Aa history Lovers 2006 moderators Nancy Olson and Glenn F. Chesnut page



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others are all local projects, as is Nicollette's

"An Interpretation of the Twelve Steps" [the

Little Red Book]. We do not actually approve or

disapprove of these local pieces; by that I mean

that the Foundation feels that each Group is

entitled to write up its own "can opener" and

let it stand on its merits. All of them have good

points and very few have caused any controversy.

But as in all things of a local nature, we keep

hands off, either pro or con. I think there must

be at least 25 local pamphlets now being used

and I've yet to see one that hasn't some good

points. I think it is up to each individual Group

whether it wants to use and buy these pamphlets

from the Group that puts them out.

Sincerely, Bobby

(Margaret R. Burger)"

--------------------------------
Bill Wilson felt the same way. In November 1950,

he wrote a note to Barry Collins about The Little

Red Book making the same basic point, only even

more strongly. Such locally sponsored works

"fill a definite need" and their "usefulness

is unquestioned." Most importantly of all, Bill

went on to say in that letter: "Here at the

Foundation we are not policemen; we're a service

and AAs are free to read any book they choose."
As quoted in Bill Pittman's Foreword to The

Little Red Book: An Interpretation of the Twelve

Steps of the Alcoholics Anonymous Program,

50th Anniversary Edition (Center City MN: Hazelden,

1996), pp. xvi-xvii.
Again, please note that people who try to set

themselves up as "AA policemen," to use Bill

Wilson's own phrase, where these self-appointed

policemen start telling other AA members and

AA groups what they "will and will not PERMIT

them to read," go against the most basic AA

principles and long-established official

policies.


Source:

http://hindsfoot.org/Nread2.html

______________________________
An AA group can of course take a group conscience

and vote on what things they will read at that

particular meeting. You can't read everything.

And if an individual AA group votes that it wants

to restrict itself to reading only one particular

book (or whatever) and studying that carefully,

then of course that group has the right to do that.

It can also vote later on to shift to something

else and start reading that instead. Each group

is totally autonomous. And as it says in the

12 and 12, one of the most fundamental AA rights

of all is "the right of a group to be wrong"!

______________________________
See also:

http://hindsfoot.org/nread1.html

http://hindsfoot.org/Nread2.html

http://hindsfoot.org/Nread3.html


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++++Message 3356. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Re: Emmet Fox

From: Lynn Sawyer . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/19/2006 2:50:00 AM


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Dear Lee and others:

Re: Non-Conference Approved Literature

I have also enjoyed much of the same. Try one: "The Spirituality of

Imperfection", is quite interesting.

Don't forget that Alanon has lots of good literature, too! (Yes, we can talk

about Alanon, it's mentioned in the Big Book!)

Lynn from Sacramento, CA
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++++Message 3357. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: 93% recovery rate in Cleveland

From: Billy-Bob . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/19/2006 10:13:00 AM


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Dick B. claims to have those records in his archives. This was in Cleaveland

before the 3rd tradition was established. Back then AA groups could screen

and

cherry pick their members rather than having to accept anyone how walked



through

the door seeking help.


Billy-Bob
Bent Christensen wrote:

Hi there
Does anyone know which records Clarence is referring to when he make

the statement about the recovery rate in Dr. Bob and the Good

Oldtimers, at page 261?


Thanks

Bent
---------------------------------

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---------------------------------
"The way our "worthy" alcoholics have sometimes tried to

judge the "less worthy"

is, as we look back on it, rather comical. Imagine, if you can one alcoholic

judging another!"

Bill Wilson, Who Is A Member Of Alcoholics Anonymous?, AA Grapevine 1946
---------------------------------

Yahoo! Messenger with Voice. PC-to-Phone calls for ridiculously low rates.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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++++Message 3358. . . . . . . . . . . . recordings of Lois Wilson speaking?

From: Rob White . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/14/2006 9:03:00 PM


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Hazelden sells a set of cd's with Lois being interviewed several years

before


she died.
"An intimate conversation with Lois Wilson"
I think Stepping Stones may have it as well.
They are wonderful recording and have alot of history in them from "the

first


person" point of view.
published by

Bernbil Productions PO box 1136 Little River, SC 29566


Rob White

Baltimore


Robert White

UMB-Psychiatry

410-328-8549

>>> mcfrace1@minn.net 04/11/06 8:56 AM >>>

Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2006 22:19:54 -0700

From: "Mike Aycock"

Subject: Re: Are there recordings of Lois Wilson speaking?
I thought that someone else would mention this.
There is an organization in Minnesota that does an great amount of AA

and Al-Anon taping that has several different recordings of Lois W.


http://www.gstl.org/

Go to their site map and scroll down to Al-Anon history to start.

(Gopher State Tape Library, established 1974).
Ken R.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Yahoo! Groups Links
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++++Message 3359. . . . . . . . . . . . 57 years sober another major loss to

the fellowship

From: bikergaryg@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/16/2006 10:23:00 AM
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This was the fellow who had 57 years sobriety at the convention on Saturday

night. He was in a wheelchair and gave away the Big Books to the newcomers.

RIP
CURRAN, ROGER GERVASE

Age 86 yrs. passed away on Sunday April 9, 2006 at his home in Audubon, NJ.

He is predeceased by his wife Mary J. (nee Doneghy) who died in January

2006.


Survived by his daughter Mary Ann Curran-Bailey of Williamstown and 3

grandchildren Gary Savvas, Jr. of Washington Twp, Nicole Savvas of Cherry

Hill

and


Danielle Savvas of Parsippany.

A retired Sr. Claims Examiner, Mr. Curran was employed by Keystone Insurance

Co. in Haddon Heights. He served on the USS Boise Naval carrier, Asiatic

Fleet, during WWII. An advocate for older workers rights, Roger was the

founder

of The Golden Ax Club. He served on the Audubon Celebration Committee with



his wife Mary and was a Friend of Bill W's since 1949.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend the visitation on Thursday from

12:00 - 1:00PM at the HENRY FUNERAL HOME, 152 W. Atlantic

Ave., Audubon where

services will follow at 1PM. Interment will be private at the convenience of

the family.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to St. James

Glory To God Fund, 400 Columbia Ave., Pitman, NJ 08071


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++++Message 3360. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Joe and Charlie tapes online

From: Billy-Bob . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/17/2006 11:48:00 PM


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Joe and Charlie talk about the decline of the AA

sucess rate on their tapes and advocate working

the AA program as outlined by the Big Book as

a remedy or a way to save AA. All you have to

do listen to their tapes and you will hear their

pitch.
Billy-Bob


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++++Message 3361. . . . . . . . . . . . Sat. June 3, ''06 annual picnic at

Stepping Stones

From: Gene . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/18/2006 3:13:00 PM
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Mark your calenders: Saturday, June 3, 2006 is the annual picnic at Stepping

Stones.


