Early Alcoholics Anonymous

Recently on the AA History Lovers Yahoo Group, the moderator Glen C. Chestnut  posted the intriguing article above. The article explicates that from the earliest beginnings of AA, non-Christian beliefs, other that the Christian ideology of the Oxford Group in the Big Book, have always had a prominent place in AA’s history.

This past weekend I attended the Oregon Area 58 Assembly in Le Grande, Oregon. One of the prominent pieces of business was the consideration of  a motion for Area 58 to request that the General Service Conference at its gathering in April of 2016 consider and approve the publication of a Grapevine book, consisting of the some 40 stories previously published by the Grapevine from atheists, agnostics and free thinkers. This book would be similar to the recently published Sober and Out for LGBT members of AA.

I was immensely gratified — heart-warmed, in fact — by comments in strong support of this motion from some 15 or so GSRs and DCMs throughout the Oregon 58 Area. As often happens with such motions of a non-emergency nature, the motion was tabled for further consideration to be voted upon at the November Assembly in Clackamas, so GSRs can take the motion back for group input. Hopefully, in November the motion shall receive substantial unanimity of voters — defined as two-thirds of the gathered voting members — and be approved to be forwarded to the AA General Service Office.

In my comments, I referenced the above article, as well as this amazing quote from co-founder Dr. Bob in an early Akron AA pamphlet:

The Spiritual Life is by no means a Christian Monopoly . . . The Buddhist philosophy, as exemplified by these eight points, could be literally adopted by AA as a substitute for or addition to the Twelve Steps.

Let’s remember that our other co-founder, Bill W., was mightily pleased when Buddhists who examined the 12 Steps in the 1940s could easily adopt them as a viable spiritual path for their adherents simply by inserting an additional “O”, translating God to Good.

A thought I have is that our secular AA open meetings, in which all are welcome to participate, both those with belief as well as those without, more truly reflect AA as historically it has always been, when compared to the  “Back to Basics” movement that only emphasizes the narrow pietistic and evangelical ideology of the 20th Century Oxford Group, which has become so influential throughout North American AA during the past 35 or so years — we’re more appropriately “Back to Basics” than the so-called Back to Basics movement is !~!~!

Thomas B.


About Beyond Belief AA

Sober since October 14, 1972; co-founder with wife Jill and GSR of Beyond Belief Portland AA meeting; attended first International Conference for WAAFs in Santa Monica, CA in November; regular contributor to AA Agnostica.
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