Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Many Bill W. Presentations - Fact or Film

Dick B.’s Documented Account of the Story of Bill Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous, and the Influences on Wilson [In reply to a question about Oxford Group influences, if any, on Bill Wilson]

Dick B.

Copyright 2012 Anonymous. All rights resereved

“Thank you for asking about the possible influence of the Oxford Group on Bill Wilson.

Actually, there were many influences on his A.A. ideas, as there were in the case of Dr. Bob: They definitely include, and I have documented, the following:

1. The Bible.

2. The Christian organizations and people that preceded and influenced AA: a) Evangelists like Dwight Moody and F. B. Meyer; b) Gospel Rescue Missions; c) Lay brethren of Young Men's Christian Association; d) Salvation Army; e) Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor; f) Oxford Group; g)Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr.

3. The Christian  upbringing of Wilson in the East Dorset Congregational Church, the Bible studies he did with grandfather Griffith and friend Mark Whalon, the conversion and cure of his grandfather Willie Wilson, the sermons and revivals and conversions and temperance meetings he attended, his 4 years at Burr and Burton Academy where he took a four year Bible study course, went to daily chapel at this Congregationalist school, and was president of and active in the school's Young Men's Christian Association.

5. The advice of his physician Dr. Silkworth on his third visit to Towns Hospital; that he would die or go insane if he didn't stop drinking; and that the Great Physician Jesus Christ could cure him.

6. The visits from his friend Ebby Thacher, telling him: a) that he (Ebby) had been to the altar at Calvary Rescue Mission, been born again, got religion; b) that he (Ebby) had learned several things from the Oxford Group friends (Rowland Hazard, Shep Cornell, and Cebra Graves) about Christian subjects he had studied as a youngster, and also about the power of prayer, about the Oxford Group[ program, about Dr. Carl Jung's advice to Rowland that he (Rowland) could be helped if he had a "vital religious experience"--a conversion experience;] c) Bill's trip to Calvary Church to hear and check up on Ebby Thacher's testimony; d) Bill's thought that perhaps Calvary Mission could do for him what it had done for Ebby; e) Bill's trip to the altar at Calvary Mission where he made his decision for Jesus Christ, wrote twice "For sure I had been born again," and wrote that he had "found religion." f) Bill's subsequent drinking, deep despair and depression, and thoughts that he should call on the Great Physician for help; g) Bill's last trip to Towns Hospital where he cried out to God for help, had his memorable "indescribably white flash" blazing in his room, sensed the presence of God, exclaimed "So this is the God of the Scriptures," stopped doubting the power of God, and never drank again.

7. Bills subsequent discussion with Dr. Silkworth where Bill was told he had had a "conversion experience." Bill's extensive study that day of the William James book on religious experiences that cured alcoholics, and Bill's conclusion that his experience in the hospital was a valid conversion experience.

8. Bill's adventure on discharge from the hospital out on the streets with a Bible under his arm and telling drunks in hospitals, missions, flea bag hotels, Oxford Group meetings that he had found a cure for alcoholism and that they should give their lives to God (See Big Book, page 191).

9. Bill's utter failure to convert or sober up anyone at all. Not before he met with Dr. Bob in Akron.

10. Bill's visit with Dr. Bob at Henrietta Seiberling's Gate Lodge for six hours where Bill convinced Bob that the idea of service to others was an essential element in the Oxford Group that was part of the mix, and Dr. Bob's assent.

11. The three months that Bill spent with the Smiths at their home in Akron where: a) Anne read them the Bible each day. b) Anne may have shared from the journal she had kept since 1933. c) there were daily prayers and  quiet time. d) there was an agreement that hospitalization was an essential ingredient. e) Attendance at the weekly "clandestine lodge" meeting of the Oxford Group at the T. Henry Williams home. f) Where extensive Oxford Group and Shoemaker literature were available at the meeting for the taking.