Every year Bill and Lois would host a picnic on the grounds of Stepping

Stones..


I have gone for the past 6 years and have had a wonderful

time...meeting people from all over the world...It's so nice to have

this treasure in my own backyard
http://www.steppingstones.org
The first Saturday in June is the date...

Alanon, Alateen and AA speakers at an open meeting on the lawn under

the shade of flowering trees...

soft drinks (Duh...)are provided,

and bring your picnic lunch..tour the home...see the historic and

wonderful things on the upstairs walls...

visit "Wit's end" where Bill wrote so much of the traditions...and

see


the original Man on the Bed..or AA #3...

You can visit Steppingstones site or email me for directions from the

highway...

Gene in Westchester


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++++Message 3362. . . . . . . . . . . . Hazelden Foundation and book

publishing

From: Glenn Chesnut . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/19/2006 2:47:00 PM
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I want to post something on this subject because

of all the confusion I see on this matter.


There is at present a famous treatment center

called Hazelden in the United States, which also

publishes books on a variety of treatment oriented

issues. It is a huge operation today, with an

enormous budget.
The Hazelden Foundation was started in 1949.

It began as a small and simple alcoholism treatment

program operating out of a Minnesota farmhouse

(photo at http://hindsfoot.org/RWcvPhot.html)

which was run by AA members. The farmer who

originally owned the farm named it "Hazelden Farm"

after his wife who was named Hazel.
As William L. White notes in "Slaying the Dragon:

The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery

in America," pp. 201-2 and 207-8, the psychiatrists

and psychotherapists did not really take over the

Hazelden operation until later, in the 1960's --

their people basically won control of its

administration in 1966 -- at which point their

program began referring to "chemical dependency"

and treating alcoholism and drug addiction as simply

versions of the same addictive tendency (which could

be treated in the same group setting by identical

methods), and so on, in ways that many A.A.

old-timers object to strongly.
We need to talk about how this all fits in with

some of the major early AA books which were written

and used by the AA old timers.
The four most published AA authors are Bill Wilson,

Richmond Walker, Ed Webster, and Ralph Pfau. Bill

Wilson's writings were published by the central AA

headquarters in New York City and still are.


The major religious denominations all have their

own publishing houses (Fortress for the Lutherans,

Westminster for the Presbyterians, Abingdon for

the Methodists, various Roman Catholic presses at

places like Notre Dame University and Loyola

University and so on). But early AA did not have

the money to set up an AA publishing house, and

still does not have that kind of money. In fact,

it might possibly violate the Twelve Traditions

to set one up.


As a result, the other three major AA authors

began by publishing their books themselves.


Early AA member Richmond Walker in Daytona

Beach, Florida, had "Twenty Four Hours a Day"

printed on the little printing press in the

county courthouse, and then distributed them

from his basement.
Early AA member Ed Webster in Minneapolis

("The Little Red Book" and the green covered

"Stools and Bottles") teamed up with fellow AA

member Barry Collins to publish these books as

the "Coll-Webb Publishing Company," which just

meant the two of them paying for the printing

themselves and distributing the books

themselves.


Early AA member Ralph Pfau in Indianapolis

("Father John Doe" and the Golden Books) likewise

printed his books himself. He called his little

self-publishing operation SMT Guild. "SMT"

stood for Society of Matt Talbot. Father Ralph

had three nuns who served as his secretaries,

and they took care of taking orders and

distributing the books.


Things went fine (in all three cases) for a

number of years.


But Richmond Walker finally got too old to keep

it up all by himself, so in 1954 Patrick Butler

at Hazelden volunteered to take over printing

and distributing the books, to make sure that

they would still be available to AA members.

Rich had had nothing to do with Hazelden at all.

He had never visited there. In 1954, Hazelden

was still basically just a big farmhouse, and

it had not yet turned into a giant enterprise

with large numbers of psychiatrists and

psychotherapists on its staff.
After Ed Webster's death, his widow likewise

arranged with Hazelden to take over the publi-

cation of Ed's books.
After Father Ralph Pfau's death, his niece

tried to keep on printing and distributing the

Golden Books herself, but after a number of

years, it finally got to be too much for her,

and so she likewise made an arrangement with

Hazelden to take over the job.


The people at Hazelden back in those days

deserve a lot of credit for taking on the

publication of those works, because otherwise

they would have gone out of print. The AA

headquarters in New York City did not have the

money to print them (they were barely able to

scrape up enough money to publish the "Twelve

Steps and Twelve Traditions") and if they had

attempted to set up a big AA-related publishing

firm, it probably would have violated the

Traditions.
Hazelden has also published a lot of good

books on AA history, books which the fellowship

absolutely needs to have available, but which

the New York office cannot afford to print.

In order to be healthy, AA needs to have many

more books available on AA history and on AA

spirituality than the New York office can afford

to print. So we have always depended on self-

publishing and friendly foundations and so on

to carry out this service work for AA.


But please, the works of Richmond Walker,

Ed Webster, and Father Ralph Pfau are NOT

"Hazelden treatment philosophy" and these books

were NOT written by a bunch of treatment center

psychiatrists. They were WRITTEN BY AA MEMBERS

FOR AA MEMBERS (to coin a phrase).


Hazelden has also published good books on AA

history by people like AA member Mel B. (who

was also the principle author of the conference-

sponsored AA history book called "Pass It On").

Mel is very definitely not a treatment center

psychiatrist!


What causes the confusion is that Hazelden

ALSO publishes books written by treatment center

psychiatrists. We have to distinguish between

those books and the books by AA authors. They

are two totally different kinds of books.
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++++Message 3363. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: The Exact Quote From Dr. Bob''s

Memorial Service, Nov. 15th, 1952

From: Billy-Bob . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/18/2006 4:50:00 PM
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The claim that 75 percent achieved a lasting sobriety itself seems strangely

and


ambiguously worded. "Of alcoholics who came to A.A. and really tried

(an


ambiguous qualifier used to eliminate an unknown percentage of people), 50%

got


sober at once and remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses,

(this


is the category I personally fall into) and among the remainder, (presumably

the


remaining 25%) those who stayed on with us showed some improvement. (What

the


heck does this mean? Does this mean the ultimate success rate is higher than

75%? Does this mean they stayed sober for a while but died drunk and

consequently were not counted as successes? It's very unclear.) Other

thousands

(What other thousands? How many other thousands? Does this refer to the ones

who


didn't really try?) came to a few A.A. meetings and at first decided they

didn't


really want the program. But great numbers of these---(Uh excuse me how

many?)


about two out of three---(Pardon me? two out of

three of how many?) began to return as time passed." Really? How do we

know

they returned as time passed, who was keeping track of their comings and



goings?

