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

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is his use of catch-phrases which were current at the

time, but used (by Wilson) in a completely different

way. I was reading a biography of Edwin Arlington

Robinson recently and was surprised to find the

expression "spiritual kindergarten" in something he

A critic had remarked that Robinson's poetry was

extememly pessimistic and that he seemed to see the

world as a "prison-house." Robinson sent in a response

that he did not see the world as a prison-house, but

as "a kind of spiritual kindergarten where milllions

of bewildered infants are trying to spell God with the

wrong blocks." I'm sure that made everyone feel better.
The way Robinson used the phrase suggests to me that

his version was an original invention. Bill Wilson

certainly put a nicer spin on it, though.
++++Message 3738. . . . . . . . . . . . Multilith copies marked Loan Copy

From: Shakey1aa@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 9/27/2006 9:29:00 PM

With so many new AAHL's out there, I would like to know

if any have seen a multilith copy (pre-production) of

the book Alcoholics Anonymous stamped "loan copy."
I have heard that they may exist but I have never seen


Shakey Mike
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
++++Message 3739. . . . . . . . . . . . List of Chairmen of the Board of


From: khemex@comcast.net . . . . . . . . . . . . 9/29/2006 5:33:00 PM
Hi group!
I've been a member of this group for quite a while

and I can usually find the historical data that I'm

looking for through the usual channels but this time

I've got to ask for help.

Where can I find a list of all of the chairmen of the

Board of Trustees for AA and its predecessor the

Alcoholic Foundation. I've e-mailed GSO and haven't

gotten any acknowledgement.

Thanks for your help!
In Love and Service to Others

Gerry W.

++++Message 3740. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: Counting Members 1993 vs 2006

From: ArtSheehan . . . . . . . . . . . . 9/28/2006 11:03:00 AM

Historic group and membership count data can be found in two primary

sources of record. The first is a May 1953 Grapevine article titled

"How Many AAs." It offers estimates of worldwide membership counts

from 1935 thru 1953. There are many caveats in the Grapevine article

explaining both the derivation of the numbers and their

interpretation. Group and membership count data began to be reported

in the final reports of the General Service Conferences from 1954 on.

The counts apply to the prior year of the Conference report and are

typically dated as of January 1 of the current year. In past years the

data were dated as of April of the current year which further

complicates year-by-year comparisons. The count data are also reported

in the Grapevine and Box 459. These data are dependent on groups

submitting new group information forms and group information change

forms to their respective General Service Offices. The US/Canada GSO

consolidates this information for annual reporting to the Conference

and Fellowship.

The data reported in the May 1953 Grapevine article and Conference

reports must be interpreted very carefully, very skeptically and in

proper context. Group counts include only those groups asking the GSOs

to be listed (thousands do not). Groups may or may not report

membership estimates or update estimates over time. Members can be

counted in multiple group estimates and the composition of the numbers

has changed at various points in time from "reported" to


All too often these data are interpreted as being precise and they are

not - they are "best guesstimates." Between the period of 1955 to

1981, GSO included a statement in the reported counts giving an

"estimated" count of membership which was typically 3 to 4 times

higher than the so-called "reported" numbers. No information is

provided on where these "estimates" came from. Their validity and

precision appear to be dubious and I'd caution against taking them too

literally. GSO abandoned the practice of offering "estimates" from

1982 on. Also from the period of 1951 to 1984 group and membership

counts were reported for Hospitals. GSO stopped reporting this

category of counts as of 1985.
For purposes of conducting a census, the definition of what is an AA

Group should be pretty straightforward. But you'd be surprised by how

much of an issue it was in the past for the Conference to come up with

a definition of what is an AA Group that could be put into AA

literature. What first gave rise to this was the AA Directory (it's

basically a phone book that lists all the groups in a certain part of

the country/world). In the 1960s complications arose over what groups

and count data to list in the directory because of the emergence of

groups that became involved with problems other than alcohol and

conducted so-called "alcohol and pill" meetings. There were also

groups that were men only, women only, physicians only, lawyers only,

etc., etc. On top of that, there were groups that were essentially

merging with Al-Anon and conducting so-called "Family" or


After" meetings. The winnowing of the group data removed "alcohol


pill" and "Family" meetings" among others.
For a period of time AA literature (specifically "The AA Group"