12. The success--when there was no Big Book, were no Steps, were no Traditions, were no drunkalogs, and were no meetings like those today--with A.A. Number Three-Bill Dotson. Bill and Bob visited Dotson in the hospital, told him to give his life to God and, when healed, go out and help others. Dotson turned to God for help, was immediately healed, and went out from the hospital a new man--which marked the founding of Akron Group Number One July 4, 1935.

13. Bill and Bob learning in November of 1937 by "counting noses" that forty members had achieved and maintained some sobriety--with an assured 50% success rate; and that God had shown them how the cure could be passed on by working with newcomers, hospitalization, belief in God, acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, old fashioned prayer meetings, Bible study meetings, Quiet Time, reading Christian literature, and helping others without charge.

14. When Akron, by a barely passing vote in Akron, authorized Wilson to write a book, Bill claimed there were six word-of-mouth ideas being used with success. He phrased the six ideas in at least 4 different ways--when it came to God's help. He claimed they were derived from the Oxford Group, but that there was no general agreement, particularly in the mid-west , on what they were. He also said they were applied according to the "whim" of the group involved. But Bill's  "six" word-of-mouth ideas were very different from the 7 point Akron Christian Fellowship program that Frank Amos summarized in his report to the Rockefeller people in 1937. See DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, 131.

15. Bill soon sat down with Rev. Sam Shoemaker at the book-lined study at Calvary House--with closed doors--and worked out the program of the Big Book, derived largely from Oxford Group ideas (and the Oxford Group itself declared that the principles of the Oxford Group were the principles of the Bible--as Rev. Sherwood Day twice wrote in The Principles of the Oxford Group).

16. When it came time to write Chapter 5 of his new book, Bill asked Sam Shoemaker to write the 12 Steps, but Shoemaker declined saying that they should be written by an alcoholic, namely Bill. Bill then sat down, looked at his alleged "six ideas", and  quickly wrote out Twelve Steps in a book where the word "God" had consistently been used without qualification.

17. Just before the book went to press, four people (Ruth Hock-secretary, Hank Parkhurst--Bill's partner, Bill Wilson--the author, and John Henry Fitzhugh Mayo--who wanted the book to be Christian to the core) changed the language of the steps, deleting God from Step Two, and adding "as we understood Him" to Steps 3 and 11. Bill attributed this change to a "broad highway" to the contributions of the atheists and agnostics.

Most of this material can be found in various of my books listed in

And the material is placed in updated, comprehensive, documented, teachable form in "The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide," 3rd ed., 2010.

Most of the recent, documented research is set forth in my two preceding books "Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous",shtml, and "The Conversion of Bill W."

Friday, May 04, 2012

Let's look at A.A. and Dr. Bob for a Change!

Dr. Bob of A.A. - The Prince of All Twelfth-steppers: the title given him by A.A. cofounder Bill W.

Dick B., Copyright 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved.

The purpose of this article is to highlight and underline the value of knowing all the details about Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith (Dr. Bob) who founded the Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship with Bill Wilson in June of 1935. DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, 2001. It is also aimed at letting those in recovery, those leaders in recovery, those who are Christians, and the general public see Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous History, Bill Wilson, Dr. Robert Smith (Dr. Bob), the Bible, the Oxford Group, and the real original program of A.A. in a new, comprehensive, balanced setting.

The value? It is because there are so many biographies of Bill Wilson, so many detractors of Bill Wilson, so many films and stories about Bill W. that many AAs and a host of critics of A.A. have had a field day with Bill W.'s shortcomings. They have ignored the real origins, history, founding, original program, and high rate of success in the Akron Fellowship (Akron Number One, as Bill W. called it).
They have in fact fostered the nonsense gods, illusory "spirituality," and secularization of so many 12 Step meetings today. And it is Dr. Bob and his recovered life that bring the picture in balance.

