May 29, 2009
Alcoholics Anonymous History
Utilizing Early A.A.’s Spiritual Roots
for Recovery Today
By Dick B.
Utilizing Early A.A.'s Spiritual Roots for
As his eleven years of research and writing on the subject of early A.A.’s
spiritual roots was drawing to a close, author Dick B. was asked to deliver
another annual seminar at The Wilson House in Vermont. By that time, he had
substantially documented six major biblical roots of early A.A.’s spiritual
program of recovery.
These roots were defined as the Bible, Quiet Time,
Anne Smith’s Journal,
the teachings of Rev.
Sam Shoemaker, Jr., the life-changing program of the
Oxford Group, and the Christian literature early AAs studied. Each of those
roots has been the subject of major titles by Dick, but it seemed very important
to tie them together in simplified form so they could be viewed as a unit and
utilized as a unit by those seeking recovery today the early A.A. way. The title
commences with a chapter on the spiritual beginnings of A.A.
Piece by piece, the author details what AAs took from the Bible and utilized
in framing the various Steps. The same approach is carefully taken with
"Quiet Time"-–pointing out the importance of accepting Christ and
using the Bible (elements frequently omitted in discussions of early A.A.
"meditation"). Then follow the core
Oxford Group ideas about God, sin,
surrender, the power of Jesus Christ, the life-changing Five C’s, restitution,
daily surrender, and the concluding spiritual awakening with witness and
practice of principles. Again, their incorporation into the Steps is described.
A similar presentation is given as to Sam Shoemaker’s teachings, the materials
Anne Smith (Dr. Bob’s wife) used to teach the pioneers, and the subject matter
of the literature.
The difficulty today is reviewed. Bill Wilson confessed to a dilemma that he
didn’t seem to know how to solve. We point out the contributing elements-–Lois
Wilson’s universalization view, Roman Catholic concerns, atheist hoopla,
treatment jabber, additions in publishing, and a conservative Christian recoil.
The author suggests how a believer can still use the A.A. program and its
roots with success today. The basic suggestion is to combine Big Book study with
historical roots study; and many across the United States are now doing just
that. Dick concludes by urging that the
Good Book be first on your study list,
then the details of Quiet Time as the pioneers did it, then the contents of Anne
Smith’s journal, then taking the Oxford Group ideas as guides to understanding
rather than theology. Most of all, returning to the early A.A. understanding of
God as He understands Himself.
A practical, timely, simple review of the author’s eleven years of research
and how he has used it to help more than 80 men in their recovery.
Paradise Research Publications, Inc.; 106 pp.; 6 x 9; perfect bound; 1999; $20.95; ISBN: 1-885803-28-1
P.O. Box 837
All rights reserved.
Trademarks and Disclaimer: ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS®,
A.A.®, and Big Book® are registered trademarks of Alcoholics Anonymous
World Services, Inc. Dick B.'s web site, Paradise Research Publications,
Inc., and Good Book Publishing Company are neither endorsed nor approved
by nor associated or affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous World Services,