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

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Teachers of the A.A. Old timers, page 246:
John D. ("J. D.") Holmes, the tenth person to

get sober in A.A., left Akron in 1938 and moved

to Evansville, Indiana, where he eventually was

able to start the first A.A. meeting in Indiana.

"Although Rhoda was not an alcoholic, she and

J. D. held something like an A.A. meeting every

Wednesday night in their home in order to help

him keep sober .... Like so many A.A.'s from the

very early period, J. D. and Rhoda used an

extremely popular devotional manual called The

Upper Room for their private daily meditation

and also to provide a discussion topic for this

little Wednesday meeting."
++++Message 3927. . . . . . . . . . . . The Forgotten Steps (6 and 7)

From: doci333 . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/8/2006 1:45:00 PM

Good Day AA History Lovers,
A while back I read Message #2499, regarding

wanted information on The Forgotten Steps.

I had read a pamphlet, which was printed and

copyrighted by Hazelden in 1981, titled, "The

Forgotten Steps" but couldn't put my finger on

it at the time.

The pamphlet is 14 pages long and deals with

the struggles of "working" The Program and

finding character defects that just haven't gone

away, and suggests looking a Steps 6 and 7 from

an entirely different angle.
An excerpt: "I've tried so many ways to get rid

of them, and they're still there. Something's

not working. What am I doing wrong?" There seems

to be a persistent feeling of uneasiness in spite

of sincere efforts to work the program."
"This pamphlet is written in the hope of helping

people overcome the obstacles they face in working

these Steps."
The pamphlet mentions that even with honest efforts

in Steps 4 and 5, individuals still are not finding

the peace of mind that indicates serenity. "Doubt

creeps in, and the recovering person begins to

feel inadequate and discouraged about the program

of recovery suggested by Alcoholics Anonymous."

The pamphlet goes on to point out that:
"One of the potentially frightening aspects of

working Steps Six and Seven is that they require

us to deal directly with God. We are left alone

to communicate directly with our God; to look at

our relationship with Him in the privacy and

loneliness of our own hearts and minds. Very

frequently, this problem arises not because we do

not want to work these Steps, but because we

don't know how."*
*"Opinions expressed are solely those of the

author of the pamphlet."

Another frightening aspect, in a "nut-shell":
"Are we so ashamed of our acts that we cannot

bear to look at them ourselves, much less share

them with such a powerful being? One must wonder

if these feelings aren't present when we pray

like this:
'Dear God, I want to be more honest.'

'Dear God, I want to have more patience.'

'Dear God, I want to be a kinder person.'
We are praying for what we want to be, or how we

think we should be, instead of simply and honestly

telling Him how it really is with us. Wouldn't

it make sense, when we come to God with our

defects of character, to make a statement of what

our condition is rather than what we want it

to be?
Steps 6 and 7 really don't mention, 'gimme,' 'gimme,'

as I so often gave God my shopping list. Steps 6

and 7 do mention, 'remove.' I know now that I was

still controlling and manipulating my environment.

For the healing of my Alcoholism, began when I

admitted that I was powerless over alcohol and

not when I continually asked, "make me a normal


Some further excerpts:
"Coming back to Steps Six and Seven, perhaps we

need to remember the problems we encountered with

Step One. Maybe we need to begin our prayers

with an honest statement of how it is!

'Dear God, I am impatient.'

'Dear God, I am an intolerant person.'

'Dear God, I do lack faith.'

'Dear God, I am an unkind person.'

Present Him with the reality of ourselves,

instead of our dreams and wishes of how we want

to be."
Further excerpts:
"Maybe this is an area in which we could make use

of the willpower that was so useless to us in our

attempts to stop drinking on our own. Will is simply

the power to choose. We have the power to choose

to do whatever we need to do to nourish our faith,

no matter how tenuous it may be. We can choose to

go to meetings. We can choose to read the daily

readings. We can choose to attempt to live the

Twelve Steps honestly. We can choose to go to any

length in pursuit of sobriety. We can choose to

pray unselfishly.
So it is with our character defects. We can choose

to identify them, to become aware of them and

accept them and, as a result, gain some measure

of strength to manage them, instead of being managed

by them. We can choose to share them honestly with

our Higher Power, to tell it like it is and to ask

His help in their removal, believing that He will

remove them."

