It is an honor and a privilege to be a contributor to my new Blog site. And, in the ensuing months, I plan to provide accurate, comprehensive, truthful materials on the spiritual roots and successes of early Alcoholics Anonymous.
Pioneer A.A. in Akron had a documented 75% to 93% success rate. Dr. Bob and his Akron crew developed a very simple recovery program within their Christian Fellowship. And those who gave it their best could and did claim that they had been cured of alcoholism. Yes cured! Bill Wilson said so. Dr. Bob said so. Bill Dotson (A.A. Number Three) said so (See Big Book, p. 191 for an example). And so did the others for almost the first decade.
Then came revisions, universalization, secularization, and downward percentage of successes. Decades of false security followed. Accompanied by events that have seen A.A. stop growing, multitudes leave in favor of other groups, and A.A. itself become host to no more than one to five percent successes among those within the rooms. What a crusher for those of us who received and hopefully gave so much within the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Nobody is going to change A.A. But AAs can certainly learn all there is to know about their history, their original program, and the reliance on the Creator that was the essence of its success. I want to be one of those who tells the facts. For one thing, early AAs favored the Book of James, to the point of wanting to call the society The James Club. And the first chapter of James tells us why. It spoke of patience. It spoke of asking God’s wisdom without doubting. It spoke of resisting temptation. It spoke of doing the Word of God, not just hearing it. And it spoke of real help for others. It went on to espouse the royal law of love thy neighbor as thyself and the practical admonition that faith without works is barren and useless.
I never miss an opportunity to tell people today that they can be believers within the ranks of 12 Step Fellowships. They don’t need to run and hide. They don’t need to cower in a corner. They need to hear that God, the Good Book, and the acceptance of Jesus Christ were part and parcel of the early successes of the real spiritual program of recovery. They need to understand that they have the choice today to look upward to God instead of outward on misery. Their own early days back up the wisdom of choosing Yahweh our Creator as the power that heals, loves, forgives, and delivers. All this while offering today both participation and service in the great fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.
If, as Bill Wilson wrote, love and tolerance are our code; and if, as Dr. Bob so often said, the whole thing boils down to love and service, then the message that God can do for us what we could not do for ourselves is as viable today as it was when old-timers were willing to say and believe that very thing.
God Bless, Dick B., June, 2005, Kihei, Maui, Hawaii