By March 1941 the membership had shot up to 2,000... By the close of 1941, A.A. numbered 8,000 members... A.A. had become a national institution."
I believe the problem started before that... but, as the growth of AA exploded... it also exploded the problem.
However, I'm told my many older than me, that the problem wasn't as bad until the late 1970's... early 1980's. I don't know. I don't know if that's perception or what because I wasn't here then. (SD 11/14/1986).
Researching the history of AA, it leads me to believe that the problem had a huge re-surfacing in the late 50's... when AA started pushing other literature.
a. The problem starts around 1938... because the "plan of recovery is being carried word of mouth."
b. Bill, was worried that the "word of mouth message... was getting twisted around" and they needed an "authority like the book" to say firmly and factly... "what they were doing".
c. Bill and Hank P., also so the profit potential... and they were hitting some hard times financially.
d. To turn Bill's visionary thoughts into reality... they were going to need a whole lot of seed money!
e. Need money? Got a good reason to write a book? (same goes in today's culture)... then, write a book, sell it and make seed money! That's what Bill did.
f. The AA population explosion took place when AA had no money to pay to print books... in early 1940/41 (and later).
g. And, then, things began to settle down... and the book was being read and people were trying to follow the instructions in the book.
h. In the early 1950's... Bill and AA (probably because of Bill)... got money hungry! They were broke. Book sales were still not good and AA's were not contributing financially to support the NY efforts.
i. The solution???? Write more books to sell! After an AA bought the big book... there was nothing left to sell him/her! But, if they came up with more books to sell... that would raise more money!
j. So the push started with Bill writing the 12 & 12... and other literature. The timing of the 12 & 12, for me, shows that this is the significant event that transformed AA, and caused it's downward spiral.
k. AA was then in the publishing business and lost it's focus on it's "primary purpose".. "the 12 Steps... and the AA message in the Big Book." It started printing "other messages" and making big money from literature sales... and residuals were being paid out... and it tooks it's dive.
l. I believe this is why the efforts of Charlie & Joe, in the mid 1980's and on... was one of the significant events in AA's history, that kept AA from collapsing. They tried the get the fellowship "back to the message that's in the Big Book."