pamphlet) suggested subdividing AA into the categories of "groups,


"meetings" and "gatherings." If a group was in line with

Tradition 3

(long form) then it got called a "group." If it went off into


areas it was labeled a "meeting" and not counted as a group. And

if it

was really out in left field it was called a "gathering." Needless


say, many AA members were not very enthusiastic about those types of

classifications and wanted more clarity in the definition of what an

AA group is. This gave rise to something called the "6-point

definition of an AA group." The 6-point definition was replaced by a

1990 decision of the General Service Conference that defined an AA

group with the long form of Traditions 3 and 5. Then in 1991 the

Conference approved a definition that consists of the long form of

Tradition 3 and "Warranty 6" of Article 12 of the Permanent


Charter (which is also a part of Concept 12).
From 1992 to 1994, overseas count estimates were revised and a major

revision occurred in the US/Canada GSO's counting methods and record

system. The number of groups reported no longer included those

described as "meetings" which chose not to be considered


Such "meetings" (typically special interest) are included in prior

year's data and inflate that data. The 1992-1994 revisions can

erroneously be interpreted as a steep drop from 1993 to 1994

membership and groups when, in fact, it simply reflects a procedural

change in counting methods. The doom and gloom crowd of AA often

erroneously refer to these counts as a drop in AA membership (which

might give a hint as to the inadequacy of the research methods that

sustain their negativity).
AA is in more than 180 countries (with 57 autonomous GSOs overseas).

Each year, the US/Canada GSO attempts to contact overseas GSOs and

groups requesting to be listed in their records. From the beginning,

the count numbers are at best, "fuzzy" and likely understated and


need to be interpreted prudently to avoid drawing erroneous

conclusions. GSO cautions that the information they report "does not

represent an actual count of those who consider themselves AA

members." The autonomous and anonymous characteristics of AA groups

make the derivation of accurate and complete counts a difficult matter

to say the least. The data reported are not an accurate measure of a

specific year's increase or decrease. However, trends over the decades

are indicative (but not exact) of AA groups reaching more places and

more AA members achieving recovery.

The 2006 final Conference report offered an estimate of 1,068,761

members for the US, 110,449 members for Canada, 702,769 members

overseas and 65,843 members in prison groups for a total of 1,947,662

worldwide. Because of the thousands of groups that do not register

with GSO and/or update their membership estimates, my sense would be

that the US numbers reported by GSO are likely understated rather than

To help put some things in a different perspective regarding counts, a

2006 issue (number 16) of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health

(NSDUH) report carries an article titled "Alcohol Dependence or Abuse:

2002, 2003 and 2004." One of its major findings is that "Among


aged 12 or older, 7.6 percent (18.2 million) met the criteria for

alcohol dependence or abuse in the past year." Even though AA may have

a worldwide membership "guesstimated" at almost 2 million, in the

United States alone there are over 18 million persons that would

benefit from hearing the message of recovery that AA carries. There

appears to be much work left to do. That 18+ million number would

probably be a far more useful one to cite at AA functions.


-----Original Message-----

From: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

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

Sent: Monday, September 25, 2006 7:27 AM

To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Counting Members 1993 vs 2006
I saw this on AA History Buffs
"GSO changed the way membership counts were calculated after

Can anyone offer insight into the change? I was at an AA function

last month where a guy made slight reference to this and claimed our

membership is probably more like 600,000-700,000 in the US

Yahoo! Groups Links
++++Message 3741. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: Texas prayer

From: ArtSheehan . . . . . . . . . . . . 9/28/2006 12:41:00 PM

Hi Cheryl
I've been doing research for about 2 years to assemble material to

write a history of how AA started in Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas (I

live in this locale).
In late January and early February 1940, The Houston Press ran a

series of 6 articles about AA. They were written anonymously by Larry

J. Larry had never attended an AA meeting and had set out from

Cleveland, OH by train to live and work in Houston. While reading the

Big Book on the train he experienced a spiritual awakening. Larry had

been rescued (quite literally) by his sponsor Clarence S, founder of

Cleveland AA. Shortly after the articles were published, Larry was

joined by Roy Y. They started AA in Texas with nothing to guide them

other than the Big Book and corresponding with the NY office.
In April 1940, the 6 Houston Press articles were published as AA's 1st

pamphlet. Larry did write a prayer but I have found nothing beyond

anecdotal assertions of it being called "The Texas Prayer" or it


used by other groups. Likewise, I doubt that Larry is the author of

the so-called "Texas Preamble." Larry's story has a sad ending. He


at odds with the early Houston members because they formed a steering

committee to replace him as a bit of a heavy-handed founding leader of

the Houston group. Larry was resentful over the matter and never quite

fully reconciled with the members after that. He returned to drinking

and IV drug use.

