Alcoholics Anonymous & History of AA

 Last updated:
July 08, 2009

Alcoholics Anonymous History
About Dick B.

Dick B. is an active, recovered member of Alcoholics Anonymous; a retired attorney; and a Bible student. He has sponsored more than one hundred men in their recovery from alcoholism. Consistent with A.A.'s traditions of anonymity, he uses the pseudonym "Dick B."

Dick is the father of two married sons (Ken and Don) and a grandfather. As a young man, he did a stint as a newspaper reporter. He attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his A.A. degree in economics with honors, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his Junior year. In the United States Army, he was an Information Education Specialist. He received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from Stanford University, and was Case Editor of the Stanford Law Review.

The author became interested in Bible study in his childhood Sunday School and was much inspired by his mother's almost daily study of Scripture. He joined, and later became president of, a Community Church affiliated with the United Church of Christ. By 1972, he was studying the origins of the Bible and began traveling abroad in pursuit of that subject. In 1979, he became much involved in a Biblical research, teaching, and fellowship ministry. In his community life, he was president of a merchants' council, Chamber of Commerce, church retirement center, and homeowners' association. He served on a public district board and was active in a service club.

In 1986, he was felled by alcoholism, gave up his law practice, and began recovery as a member of the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. In 1990, his interest in A.A.'s Biblical/Christian roots was sparked by his attendance at A.A.'s International Convention in Seattle. Since then, he has traveled widely; researched at archives, and at public and seminary libraries; interviewed scholars, historians, clergy, A.A. "old_timers" and survivors; and participated in conferences, programs, panels, and seminars on early A.A.'s spiritual history.

Dick B.’s body of work on the history and successes of early Alcoholics Anonymous includes seminars, books, articles, radio interviews, videos, audio cassettes tapes, audio blog talks, and newspaper articles. They show how the basic, and highly successful, biblical ideas used by early AAs can be valuable tools for success in today's A.A. Also, the religious and recovery communities are using his research and titles to work more effectively with alcoholics, addicts, and others involved in Twelve Step programs.

He has had 33 titles published about the history and successes of early A.A.:

  • A New Way In

  • A New Way Out

  • Anne Smith's Journal, 1933-1939: A.A.'s Principles of Success (3rd ed.)

  • By the Power of God: A Guide to Early A.A. Groups & Forming Similar Groups Today

  • Courage to Change: The Christian Roots of the Twelve-Step Movement (with Bill Pittman)

  • Cured!: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts

  • Dr. Bob and His Library: A Major A.A. Spiritual Source

  • Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous

  • GOD and Alcoholism: Our Growing Opportunity in the 21st Century

  • Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A. (2d ed.)

  • Henrietta B. Seiberling - Ohio's Lady with a Cause

  • Hope!: The Story of Geraldine D., Alina Lodge, & Recovery

  • Introduction to the Sources and Founding of Alcoholics Anonymous (2007)

  • Making Known the Biblical History and Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous

  • New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A. (2d ed.)

  • New Light—Guidebook to Shoemaker (with Bill M.)

  • Our A.A. Faith Legacy (by three Clarence Snyder Oldtimer Sponsees and their Wives). Compiled and edited by Dick B.

  • Real Twelve Step Fellowship History [Old School A.A.] (2006)

  • That Amazing Grace: The Role of Clarence and Grace S. in Alcoholics Anonymous

  • The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous (2d ed.)

  • The Books Early AAs Read for Spiritual Growth (7th ed.)

  • The Conversion of Bill W. (2006)

  • The First Nationwide A.A. History Conference, Phoenix, Arizona, Feb. 2003

  • The Golden Text of A.A.: Early A.A., God, and Real Spirituality

  • The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.'s Roots in the Bible (2nd ed.)

  • The Good Book - Big Book Guidebook

  • The James Club and The Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials

  • The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living That Works!

  • Turning Point: A History of Early A.A.'s Spiritual Roots and Successes

  • Twelve Steps for YOU: Let Our Creator, A.A. History, and the Big Book be Your Guide

  • Utilizing Early A.A.'s Spiritual Roots for Recovery Today

  • When Early AAs Were Cured. And Why

  • Why Early A.A. Succeeded: The Good Book in Alcoholics Anonymous Yesterday and Today

  • Women Pioneers of A.A. (contributor of Seiberling)

These have been discussed in newspaper articles and reviewed in Library Journal, Bookstore Journal, For A Change, The Living Church, Faith at Work, Sober Times, Episcopal Life, Recovery News, Ohioana Quarterly, The PHOENIX, MRA Newsletter, and the Saint Louis University Theology Digest

In addition, the author has published over 120 articles and 30 audio talks on his personal blog site ( He has recently been making presentations on history cruises.

Dick now, and usually, has several works in progress. Much of his research and writing is done in collaboration with his older son, Ken, who holds B.A., B.Th., and M.A. degrees. Ken has been a lecturer in New Testament Greek at a Bible college and a lecturer in Fundamentals of Oral Communication at San Francisco State University. Ken is a computer specialist. Dick has recently been joined by Terry Dunford, an expert web designer, web maintenance, and computer specialist.

Dick is a member of the American Historical Association, Maui Writers Guild, Alcohol and Drugs History Society, Organization of American Historians, Research Society on Alcoholism, Christian Assn for Psychological Studies, Assn for Medical and Educational Research on Substance Abuse, International Addition and Substance Abuse Coalition, Coalition of Prison Evangelists, and Phi Beta Kappa. He speaks at conferences, panels, seminars, and interviews.


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

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