By Mitchell K. © 1991, 1997


A: What Was The Oxford Group

F: Hospital Rules (October 1941)

B: Evolution of the Twelve Steps of A.A.

G: The Statement of 1948

C: "Mr. X and Alcoholics Anonymous"

H: Program for the First International (1950)

D: A.A. Sponsorship Pamphlet Written By Clarence (1944)

I: 12th Anniversary Pamphlet - Cleveland, Ohio 1947

E: The Steps Of A.A. - An Interpretation Written by Clarence (1972)

J: Clarence's Story in the Big Book from the First Edition - "Home Brewmeister"


Archive Notes


Table of Contents



What was the Oxford Group

In the autumn of 1922, the Lutheran Minister, Rev. Frank N.D. Buchman, and a few of his friends, formed what they called, "A First Century Christian Fellowship."

Frank Buchman had resigned his connection with the Hartford Theological Seminary around 1921 and had begun his evangelical work of carrying a message of life-changing by "getting right with God."

Around 1927, Buchman began working in England. Several of his followers were connected with Oxford University; and when they began to tour South Africa, the press called the evangelical team "The Oxford Group." This because most of the team was from Oxford University; but Frank Buchman was never officially connected in any way with Oxford University.

This name stuck. By 1932, A.J. Russell's book FOR SINNERS ONLY was published, and made frequent reference to The Oxford Group. In 1937, the group was officially incorporated in Great Britain as a not-for-profit entity, known as The Oxford Group.

The fellowship held small group meetings, prayer meetings and what were called "house parties," at which its adherents spent "Quiet Time" in meditation seeking "Guidance" from God. Part of these meetings involved "witnessing," or giving testimony regarding prior sins, and what God had done in their lives to remove these sins, or defects in character (or shortcomings).

Frank Buchman and his followers held certain theological beliefs, including the following*:

1) Sovereignty and Power of God.

2) The reality of sin.

3) The need for complete surrender to the will of God.

4) Christ's atoning sacrifice and transforming power.

5) The sustenance of prayer.

6) The duty to witness to others.

*Garth Lean, ON THE TAIL OF A COMET - p. 73

Its beliefs included other elements added as the movement grew and became more popular. Examples are as the belief that an experience of Christ would transform a believer, IF he truly believed - beyond anything he had dreamed possible. The belief that an adherent could and should make prompt restitution for personal wrongs revealed to him by his life-changing experience. And the belief that adherents should be part of a sort of "chain-reaction" of life changing experiences by sharing the experience of what Christ had done for them with others.

The Oxford Group believed one must surrender to God, not only to be "converted" from sin, but to have his entire life controlled by God. They believed in "Quiet Time," or meditation, during which a believer would get guidance of what to do or in as to the direction he should take. They believed in open confession of sin, one-to-another, following James 5:16 in the scriptures. They believed in the healing of the soul and in carrying the message of personal and world-wide redemption through the sharing of members' testimony by witnessing.

Frank Buchman, and his followers believed that people had sick souls, most of which was caused by "self-centeredness." Oxford Group members believed that people were powerless over this human condition, this defect of the soul. To recover one had to admit he was separated from God and his fellow man, and that God could manage their lives. Then they made a decision to turn their lives over to the care and direction of God. They had to make an inventory of their lives and of their sins, and to make full restitution to others, those they had hurt by their sins, or shortcomings. They also had to witness to others as to their own conversion from sin and be available to convert others from sin. Oxford group members believed and were taught that the only way you could keep what you had been given by God, was to give it away to another. They did not try to force anyone into their path. They were to live their lives as an example, which would inspire others to want to follow.

The Oxford Group called its conversion process "soul-surgery." Its so-called surgical procedure broiled down to five concepts: CONFIDENCE, COFESSSION, CONVICTION, CONVERSION and CONSERVATION.

Oxford Group people also believed that their followers should have a formula for checking their motives in following this path. Part of the checking procedure involved the Four Absolutes; HONESTY, UNSELFISHNESS, PURITY and LOVE. Oxford Group people believed these were the four absolute standards of Jesus. We mention the Absolutes in the text of our book. A.A. members knew that no one could ever hope to attain the perfection of absolute anything. They instead were told to strive for perfection, as their guide for progress, knowing that they would never fully attain it.