Christian critics of A.A. and the Steps point to Bill's lengthy affair with spiritualism, Bill's affairs with other women, Bill's compromises on God in order to make his book more saleable, Bill's extensive use of LSD and his even introducing it to his wife, his secretary Nell, and his Roman Catholic friend, Father Ed Dowling. They seem to ignore the Christian precepts by which both Bill and Dr. Bob lived--there is therefore no condemnation in them that are in Christ Jesus. Provided--they walk by the spirit and not by way of the flesh (Romans 8:1). Far worse, they have painted the A.A. fellowship, A.A. members, the A.A. program, and the A.A. literature with a dark swash of obliteration just because of the sins of a founder. And that founder was not Dr. Bob.

AAs themselves are prone to emphasize the role of Bill W. and ignore the agreement that Bill and Dr. Bob made that Bob was to take care of hospitalizations and Twelfth Step work. The two were friends. They did not fight with each other. Within the parameters of their own Christian upbringing and later principles and practices--however different--the two men supported one another, kept in frequent contact, and appeared at conferences together. And all this while Bill (shortly after publishing his Big Book) went into a deep and catastrophic major depression that was widely known, immensely destructive to the appropriate growth of the A.A. fellowship, and influential in some of Bill's wild adventures into Niacin, LSD, and even spiritualism--all to relieve him of his melancholia.

Now to Dr. Bob. If AAs and the general public are ever to cease attributing A.A.'s birth to the Oxford Group and truthfully report A.A.'s basic ideas taken from the Bible, they will probably do it only if and when more people pay attention to Dr. Bob--this even though many of the biblical ideas that Bob learned and practiced in his youth were also learned and practiced by Bill Wilson. See Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W. Little attention has been paid to Bill's Christian upbringing in Vermont, his decision for Jesus Christ at the altar of Calvary Rescue Mission, his statement that Jesus' Sermon on the Mount contained the underlying spiritual philosophy of A.A., and--even in later editions--his frequent quotations from the Bible such as "Thy will be done," "Love thy neighbor as thyself," "Faith without works is dead," "Creator," "Maker," "Father," "Heavenly Father," "God of our fathers," "Father of Lights," and, of course, "God."

But let's begin where I began and grow in the manner I grew in my understanding of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Dr. Bob.

First, I read DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers. Next, I visited Akron to investigate. I went to Dr. Bob's Home, to the home where his daughter Sue Smith Windows lived, to the Akron Intergroup offices, to Akron's Founders Day, to the Akron Beacon Journal, to the Bierce Library at University of Akron, to the Summit County Library in Akron, to St. Thomas Hospital, to Congressman John Seiberling--son of A.A. founder Henrietta B. Seiberling, past the Palisades home of T. Henry and Clarace Williams where the original Wednesday night meetings were held, past the Gate Lodge where Henrietta and her three children lived and where Bill and Dr. Bob first met, to the King School where the Akron A.A. meetings were regularly held beginning at the end of 1939, and to Akron Number One's Wednesday Night meeting which still exists and where Dr. Bob's Bible was brought to the podium at the beginning of the meeting and retired at the close.

In rapid order, and after interviewing Dr. Bob's son and daughter, Congressman Seiberling and his two sisters, Dorothy Culver--the daughter of T. Henry Williams, Nell Wing (Bill's secretary), and Frank Mauser (A.A.'s General Services Archivist), and after researching at A.A.'s World Services office and archives in New York, I began collecting books, manuscripts, correspondence, tapes, and much material from the Smith children, the Seiberling children, the daughter of T. Henry Williams, the archivist at Dr. Bob's Home, the Founders Day archivist, many A.A. oldtimers, and a host of Oxford Group activists still surviving.

Then came the books I wrote and now urge all to read. The first was Dick B., Dr. Bob and His Library (as it was called in later editions). The second was Dick B., Anne Smith's Journal, 1933-1939 (as it was called in later editions). Next came Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous. And then a number of other titles that fleshed out the history of the roots of Alcoholics Anonymous

Before I conclude, I want to point out two major things:

First, my son Ken and I went to Dr. Bob's boyhood town in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. We were there two times and for three weeks in all. We unearthed thousands of books, manuscripts, news articles, biographies, sermons, Sunday school teachings, histories, church records, Academy records, Library records, census and birth records, and YMCA--Christian Endeavor--St. Johnsbury Academy--North Congregational Church--Congregational--Great Awakening of 1875 in St. Johnsbury--and evangelism-revival records, as well as records from the Congregational churches, the Young Men's Christian Association, public records, school records, curricula, and other materials. Most are now lodged in the Dr. Bob Core Library at the Smith family church--North Congregational Church UCC of St. Johnsbury.