What does Bill mean by "showed improvement?" This statement is

simply to vague

to be meaningful. BTW, this statement was found in the forward to the Second

Edition which reads "Figures given in this foreword describe the

Fellowship as

it was in 1955." So claims of a 50 to 75 percent success rate seem to

be being


claimed for this particular time period and not for the time prior to and

shortly after the Big Book was published, the so called "flying

blind" period as

you describe it. If you read the statement very carefully you will find that

it

makes very little sense and leaves all kinds of questions unanswered. One is



left with the very general idea that if you come to A.A. and really try you

have


a pretty good chance of making it. While this impression might be pretty

accurate, and in my experience it is. We still

don't know what percentage of people "really try" i.e. make

sufficent effort to

make it. According to some of AA's own triennnial surveys a good 95 percent

seem to drop out during the first year. That means that about 5 percent

"really

try". Which means that if 50% get it right away figure and 75% get it



eventually

figures hold true, it means that after all is said and done that 75% of 5%

achieve a lasting sobriety.
Sincerely, Billy-Bob
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++++Message 3364. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: 93% recovery rate in Cleveland

From: Jim S. . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/19/2006 10:45:00 AM


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From Mitchell K., "How It Worked," page 108:

"The Ohio membership was opposed to ANY changes in the draft of the

book. They had achieved great success using the original message.

Their numbers were growing; and the members who were staying sober,

were staying sober with little or no cases of relapse into active

alcoholism"

Two years after the publication of the book, Clarence made a survey

of all of the members in Cleveland. He concluded that, by keeping most

of the "old program," including the Four Absolutes and the Bible,

ninety-three percent of those surveyed had maintained uninterrupted

sobriety. Clarence opined that even with New York's "moral

psychology"

approach to recovery "had nowhere near our recovery rate."
Jim S.
--- In AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com, "Bent Christensen"

wrote:

>

> Hi there



>

> Does anyone know which records Clarence is referring to when he make

> the statement about the recovery rate in Dr. Bob and the Good

> Oldtimers, at page 261?

>

> Thanks


> Bent

>
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++++Message 3365. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Re: Emmet Fox

From: spokann24@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/18/2006 2:31:00 PM


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Messages from spokann24, Billy-Bob, and Lynn Sawyer

______________________________


From: spokann24@aol.com

(spokann24 at aol.com)


"I regret that the unfortunate prejudice against

literature that isn't conference-approved has

eliminated this any several other good books from

most meetings."


It's good to remember that these wonderful books,

while not conference-approved, are not conference-

DISAPPROVED either!

______________________________


From: Billy-Bob

(backtobasicsbillybob at yahoo.com)


Yes the advantage of the book Living Sober is it's

very short and very practical, in fact it's often

called a booklet rather than a book. It is only 88

pages. It concentrates on subjects such as staying

away from the first drink, sponsorship and avoiding,

"emotional entanglements" in the first few months of

sobriety. A lot of the common sense advice and

slogans that get passed along word of mouth in AA

can be found in the booklet Living Sober and nowhere

else in the conference approved AA literature.

Agnostics and atheists in AA tend to favor the book

Living Sober because there is very little sermonizing

about God or a Higher Power in it. Stools and Bottle

as I recall also takes on the subject of drinking

very directly. Some people who are homophobic in

AA dislike the book Living Sober because Barry L.

its author was a homosexual.
Sincerely, Billy-Bob

______________________________


From: Lynn Sawyer

(sawyer7952 at yahoo.com)


I, too, have benefited from reading so-called

Non-Conference-Approved Literature. Try "The

Spirituality of Imperfection"--it, too, is a

good read.


And don't forget that Alanon has alot of good

literature, too. (Yes, we CAN talk about Alanon,

it's mentioned in the Big Book!)
Lynn from Sacramento, CA
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++++Message 3366. . . . . . . . . . . . Are there AA literature reviews?

From: Arkie Koehl . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/19/2006 10:40:00 AM


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Suggestion from Arkie for the creation of a list

of helpful AA literature, along with comments from

Robert Stonebraker and James Bliss about possible

books to include on that list.

______________________________
Arkie Koehl

(arkie at arkoehl.com)


This is a fascinating, useful and helpful thread.
Thanks to all.
Is there by any chance someplace where such

literature is reviewed by peers, or just AA

historians, so that relative novices like myself

can get a feel for what books are generally

better thought of than others?
Arkie Koehl

Honolulu
- - - - - - - - - - - -

On Apr 18, 2006, at 14:42, Robert Stonebraker

wrote:
Our Big Book Step Study Group in Richmond, IN,

spends the first two Tuesdays studying AA history -

we show a short movie, "DAWN OF HOPE" and

sometimes A HOUSE FULL OF MIRACLES" from Dr. Bob's

Home. We make great effort to make these 90 minute

sessions interesting. I have learned lots of

interesting little stories about Ebby Thacher,

Rowland Hazard, Carl Jung, Rev. Shoemaker, Clarence

Snyder and all the rest of those early historical

participants from non-conference approved materials.
Here are listed a few of our current book collection:
> * EBBY, the man who sponsored Bill W., by Mel B.

> * CHILDREN OF THE HEALER, by Bob Smith and Sue Windows

> * DIARY OF TWO MOTORCYCLE HOBOS, by Lois Wilson,

edited by Ellie Van V.

> * GRATEFUL TO HAVE BEEN THERE, by Nell Wing

> * HOW IT WORKED, the story of Clarence Snyder,

by Mitchell K.

> * SISTER IGNATIA, Angel of Alcoholics Anonymous,

by Mary C. Darrah

> * NOT GOD, a history of Alcoholics Anonymous,

by Ernest Kurtz

> * BILL W, by Robert Thomsen


Here are a few other non-AA history books we use

for reference because they were often read by early

AA members:
> * SERMON ON THE MOUNT, BY Emmet Fox

> * AS A MAN THINKETH, by James Allen

> * THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD, by Henry Drummond
But naturally our main source of historical information

comes from the Conference approved books from GSO .


