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Why Early A.A. Succeeded: The Good Book in Alcoholics Anonymous Yesterday and Today (A Bible Study Primer for AAs and Other 12-Steppers) Paperback – September 1, 2001

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Why Early A.A. Succeeded: The Good Book in Alcoholics Anonymous Yesterday and Today (A Bible Study Primer for AAs and Other 12-Steppers) + The James Club and the Original A.A. Program's Absolute Essentials + The Good Book and the Big Book: A.A.'s Roots in the Bible (Bridge Builders Edition)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Paradise Research Publications, Inc.; 1st edition (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1885803311
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885803313
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,126,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A book that meets the growing need in recovery for specific information about early A.A. as a Christian Fellowship, holding "old fashioned prayer meetings," and taking its basic and highly successful ideas from the Bible. A "how to" for those asking, "Where and how can I begin" in A.A. itself.

From the Author

I've received hundreds of emails, phone calls, letters, and inquiries from people who have learned A.A.'s roots in the Bible, learned the importance of quiet time and Bible study in early A.A., seen that such groups can exist today, and now are asking where to begin in the Bible. This title answers the questions. It's based on A.A. pioneer history.

More About the Author

I am an author, A.A. historian, Retired attorney, Bible student, CDAAC, Christian recovery leader, and an active, recovered member of Alcoholics Anonymous with more than 27 years of continuous sobriety. I use the pen name Dick B. to conform to A.A. Traditions. I have sponsored over 100 men in their recovery program.
I began my quest to learn A.A. History when I was about three years sober. A young AA named John came up to me in an A.A. Step Study Meeting in Marin County, California. He said: "Dick, did you know that A.A. came from the Bible. They were so fond of the Book of James that they first wanted to call A.A. The James Club." I said: "John, I have been to more than a thousand meetings; and I have never heard that statement made." John said I should read A.A.'s own "DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers." And I did. And the pages were surfeited with mention of God, the Bible, prayer, Quiet Time, their Christian Fellowship, their required belief in God, their required acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in order to come to Him. And I was intrigued, excited, and off to the races.
Joined by my son Ken (a non-alcoholic, ordained minister, teacher, researcher, and businessman):As of September,2013, I had, for more than 24 years, been researching the origins, history, Christian upbringing of A.A. cofounders Dr. Bob and Bill W., how the first three AAs got sober, the original Akron A.A. Group Number One--a Christian fellowship, the literature of and by AAs, the founding of Akron A.A. in 1935, the new version of the program of Twelve Steps in the Big Book first published in 1939, the basic ideas that the original Akron AAs took and developed from their teachings, studies, and efforts in the Bible; the fundamental roots of early A.A. in the Bible, United Christian Endeavor, the Salvation Army, the Rescue Missions, the Young Men's Christian Association, the evangelists of the 1800's, later, the life-changing program of A First Century Christian Fellowship also known as the Oxford Group, the teachings of Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Quiet Time, the teachings of Anne Ripley Smith (Dr. Bob's wife), and the roles of William James, Carl Jung, William D. Silkworth, Christian literature and devotionals of the day, and the conversion to God when Bill W. accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at Calvary Mission in New York, followed by Bill's decision to seek the help of the "Great Physician" (Jesus Christ); Bill's checking in to Towns Hospital, crying out to God for help, and then having his blazing indescribably white light vital religious experience in his hospital room, his sensing the presence of God, and his conclusion: "Bill, you are a free man. This is the God of the Scriptures." Bill stopped drinking at once, lost all doubts he had about the existence of God, and believed he had been commissioned to help drunks all over the world. He was discharged from the hospital, went into the streets, hospitals, and flea bag hotels with a Bible under his arm, telling drunks they must give their lives to God, and relating that "the Lord had been so wonderful to [Bill] curing him of his terrible disease that he just wanted to keep talking about it and telling people. These were the beginnings of the research and then turned into a major search for the original program, the practices of its pioneer members, the proof of their testimonies, and the astonishing successes they achieved.
Of late, the research and writing has shifted emphasis: Now that we know the astonishing successes of early Akron AAs cam be attributed to the power and love of God and the truth of His Word, the challenge and accomplishments have been and are how to encourage today's alcoholics and addicts to see, learn, and apply the techniques of the early Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship, and succeed in like manner. That is, if they want God's help and realize they neither they nor any other human power has been able to cure and release them. And, in all, I have published 46 titles and over 1500 articles on all aspects of A.A.'s spiritual history, biblical roots, Christian beginnings, and the many changes that occurred thereafter. And why? Because many in the 12 Step Fellowships tire of hearing about a 'higher power' that can be a tree, a radiator, a lightbulb, the group, or Gertrude. And they tire of seeing Biblical expressions in A.A.'s basic text and early literature and yet hearing today's literature stating that A.A. is 'spiritual, but not religious' and "not-god-ness" when outsiders and the courts readily see its religious character and many therefore believe they should be able to learn A.A. Christian roots to help them recover from alcoholism, change their lives, and make new victorious lives for themselves.
And they tire of the fatalism that abounds in recovery writings and talk today. So I decided to find out where A.A. came from, and then pass on to the 100 plus men I have sponsored and then tens of thousands of others, the truth about A.A.'s roots. And later some four million readers and viewers.
Currently and still today, one history after another appears in print and purports to talk about A.A.'s beginnings. Yet there is little or no mention of the Bible, of God, of Jesus Christ, of the gift of the Holy Spirit, of Divine healing, of redemptive forgiveness, or of deliverance from the power of darkness. Nonetheless, these unmentioned or little mentioned Christian elements were relied upon by early AAs for their astonishing recoveries. The fact is that the pioneers declared they were cured by the power of God and had a documented 75 to 93% success rate among seemingly hopeless, medically incurable, alcoholics who gave the program their best shot.
So each of my 46 published titles and innumerable articles covers some aspect, and often more than one, of A.A.'s seven major Biblical and basic roots: (1) The Bible. (2) Quiet Time and the daily devotionals. (3) The teachings of Rev. Sam Shoemaker, Jr. (4) The life-changing program of the Oxford Group. (5) The details in the spiritual journal kept by Anne Ripley Smith (co-founder DR. Bob's wife) and shared with the pioneers and their families, but unmentioned today. (6) The extensive Christian literature ranging from St. Augustine to Brother Lawrence to Henry Drummond to John Mott to Harry Emerson Fosdick to Glenn Clark to Oswald Chambers, and a host of others. (7) One of the most recent finds has been the roots of Akron A.A. in the United Christian Endeavor Society.
If one wants to admit the disastrous results emanating from excessive use of alcohol and drugs, to concede he is at the bottom of the well, to acknowledge that he is in a seemingly hopeless medically incurable situation, and to understand the role, power, and love of God our Creator in A.A. today, that person will not accomplish much in the meetings, nor even in the "something" or "somebody" definitions that are pumped out today as a "power" to seek. Nonetheless, they can find accurate facts in my thoroughly researched and
documented work of the past 24 years. For A.A. history abounds with truths from the Bible: how to come to God through His son Jesus Christ, how to be healed, how to comport yourself in accordance with Christian principles, how to pray, and how to receive guidance as one of God's kids. It's all there; and I welcome your comments and the many I receive each day. There's still plenty to learn and pass on. God Bless, Dick B. PS: Many of our latest findings are in The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010 Many are frequently posted on my blogs such as, as well as my facebook,twitter,linkedin, Tumbler, Pinterest, WordPress, In the Rooms, Daily Recovery, Christian Recovery Social, CyberRecoverySocial, drbob/info, and Hub Pages entries. I conduct interviews of recovered Christian leaders with great frequency on the Dick B. Christian Recovery Radio