Bill Wilson was visited by Ebby T., an Oxford Group follower (who never really attained sobriety, and died destitute). Bill was told by Ebby, "I got religion." Bill went to Calvary Mission in New York City with Ebby and late surrendered to Christ, making open confession of his alcoholism at the mission which was run by Calvary Episcopal Church. Bill soon had his "white light" spiritual experience at Towns Hospital and after this surrender, never drank alcohol again.

[Author's note: According to Mel B.'s biography of Ebby (EBBY, The Man Who Sponsored Bill W. - Hazelden Pittman Archives Press, Hazelden Publications, 1998), Ebby "had two years and seven months of continuous sobriety in the beginning, a long period of about seven years' sobriety in Texas in the 1950's, and about 2 1/2 years' sobriety just before he died" in 1966. Mel B. states that in a letter from Bill Wilson to an A.A. member in Texas, that Ebby was paying for his own care at McPike's Farm (a treatment facility in Ballston Spa, N.Y.) with his Social Security and with "financing of $200 a month that comes out of the A.A. book money at headquarters." Ebby died at a hospital near Ballston Spa and McPike's Farm where he had been living under the care of Margaret McPike.]

Bill knew when he was going to have a binge. Prior to his spiritual experience, Bill had been a patient at Towns Hospital and knew that he had to make reservations at Towns Hospital. He would call up two weeks in advance of binge and tell Towns when he was going to be there. His binges were planned. After his spiritual experience, he never found the need to call for reservations again.

Dr. Bob too, had had experience with the Oxford Group. After Frank Buchman's series of Oxford Group meetings at the Mayflower Hotel in Akron in January 1933, Henrietta Seiberling and Dr. Bob's wife, Anne Smith, convinced Dr. Bob to attend the meetings which were, by now, being held at the home of T. Henry and Clarace Williams.

Dr. Bob, though he had confessed his drinking and had been a devotee of the Oxford Group and of its writings and teachings, had not been able to stop drinking. It was not until he had met with Bill Wilson, another Oxford Group member, and was relating, one-drunk-to-another, that he eventually surrendered. Dr. Bob met Bill on Mother's Day in May of 1935, and later drank while going to and attending a medical convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey in June 1935. Bill Wilson gave Bob his last drink of beer just prior to performing surgery on June 10th, 1935. This was to be Dr. Bob's last "slip."

Bill Wilson was once quoted as saying that even though he didn't want the connection to the Oxford Group and its religious teachings associated with Alcoholics Anonymous, he had incorporated most of their ideals and precepts in the Steps and in the writing of what was to become the A.A. recovery program.

List of Appendixes

Table of Contents



The Evolution of the Twelve Steps of A.A.

When Bill Wilson sat down to write what were to be the Twelve Steps of A.A, he didn't just get them out of thin air. He had a basis for the Steps, founded on spiritual principles already in place. There come from the precepts of the Oxford Group, the Washington Temperance Movement (The Washingtonians), Biblical principles, and literature such as: The Common Sense of Drinking, by Richard Peabody, For Sinners Only, by A.J. Russell, I Was A Pagan, by V.C Kitchen, The Varieties of Religious Experience, by William James, and others.

When Bill wrote the Twelve Steps, six were already in place in one form or another. Bill felt that the six steps had some loopholes through which an alcoholic could slip. He was not satisfied with the six already in place and decided to expand upon them so alcoholics could have a program of recovery, separate from the Oxford Group and separate from association with them.

When he put the Twelve Steps in their original form, Bill felt at ease with them. They numbered twelve; and this, as has been reported, was a significant number for Bill. Bill noted that Jesus had twelve disciples, and the as-yet-unnamed-movement now had Twelve Steps to recovery.

The author believes the following is a simple evolution of the Steps:

I) In 1933, The Oxford Group had Four Practical Spiritual Activities*:

1. The sharing of our sins and temptations with another Christian life given to God, and to use Sharing as Witness to help others, still unchanged, to recognize and acknowledge their sins.

2. Surrender of our life, past, present and future, into God's keeping and direction.

3. Restitution to all we have wronged directly or indirectly.

4. Listening to, accepting, relying on God's guidance and carry it out in everything we do or say, great or small.

*The Layman with a notebook, WHAT IS THE OXFORD GROUP (Oxford University Press, 1933)

II) By 1938, there were six steps of recovery that had been adapted by the Alcoholic Squadron of the Oxford Group in Akron, in part from the Practical Spiritual Activities as were used in Akron, Ohio*.