Bob S.
______________________________
From: james.bliss@comcast.net

(james.bliss at comcast.net)


I have been literature chair for both District

and Area and have only seen verbal indications

that we are to encourage Conference Approved

literature. I will attempt to review any

documentation which I have received which may

include this in a written form but I do not

remember having read any. I was asked to talk

during a presentation about 'Carrying the Message'

and was instructed the content was to be about

carrying the message using conference approved

literature.
Personally, I believe that any material which

is spiritual in nature is acceptable and the Big

Book enforces this idea regarding spiritual

material. I do encourage various conference

approved literature for various reasons:
Big Book - it is the AA program

12 and 12 - obvious

Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers - historical perspective

Pass It On - historical perspective

Various guidelines and handbooks depending upon what

service work is being performed

Open/Closed meeting card - good to read at the

respective meeting

Anonymity - both the pamphlet and the brief card -

good to clear up the confusion about exactly what

anonymity is for etc.
I also recommend many external reading depending

upon the individual and where they are at:


Sermon on the Mount - Emmet Fox

Fenelon Letters

24 Hours a Day

The Little Red Book

The Bible - for those member who believe in that

religion


And many other items which I read from recommendations

from friends, religious leaders, browsing in stores.


My impression from the Big Book is that we should

listen to our spiritual leaders and seek their advice

on what materials we might want to read. To me,

this is about getting and staying sober, not limiting

my reading to a specific publisher.
Jim
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++++Message 3367. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Conference approved

literature...

From: James Blair . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/19/2006 3:40:00 PM
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Steve wrote

Is there any reference within conference approved

literature or AA World Services literature about

the common group conscience guideline of restricting literature in

meetings to only "conference approved literature"?
Conference Advisory Actions on Literature.
1977-

It was suggested that AA groups be discouraged from selling literature

not distributed by the General Service Office and the Grapevine.
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++++Message 3368. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: Re: 93% recovery rate in

Cleveland

From: ArtSheehan . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/19/2006 4:49:00 PM
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References
DBGO - Dr Bob and the Good Oldtimers

SD - Slaying the Dragon


When Cleveland members separated from the Oxford Group (and the Akron,

OH meetings) they adopted a very rigorous prescreening procedure for

prospects. Today, such prescreening would be considered in direct

opposition to the spirit and letter of Tradition Three and morally

abhorrent. The following are excerpts from "Dr Bob and the Good

Oldtimers that qualify a claimed "93%" success rate. It would

likely

be better qualified as Cleveland achieving a 93% success among those



prospects who were already successful.
(DBGO pg 261) "Meetings in Cleveland evolved somewhat differently from

those in Akron. "We opened with an audible prayer," said

Clarence S.

"The speaker, who was chosen four weeks in advance, spoke for 45

minutes, and we closed with the Lord's Prayer. Then, we would reopen

for informal comments, questions, and so forth. The total meeting

might go on anywhere from one and a half to two hours. No smoking was

allowed in the first part of the meeting, only in the informal part."


"That's the trouble," Clarence said. "They take it

so casually today,

I think a little discipline is necessary. I think AA was more

effective in those days. Records in Cleveland show that 93 percent of

those who came to us never had a drink again. When I discovered that

people had slips in AA, it really shook me up. Today it's all watered

down so much. Anyone can wander in now."
(DBGO pg 263) The active or even recently active alcoholic was

definitely not welcome at early meetings in Cleveland. In September

1940, Clarence wrote Bill that "several groups do not permit a rummy

to attend unless he has been hospitalized or talked to by ten men."

Clarence noted that they then had a "definite setup" with three

hospitals and two sanitariums, and that there were ten to 15

hospitalized at all times. By January 1941, requirements had eased up

- slightly. Clarence wrote that "most groups" required either

hospitalization, being talked by a least five members, or being passed

by a committee before a new person could attend meetings.


In Youngstown, it was usual for two couples to visit the prospective

member before he attended his first meeting. The husband would tell

the man about AA., and the woman would talk to the wife. "That way,

they would know what it was all about when they finally got to AA,"

said Norman V.
Various groups have various distinctions," Clarence wrote. "But

the


general idea is to try and prepare a fellow and give him a pretty good

understanding of the aims and principles of A.A. before he comes to

meetings. This eliminates much of the nuisance of entertaining boys

under the influence at out meetings."


(DBGO pg Earlier in the book, a Cleveland member verifies the

prescreening procedure:


(DBGO pg 169) "After Clarence talked to me at my home, others would

come over and talk to me. They wouldn't let you in a meeting Just by

one guy talking to you, as they do now. They felt you should know

something about what you were going to hear and the purpose of the

program. "Then Clarence made me go to the home of one of the newer

members every night for 3 months, and they had nine or ten people

taking to me. Then I had to read the Big Book before I went to my

first meeting. As a result, I think I had a better understanding of

what they were trying to do".
A similar reference can be found in "Slaying the Dragon" by

William L

White, an excerpt summarizes
(SD pg 133) As AA completed its developmental separation from the

Oxford Group and moved toward publication of the Big Book, other

significant but less observable milestones occurred. Rules evolved

(rules that were later relaxed) governing when a potential member,

known variably as a "prospect," "baby," "pigeon,

" "fish," or

"suspect," could first attend a meeting. Several Cleveland groups,

for


example, would not allow any prospective member to attend a meeting

until he had either been detoxified in a hospital or talked to by ten

members. A Denver Group would not allow prospects to attend meetings

until they had taken the Steps. (41)


Endnote (41): P., Wally (1995) "But, For the Grace of God...How

Intergroups and Central Offices Carried the Message of Alcoholics

Anonymous in the 1940s" Wheeling, WV: The Bishop of Books.
The Cleveland area groups essentially "cherry picked" those

prospects

who had already previously achieved recovery, and demonstrated the

ability to stay sober. This was a requirement before being allowed to

enter the Cleveland AA Fellowship and attend meetings. Classifying

this practice as achieving a "93%" success rate, is tantamount

to

classifying a surgical procedure as successful by only including those



who had survived and ignoring or omitting those who didn't.
Without an indication of the number of prescreened

"unsuccessful"

alcoholics who were not allowed to attend Cleveland meetings, the

reputed "93%" is so dominantly biased to a demonstrated

favorable

subset of the prospect population as to be a dubious claim at best.


Cheers

Arthur
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++++Message 3369. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: Conference approved

literature...