Just passing it on,

David G.

++++Message 3928. . . . . . . . . . . . The Upper Room and Travis Park

Church in San Antonio

From: James R . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/8/2006 1:39:00 AM
I was interested to see the reference to the role

Travis Park Methodist Church of San Antonio played

in the origins of "The Upper Room." That church

provides meeting space for two AA groups. I've

attended many meetings there.
Jim C.
++++Message 3929. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: "Victory" vs. "Transcendence"

From: Tom Hickcox . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/7/2006 7:51:00 PM

I originally wrote:
The editors tell us some changes are made "in

the interest of clarity." They changed victory

in the 3rd Step Prayer to transcendence, but

that doesn't seem to me to add clarity.

- - -
In the Big Book what has come to be known as the

Third Step Prayer is found on p. 63 and it has

a sentence that starts, "Take away my difficulties,

that victory over them . . ."

Page 210 of As Bill Sees It/The A.A. Way of Life,

quoting p. 63, has the same sentence but with

different wording, "Take away my difficulties,

that my transcendence over them . . ."

Victory is used in all four editions of the

Big Book and in the "Original Manuscript"[s]

I've seen.
So, my question is why the compilers and editors

of ABSI/AAWL saw fit to change the wording of

the Third Step Prayer?
Tommy H in Baton Rouge
++++Message 3930. . . . . . . . . . . . Bleeding deacons or bleating


From: Ernest Kurtz . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/7/2006 2:19:00 PM
Once upon a time, there was a discussion whether

the original term for a certain type of frustrated

leadership was "bleeding deacons" or "bleating

deacons." Might anyone recall how that was settled,

if it was -- and, of course, the evidence adduced?

ernie kurtz

++++Message 3931. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Bleeding deacons or bleating


From: James Blair . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/9/2006 12:19:00 AM
Bleeding deacons or bleating deacons?
Once upon a time, there was a discussion whether

the original term for a certain type of frustrated

leadership was "bleeding deacons" or "bleating


This term was used in a GV article and it was Bleating Deacon.

I can't remember the year.

++++Message 3932. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: The Little Red Book 17th


From: Tom Hickcox . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/8/2006 11:52:00 PM
The title page of the 17th printing says 1963
- - -
At 16:32 12/8/2006 , john wikelkius wrote:
>Need date of the 17th printing of

>The Little Red Book.

- - -
The title page of the 17th printing says 1963

while the list of "to date" printings on the

copyright page says that the immediately previous

printing came out in 1962, which was also the

year the 16th printing was published.
Coll-Webb published the first printing in

1946 and two printings in 1947. There was

one printing a year thru the 24th in 1970

except for no printings in 1956 and 1958.

I would suspect the publishing date was 1963.
Tommy H in Baton Rouge
++++Message 3933. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: The Little Red Book 17th


From: dudleydobinson . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/9/2006 6:53:00 AM
I have a copy of the 17th printing and it lists

on the copyright page all printing dates from 1st

to the 17th which it states as being 1962.
However I think this is a mistake as the title

page gives 1963 and later printings give the

printing date as being 1963.
Hope this helps.
In fellowship,
++++Message 3934. . . . . . . . . . . . Little Red Books

From: DudleyDobinson . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/9/2006 5:15:00 PM

Hi Tommy
I agree with your posting except that there was

a 25th printing in 1970.

I have a complete collection from 1st to 25th

with the exception of the 10th printing in 1954,

which I have been looking for since 2002. Can

anybody help?

In fellowship - Dudley
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
++++Message 3935. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Bleeding deacons or bleating


From: Azor521@aol.com . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/9/2006 12:25:00 PM
In a message dated 12/9/2006 jblair@videotron.ca

(jblair at videotron.ca) writes:

This term was used in a GV article and it was

Bleating Deacon. I can't remember the year.

- - -
AA Grapevine 1962 and 1963
"Bleating Deacons' Corner"

"Bleeder's Bleat"

AAGrapevine.org .... AA Grapevine Digital Archive
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
++++Message 3936. . . . . . . . . . . . The different printings of The

Little Red Book

From: Glenn Chesnut . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/9/2006 5:38:00 PM
In the case of The Little Red Book, determining

which printing you are using, and when it came

out, is more important for the AA historian than

with any other early AA book.

