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December 05, 2015

Alcoholics Anonymous History
Turning Point
A History of Early A.A.'s Spiritual Roots and Successes
By Dick B.

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Turning Point
A History of Early A.A.'s Spiritual Roots and Successes

Turning Point: A History of Early A.A.'s Spiritual Roots and SuccessesTurning Point contains a comprehensive history of early A.A.'s spiritual sources and successes. It is a title six years in the making. Here you will see the specific roots of, and details about, early A.A.'s spiritual recovery principles. You will learn exactly what the Twelve Step pioneers borrowed from: (1) the Bible; (2) Rev. Sam Shoemaker's teachings; (3) the Oxford Group; (4) the Christian literature early AAs read; (5) the study and quiet time sessions conducted by Dr. Bob's wife Anne; and (6) their meditation periodicals and books, such as The Upper Room, My Utmost for His Highest, and The Runner's Bible. Early A.A. had an astonishing success rate with "medically incurable" pioneers who really tried. The rate was somewhere between seventy-five percent (75%) and ninety-three percent (93%) in the Midwest. Most early AAs relied on the power of God for their recoveries. And Turning Point gives you practical suggestions for today, enabling you to understand, recover with, and grow spiritually in, the very biblical ideas that Twelve Step pioneers used in the 1930's and early 1940's to achieve their unique successes in overcoming alcoholism and the problems it causes.

Contents of Turning Point: A History of Early A.A.’s Spiritual Roots and Successes


Chap. 1:           The Lacuna

Part 1:  A Spiritual Program for Drunks

Chap. 2:           The Oxford Group Roots
Chap. 3:           A.A.’s Spiritual Beginnings

Part 2:  The Good Book Source

Chap. 4:           God
Chap. 5:           The Sections of the Bible Dr. Bob Found “Essential”
Chap. 6:           Biblical Impact on Big Book Language
Chap. 7:           The Good Book and the Twelve Steps

Part 3:  The Oxford Group’s Contribution

Chap. 8:           28 Oxford Group Principles That Influenced A.A.
Chap. 9:           Sam Shoemaker—“Co-Founder” of A.A.
Chap. 10:         Oxford Group Traces in A.A.’s Twelve Steps

Part 4:  Other Spiritual Sources

Chap. 11:         Anne Smith—“Mother of A.A.”
Chap. 12:         Dr. Bob and the Literature
Chap. 13:         Quiet Time and the Devotionals

Part 5:  History to the Rescue

Chap. 14:         Putting It All Together
Chap. 15:         Use It or Lose It!

Appendix 1:    The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
Appendix 2:    Parallel Oxford Group-Big Book Phrases


Foreword by Paul Wood, President, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.


A Special Word about Turning Point
from Father Paul B.

"When I first became curious about the history of A.A. and its spiritual origins, I read all the standard A.A. histories, as well as every pertinent periodical essay I could locate. I congratulated myself thinking I had a complete picture of A.A.'s beginnings."

"Then I had the good fortune to be introduced to the A.A. history books of Dick B. I was richly rewarded with a far greater knowledge of A.A.'s factual history and, more significantly, the precise nature of the spiritual origins and perspectives of A.A.'s Twelve Steps and A.A.'s profound ethical insights. I was delighted with these volumes, opulent in information, having every assertion documented in scholarly fashion, and written in a compelling, page-turning style."

"Turning Point is Dick B.'s most ambitious work to date. In it, he supplies us with a mosaic of his first ten works, integrating a veritable wealth of new material and profiling the why and how of the remarkable success of early A.A. He also indicates numerous practices and personages of early A.A. still awaiting investigation, thus titillating us with the implied promise of more to come. Godspeed, Dick!"

Father Paul B., M.A., Ph.D.
Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City, Missouri

From the Foreword of Turning Point

"Bill W. once told an audience, 'we alcoholics were looking for the spirit, but we went to the wrong address.' The premise of Dick B.'s massive body of work is that many alcoholics are still going to the wrong address, misinformed on the true spiritual nature of Alcoholics Anonymous. Dick has worked patiently and thoroughly, for over six years, to restore the street signs and road markers so that these pilgrims may find their way to the spiritual homestead of their great movement. . . ."

"My own spiritual life has been deepened and broadened by reading Dick B.'s books and other works that they suggest."

"Carl Jung wrote to Bill W. that he [Jung] had come to feel that alcoholism was the result of a void in a person's life where the spirit was intended to dwell. If that can be true of organizations as well as people, and I believe it can, Dick B. is doing a great service by filling a spiritual void with sound scholarship and dedicated devotion to the principle that 'God as I understand Him' means giving as much of myself to as much of God as I understand."

Paul Wood, Ph.D., President
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.

Book Review
By Audrey DeLaMartre

[Note: The following review of Dick B.'s latest title, Turning Point, ran in the April 1997 issue of STEPS for Recovery, a recovery newspaper in Sherman Oaks, California. The review also ran in the April, 1997 issue of The PHOENIX, a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being newspaper in St. Paul, Minnesota. Audrey DeLaMartre is an editor, indexer, writer, publishing consultant and book columnist. She has been awarded her second Polly Brown Award for excellence in book reviewing.]

"An amazing accomplishment of research and scholarship is this 11th title from Dick B. about the source and foundations of A.A., why the Christian Bible became a source for A.A., how history impressed its shaping, and the resulting program and its concepts. Dick B.'s intent is to ease the confusion about A.A.'s spiritual intent, which he says is caused by lack of specific information about A.A.'s spiritual roots."

"For example, a core idea is that we who come to A.A. in need are sick physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. That's why we were encouraged to seek 'God as we understand Him.' You, too, may have heard that can mean a tree or a light bulb. Wrong! Co-founder Bill Wilson learned from his spiritual adviser [the Episcopal rector, the Reverend Sam Shoemaker] that 'self-made religion led to spiritual misery, not to the vital religious or conversion experience' on which A.A. is founded. A.A. is rooted specifically in Christianity. Key to Christian conversion and A.A. principles are three phrases: Thy will be done, faith without works is dead, and love thy neighbor as thyself. However, the only requirement to membership in A.A. is the desire to quit drinking; no religious conversion experience is required. Even so, The Big Book says 'that probably no human power could relieve us of our alcoholism' except God. Christian religious conversion experience, confession, prayer, service and seeking and doing God's will, and are based directly on the Bible."

From Dick B.'s seminar
at The Wilson House in May, 1997

In May of 1997, Dick B. conducted an eight-hour seminar featuring Turning Point at Bill Wilson's birthplace, now known as "The Wilson House." This charming inn is located a short distance from the graveyard where Bill and Lois Wilson are buried. It is also just down Village Street from the Griffith House where Bill grew up and which has now been converted to a library containing books and manuscripts on the spiritual roots of Alcoholics Anonymous.

A beautifully-packaged set of eight tapes covering the entire seminar can be obtained from Glenn K. Audio Tapes for $36.00 plus Shipping and Handling. Please contact Glenn K. at 1-800-257-TAPE; or visit his web site at:

Paradise Research Publications, Inc.; 776 pp.; perfect bound; 6 x 9; 1997; $29.95; ISBN: 1-885803-07-9


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
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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.