From: ArtSheehan . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/19/2006 5:07:00 PM
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Hi Steve
The info below was a previous posting to AAHistoryLovers:
I don't believe it's a stretch to suggest that when groups

stress that

they will allow only Conference-approved literature, they are likely

trying to achieve three things:


1. Keep out the proliferation of "recovery" writings that are

emanating from more and more varied sources (e.g. Barnes and Noble has

a "Recovery" section in their book stores).
2. Ensure that there is no blurring of the distinction between AA and

the proliferation of other "12 Step Fellowships."


3. Stay with literature that has been reviewed by a Conference

standing committee to ensure that it conforms to AA principles.


It would likely be better to use the term "AA literature"

instead of

"Conference-approved literature" since a fairly substantial body

of AA


literature is not required to go through the Conference-approval

process. Some examples:


1. Grapevine (and its non-English counterparts).

2. Box 459

3. Guidelines (the "yellow sheets")

4. Workbooks (e.g. Archives, PI, CPC, TF and CF service committees)

5. Markings (the GSO Archives newsletter)

6. About AA (PI releases)

7. Directories

8. Advisory Actions of the General Service Conference of AA (M-39)

9. Final reports of the General Service Conference

10. Literature published by GSOs other than the US/Canada and AAWS

11. Final reports of the World Service Conference

12. Memento booklets from International Conventions

13. Literature catalogs and flyers (AAWS and Grapevine)

14. Non-English interpretations of books/pamphlets

15. Various and sundry GSO publications called "service pieces."

(And I've probably missed others)


There is literature, published outside of AA, that is not

Conference-approved but which is certainly valuable and beneficial.

There are some wonderful historic and spiritual works. If you visit

GSO in NY and go the Archives exhibit, you'll see an entire wall of

books that are not Conference-approved - which is fine for anyone

engaging in serious research. On the other hand there is an awful lot

of nonsense, "recovery psycho-babble" and revisionist history

that


gets published as well.
So how do you deal with all of this? I believe most groups draw a line

by adopting a guideline to only allow Conference-approved literature.

What does GSO have to say on the matter? The information below is a

transcription of a service piece (re 15 above) that is included in a

packet that is sent to a new group when it registers with GSO. It also

appears in a number of service committee kits.


CONFERENCE-APPROVED LITERATURE
Service Material From G.S.O.
"Conference-approved"--What It Means to You
The term "Conference-approved" describes written or audiovisual

material approved by the Conference for publication by G.S.O. This

process assures that everything in such literature is in accord with

A.A. principles. Conference-approved material always deals with the

recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous or with information about the

A.A. Fellowship.


The term has no relation to material not published by G.S.O. It does

not imply Conference disapproval of other material about A.A. A great

deal of literature helpful to alcoholics is published by others, and

A.A. does not try to tell any individual member what he or she may or

may not read.
Conference approval assures us that a piece of literature represents

solid A.A. experience. Any Conference-approved booklet or pamphlet

goes through a lengthy and painstaking process, during which a variety

of A.A.s from all over the United States and Canada read and express

opinions at every stage of production.
How To Tell What Is and What Is Not Conference-approved
Look for the statement on books, pamphlets and films:
"This is A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature"
All "A.A. Literature" Is Not Conference-approved
Central offices and intergroups do write and distribute pamphlets or

booklets that are not Conference-approved. If such pieces meet the

needs of the local membership, they may be legitimately classified as

"A.A. literature." There is no conflict between A.A. World

Services,

Inc. (A.A.W.S. - publishers of Conference-approved literature), and

central offices or intergroups - rather they complement each other.

The Conference does not disapprove of such material.


G.S.O. does develop some literature that does not have to be approved

by the Conference, such as service material, Guidelines and bulletins.


Available at Most A.A. Groups
Most local A.A. groups purchase and display a representative sampling

of Conference-approved pamphlets, and usually carry a supply of

hardcover books. Conference-approved literature may be available at

central offices and intergroups, or it may be ordered directly from

G.S.O. Groups normally offer pamphlets free of charge, and the books

at cost.
Copyright


Conference-approved literature is copyrighted with the Copyright

Office, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., U.S.A. To insure the

continued integrity of A.A. literature, and to make sure the A.A.

recovery programs will not be distorted or diluted, permission to

reprint must be obtained from A.A.W.S. in writing.

However, A.A. newsletters, bulletins, or meeting lists have blanket

permission to use the material, providing proper credit is given to

insure that the copyrights of A.A. literature are protected.

The A.A. Preamble is copyrighted by The A.A. Grapevine, Inc. (not by

A.A. World Services). Beneath it, these words should appear: Reprinted

with permission of the A.A. Grapevine, Inc. The Steps and Traditions

should be followed by these words: Reprinted with Permission of A.A.

World Services, Inc.
10/93
F-29 (handwritten)
Cheers

Arthur
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++++Message 3370. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: Non-Conference approved

literature

From: ArtSheehan . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/19/2006 5:20:00 PM
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The list of source reference below were used to compile a timeline of

AA history that I periodically distribute in AAHistoryLovers. I've

read them all more than once and love them.
Research and Reference Sources
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, AAWS

Alcoholics Anonymous, the Big Book, AAWS

AA Comes of Age, AAWS

As Bill Sees It, AAWS

The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous, by Dick B

Bill W by Robert Thompson

Bill W by Francis Hartigan

Bill W My First 40 Years, autobiography


Children of the Healer, Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows by Christine

Brewer
Dr Bob and the Good Old-timers, AAWS

Ebby the Man Who Sponsored Bill W by Me

Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous by Nan Robertson

Grateful to Have Been There by Nell Wing

General Service Conference - Final Reports, AAWS

Grapevine

Harry Tiebout - the Collected Writings, Hazelden Pittman Press

The Language of the Heart, AA Grapevine Inc

Lois Remembers, by Lois Wilson

Mrs Marty Mann, by Sally and David R Brown

My Search for Bill W, by Mel B

Not God, by Ernest Kurtz (expanded edition)

New Wine, by Mel B

Pass It On, AAWS
The Roots of Alcoholics Anonymous, by Bill Pittman, nee AA the Way It

Began
Sister Ignatia, by Mary C Darrah

Slaying the Dragon, by William L White

AA Service Manual and Twelve Concepts for World Service, AAWS

Silkworth - the Little Doctor Who Loved Drunks, by Dale Mitchell
Women Pioneers in 12 Step Recovery, by Charlotte Hunter, Billye Jones

and Joan Ziegler


Cheers

Arthur
-----Original Message-----

From: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

[mailto:AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Robert

Stonebraker

Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 7:42 PM

To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Non-Conference approved literature


Our Big Book Step Study Group in Richmond, IN, spends the first two

Tuesdays


studying AA history - we show a short movie, "DAWN OF HOPE" and

sometimes A

HOUSE FULL OF MIRACLES" from Dr. Bob's Home. We make great effort

to

make these 90 minute sessions interesting. I have learned lot's of



interesting little stories about Ebby Thacher, Rowland Hazard, Carl

Jung,


Rev Shoemaker, Clarence Snyder and all the rest of those early

historical

participants from non-conference approved materials. Here are listed

a few


of our current book collection:
* EBBY, the man who sponsored Bill W., by Mel B.