Edward A. Webster (sober October 10, 1942, died

1971) made what were sometimes fairly substantive

changes in The Little Red book during the early

years (see http://hindsfoot.org/ed02.html ),

from 1946 to 1949, which was the last edition

where we had Dr. Bob checking through the material

and making additions and corrections. (Dr. Bob

died on November 16, 1950.)

Ed Webster however continued to make changes at

times in the editions of The Little Red Book

which appeared subsequently, all the way down

to the end of his own life (he died in 1971,

the same year as Bill Wilson).
Ed's wife sold the copyright to Hazelden, where

they have unfortunately continued to make changes

all the way down to the present, most of them

made by some Hazelden editor who did not have

Ed's skill or intelligence or knowledge of the

program, but thought that he or she could change

the wording of a sentence slightly to make it

"read more smoothly."

It's frustrating, because it's a bit like some

of the Victorian editors who thought they could

improve Shakespeare's wording ("What did

Shakespeare know about writing good English,

or the proper way of constructing a play?"

they apparently thought to themselves).

It would be nice to have a volume containing

the text (exactly as the material was originally

printed) of the 1946 printing and the last of

the two 1949 printings, because of their

importance for early AA history.
Dr. Bob was not a skilled writer in the way

that Bill W. was, so The Little Red Book is the

closest we are going to get to understanding

the details of the way Dr. Bob taught the AA

program to newcomers. It nevertheless gives us

a clear enough picture of the way Dr. Bob thought,

to show the falsity of some of the recent claims,

made by various people, that they have reconstructed

"original Akron AA" on the basis of a few spotty

bits of anecdotal evidence and statements by

people like Frank Amos.
Because we have a few people today (some of whom

have written in to the AAHistoryLovers) arguing

that "meetings are not important, and I can PROVE

it from conference approved literature" [sic]

it is probably important to post a note on that

particular claim here.

Frank Amos was a good man, but he was not an

alcoholic, not a participating member of any

AA group, and was simply the representative of

John D. Rockefeller, Jr., making a quick report

in February 1938 based on a few days of

investigation, see Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers,

pp. 129-134.
Frank Amos' statement, for example, that "It is

important, BUT NOT VITAL, that he meet frequently

with other reformed alcoholics and form both a

social and religious comradeship," was blatantly

This can be disproved from reading the rest of

Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, where it is clear

that the early Akron AA's usually dropped by Dr.

Bob and Anne's house at least once a day, either

for the morning meeting (where they read most

commonly from the Bible or The Upper Room, and

discussed what they had gotten from the reading

and from the prayerful period of Quiet Time which

followed) or by coming over to their house in

the evening, to engage in fellowship with other

recovering alcoholics.
No, boys and girls, the importance of meetings

(and other kinds of fellowship with other

recovering alcoholics, in the form of a telephone

call or an exchange of emails, if in no other way)

is one of the most important parts of the program.
The good old timers in my area of the country have

regularly observed that at least 90% to 95% of

the AA people who go back out and start drinking

again, FIRST stopped attending meetings. The

slide downhill often starts very slowly -- "it's

raining out, and I think I'll skip just this

one meeting" (never stopped any of us from going

out when we ran out of liquor in the house, did

it now?) -- "I'll cut back and go to one less

meeting a week, so I can watch TV" (or go bowling

or what have you) -- but gradually these people

on the downhill slide go to fewer and fewer

meetings, until they are not attending any

at all.
And some of them continue to stay off the booze

in spite of that. But again, at least 90% to

95% of the alcoholics who got sober in AA but

return to drinking, FIRST stopped going to


Rich Dubiel's book on the Emmanuel Movement and

the Jacoby Club (the only other twentieth century

groups which had significant success in getting

alcoholics sober) makes clear by its title one

of the most important things which Rich observed:

it was fellowship among recovering alcoholics

(combined with a little bit of non-denominational

spirituality and a little bit of lay psychological

therapy) which enabled those two groups to be


Richard M. Dubiel, "The Road to Fellowship: The

Role of the Emmanuel Movement and the Jacoby

Club in the Development of Alcoholics Anonymous"

(2004) -- http://hindsfoot.org/kDub1.html

For those who want a "scientific theory" of why

fellowshiping with other alcoholics is so

important, in a book which will be coming out

in early 2007, a good sociologist, Annette R.

