Last updated:
December 05, 2015

Alcoholics Anonymous History
The Good Book in Alcoholics Anonymous Yesterday and Today
(A Bible Study Primer for AAs and other 12-Steppers)

By Dick B.

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The Good Book in Alcoholics Anonymous Yesterday and Today
(A Bible Study Primer for AAs and other 12-Steppers)

Why Early A.A. SucceededEarly AAs studied the Bible, took their basic recovery ideas from the Bible, and stressed reading it. They called it The Good Book. The Good Book was read at the beginning of almost every pioneer meeting. It was read at the Quiet Times held each morning at the home of Dr. Bob and Anne Smith for AAs and their families. It was the subject of almost every book, article, and devotional they used in their own Quiet Times. Bill W. later wrote Rev. Sam Shoemaker that he would like to see Bible study groups of AAs studying the Word "in church basements."

Well and good! We know early AAs did study Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 to 7), 1 Corinthians 13, the Book of James, Psalms 23 and 91, and many other verses and chapters cited in the Christian literature they circulated. But what precisely did they study and borrow? Where do you begin today if you wish to adopt their highly successful practice? Just which portions will bring the power, peace, joy, liberty, forgiveness, healing, and deliverance from alcoholism and their other problems that early AAs sought and achieved in relying on their Creator? How do you begin if you are in A.A. or a 12 Step program and want to understand the program by using the Good Book in the way A.A.’s founders and pioneers did?

Author Dick B. has spent 11 years researching the Biblical roots and sources of early A.A.’s program. He has published 16 titles on the subject. And four of his recent titles are specifically devoted to, and useful for, Good Book study and Good Book groups in recovery programs such as A.A., Al-Anon, and the many other 12 Step groups. The four books, including this very title, are: (1) The Good Book and The Big Book: A.A.’s Roots in the Bible; (2) Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A.; (3) By the Power of God: A Guide to Early A.A. Groups & Forming Similar Groups Today; (4) Why Early A.A. Succeeded: The Good Book in Alcoholics Anonymous Yesterday and Today (A Bible Study Primer for AAs and other 12-Steppers). We recommend you obtain and use all four as a set.

This particular title has the much requested, much needed, and highly useful guides for AAs and other "self-help" people in today’s recovery arena. The power and deliverance and love of the Creator are available today. They have simply been obscured by New Age language on "spirituality," "higher powers," "any god," and just plain idols that abound in today’s literature. There are plenty of books on Bible study. There is none that addresses early A.A.’s own endorsements of Bible study, its own approach to the Good Book, and the particular "release from prisons" that AAs and others need and can find in the Bible itself. This is a "how to" book. It doesn’t tell you what to believe, how to believe, or what to join. It does tell you "how to" read the Bible, understand early A.A. ideas and victories founded on the Bible, and put the whole deliverance picture together for yourself. The set of four books will point up four different areas of need and the solutions. First, what is the evidence in A.A. of Bible ideas and language  (The Good Book and The Big Book). Second, what is the meaning of real "meditation" and Quiet Time as they were practiced (Good Morning!).  Third, how did they and can you today accomplish coordinating recovery ideas with God’s own ideas in groups (By the Power of God).  Finally, in this title, just what can you look for and use in the Bible now (Why Early A.A. Succeeded)!

Treat yourself to the facts! You will no longer find them in Twelve Step, Recovery, or Therapy writings. Yet they were the heart of early A.A.’s "Program" and successes. We’ve summarized the contents of this book as follows.

Contents of Why Early A.A. Succeeded


 1. The Way Out (The real heart of early A.A. and its quest for deliverance by Almighty God)

 2. What Early AAs Said about Reading the Bible (The real Good Book endorsements by AAs)


 3. The Bible and Recovery (What the Bible was in A.A., what has been lost, where to find God)


 4. Begin Your Bible Study by Learning about God (God’s existence, kids, name, and qualities)


 5. Learning about God’s Word (God's Word--the Bible, His Will, guidance, victory)


 6. Learning about God’s Son, Jesus Christ (The vital importance of keeping Jesus in the picture)


 7. Sin, Love, Choice, Obedience (God’s ways, sin, the need to obey, questions for critics)


 8. Release from Your Prisons (God’s Will; the many releases available; free indeed!)


 9. More to Learn (Prayer, renewed mind, Holy Spirit, resisting the Devil, believing, understanding the Bible as an Eastern Book, figures of speech, manuscripts, word studies)


10. It’s Not so tough (Believers and students have every right and need to stand tall on the Bible)


11. What’s on the Platter Today  (What God says; the Bible in A.A.; know the Bible, be bold about God, His Son, and His Word; grow; learn your resources; pass it on; trust God!)

Appendix 1: The Creator’s Name is Yahweh!
Appendix 2: The Materials Dr. Bob considered "Absolutely Essential"
Appendix 3: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (statistics and more)



"Any Christian interested in how alcoholism or other addictions have been and can be overcome will be fascinated with this book. . . ."

From the Foreword by Jeffrey H. Boyd, M.D., M. Div., M.P.H.

"Another carefully researched and significant volume by the leading historian of A.A."

The Reverend Howard J. Clinebell, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, School of Theology, Claremont

"Dick has highlighted the Bible as A.A.’s basic source. This guide book will help those who want to learn and study more."

Jim H.
A.A. old-timer (sober since 1934)
Friend of Bill W.; Oxford Group activist for many years

Paradise Research Publications, Inc.; 340 pp.; perfect bound; 2001; $23.95; ISBN: 1-885803-31-1


Dick B.'s son Ken
P.O. Box 837
Kihei, Hawaii
Tel.: (808) 276-4945
Fax: (808) 874-4876

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Paradise Research
Publications, Inc.
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Trademarks and Disclaimer: ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS®, A.A.®, and Big Book® are registered trademarks of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Dick B.'s web site, Paradise Research Publications, Inc., and Good Book Publishing Company are neither endorsed nor approved by nor associated or affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.