* CHILDREN OF THE HEALER, by Bob Smith and Sue Windows

* DIARY OF TWO MOTORCYCLE HOBOS, by Lois Wilson, edited by Ellie Van

V.

* GRATEFUL TO HAVE BEEN THERE, by Nell Wing



* HOW IT WORKED, the story of Clarence Snyder, By Mitchell K.

* SISTER IGNATIA, Angel of Alcoholics Anonymous, by Mary C. Darrah

* NOT GOD, a history of Alcoholics Anonymous, by Ernest Kurtz

* BILLW, by Robert Thomsen


Here are a few other non-AA history books we use for reference because

they


were often read by early AA members:
* SERMON ON THE MOUNT, BY Emmet Fox

* AS A MAN THINKETH, by James Allen

* THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD, by Henry Drummond
But naturally our main source of historical information come from the

Conference approved books from GSO .


Bob S.
????????????????????????????
-----Original Message-----

From: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

[mailto:AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Lee Nickerson

Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 4:28 AM

To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Re: Emmet Fox


I surely agree. I was fortunate to be Maine's Archivist for eight

years and by what seemed necessity, I began to do the unthinkable -

read non-conference approved literature. It enhanced my sobriety and

allowed me to do my service job in a much more informative and

interesting way. I picked up the habit and have been at it ever

since. I just finished a book called Drinking: A Love Story by

Caroline Knapp - one of the best personal stories I have read in a

long time. As far as AA history goes; Not God, Sister Ignatia:The

Angel Of AA, Grateful to Have Been There and so many others have

made my journey much more enlightened and joyful. Many of the books

I have read were recommended by Frank M. the late alcoholic

archivist of GSO. He was a truly sweet gentleman and I miss him to

this day.

lee
--- In AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com, "Mel Barger"



wrote:


>

> Hi Matt,

> I asked Bill Wilson about Emmet Fox and he said

> they even attended his lectures in New York in the

> 1930s. He also said they read The Sermon on the

> Mount.


>

> I found my own copy of it in Pontiac, Michigan, in

> February, 1951, and have read it ever since.

>

> Mike E., the second member of AA in Detroit, even



> told of reading it while he was still getting well

> from his last drunk; he had to rest it on pillow

> to hold it steady!

>

> I regret that the unfortunate prejudice against



> literature that isn't conference-approved has

> eliminated this any several other good books from

> most meetings. I recommend it whenever I can and

> sometimes mention it in talks.

>

> Mel Barger



>

> ___________________________

>

> Note from the moderator:



>

> See Mel's little article on Emmet Fox at

> http://hindsfoot.org/Fox1.html

>
Yahoo! Groups Links


Yahoo! Groups Links
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++++Message 3371. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Re: 93% recovery rate in

Cleveland

From: Mitchell K. . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/19/2006 6:05:00 PM
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There were several documents, records and oral

histories involved. Some of the documents involved a

commitee which helped pay for hospital stays for those

who couldn't afford it. They kept some records as to

who the person was, which hospital they were at and

how much was paid and/or owed and if it was more than

one attempt. There was also records from the hospital

committee and a survey of all the early groups

compiled by the central committee recording

statistician Norm E. with the help of Clarence. Norm

compiled a running history of the early groups, who

started them the founding members, where they moved to

if they did etc. There were also hundreds of group

meeting rosters naming members, their addresses,

spouses, phone numbers etc. The oral histories came

from Clarence, Warren C. (Sr. and Jr) and several

old-time Cleveland members. There were a few other

documents including the quote from Bill in AACA which

stated that Clevlend's results were of the very best.
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++++Message 3372. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: 93% recovery rate in Cleveland

From: Mitchell K. . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/19/2006 6:10:00 PM


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Let me set the record straight.
It wasn't called cherry picking and it wasn't just

related to Cleveland. In the Big Book, it was written

that if the prospect wasn't interested in your

solution, waste no more time and move on to the next

person. People weren't allowed at first to just attend

an AA meeting, they were prospective members. They

were visited and given an indoctrination into what AA

was. The term sponsor came from the fact that one had

to be sponsored into AA just like some unions and

country clubs.


--- Billy-Bob wrote:
> Dick B. claims to have those records in his

> archives. This was in Cleveland before the 3rd

> tradition was established. Back then AA groups could

> screen and cherry pick their members rather than

> having to accept anyone how walked through the door

> seeking help.

>

> Billy-Bob


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++++Message 3373. . . . . . . . . . . . Reading lists for AA study groups

From: Joe Adams . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/19/2006 11:47:00 PM


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Can you tell us where these films are available for

local sharing?


Joe Adams

(sober_in_nc at yahoo.com)

__________________________________________
Robert Stonebraker

(rstonebraker212 at insightbb.com) wrote:


Our Big Book Step Study Group in Richmond, IN,

spends the first two Tuesdays studying AA history -

we show a short movie, "DAWN OF HOPE"

and sometimes "A HOUSE FULL OF MIRACLES"

from Dr. Bob's Home.
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++++Message 3374. . . . . . . . . . . . 95% First Year Dropout Myth

From: ny-aa@att.net . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/20/2006 12:21:00 AM


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One hand-drawn graph in a paper summarizing the 1977 through 1989 Trennial

Surveys has been misread by many people. The myth of a 95% drop-out in the

first year comes because it reported the membership length of people who

were in their first ever year of Alcoholics Anonymous. The x-axis scale

of the graph was the percentage who had been coming for any given number

of months, it was not the retention percentage.


http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/AAHistoryLovers/message/2379
My AAHistoryLovers Post 2379 (with added comments by moderator Glenn C)

presents the proper reading of the graph. The retention from any month to

any

other is the ratio of the number of members found. For every 100 people who



were in their first year, 19 were in their first month and 5 were in their

twelfth.


5 / 19 = 0.26 So 26% remain at the end of their first year. Newcomers often

are told, "Try A.A. for three months and decide if you are an

alcoholic." About

half leave during that "test drive." The Survey found 9 in their

fourth month.