1. We admitted that we were licked, that we were powerless over alcohol.

2. We made a moral inventory of our defects or sins.

3. We confessed or shared our shortcomings with another person in confidence.

4. We made restitution to all those we had harmed by our drinking.

5. We tried to help other alcoholics, with no thought of reward in money or prestige.

6. We prayed to whatever God we thought there was for the power to practice these precepts.

*These steps are taken from A.A. COMES OF AGE (New York; A.A. Works Publishing, 1957) p. 160f.

III) The next phase comes from the pre-publication "multilith" edition of the book which was sent to early members and those interested in the movement. There were only 400 of these printed by the office owned by Bill Wilson and Hank P. on 17 Williams Street in Newark, New Jersey. Ruth Hock was the secretary who did all of the typing. The beginning of the fifth chapter, entitled, HOW IT WORKS is quoted in its original format. The complete "Multilith" copy can be ordered from the A.A. Archives at P.O. Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, N.Y. 10163.


Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our directions. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a way of life which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it -- then you are ready to follow directions.

At some of these you may balk. You may think you can find an easier softer way. We doubt if you can. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that you are dealing with alcohol -- cunning, baffling, powerful: Without help it is too much for you. But there is One who has all power -- That One is God. You must find Him now!

Half measures will avail you nothing. You stand at the turning point. Throw yourself under His protection and care with complete abandon.

Now we think you can take it! Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as your Program of Recovery.

1. Admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care and direction of God <as we understood him>.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely willing that God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly, on our knees, asked Him to remove our shortcomings -- holding nothing back.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make complete amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of this course of action, we tried to carry this message to others, especially alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

You may exclaim, "What an order! I can't go through with it." But do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after, have been designed to sell you three pertinent ideas:

(a) That you are alcoholic and cannot manage your own life.

(b) That probably no human power can relieve your alcoholism.

(c) That God can and will.

If you are not convinced on these vital issues, you ought to re-read the book to this point or else throw it away!

IV) " we understand Him" was not in the multilitith version of the steps. Jimmy B., an atheist, insisted, along with Hank P. and other atheists and agnostics, that there be a change and that "God" be deleted at this step. Most members in Ohio felt that the spiritual program should be kept and emphasized; and most of the New York members felt, that it should be completely removed. This "God-as-we-understand-Him" phrase was a compromise to keep everybody happy. Since there were more members in Ohio, and they had the longest amount of sobriety, the spiritual flavor was retained.

V) The Twelve Steps, as they are printed in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous from 1939 to the present:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these* steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

[*Author's note: In the first edition on page 72, the word "these" is used. In the second through sixteenth printing of the first edition, the word "those" is used. In all sixteen printings of the second edition and all of the preceding printings of the third edition, the word "these" is used on page 60.]

The first edition was copyrighted by Works Publishing, Co., 1939. The copyright for the first edition of the book ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS were allowed to lapse, by an oversight, and are currently in the public domain.

The second edition was copyrighted by A.A. Publishing and then A.A. World Services, Inc., 1955.

The third edition was copyrighted by A.A. World Services, Inc., 1976.

List of Appendixes

Table of Contents



Mr. X and Alcoholics Anonymous by Rev. Dilworth Lupton

This was a sermon preached on November 26, 1939 by Dilworth Lupton at the First Unitarian Church (Universalist - Unitarian), Euclid at East 82nd Street, Cleveland, Ohio.

Mr. X was Clarence H. Snyder. This was one of the first pamphlets concerning A.A. and was used by A.A. members in Cleveland in the late 1930's and early 1940's.

Mr. X and Alcoholics Anonymous

My friend, Mr. X, is a young man with a family. For five years, to use his own words, Mr. X did not "draw a sober breath." His over-patient wife was about to sue him for divorce. Now for over two years, he has not had a single drink. He maintains that his "cure" is due to the efforts of a group of "ex-drunks" (their own term) who call themselves Alcoholics Anonymous.

I have had several opportunities to meet members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Not long ago I accepted an invitation from Mr. X to attend one of their meetings, held in a private home. They are simple affairs: First a brief prayer, then four or five give public testimony to their experiences, refreshments are served, and there is general fellowship. They call themselves religious, but I find no sign of excessive piety, sensationalism, or fanaticism. Furthermore they have a sense of humor, somewhat of a rarity in religious circles. They are not trying to make other people or the country into "dries." They merely say, "We are the type that can't take it, and we have found a way of leaving it alone."

