Why study AA history?

General discussions related to A.A. History.
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Why study AA history?

Postby GeoffS » Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:35 pm

I guess looking at AA history is not everyone's cup of tea. However some of us enjoy it and it even contributes to the quality of our recovery. It's interesting to see more detail on the stories of Bill and Dr Bob, and the other old timers. It's interesting to go beyond them and look at the movements and groups and literature that Bill pulled together to work in to the program. I like looking at the bits from the sources that Bill adapted and also the bits that he left out. Also there is a lot to be gained from seeing where things like the traditions grew from. The Washingtonians and Oxford Groups did not survive, they pulled themselves apart through human failings. We have the 12 traditions to try to stop us from doing that. Clever huh?

Hopefully in this section from time to time we can share how learning about history has interested us, and importantly has aided our recovery. Sometimes its good to just read the stories as they are good yarns...

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Postby Dallas » Mon Nov 24, 2008 11:31 pm

I love studying and discussing AA History.
I want to know all that I can about the thing that came
into existence that gave me a new life and helped turn my
hopelessness into one of my greatest assets
to achieve the reality of my hopes and dreams.

My eyes are acting up and giving me problems today. I guess my visual recovery has not been as good as it was yesterday... Or, I would write more!

Thanks Geoff, for suggesting this forum topic!!!

I look forward to the opportunity to learn and to participate.


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Postby RD1angel » Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:14 am

History ! My favorite

I watched the film "Bill W" not to long ago, and was amazed at the differences. Not only the era, but the way people thought.

Now I understand that this was just a movie, but it has prompted me to began searching within the AA history. I would love to go to Akron, OH, Cleveland, and then on to New York. Just to visit the different locations where AA began and to get a feel for the rapid grow of AA, and see the archives.

I am not sure if you are familiar with the "Back to the Basics, Newcomers Meeting" format? But you learn alot of the history in that, as that is what the whole movement is about. You always hear people wanted to change AA in order to catch up with the times!, that would not only be the demise of AA, but think of all the people who would die! :cry: If their is any changing to be done, it is to, go back to the way AA carried the message in the 40's and 50's. When the success rate was 50% 75%. AA has already be altered, however it has been a slow progressive change over the last 60 years.

Anyhow, participating in the back to the basic, ( B2B ) has literally thrown me into the 30's, with the Oxford group and Ebby T, and then through the 40's and 50's to see how the changes occured, even well meaning and slow, that we don't carry the message the way our founding fathers intended us to. I am totally amazed.

Thank you for an awesome idea for a forum.


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Postby sunlight » Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:02 pm

This is a fabulous idea!

I know a bit of AA history, but I'd love to learn more. I thought it was great fun when Paul posted his question about the writing from Dr. Bob & we had no clue who it was.

This would be a good way to get B2B, by starting from the start! :D

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Postby Dallas » Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:57 am

An interesting discovery for me was: Bill W.'s opinion was that AA didn't have it's start with Ebby or with the Oxford Groups.

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Postby RD1angel » Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:02 am

Your right Dallas, AA did not come from the Oxford Groups or Ebby T; however, that is where Bill W was first exposed to the "work with another alcoholic" that one can recover from Alcoholism. And, thanks to Bill W, he was given the spiritual awakening while being detoxed, and wrote out the twelve steps. The demise of the Oxford group was due partly to their "ultimate authority" which was religion.

Bill W. began sharing the program the way Ebby T and the Oxford Groups did it. They took newcomers through the 12 step by using the four catagories.

1 the admission
2 the spiritual phase
3 the inventory and restitution
4 the active work

4 sessions, each one hour. That is how Dr Bob was able to take a newcomer through all twelve steps quickly.

The way the program of AA begin to change with the publishing of the 12 x12.

Trust me I am not a know it all, I read the back to the basics by Wally P, which is a re-creation of the program the way it was intended to be carried. google Wally P's book. Totally Amazing

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Postby Dallas » Thu Nov 27, 2008 1:01 am

Yep. I'm sure grateful that Dr. Jung, worked with Roland Hazard, or Ebby would have never had the opportunity to call on Bill -- drunk for sober! :lol:

Also -- I'm extremely grateful, to William James, and his lectures on Varieties of Religious Experience... Had it not been for Willy... there wouldn't have been a book for Ebby to bring to Bill, so that Bill could read it and try to figure out what had happened to him -- and to give him an idea of what it might be that he could pass on to others!

And, of course... thanks to Silky for providing Bill with the necessary ingredient that the Oxford Groups didn't have.

And, Bill's wife Lois!!! Sometimes, I think she doesn't get the credit she deserves. If it wasn't for her and her Dr. brother... Bill might have died in a gutter and never had an opportunity to meet Dr. Bob!

What amazes me -- was all the people and the things that they contributed -- prior to Bill's first drink -- and how the tapestry began to come together with childhood friends in Vermont!

And... Benjamin Rush... our very first Surgeon General, under President George Washington -- held the belief that drunkards were not just drunkards... but that they had a disease that needed to be treated!

And... of course, Ebby, telling Bill to come up with his own understanding of God... (before Bill had any contact with the Oxford Groups)... and something which the Oxford Groups or religion would not have tolerated.

And... Emmet Fox, and Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, Napoleon Hill, and W. Clement Stone..... and the list goes on and on and on...

Fascenating stuff!


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Postby RD1angel » Thu Nov 27, 2008 9:29 am

I am editing this post............... I would continue on with Dallas's previous post, but I will just add..... Greatful for the history all the way back to Adam and Eve. ( unless one is of the evolution theory... then I guess it would be a amoebia ) :P

Sorry, could not help myself, I still sick !!!!

I pray that ALL of you have a super thanksgiving, surrounded by loving friends and family.
Last edited by RD1angel on Fri Nov 28, 2008 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Dallas » Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:54 pm

Hello RD,

I just replied to your PM to me and hopefully everything is okay.

(I decided to edit and delete the message that was below that I posted to reply to you, because I've already replied to your PM, and here would be inappropriate for me to post my reply to you.)

There are no leaders here. Each of us is equal.

Make yourself comfortable. Enjoy as much as you can here, and enjoy those here that you enjoy. Perhaps me, and my ideas and my experiences are different than yours. That's okay with me. And, I hope it will be okay with you, too.

I wish you the best.

Last edited by Dallas on Fri Nov 28, 2008 2:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Jools » Fri Nov 28, 2008 7:37 am

Goooood morning Angel :)

I have bragged on this web site to people because in the last several months that I have been on here it has been fantastic support for me. Haven't posted much, as I don't spell the greatest, and I am far, far from being anything close to writing grammatically correct.

Who cares??? We love ya just the way you are. I love when you come in and share. In fact, I often wonder where you've gotten off to. Please don't allow something as silly as spelling and grammar to keep you from sharing your experience, strength and hope with us. Heck, girl, you should hear me share at meetings. It all sounds good in my head but when it comes out of my mouth I sound like a blubbering fool. They're just gonna have to put up with that anyway. :wink:

When I picked up my 30 day chip the other night, the guy who gave it to me said..if JULIE can stay sober for 30 days ANYONE can...haha!!

I don't know much about AA history, but I'm a willing student, so I'll just be reading along.

Thanx, Geoff. You're a bright spot on this here website.


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