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 May 29, 2009



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Alcoholics Anonymous History
Study Group Topics

By Dick B.

For AAs and Others Who Want to Take the Pioneer Path

What the Topics Can Be


Preliminary Suggestions


Many have started Roots Revival Groups, A.A. History Groups and Forums,  Big Book/Bible, and James Club meetings, and even online history sites and groups in their A.A. and 12 Step Groups, fellowships, and lives. Some are still going strong. But there are several factors which will contribute to the vitality and usefulness of any of these meetings.


And here are some general suggestions: (1) Pray before you decide. (2) Eradicate from your mind and group the possible objections of bleeding deacons in your fellowship or in our fellowship. (3) Select a leader who can be a real teacher and facilitator and will do his or her homework ahead of time so that the meeting is led by someone who knows its purpose and direction. (4) Keep the meeting fellowship oriented: Any two drunks can get together for sobriety purposes and call themselves an A.A. meeting. You don’t need approval. You don’t need the sanction of your Intergroup or Central Office people. You don’t need to be listed in any meeting schedule. And you sure don’t need a favorable nod from your GSR, DCM, delegate, trustee, or GSO. It’s your meeting – not their. (5) Ignore the remarks that the word “God” or the word “Bible” or the word “Jesus” will scare people away or get them drunk. Unfortunately some people say those absurd things even though the pioneers and our founders openly talked about them frequently, and they were the subject of meetings from the beginning. Further, find me one real alcoholic who really tried and who really dug into the A.A. or other Fellowship, studied the Bible, studied A.A. history, and prayed on a daily basis; then tell me he or she got drunk because of it. I’ve heard that. You’ve heard it. And it’s baloney. For every drunk of that kind who got drunk, I can refer you to a 100 who achieved sobriety and a new life. In fact, several or more write or phone me each day even out here in Maui.


The next suggestion concerns topics. And these topics can be the subject of one meeting, several meetings, a series of meetings, a seminar, a conference, a discussion, a speaker presentation, or just the reading of material without comment. A.A. holds such meetings all the time. They just don’t talk about God, the Bible, or Jesus Christ very often, or at least not often enough for some of us.


Possible Topics


Ø      The Book of James

Ø      Comparisons of James with Big Book language

Ø      Examples of James in our text, steps, and articles

Ø      A verse by verse study of James

Ø      A review of collateral books that talk about James


Ø      The Sermon on the Mount

Ø      Comparisons of Sermon language with Big Book language

Ø      Examples of the Sermon in our text, steps, and articles

Ø      A verse by verse study of Matthew Chapters 5, 6, and 7

Ø      A review of collateral books that talk about the Sermon


Ø      1 Corinthians 13

Ø      Comparisons of Corinthians language with Big Book language

Ø      Examples of Corinthian principles in our text, steps, and articles

Ø      A verse by verse study of 1 Corinthians 13

Ø      A review of collateral books that talk about Corinthians


Ø      A review of the mention of the foregoing in DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers

Ø      A review of what Anne Smith had to say about them in her journal

Ø      Looking at the devotionals for mention of them; i.e. Runner’s Bible

Ø      Looking at Sam Shoemaker’s writings about them

Ø      Looking at Oxford Group principles embodying them

Ø      Looking for all the relevant collateral books AAs read


Ø      Roots of A.A. in United Christian Endeavor, Oxford Group, Sam Shoemaker, Dr. Silkworth, William James, Carl Jung, Richard Peabody, New Thought

Ø      Historical facts about each of these roots

Ø      Traces of each in the Big Book

Ø      Traces of each in the Twelve Steps

Ø      Biblical origins of our slogans


Ø      The Early A.A. Fellowship in Akron

Ø      The Akron program as summarized by Frank Amos

Ø      Roots of the Akron program

Ø      Elements of the Akron Program


Ø      The Big Book differences

Ø      Background of Dr. Bob

Ø      Background of Bill W.

Ø      Big Book similarities

Ø      Nature and details of Bill’s Twelve Step program


Ø      Special role of Rev. Sam Shoemaker and A.A.

Ø      Shoemaker’s articles, particularly those on the Steps

Ø      Shoemaker’s two addresses to A.A. International Conventions

Ø      Specific traces of Shoemaker in the Twelve Steps

Ø      Wilson’s comments about Sam Shoemaker

Ø      Shoemaker’s influential books


Ø      Special ideas adopted in A.A. – Quiet Time, Absolutes, 5 C’s, surrenders, the slogans

Ø      Details about the original quiet time

Ø      Details about the Four Absolutes

Ø      Details about the 5 C’s

Ø      Specifics about “surrenders”

Ø      Specifics about the slogans


Ø      The role of Clarence Snyder

Ø      The role of Sister Ignatia

Ø      The role of Father Ed Dowling

Ø      The role of Father Ralph Pfau

Ø      The role of Anne Smith

Ø      The role of Henrietta Seiberling

Ø      The role of T. Henry Williams

Ø      Specifics about Rowland Hazard and Ebby Thacher,


Ø      Origins of God as we understand Him

Ø      Origins of “Power greater than ourselves”

Ø      Origins of “higher power”

Ø      Historical facts about the Creator, Maker, Father, Spirit

Ø      Spotlighting these in the original program and/or Big Book


Ø      Cure as expressed by our founders and pioneers

Ø      The decade of publicity about cures

Ø      The meaning of cure

Ø      The great shift to “no cure” and its meaning and purpose

Ø      The role of Richard Peabody and his “once an alcoholic always an alcoholic ideas”


Want more? We’ve got 15 years worth, and most of it has never been explored in  A.A. or sister meetings. If the original percentage of success was 75 to 93%, and if the present rate is between 1 and 5%, is there a good case for studying the 75-93% techniques today. Would you sign up for surgery that had a 93% success rate or surgery that had a 1 to 5% success rate. Or would you rather learn some of the details of the 75 to 93% work?




Form a group


Pray for God’s guidance


Define the Group’s purpose


Select a format


Select a leader


Select the place and times


SIBKISS – See it big, and keep it simple


We are talking saving lives and the facts of history


Gather your resources: First Edition Big Book, Fourth Edition Big Book, King James Bibles, A concordance to the Bible, A concordance to the Big Book, Dick’s books on the subjects above, Devotionals, Major relevant books by James, Jung, Drummond, Shoemaker, the Oxford Group, Fosdick, Fox, Chambers, Clark, Jones, etc


Keep God and prayer and purpose foremost




Dick B.

PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837; 808 874 4876; dickb@dickb.com

http://www.dickb.com/index.shtml; http://www.dickb-blog.com; http://freedomranchmaui.org; http://aa-history.com; http://freedomlife.com




Dick B.
P.O. Box 837
Kihei, Hawaii
Ph/fax: 808-874-4876


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