Fort Worth was the second group founded in Texas, followed by Dallas.

The earliest verifiable usage I have found of what is called "The

Texas Preamble" comes from the archives of Group #1 in Fort Worth

(today the Harbor Group). It's in a May 1946 document titled



The so-called "Texas Preamble" seems to be far more a product of


than fact in terms of who authored it and where it actually

originated. It has been attributed to a variety of sources including

early Dallas members (among them Esther E, Olin L and Searcy W) and

also to Larry J but that is only anecdotally sustained and I don't

consider it to be factual.
There is an old adage that "success has many parents and failure is an

orphan" and I think this applies to the myth that surrounds "The


Preamble." There are variants of this "preamble" or

"preface" all over

the US. From the bits and pieces of info I've been finding, I'd

attribute the substance of the preamble to the pioneering mid-West

groups (Akron and Cleveland). A section of the preamble is taken

verbatim from the Akron Manual.

-----Original Message-----

From: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

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

Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2006 4:18 AM

To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] texas prayer
From message # 590:
"Larry J. of Houston, wrote 'The Texas Prayer,'

used to open AA meetings in Texas. He is also said

to have written the 'Texas Preamble.'"
Does anyone know what this prayer says or where

I can find a copy?

Grateful so I serve,
Cheryl F
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Yahoo! Groups Links
++++Message 3742. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Multilith copies marked Loan


From: tuswecaoyate . . . . . . . . . . . . 9/29/2006 11:44:00 PM
--- In AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com, Shakey1aa@... wrote:


> With so many new AAHL's out there, I would like to know

> if any have seen a multilith copy (pre-production) of

> the book Alcoholics Anonymous stamped "loan copy."


> I have heard that they may exist but I have never seen

> one.


> YIS,

> Shakey Mike



> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


I have a copy reproduced from Clarence Snyder's copy, of which there

were quite a few made, and there are no stamps on any of the pages.

Most references I have seen about the "loan copy" story, including

Susan Window's affidavit, dismiss it as a fabrication. Later, Mike
++++Message 3743. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: Counting Members 1993 vs 2006

From: ny-aa@att.net . . . . . . . . . . . . 9/30/2006 10:43:00 AM

Art's very thorough reply in item 3740 gave reasons why groups

might be undercounted. This included changes in how various

types of groups, meetings, and gatherrings were and were not

counted at various times. A significant cause of undercounting

was that not all groups chose to be registered with GSO.
Besides those reasons for groups not being registered with GSO,

I add intergroups. In some cities, most AA services are provided

by an intergroup or central office. Groups make sure they are

known to the intergroup because that's what it takes to be on

the local meeting list. Many members and groups are not aware

that there is NO connection between registering with an intergroup

and being known to GSO.
The general service structure of districts and delegate areas

may be unknown in some places. Or some groups stay out of what

they call the "politics" of districts and areas. If they don't

have a GSR then they don't have a voice in the overall policies

of Alcoholics Anonymous and that's just fine with them.
The uncounted groups are offset to a small extent by groups that

are counted more than once. The old group records systems at GSO

only allowed one meeting place for a group. If one real home

group met in a church on Monday and a firehouse on Wednesday and

a school on Friday and a different church on Saturday, they had

to have four different Group Serial Numbers for all of those to

be listed. Sometimes they added a suffix to their group name and

sometimes they just gave up fighting the records-keepers and

used a totally different name for each location. So one home

group and, perhaps, its members would be counted more than once.

The new "Delegate Area Application" is a "relational


and has provision for one group to list multiple meeting places.