5 / 9 = 0.56 So 56% of those staying beyond three months finish the year

of their first ever A.A. experience.
"If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the

right-about-face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him."

(BB p.31)

I want to avoid starting the "real alcoholic" debate again but

that is true.

Alcoholism is a self-diagnosed malady. A.A.'s shared experience can help

a visitor decide for himself if he is an alcoholic. As they say,

"Yet." :-)

Although some in A.A. want to "save" everyone who walks in the

door, there

really are drinkers who don't need Alcoholics Anonymous at their first

visit.


[Sponsors are free to tell their sponsees, "This doesn't apply to

you."] :-)


There are many reasons someone might not stay for their first full year.

It isn't up to us to decide if their reason is or is not valid.

* Not alcoholic

* Not "alcoholic enough"

* "Not ready"

* Denial


* More an addict than an alcoholic

* Discouraged by false claims like 95% Dropout Myth

* Life's other pressures

* Travel distance

* Don't "want what we have" by their perception

* Never sober enough to hear the message

* Wrong group for them

* Other psychological problems

* Try recovery by some other means

* Move


* Die (cause is irrelevant)

[Sponsors are free to tell their sponsees, "These don't apply to you

either."]

:-)


_____________________

Tom E


Wappingers Falls, NY
-------------- Original message ----------------------

From: Billy-Bob

> ... According to some of AA's own triennnial surveys a good 95 percent

> seem to drop out during the first year. That means that about 5 percent

> "really try". Which means that if 50% get it right away

figure and 75%

> get it eventually figures hold true, it means that after all is said

and


> done that 75% of 5% achieve a lasting sobriety.

>

> Sincerely, Billy-Bob


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++++Message 3375. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Are there AA literature reviews?

From: billyk . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/20/2006 3:48:00 AM


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I did a list of aa movies with professional reviews.

I, unfortunately, do not have the time to volunteer to

head up this project. I would, however,

make the time to support it. If someone would volunteer

to head up a project like this, I think it would be a

very very valuable service.


billyk
From the moderator: This movie list is an excellent

example of good research work. If you have never

looked at it, you ought to, because there are some

very interesting movies about alcoholism that would

be interesting for Alano clubs and fellowship houses

to show on Saturday night get-togethers.


Go to the AAHistoryLovers message board

at:http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/AAHistoryLovers/messages

and then go to Messages 2926 to 2931 for Billy K.'s

six-part AA Movie List.


______________________________
--- Arkie Koehl wrote:
> Suggestion from Arkie for the creation of a list

> of helpful AA literature, along with comments from

> Robert Stonebraker and James Bliss about possible

> books to include on that list.

> ______________________________

>

> Arkie Koehl



> (arkie at arkoehl.com)

>

> This is a fascinating, useful and helpful thread.



>

> Thanks to all.

>

> Is there by any chance someplace where such



> literature is reviewed by peers, or just AA

> historians, so that relative novices like myself

> can get a feel for what books are generally

> better thought of than others?

>

> Arkie Koehl



> Honolulu

>

> - - - - - - - - - - - -



> On Apr 18, 2006, at 14:42, Robert Stonebraker

> wrote:


>

> Our Big Book Step Study Group in Richmond, IN,

> spends the first two Tuesdays studying AA history -

> we show a short movie, "DAWN OF HOPE" and

> sometimes A HOUSE FULL OF MIRACLES" from Dr. Bob's

> Home. We make great effort to make these 90 minute

> sessions interesting. I have learned lots of

> interesting little stories about Ebby Thacher,

> Rowland Hazard, Carl Jung, Rev. Shoemaker, Clarence

> Snyder and all the rest of those early historical

> participants from non-conference approved materials.

>

> Here are listed a few of our current book collection:



>

> > * EBBY, the man who sponsored Bill W., by Mel B.

> > * CHILDREN OF THE HEALER, by Bob Smith and Sue Windows

> > * DIARY OF TWO MOTORCYCLE HOBOS, by Lois Wilson,

> edited by Ellie Van V.

> > * GRATEFUL TO HAVE BEEN THERE, by Nell Wing

> > * HOW IT WORKED, the story of Clarence Snyder,

> by Mitchell K.

> > * SISTER IGNATIA, Angel of Alcoholics Anonymous,

> by Mary C. Darrah

> > * NOT GOD, a history of Alcoholics Anonymous,

> by Ernest Kurtz

> > * BILL W, by Robert Thomsen

>

> Here are a few other non-AA history books we use



> for reference because they were often read by early

> AA members:

>

> > * SERMON ON THE MOUNT, BY Emmet Fox



> > * AS A MAN THINKETH, by James Allen

> > * THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD, by Henry Drummond

>

> But naturally our main source of historical information



> comes from the Conference approved books from GSO .

>

> Bob S.



>

> ______________________________

>

> From: james.bliss@comcast.net



> (james.bliss at comcast.net)

>

> I have been literature chair for both District



> and Area and have only seen verbal indications

> that we are to encourage Conference Approved

> literature. I will attempt to review any

> documentation which I have received which may

> include this in a written form but I do not

> remember having read any. I was asked to talk

> during a presentation about 'Carrying the Message'

> and was instructed the content was to be about

> carrying the message using conference approved

> literature.

>

> Personally, I believe that any material which



> is spiritual in nature is acceptable and the Big

> Book enforces this idea regarding spiritual

> material. I do encourage various conference

> approved literature for various reasons:

>

> Big Book - it is the AA program



> 12 and 12 - obvious

> Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers - historical perspective

> Pass It On - historical perspective

> Various guidelines and handbooks depending upon what

> service work is being performed

> Open/Closed meeting card - good to read at the

> respective meeting

> Anonymity - both the pamphlet and the brief card -

> good to clear up the confusion about exactly what

> anonymity is for etc.

>

> I also recommend many external reading depending



> upon the individual and where they are at:

>

> Sermon on the Mount - Emmet Fox



> Fenelon Letters

> 24 Hours a Day

> The Little Red Book

> The Bible - for those member who believe in that

> religion

> And many other items which I read from recommendations

> from friends, religious leaders, browsing in stores.

>

> My impression from the Big Book is that we should



> listen to our spiritual leaders and seek their advice

> on what materials we might want to read. To me,

> this is about getting and staying sober, not limiting

> my reading to a specific publisher.

>

> Jim
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++++Message 3376. . . . . . . . . . . . (1) Bill Shoemaker''s Falling Out?

(2) Cloth banners.

From: hesofine2day . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/21/2006 3:44:00 PM
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(1) A friend told me today that Bill W. and Sam

Shoemaker had a falling out at the end of Bill's

life...Any information on this?

