Alcoholics Anonymous & History of AA
Filling an A.A. History Abyss and Blessing aa history lovers
2014 Anonymous. All rights reserved
As a Roman Catholic scholar, Father Paul Blaes, Ph.D., wrote several years ago as he endorsed my first voluminous A.A. history volume Father Blaes endorsed. That extensive spiritual history of A.A. was helping fill what Father Blaes said had been a lacuna in accounts of Alcoholics Anonymous History. My volume was Turning Point www.dickb.com/Turning.shtml. And I much appreciated the fact that a scholarly priest in Florida had observed that much had been missed in the reports of where A.A. came from. And that gaping hole still exists because, though there are many well-written biographies today of A.A. cofounder Bill Wilson, there are practically none of A.A.’s other cofounder Dr. Bob Smith. And much more history has gone unreported.
The A.A. History abyss widens as one looks for accurate reporting on the religious upbringing of A.A. cofounders Bill and Dr. Bob in their Congregational churches and academies in Vermont. Also for reliable reporting on the many influential efforts or Christian organizations and people (Young Men’s Christian Association, Gospel Rescue Missions, Congregationalism in Vermont, Evangelists such as Dwight Moody and Ira Sankey and Henry Drummond), the Salvation Army, the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor, and later even the early seeds of Dr. Frank Buchman’s A First Century Christian Fellowship--with which Bill and Bob were both associated for a time).
The primary A.A. source, the Bible, has been the least seen.
There is much more missing. This, in turn, has caused recent films, conferences, speakers, and literature to focus on what they have heard in the rooms and learned rather than on what they should have learned in order to help the alcoholic who still suffers. Consequently, many a querulous lover of aa history trifles with trivia rather than challenging historians and writers to dig more deeply into the documents, libraries, books, articles, and exhibits that can tell the “rest of the story.”
And, unless conferences, speakers, leaders, and sponsors tell the “rest of the story,” many elements of what Bill Wilson called “God-sufficiency” lie beyond the newcomer’s reach.
Shortly A.A. historians and authors Dick B. and Ken B. will release six videos accompanied by a guidebook which will open the doors to more excavating and more resultant A.A. history. This, I believe, will appropriately include and display an A.A. with Christian organizations as its foundation, Christian cofounders who established it in 1935, and a Christian Fellowship in Akron Number One—the first A.A. group. To what purpose? To the purpose that early A.A. was grounded on seeking and relying on the Creator—the reason being that alcoholics had been unable to help themselves or to be rescued by other human instrumentalities. But, said A.A.: “God could and would if He were sought.” And the facts about the latter are what need to be fully researched and described so that they are not lost to those who have had little access to early A.A. history or spiritual recovery at a time when their suffering Is at its maximum level.
Does a knowledge of what the early AAs did have relevance as to recovery today? At a time when people are talking about higher powers, nonsense gods, self-made religion, illusory spirituality, AA trivia, and how to get well without believing in anything at all, most assuredly now is the time to learn and report. There never was a greater need for learning what God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible made available to the seemingly hopeless, medically incurable early Akron AAs and enabled them to adopt the simple, highly successful program summarized on page 131 of DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, and specifically reported in the personal stories of the First Edition http://mcaf.ee/j4hq5.
Meeting makers may think they make it. But early Akron AAs did not emphasize war stories and idolatry. They emphasized the power and love of God.