The Original Manuscript of The Big Book

Alcoholics Anonymous

This is a reproduction of the 1938 Original Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous. This was the version of The Big Book distributed to friends and colleagues of AA's founders before the First Edition was printed. The text of this document, "Original Manuscript," was left just as it originally appeared in 1938.

[There were 21 stories in all, 19 of which, are not included here, and 10 more added later for the 1st printing]

 The Doctor's Opinion
 Chapter 1. Bill's Story
 Chapter 2. There Is A Solution
 Chapter 3. More About Alcoholism
 Chapter 4. We Agnostics
 Chapter 5. How It Works
 Chapter 6. Into Action
 Chapter 7. Working With Others
 Chapter 8. To Wives
 Chapter 9. The Family Afterward
 Chapter 10. To Employers
 Chapter 11. A Vision For You
 The Doctor's Nightmare
 Ace Full-Seven-Eleven
 The Alcoholic Foundation

* ~ indicates "typo." left in its original form.


   We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics PRECISELY HOW THEY CAN RECOVER is the main purpose of this book. For them, we think these pages will prove so convincing that no further authentication will be necessary. We hope this account of our experiences will help everyone to better understand the alcoholic. Many do not yet comprehend that he is a very sick person. And besides, we are sure that our new way of living has its advantages for all.

   It is important that we remain anonymous because we are too few, at present, to handle the overwhelming number of personal appeals which will result from this publication. Being mostly business or professional folk we could not well carry on our occupations in such an event. We would like it clearly understood that our alcoholic work is an avocation only, so that when writing or speaking publicly about alcoholism, we urge each of our Fellowship to omit his personal name, designating himself instead as "A Member of Alcoholics Anonymous." 

   Very earnestly we ask the press also, to observe this request, for otherwise we shall be greatly handicapped.

   We are not an organization in the conventional sense of the word. There are no fees nor dues whatsoever. The only requirement for membership is an honest desire to stop drinking. We are not allied with any particular faith, sect or denomination, nor do we oppose anyone. We simply wish to be helpful to those who are afflicted.

   We shall be interested to hear from those who are getting results from this book, particularly from those who have commenced work with other alcoholics. We shall try to contact such cases.

   Inquiry by scientific, medical and religious societies will be welcomed.


In practicing our Traditions, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. has neither endorsed nor are they affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous®, AA®, and the Big Book® are registered trademarks of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.