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Albert Hill Jr. on November 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
A while ago I wrote a brief review of this book. Then I spotted a review which talked about "tolerance" but never even seemed to mention this book or its contents. But time marches on. Since my first review, there has been an intense new interest in A.A.'s Biblical roots and history. Here are a few of the things that have risen on the scene: (1) Regular heritage seminars each year by Dick B. at the Wilson House where Bill Wilson was born and where he went to Sunday School and then nearby lived with his grandfather Griffith. (2) Several nationwide A.A. history conferences sprang up where the real roots were presented by Dick B., by Dr. Bob's son Smitty, by Ray G.--archivist at Dr. Bob's Home, and by several veteran A.A. women who had not been called on before. (3) Dick was asked to speak at Archives 2000, the event at the International Convention in Minneapolis. His topic--the roots of A.A. (4) Several websites, including four of Dick's own, began posting all kinds of important truths about the real early A.A. and pulling no punches when it came to accurate reporting. Some included NICD, aabibliography,, mental health matters,, Bible Study Notes, and others. (5) More excellent studies by people like Mel B., Hartigan, Tom White, Susan Cheever, Nan Robertson, Raphael, and the biographers of Silkworth and Lois Wilson. (6) The actual Bill Wilson autobiography that had gathered dust for years was covered in Dick B.'s Turning Point and then published in full by Hazelden. There have been lots more appearances of history. But all these gave rise to the need for a guidebook that would tell people where to start as they picked up their Bibles and wanted their studies to bear the same kind of fruit the early AAs plucked from this "absolutely essential" source. Dick has written other titles on this subject since, but this book stands as a one-stop start on A.A. history and the Bible AAs read and you can read--as I have.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Hill IV on October 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
I've long awaited this book. 9 months to be exact. It was to have been a manual for studying the Bible within A.A. and other 12 Step programs. It was delayed because of the author's surgery. At the end, it became a review of what early AAs said about Bible study, about what they studied in the Bible, about what the Bible itself is, about the Bible's statements as to our Creator and His name Yahweh and His son Jesus Christ, and then about what it has to offer in terms of releases we all need--from fear, guilt, shame, failure, despair, loneliness, and so on. The appendices are specific, scholarly studies of God's name Yahweh, of the parts of the Bible Dr. Bob considered essential, and about success in A.A. yesterday compared to today. Very useful!
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Norm B on October 25, 2005
Format: Paperback

By Dr. Bob Smith

July 1944, AA Grapevine©

During nine years in AA, I have observed that those who follow the Alcoholics Anonymous program with the greatest earnestness and zeal not only maintain sobriety but often acquire finer characteristics and attitudes as well. One of these is tolerance. Tolerance expresses itself in a variety of ways: in kindness and consideration toward the man or woman who is just beginning the march along the spiritual path; in the understanding of those who perhaps have been less fortunate in education advantages; and in sympathy toward those whose religious ideas may seem to be at great variance with our own.

I am reminded in this connection of the picture of a hub with its radiating spokes. We all start at the outer circumference and approach our destination by one of many routes. To say that one spoke is much better than all the other spokes is true only in the sense of its being best suited to you as an individual. Human nature is such that without some degree of tolerance, each one of us might be inclined to believe that we have found the best or perhaps the shortest spoke.

Without some tolerance, we might tend to become a bit smug or superior - which, of course, is not helpful to the person we are trying to help and may be quite painful or obnoxious to others. No one of us wishes to do anything that might act as a deterrent to the advancement of another - and a patronizing attitude can readily slow up this process.

Tolerance furnishes, as a by-product, a greater freedom from the tendency to cling to preconceived ideas and stubbornly adhered-to opinions.
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