Smith, Ph.D., in "The Social World of Alcoholics

Anonymous: How It Works," is going to lay out the

details of the process through which newcomers

to AA heal their lives by slowly becoming more

and more involved in what she calls "the social

world" of AA.

Dr. Smith argues that looking only at the formal

organizational structure of AA does not tell us

nearly enough about where the healing is coming

from. The picnics and dances are just as important,

along with going out for pie and coffee before

or after the meeting, learning to know the other

members of the group at a deep personal level,

talking to people on the telephone, and building

up a strong support network of people whom we can

call on at any hour of the day or night, and who

will come to us instantly (without us even having

to ask them) whenever they hear that we are in

the hospital or have a family member dying or

have just lost our job or any of the other slings

and arrows which life can throw at us.
But to get back to the main point, reading early

AA literature like The Little Red Book (which

gets us closer to Dr. Bob's mind than anything

else we have) can help keep us from developing

hare-brained ideas and theories about early AA,

and keep us sensible and squarely on the beam.

A book containing the 1946 first edition of The

Little Red Book, together with the last of the

two 1949 editions (where under Dr. Bob's impetus

a good deal of additional excellent material had

been inserted in the book) could help the modern

AA fellowship enormously, in terms of giving us

some solid and guaranteed workable guidelines

for getting sober in AA, and continuing to grow

spiritually, so that our lives might continue

to grow ever more serene and filled with joy and

Glenn C. (South Bend, Indiana)
++++Message 3937. . . . . . . . . . . . Re: Use of "The Upper Room" in early


From: Mitchell K. . . . . . . . . . . . . 12/9/2006 2:02:00 AM

As you quote Dorothy S. M. as an "old-timer" please

note that Dorothy was Clarence's wife. It was Dorothy

Snyder, Ruth Hock, Bill Wilson and Hank Parkhurst who

visited Cornwall, NY (Orange County NY) to visit

Cornwall Press to review, finalize and approve the

finaly galleys of the Big Book First Edition First

> I have collected some passages talking about the

> use of "The Upper Room" for morning prayer and

> meditation in early AA, which I give below.


> Ernie Kurtz is corresponding with the Upper Room

> headquarters in Nashville about making either

> a printed version or a searchable electronic

> version of the 1935-1938 issues available for

> AA historians.


> They were interested, but wanted some good solid

> documentation that this AA tradition (about

> early AA people reading The Upper Room) could

> be thoroughly corroborated


> Are there members of the group who could give us

> some other citations from written sources from

> the period between 1935 and 1948 of AA people

> using "The Upper Room"?


> (I am using 1948 as the cut-off date, because

> that is when AA member Richmond Walker published

> Twenty-Four Hours a Day.)


> Glenn C. (South Bend, Indiana)


> - - -


> From Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, the official

> A.A. biography of the cofounder of A.A., pages

> 71-72, 137-139. and 310-311:


> "Sue [Dr. Bob's daughter] remembered the quiet

> time in the mornings -- how they sat around reading

> the Bible. Later, they also used The Upper Room,

> a Methodist publication that provided a daily

> inspirational message, interdenominational in its

> approach. 'Then somebody said a prayer,' she

> recalled. 'After that, we were supposed to say one

> ourselves. Then we'd be quiet. Finally, everyone

> would share what they got, or didn't get. This

> lasted for at least a half hour and sometimes went

> as long as an hour."'


> "As T. Henry described it, a typical meeting in

> 1938-39 went like this .... 'Usually, the person

> who led the Wednesday meeting took something from

> The Upper Room [the Methodist periodical mentioned

> earlier] or some other literature as a subject.

> Sometimes, they selected a theme such as "My

> Utmost Effort" or "My Highest Goal." There would

> be a quiet time. then different people would

> tell something out of their own experience.'"


> An A.A. old timer named Dorothy S. M., talking

> about the way Dr. Bob worked with newcomers,

> mentioned that he would sometimes recommend that

> they read Drummond's The Greatest Thing in the

> World. "Those were the three main books at that

> time: that, The Upper Room, and [Emmet Fox's]

> Sermon on the Mount."


> A Manual for Alcoholics Anonymous (from AA Group

> No. 1, Akron, Ohio, 1940, Part VI):


> "Now you are out of the hospital .... First

> off, your day will have a new pattern. You will

> open the day with a quiet period. This will be

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