From all this came the extensive records of Dr. Bob's excellent training in the Bible as a youngster in Vermont, his frequent daily chapels and Bible studies and Congregational Church attendance, and his invovement in the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor.

All this Vermont material--and its relationship to the Christian upbringing of Robert Holbrook Smith--is examined and documented in the book by Dick B. and Ken B. Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Good Book as a Youngster in Vermont.

Once the reader has examined these materials--as well as our later books such as The James Club, The Books Early AAs Read for Spiritual Growth, The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous, The Good Book and The Big Book:A.A.'s Roots in the Bible; Turning Point; and When Early AAs Were Cured and Why, he or she will be able objectively to weigh the origins, roots, history, founding, original program, and successes of early A.A.;

Gloria Deo

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

AA Twelve Steps - A Study of Them as History

A.A. and the Twelve Steps

A.A. History

By Dick B.

© 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Would you like to learn about A.A. its Twelve Steps? Would you like make A.A. history and the roots of A.A. a part of your study? Would you like to know what A.A. “founder” Rev. Samuel Shoemaker said about A.A. and the Twelve Steps? If you would, then Courage to Change by Bill Pittman and Dick B. is the first place to turn. In fact, Courage to Change: The Christian Roots of the Twelve-Step Movement is one of earliest source books for the study of A.A. history, reporting the role of A.A. founder Bill Wilson and of the man Bill Wilson dubbed a “cofounder” of A.A., as a means for understanding A.A. and the Twelve Steps.

There are other, later, A.A. history books by author Dick B. that add to the A.A. and study groups scene. And we will talk about them in a moment.

In Courage to Change, Bill Pittman and Dick B. crafted a simple, A.A.-founder-related presentation of each of the Twelve Steps—covering the Steps one by one. Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker was Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in New York. His church was in charge of Calvary Mission where A.A. founder Bill Wilson went to the altar and made his decision for Jesus Christ about December 7, 1934. Shoemaker was the chief American lieutenant of the Oxford Group which laid out the biblical principles and the practical program of action that Bill codified in the A.A. Big Book and its Twelve Steps. So much so, that Bill Wilson asked Rev. Shoemaker to write the Twelve Steps, but Shoemaker declined. However, A.A. “founder” Shoemaker did work with Bill Wilson in Shoemaker’s book-lined study at Calvary House as Bill was developing the language of A.A.’s 12 Steps contained in the book Alcoholics Anonymous published April 10, 1939.

Sam Shoemaker was known as “a Bible-Christian.” His 30-plus books, articles, sermons, and efforts at Calvary Church regularly presented key ideas long before A.A. was founded in June 1935 that eventually made their way into A.A. Shoemaker frequently cited a Bible verse that supported a Step idea. In describing what a Step meant and how to take it, Shoemaker would cite a Bible verse and then use the very language for that Step that one can find in both Shoemaker’s words and in the words of Bill Wilson.

In addition to laying out each Step and the correlative language from the Bible and Shoemaker, Pittman and Dick B. also included two vitally-important and useful articles by Shoemaker which were directly related to A.A. and the Twelve Steps. The first was the “Those Twelve Steps as I Understand Them.” The second was “What the Church Can Learn from Alcoholics Anonymous.”

