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May 29, 2009


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Alcoholics Anonymous History
"Old School A.A.": approaches, resources, groups, study

About These "Old School A.A." Suggestions

What They Are Not:

No call for "reforming" or "universalizing" or "revising" A.A., its Steps, or Traditions.

No call for special classes, special conferences, special "basics," or special literature.

No call for forming outside church groups, recovery groups, or splinter groups.

No call for returning to the Oxford Group.

No call for revising therapies, treatment programs, rehabs, or therapeutic communities

What They Are:

A call to learn and remember our history before we forget it.

A call to look at real early A.A.–Pioneer A.A. of Akron–the one Frank Amos described.

A call to see Pioneer A.A.–which had no Steps, special "gods," and no religious ridicule.

A call to find the real Pioneer program–the one with a 75% to 93% success rate.

A call to read A.A.'s own literature and statements by its founders about Pioneer A.A.

A call for a "new pair of glasses" that can see what A.A. "Spirituality" really was.

A reminder that early A.A. was a Bible-based, Christian Fellowship that relied on God.

What They Urge:

Look first to our Creator for healing, forgiveness, and deliverance–just as Pioneers did.

Look in the Bible for our Creator's will, promises, and commandments–as Pioneers did..

Don't try "listening" to God until (like Pioneer AAs) you learn He is the Creator and not a light bulb or group, you have first established a relationship with Him as His child, you've learned why AAs "surrendered" to Him by accepting Christ, and you know why our founders looked to the Good Book for instruction on what the Bible is, what it has, and what it says about prayer, "meditation," and obedience.

Tossing out the "nonsense gods of recovery"–higher powers, chairs, groups, & rainbows.

There is only one true living Creator, Yahweh, the power that early AAs relied upon.

Reflections and Suggestions about Pioneer A.A. That Could Help You! Utilizing "Old School A.A." Approaches Today

  • There is no real substitute for one-on-one sponsorship, witnessing, and fellowship

Just about anyone can form a group, hold a conference, start a class, buy tapes, and study some materials on Pioneer A.A.'s biblical roots and program. Then he or she can learn the facts, understand them, and pass them on to someone else. But that's backwards. Start with A.A.'s personal sponsorship idea. You learn. You share and compare. Then serve.

  • There is no substitute for learning the facts first. And start with A.A.'s literature

Master the Big Book, Twelve Steps, and the Frank Amos Reports of 1938.

Read DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers for a sketch of what pioneer A.A. was really like.

Read A.A.’s Co-founders pamphlet, particularly the addresses by Dr. Bob.

Then learn the six Biblical roots of early A.A.’s Christian Fellowship: (1) The Bible, (2) Quiet Time, (3) Anne Smith’s Journal, (4) the teachings of Rev. Sam Shoemaker, (5) the life-changing program of the Oxford Group, (6) and the religious books early AAs read.

Also learn to recognize how early A.A. thinking came under the influence of Professor William James; the "new thought" writers such as Ralph Waldo Trine and Emmet Fox; and the "higher power" language that overwhelmed A.A. literature in the 1950's.

Finally, see the difference in origins, approach, content, and beliefs between "Akron A.A." and "New York A.A.": (1) Akron developed ideas from the Bible in a Christian fellowship, with "old fashioned prayer meetings," Bible study, Quiet Time, and Christian literature. (2) New York fashioned our text primarily from ideas of Rev. Sam Shoemaker, William James, and the life-changing principles and practices of the Oxford Group.

  • Next comes your decision, mission, and work with others to tell the foregoing

Will you continue to be a student? If so, there’s lots more to study.

Do you want to be a teacher? If so, there’s lots more to learn and organize.

Do you want to be a speaker? If so, prepare to tell our whole story and all of the facts.

Do you want to be the leader of a group? If so, select the members, topics, and a cadre.

  • Now find a cadre of two or three who will learn, will study, and will help and lead

  • Help others by helping them to learn–individually, as a cadre, and only then as a group

    Suggested Resources You and Your Cadre can Acquire, Study, and Use

    • You can begin your work with one or more of my titles or groups of my titles. E.g.:

    Use Turning Point for a comprehensive overview of our spiritual history and roots, or

    The Akron Genesis of A.A. for an accurate picture of how Pioneer A.A. took shape, or

    To study each of our six major biblical roots: (1) The Good Book and The Big Book, (2) Good Morning!(quiet time, etc.), (3) Anne Smith’s Journal, (4) New Light on Alcoholism–Shoemaker, (5) The Oxford Group and A.A., and (6) Dr. Bob and His Library and The Books Early AAs Read for Spiritual Growth, for what they read.

    For background: (1) Making Known the Biblical Roots of A.A., (2) That Amazing Grace, and (3) The Golden Text of A.A.

    For your cadre, your teaching, or study group itself: (1) The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible. (2) Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A. (3) God and Alcoholism: Our Growing Opportunity in the 21st Century. (4) By The Power of God: A Guide to Early A.A. Groups & Forming Similar Groups Today. (5) Why Early A.A. Succeeded: The Good Book in Alcoholics Anonymous Yesterday and Today (A Bible Study Primer for AAs and other 12-Steppers). (6) Utilizing Early A.A.’s Spiritual Roots for Recovery Today

    For my latest–soon to be released: (1) Cured!: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts. (2) A.A. Articles on our History: A Collection of 35 Articles by Dick B.

    • My own suggestions for planning your purchases, studies, and future work

    Don’t start a group. Start learning, as an individual, with a sponsor, or with friends.

    Purchase my entire 15-Volume Reference Set at the substantial discount of $199.95 plus shipping and handling. Then you can pick and choose your books for study, or

    Purchase one of the books that interests you; or, preferably, if you know what you want to organize and study, select one or several titles as a group and receive these at the substantial group discount of 50% of retail, plus shipping and handling, or

    When and if you start a group or gather as a group, you may purchase 10 or more titles of your choosing at a 50% discount plus shipping and handling [i.e., 10 Good Books (worth $179.95) at half price ($89.97), plus 10% retail shipping and handling].

    • Please don't hesitate to contact me for further details: Email:; phone/fax: (808) 874-4876; mail: Dick B., PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837. To order now, simply use our online Order Form and adapt it, deducting discounts allowed above.


    Dick B.
    P.O. Box 837
    Kihei, Hawaii
    Ph/fax: 808-874-4876

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    Paradise Research
    Publications, Inc.
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