Alcoholics Anonymous & History of AA

 Last updated:
July 31, 2010

Alcoholics Anonymous History
A.A. Twelve Steps & How to Study Them


How the “Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery” Class
Can Help You

By Dick B.

© 2010 Anonymous. All rights reserved

There are several important ways to study the Twelve Steps.

The first, of course, is to go through the Big Book, paying particular attention to the portions which are presumed to contain the “instructions.”

The next is to listen to or attend a Big Book study meeting or seminar, such as the seminar conducted by Joe and Charlie for many years.

Unfortunately, neither of these approaches will give you the underlying thoughts behind either the Twelve Steps or the Big Book.

Probably the earliest materials that found their way into the Steps are those written by Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr., before A.A. was founded. His first book, Realizing Religion, was published in 1923 and contains many of the seed concepts. Just before that, Howard Walter wrote the book Soul Surgery which contains explanatory information on the 5 C's which became the heart of the middle Steps. (For further information, see: and And it was Bill Wilson who claimed that the teachings behind the Steps came directly from Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr.—particularly in the case of Steps 3 to 12.

Next in line would be the extensive discussions by Anne Ripley Smith, Dr. Bob's wife, in the personal journal she kept from 1933 to 1939, and shared with all the early AAs and their families. You will be amazed at the parallels between Anne's remarks and the Step language and instructions. See, and also the articles I am posting on my blog You will see why Bill called Anne Smith the "Mother of A.A."

Finally, since Dr. Bob said the basic ideas for the Steps came from his and Bill W.'s (and possibly others') study and effort in the Bible, the best line-by-line exploration of the biblical roots of the Twelve Steps can be found in my titles found here:;; and See also the "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery" class information found at

To pull these sometimes-disparate sources together, I have prepared three books that discuss each Step, and with that Step the actual sources that contributed to that Step. See: (1) Dick B., Twelve Steps for You,; (2) Dick B., By the Power of God; and (3) Dick B.,

So many of the quandaries about expressions like "unmanageable," "power greater than ourselves," "God as we understood Him," "higher power," "moral inventory," "willingness," "powerless," "spiritual experience," "spiritual awakening," "fear," "resentment," "dishonesty," "amends," and "principles" can best be understood only when you know how these words and phrases came about, who first used them, and how they were understood by the cofounders.

The best solid foundation for the study can be found in our latest class, "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery" by Dick B. and Ken B. (2010) on four DVD's. For details about the class and how to acquire it, see


Dick B.'s son Ken
P.O. Box 837
Kihei, Hawaii
Tel.: (808) 276-4945
Fax: (808) 874-4876

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