Dick B. went on to write and publish three additional books about A.A. and the Twelve Steps. Each adds more A.A. history specifics to the ideas that Bill Wilson and Rev. Shoemaker formulated in the actual Steps. The first title is Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A. Pittsburgh ed.: The second title is Dick B., Twelve Steps for You: The third is By the Power of God:

There are several things a reader can do to enhance his understanding of the Twelve Steps, his knowledge about A.A. and the Twelve Steps, and his ability to “take” the Twelve Steps and take a newcomer through each Step. The first is to look at the 12 suggested Steps as they are spelled out in the Big Book. The second is to look for the specific instructions the Big Book provides for taking each Step (sometimes a bit murky or actually missing in details). The third is to read two A.A. General Service Conference-approved books—Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age by Bill Wilson and The Language of the Heart—where Bill Wilson specifically attributes at least 10 of the 12 Steps to Shoemaker. The fourth is to read Bill Pittman and Dick B., Courage to Change. Finally, to read the three Dick B. books cited above and particularly the explanation of Shoemaker’s part in each Step.

Courage to Change is now available in Kindle format from

Good hunting!

Gloria Deo

AA-Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous: Step One Study

The Twelve Steps and Alcoholics Anonymous – Step One Study

Dick B.

Copyright 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Here’s what AA Cofounder Bill Wilson said about Step One

“Our recovery Step One reads thus: ‘We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.’ This simply means that all of us have to hit bottom and hit hard and lastingly. But we can seldom make this sweeping admission of personal hopelessness until we fully realize that alcoholism is a grievous and often fatal malady of the mind and body—an obsession that condemns us to drink joined to a physical allergy that condemns us to madness or death.

“So, then, how did we first learn that alcoholism is such a fearful sickness as this? Who gave us this priceless piece of information on which the effectiveness of Step One of our program so much depends? Well, it came from my own doctor, ‘the little doctor who loved drunks,’ William Duncan Silkworth. More than twenty-five years ago at Towns Hospital, New York, he told Lois [Bill Wilson’s wife] and me what the disease of alcoholism actually is.” The Language of the Heart: Bill W.’s Grapevine Writings, page 297.

Here’s what Rev. Sam Shoemaker, the man Bill Wilson called a “cofounder of A.A.” said

“The reason so many people in A.A. give thanks that they are alcoholics is that the problem of living, and the failure to meet life successfully, is singled down for them to the problem of alcohol. It is definite and specific. This is exactly what Christianity has taught from the beginning, not only about a problem like alcoholism, but about the whole range of human defeat: that the old clichés like ‘exerting more will power’ are utterly impractical. We are just as powerless by ourselves over temper, or a bad tongue, or a moody disposition, or a habit of lust, or a hard and critical spirit. It is only pride and lack of insight into ourselves that would keep anyone from saying, ‘our lives have become unmanageable.’ This is the first step, not only towards sobriety, but towards self-understanding and the knowledge of life.” Bill Pittman and Dick B., Courage to Change: The Christian Roots of the Twelve-Step Movement, pages 208-09.

In his usual short and pithy language, A.A. cofounder Dr. Bob said

“’The first one will get you.’ According to John R., he kept repeating that.” DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, page 227.

“. . . Dr. Bob advocated that members stay in dry places whenever possible. ‘You don’t ask the Lord not to lead you into temptation, then turn around and walk right into it,’ he said.” DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, page 281.

“Nobody pushed you into that bar. You walked in there, and you ordered that drink, and naturally, you drank it. So don’t tell me you don’t know how you got there.” DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, page 274.

Bill Wilson called Dr. Bob’s Wife “The Mother of A.A.,” and she said

“Surrender is a simple act of will. What do we surrender? Our life. When? At a certain definite moment. How? ‘Oh God, manage me because I cannot manage myself.’” Dick B., Anne Smith’s Journal 1933-1939, page 21.

“Paul speaks of a wish toward good, but power to carry it out is lacking. A stronger power than his was needed. God provided that power through Christ, so that we could find a new kind of relationship with God. Christ gives the power, we appropriate it. It is not anything that we do ourselves, but it is the appropriation of a power that comes from God that saves us from sin and sets us free.” Dick B., Anne Smith’s Journal, page 22

Early AAs often said

“We admitted that we were licked, that we were powerless over alcohol.” Dick B., Twelve Steps For You: Take the Twelve Steps with the Big Book, A.A. History, and the Good Book at Your Side, page 33; Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, page 160.