__________________________


(2) We have started a new group in Boynton Beach,

Florida, and are trying to find the old cloth

banners with the slogans and one that says "But

For The Grace Of God."


My memory is that they were blue and gold.

The "But for.." one was on a dowel with fringe,

I think.
Are they still around? Any help with this would

be greatly appreciated.


Yours in love and service
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++++Message 3377. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: The Exact Quote From Dr. Bob''s

Memorial Service, Nov. 15th, 1952

From: ArtSheehan . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/20/2006 1:54:00 PM
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There is a popular saying in AA of being wary of "paralysis through

analysis." No matter how hard, or innovatively, one attempts to

micro-parse a figurative (broad) statement, a literal interpretation

of it is typically one of creative invention rather than precise

computation. Precision cannot be derived from vagaries.
The other factor is if one already has a predetermined answer in mind

and only seeks that which supports that answer, it is bias and far

more likely to propagate myth rather than uncover or confirm fact.
What is the quantitative number "of alcoholics who came to AA" at

any


particular period of time? Nobody knows, but it was likely substantial

and likely remains substantial. In an address to the 1960 General

Service Conference, Bill W commented:
"I took note", the co-founder pointed out, "that in this

generation

which has seen AA come alive, this period of 25 years, a vast

procession of the world's drunks has passed in front of us and over

the precipice. Worldwide, there would appear to have been something

like 25 million of them. And out of this stream of despair, illness,

misery and death, we have fished out just one in a hundred in the last

25 years."


Now does this mean that over 25 years from 1935 to 1960 exactly 25

million drunks "passed in front of" AA just because Bill stated it

and

it is written in a document? It could have been 15 million or 35



million or whatever. Bill was simply offering a best estimate in his

own judgment. There were, and never have been, any records from which

to derive the figure - Bill was simply making an estimate not stating

a precise fact.


If something is written in a foreword to the Big Book, does that endow

it with precision and make it a fact? No. It is still simply an

estimate.
Depending on whose statistics (sadistics) one uses, there is an

estimated 14 to 18 million alcoholics in just the United States alone.

World-wide AA membership is estimated at a little over 2 million

members. Does this disparity in numbers mean that AA is doing

something wrong? Absolutely not. It simply illustrates that the

magnitude of the problem is the same today as it was in 1935 (perhaps

even larger). If most alcoholics responded to offers of help all that

easily there would be no need for AA. The nasty problem (and the fatal

one) is that most alcoholics do not respond to offers of help.
How many of these estimated 14 to 18 million alcoholics in the US

alone will be helped by AA? I'd suggest it depends on:


1. Whether they think they are alcoholic or not ("We learned that we

had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics.

This is the first step in recovery").
2. Whether they want to be helped and try AA's program of recovery.

This does not mean attending meetings (the dessert of AA). It means

learning and trying to practice the Steps in their lives (the main

course of AA).


How many fallen into the "just visiting" or success or failure

categories over the years or just this year? There is no way to

determine this with precision (or probably anything even approaching

reasonableness). AA does not keep these kinds of records and hasn't,

except on a very limited basis, since its first few years. Remember

that AA's 3rd group didn't start until shortly after the Big Book was

published in April 1939 when it was estimated that there were around

100 members (Bill made a comment that twice that number had likely

showed up by then).
As an experiment, try to determine what the success rate for your home

group has been for the past 1 year or 6 months or 3 months. How many

prospects showed up? How many gave AA a try (not just observed AA at

meetings)? How many succeeded or failed?


I'll make a friendly bet of 2 banana splits that you will not be able

to come up with an accurate answer (just a "best guess"). Now try

to

think of determining this for the 100,000+ estimated groups in AA



today or the estimated 2,000 groups at the beginning of 1941. It will

still just be a "best guess" that no one will be able to prove or

disprove.
That's the way it was in AA's early years. That's the way it is today.

That's the way it's going to be. AA does not keep membership records

much less a visitors log.
Cheers

Arthur
-----Original Message-----

From: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

[mailto:AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Billy-Bob

Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 3:50 PM

To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

Subject: RE: [AAHistoryLovers] The Exact Quote From Dr. Bob's Memorial

Service, Nov. 15th, 1952


The claim that 75 percent achieved a lasting sobriety itself seems

strangely and ambiguously worded. "Of alcoholics who came to A.A. and

really tried (an ambiguous qualifier used to eliminate an unknown

percentage of people), 50% got sober at once and remained that way;

25% sobered up after some relapses, (this is the category I personally

fall into) and among the remainder, (presumably the remaining 25%)

those who stayed on with us showed some improvement. (What the heck

does this mean? Does this mean the ultimate success rate is higher

than 75%? Does this mean they stayed sober for a while but died drunk

and consequently were not counted as successes? It's very unclear.)

Other thousands (What other thousands? How many other thousands? Does

this refer to the ones who didn't really try?) came to a few A.A.

meetings and at first decided they didn't really want the program. But

great numbers of these---(Uh excuse me how many?) about two out of

three---(Pardon me? two out of

three of how many?) began to return as time passed." Really? How do

we know they returned as time passed, who was keeping track of their

comings and goings? What does Bill mean by "showed improvement?"

This

statement is simply to vague to be meaningful. BTW, this statement was



found in the forward to the Second Edition which reads "Figures given

in this foreword describe the Fellowship as it was in 1955." So claims

of a 50 to 75 percent success rate seem to be being claimed for this

particular time period and not for the time prior to and shortly after

the Big Book was published, the so called "flying blind" period as

you


describe it. If you read the statement very carefully you will find

that it makes very little sense and leaves all kinds of questions

unanswered. One is left with the very general idea that if you come to

A.A. and really try you have a pretty good chance of making it. While

this impression might be pretty accurate, and in my experience it is.

We still


don't know what percentage of people "really try" i.e. make

sufficent

effort to make it. According to some of AA's own triennnial surveys a

good 95 percent seem to drop out during the first year. That means

that about 5 percent "really try". Which means that if 50% get it

right away figure and 75% get it eventually figures hold true, it

means that after all is said and done that 75% of 5% achieve a lasting

sobriety.


Sincerely, Billy-Bob
Yahoo! Groups Links
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++++Message 3378. . . . . . . . . . . . FW: Non-Conference approved

literature

From: Robert Stonebraker . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/21/2006 4:56:00 AM
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"HOW IT WORKED, the story of Clarence Snyder," By Mitchell K.

can be


downloaded or read at www.4dgroups.org

Download 14.05 Mb.

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