . There were hymns and prayers. Tex, the leader, exhorted us. Only Jesus could save, he said. Certain men got up and made testimonials. . . . Then came the call. Penitents starting marching forward to the rail. Unaccountably impelled, I started, too, . . . Soon I knelt among the sweating, stinking penitents. Maybe then and there, for the very first time, I was penitent, too. Something touched me. I guess it was more than that. I was hit. I felt a wild impulse to talk. . . .Afterward, Ebby, . . . told me with relief that I had . . . had given my life to God." ['PASS IT ON,' 117-18]

6. "He [Bill W.] drank on for another two or three days. However, going to the mission had been more than a drunken impulse, and he pondered the experience. In the charged atmosphere of the meeting room, he had been aware of deep feelings." ['PASS IT ON,' 119]

7. "On the morning of the third day [which was December 11, 1934, the day on which Bill W. entered Towns Hospital for his fourth and final stay] my wandering thoughts gathered into a sharp focus. . . . [I]f there was a great Physician who could cure the alcoholic sickness, I had better seek Him now, at once. I had better find what my friend [Ebby T.] had found." [Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 61]

8. Then, finally, comes Bill W.'s vital religious experience in Towns Hospital. This was when Bill thought: "But what of the Great Physician?" [Bill W., My First 40 Years, 145] And this was when Bill remembered ". . . saying to . . . [himself], 'I'll do anything, anything at all. If there be a Great Physician, I'll call on him.' Then, with neither faith nor hope I cried out, 'If there be a God, let him show himself.' The effect was instant, electric. Suddenly my room blazed with an indescribably white light. I was seized with an ecstasy beyond description. . . . Then, seen in the mind's eye, there was a mountain. I stood upon its summit where a great wind blew. A wind, not of air, but of spirit. . . . Then came the blazing thought, 'You're a free man.' . . . As I became more quiet a great peace stole over me, . . . I became acutely conscious of a presence which seemed like a veritable sea of living spirit. I lay on the shores of a new world. 'This,' I thought, 'must be the great reality. The God of the preachers.' . . . I thanked my God who had given me a glimpse of His absolute Self." [Bill W., My First 40 Years, 145-46]

Both Bob and Bill's story directly tie their own sobriety and salvation,  to their personal experience and daily relationship with Jesus Christ.

[Ken: To see more clearly the similarities and differences between the Christian upbringings of A.A. cofounders Bill W. and Dr. Bob, I would suggest a careful study of: (1) Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W.; (2) Dick B. and Ken B., Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous; and (3) Dick B. and Ken B., Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the Green Mountain Men of Vermont. And for a better understanding of how "the first three" (i.e., Bill W., Dr. Bob, and Bill D.] got sober, I suggest: Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed.]

They say the method in which they received that message was through the Oxford Group, the members of which claimed no affiliation to traditional sectarian or organized religion, but modeled their lives directly after Jesus as described and directed in the Holy Bible.

[Ken: This is where details my dad uncovered during his research on the Oxford Group--as set forth in Dick B., The Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living That Works, 3rd ed.--come in. For example: (1) The group was not originally known as "the Oxford Group." When Lutheran minister Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman cofounded the group in the autumn of 1922, its original name was "A First Century Christian Fellowship." It was not until September 1928 that a newspaper in South Africa first applied the label of "the Oxford Group" to a small bunch of students from Oxford University in England who were traveling by train in South Africa. The original name, "A First Century Christian Fellowship," was still being used when Dr. Buchman and a group of associates came to Akron in January 1933 at the behest of Harvey Firestone, Sr., to do a series of meetings in Akron. Dr. Bob's wife Anne and Henrietta Seiberling (who introduced Bill W. and Dr. Bob) attended those January 1933 meetings in Akron.]

This is our heritage as members of the fellowship.

In light of these facts about The Fellowship of the Spirit, the following quotes from the Big Book Chapter Five How It Works describe a specific and critically important message : "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path."...."Our stories disclose in a general way, what we were like, what happened and was we are like now"......" we must be willing to go to any length"...and "Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs".

[Ken: Paul, you certainly raised a key point in speaking of "our path." I'm so glad that my dad encourages people to "master the Big Book." As you probably know, there were 29 personal testimonies in the "Personal Stories" section of the first printing of the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous (published in April 1939). 22 of those personal testimonies from the first edition were not included in the second edition of Alcoholics Anonymous (published in 1955). And another four of the original personal testimonies in the first edition were not included in the fourth edition (published in 2001). Why are those facts important? Because Bill W. and Dr. Bob began developing a "program" immediately after Dr. Bob took his last drink in June 1935. As stated in DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers: "Smitty [Dr. Bob's son] remembered how his father and Bill Wilson worked hard during that period to 'formulate a little talk or scheme that would interest the other drunks." [page 96]. And see the use of the word "plan" and especially of the word "program" by AA Number Three, Bill D., in his personal story in the Big Book as he discusses his interactions with Bill W. and Dr. Bob while he was hospitalized in late June-early July 1935. [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 185-92] A seven-point summary of the original Akron A.A. "program," as it looked in late-February 1938, is given on page 131 of DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers. Mitchell K., in his biography of Dr. Bob's sponsee Clarence S., discusses that "old program" as follows: "Two years after the publication of the book [Alcoholics Anonymous in April 1939], Clarence made a survey of all of the members in Cleveland. He concluded that, by keeping most of the 'old program,' including the Four Absolutes and the Bible, ninety-three percent of those surveyed had maintained uninterrupted sobriety. Clarence opined that even with New York's 'moral psychology' approach to recovery 'had nowhere near our recovery rate.'" [Mitchell K., How It Worked: The Story of Clarence H. Snyder and the Early Days of Alcoholics Anonymous in Cleveland, Ohio, 108]. 18 of the original 29 personal testimonies in the "Personal Stories" section of the first printing of the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous came from people in the Akron-Cleveland area. And they spoke in their personal testimonies of the original Akron A.A. program as described on page 131 of DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers. (And Mitchell K. described that Akron program--i.e., the "original" A.A. program--as the "old program.") And the seven-point summary of the original Akron A.A. program did not speak of a "higher Power," of"a Power greater than ourselves," or of "God as we understood Him."  It spoke of "God." Period. And it used the same unmodified, unqualified word "God" that the writer of the 12 Steps, Bill W., said he had consistently used in the original draft of the 12 Steps. [Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 166]. The other key point to note here is that the primary writer of the Big Book, Bill W., made it clear that he had not included the original Akron A.A. "Christian fellowship" program (DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, 118) in the Big Book. As Bill W. stated in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age: "I was greatly pleased with what I had written, and I read them the new version of the program, now the 'Twelve Steps.'" [page 162; emphasis added]. So when one speaks of ". . . thoroughly followed our path," it is vital to know what "path" we are speaking about.]

The message is clear to me. Follow Jesus Christ  and help other do the same, period. No asterisks or further explanations or  appendixes needed. Amen

[Ken: Let's hear it for the messages carried by A.A.'s cofounders Bill W. and Dr. Bob, as stated in the "Basic Text" of Alcoholics Anonymous, the Big Book--and as seen, for example, in all 608 pages of the fourth edition:

[As AA Number Three, Akron attorney Bill D., stated in his personal testimony (which was not included in the first edition):

Bill [W.] looked across at my wife and said to her, 'Henrietta, the Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.'" [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 191]

[As A.A. cofounder Dr. Bob stated in the last line of his personal testimony in the Big Book]:

Your Heavenly Father will never let you down! [Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 181

In GOD's love, Dick B.'s son, Ken]