One Personal Story in the First Edition of the Big Book quoted the Bible and said:

“One morning, after a sleepless night worrying over what I could do to straighten myself out, I went to my room alone—took my Bible in hand and asked Him, the One Power, that I might  open to a good place to read—and I read ‘For I delight in the law of God after the inward man. But I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me out of the body of this death.’

That was enough for me—I started to understand. Here were the words of Paul, a great teacher. When then if I had slipped? Now, I could understand.

From that day I gave and still give and always will, time every day to read the word of God and let Him do all the caring. Who am I to try to run myself or anyone else?” Alcoholics Anonymous, 1st ed. 1939, page 347. [See Romans 7:22-25].

Gloria Deo

AA A Way Out the Old School Way: Speakers on May 18-19, Cal.

Announcement                                                    Contact Richard G. Burns

                                                                             Executive Director

808 874 4876;

International Christian Recovery Coalition

His Place Church of Westminster, California to Host First Nationwide

“Stick with the Winners!” Christian Recovery Leaders Conference/Workshop

Christian Recovery leaders—participants in the International Christian Recovery Coalition, ( come from the United States and Canada to share their programs, plans, and efforts to enhance recovery from alcoholism and addiction by reliance on the power of God. They will meet and speak in workshop fashion at His Place Church in Westminster, California, Friday, May 18 and Saturday May 19. Members of the public who believe, or wish to learn how, these maladies can be cured by reliance on the Creator are invited to register and attend. The Conference will emphasize the way early A.A. pioneers were, in their Akron A.A. Christian Fellowship, cured of alcoholism with God’s help in the 1930’s. All participant leaders and speakers are recovered, Christian alcoholics or addicts—with long term sobriety--who utilize “Old School” early A.A. First Century Christianity principles and practices in their respective Christian recovery endeavors.

Among the leading speakers and participants will be the following:

Russell Spatz, attorney, frequent recovery program speaker, “Alive Again,” Miami, Florida

Roger McDiarmid, Salesman, Coalition Speaker, His Place Church, Westminster, California

Dale Marsh, Recovery Pastor, Oroville Church of the Nazarene, Oroville, California

Dick B. and Rev. Ken B. (non-alcoholic), International Christian Recovery Coalition Headquarters, Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Robert Tucker, Ph.D., D. Min., President of New Life Spirit Recovery, Inc. and President of Association of Christian Alcohol and Drug Counselors Institute, Huntington Beach, California

Rev. Bill Wigmore, Chairman of Episcopal Diocese of Texas Recovery Committee, Austin, Texas; former President, Austin Recovery Ministries

Rev. George McLauchlin, M.A., Author, Recovery leader, Tampa, Florida

Rev. Michael Liimatta, Education Director, City Vision College and former

Executive Director of Alcoholics Victorious, Kansas City, Missouri

Rev. James Moody, President, Manna House Ministries, Jamestown, Tennessee

Rev. Matt Pierce, Recovery Pastor, Golden Hills Community Church, Brentwood, California

Gary Seymour, Leader, Neighborhood Alcoholics for Christ, Escondido, California

Dominic DiBlasio, Leader Good Book Big Book Group, Cornerstone Fellowship Church, Livermore Campus, Livermore, California

David Sadler, Recovery Leader, Golden Hills Community Church, Brentwood, California

Joey Delgado, Seminary Student, Recovery Leader, West Covina, California

Richard Skolnik, Addiction Counselor Assistant, Nesconsett, New York.

Gary Martin, Leader, People of the Second Chance, Mariners Church, Irvine, California

Rick S., Businessman, Christian recovery series author, San Jose, California

Danny Simmons, Recovered believer, Costa Mesa, California

Wally Lowe, Businessman, Christian Recovery Resource Center, Vero Beach, Florida;