Transition started in 2003. However, that provision is not widely

used. Groups already listed under multiple names are unlikely

to change. Using that feature is inconvenient and is not even

understood by some area registrars. The New Group Registration

Form still does not provide for a group to register with more

than one meeting location.
++++Message 3744. . . . . . . . . . . . RE: List of Chairmen of the Board of


From: ArtSheehan . . . . . . . . . . . . 9/30/2006 1:26:00 PM
Hi Gerry
As an item of trivia the titles used at the beginning of the Alcoholic

Foundation Board were "President" and "Vice President."

In 1955, the

General Service Board adopted the practice of using the titles

"Chairman" and "Vice Chairman" instead of

"President" and "Vice

President." So if any members out there ever dreamed of being "the

president of AA" the opportunity existed for 20 years and you missed

it (rule #62).
The first two Alcoholic Foundation Board Chairs were alcoholics:
08/38 to 02/39 - William "Bill" R. Returned to drinking and had to

resign. (1)

04/39 to 12/39 - Harry B. Also returned to drinking and had to resign.

Following Harry B the board chair has been a non-alcoholic ever since.

02/40 to 09/41 - Robert Shaw (deceased 9/41). First non-alcoholic


03/42 to 10/50 - Leonard V Harrison.

01/51 to 04/56 - Bernard B Smith.

04/56 to 04/61 - Leonard V Harrison (again).

04/61 to 04/78 - John Norris ("Dr Jack").

04/78 to 04/82 - Milton Maxwell.

04/82 to 04/88 - Gordon M Patrick. First Canadian to be chair.

04/88 to 04/93 - Michael Alexander.

04/93 to 04/97 - W "Jim" Estelle.

04/97 to 04/01 - Gary A Glynn.

04/01 to 04/05 - Elaine McDowell (nee Johnson). First woman chair.

04/05 to date - Leonard M Blumenthal.
(1) Big Book story is "A Business Man's Recovery."

(2) Big Book story is "A Different Slant."

Misc: (not board chairs but milestones for trustees)
11/41 to 05/44 - Margaret Farrand. First non-alcoholic woman trustee.

04/62 to 01/66 - Mary B. First alcoholic woman trustee.



-----Original Message-----

From: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

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


Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 4:33 PM

To: AAHistoryLovers@yahoogroups.com

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] List of Chairmen of the Board of Trustees?
Hi group!
I've been a member of this group for quite a while

and I can usually find the historical data that I'm

looking for through the usual channels but this time

I've got to ask for help.

Where can I find a list of all of the chairmen of the

Board of Trustees for AA and its predecessor the

Alcoholic Foundation. I've e-mailed GSO and haven't

gotten any acknowledgement.

Thanks for your help!
In Love and Service to Others

Gerry W.
Yahoo! Groups Links

++++Message 3745. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Richmond Walker

From: Mel Barger . . . . . . . . . . . . 9/29/2006 11:46:00 PM

Hi Tom,

I think Hazelden must have wanted to honor Rich Walker for his work in

writing Twenty-Four Hours a Day. I understand that Rich had sold 75

thousand copies on his own and wanted the book to go on after his death. He

reportedly offered it to AA World Services but was turned down, so Hazelden

took it on around 1954 and then really entered the publishing business in a

big way. They have even named a building for Rich.

I met Rich's son some years ago. He and the family are very proud of Rich

and I think they appreciate the recognition he is getting. I feel it's nice

that we can acknowledge what he did for us by producing a meditation book

that has helped so many. His book also inspired others to write meditation

books, but few have equaled Twenty-Four Hours a Day.

Mel Barger

Mel ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Mel Barger mel Mel ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Mel Barger


----- Original Message -----

From: "Tom Hickcox"


Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 8:36 PM

Subject: [AAHistoryLovers] Richmond Walker


> I have come across a 24 Hours a Day volume that lists Richmond Walker


> author in two places. I understood that he did not want to be listed

> hence

> the statement in most of the volumes have "Compiled by a member of


> Group at Daytona Beach, Fla." usually at the very end of the book.


> This volume has "Richmond Walker" on the title page and


> note: This book was compiled by Richmond Walker (1892-1965) of the


> at Daytona Beach, Florida." on the copyright page. No publishing

date is

> given.


> Since Walker appeared to not want his name in the book, I am wondering


> any list member has information on why Hazelden felt the need to put it

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