In my own home recently nine members of this group submitted themselves to questions for four hours from a prominent physician and a psychiatrist. Both were impressed by the trim appearance, sincerity, manliness of the ex-victims, and by the seeming efficacy of their methods. As the physician said to me privately, "These boys have got something!"

Thank God someone is throwing light on the problem of the chronic alcoholic, a problem that has perplexed men for centuries. There may be a million victims in the United States. Chronic alcoholism is not a vice but a disease. Its victims know that the habit is exceedingly harmful - as one of them graphically expressed it to me, "I was staring into a pine box" - but they are driven toward drink by an uncontrollable desire, by what psychologists call a compulsive psychosis.

Complete abstinence appears the only way out, but except in rare cases that has been impossible of attainment. Religion, psychiatry, and medicine have been tried, but with only sporadic success. The members of Alcoholics Anonymous, however, appear to have found an answer, for they claim that at least fifty per cent of those they interest have stopped drinking completely.

From conversations with my friend, Mr. X, and with members of the Cleveland group, I am convinced that this success comes through the application of four religious principles that are as old as the Ten Commandments.

1. The principle of spiritual dependence

Mr. X, who had been drinking excessively for years, found that he couldn't summon enough will power to stop even for a single day. Finally in desperation he consented to a week of hospital treatment. During this time he received frequent visits from members of Alcoholics Anonymous. They told him that he must stop trying to use his will and trust in a Power greater than himself. Such trust had saved them from the abyss and could save him. Believe or perish! Mr. X chose to believe. Within a few days he lost all desire for alcohol.

Trust in God seems to be the heart of the whole movement. Religion must be more than a mere set of beliefs; it must be a profound inner experience, faith in a Presence to which one may go for strength in time of weakness.

This fact is made quite clear in the book ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, which gives the philosophy behind the movement and also the testimony of thirty of those who have benefited. Although written by laymen it contains more psychological and religious common-sense than one often reads in volumes by religious professionals. The book is free from cant, from archaic phraseology. It gives with skill and intelligence an inside view of the alcohol problem and the technique through which these men have found their freedom.

I will let "Bill," one of the contributors to ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, describe his own experience. He had been drinking in his kitchen - there was enough gin in the house to carry him through that night and the next day. An old friend came to see him. They had often been drunk together, but now he refused to drink! He had "got religion." He talked for all seemed impossible, and yet there he was, sober. But let me quote from the book:

God had done for him what he could not do for himself. His human will had failed. Doctors had pronounced him incurable. Society was about to lock him up. Like myself, he had admitted complete defeat. Then he had, in effect, been raised from the dead, suddenly taken from the scrap heap to a level of life better than the best he had ever known!

Had this power originated in him? Obviously it had not. There had been no more power in him than there was in me at that moment, and this was none at all.

That floored me. It began to look as though religious people were right after all. Here was something at work in a human heart which had done the impossible. My ideas about miracles were drastically revised right then. Never mind the musty past; here sat a miracle directly across the kitchen table. He shouted great tidings.*

*Alcoholics Anonymous (New York, AAWS, Inc., 1976), p. 11

How hard is it for us moderns to concede - much less express it as our deep conviction - that our inner lives ultimately are dependent upon a power-not-ourselves. Such an attitude seems weak and cowardly. But we go even farther; we suspect that faith in a spiritual Presence outside ourselves is absurd.

Why absurd? Our bodies are dependent ultimately upon the physical cosmos, upon air and sunlight, and upon this strange planet that bears us up. Why is it absurd then, to think of our spiritual selves - our souls, psyches, call them what you will - as being dependent upon a spiritual cosmos? Is it not absurd, rather to conceive that the material side of us is part of a material universe, but that our nature is isolated, alone, independent? Is not such an attitude a kind of megalomania?

At any rate these ex-alcoholics declare that only when they recognized their spiritual dependence was their obsession broken.

2. The principle of universality

In our great museums one usually finds paintings covering several ages of art, often brought together from widely separated localities - the primitive, medieval and modern periods; products of French, American, English, and Dutch masters; treasures from China, Japan, and India. Yet as one looks at these productions he instinctively feels that a universal beauty runs through them all. Beauty knows no particular age or school. Beauty is never exclusive and provincial; it is inclusive and universal.

So, too, in the field of religion. We are beginning to recognize the substantial unity of all religious faiths. Back of all religions is religion itself. Religion appears in differing types, but they are all expressions of one great impulse to live nobly and to adore the highest.

This universality of religion is recognized by the Alcoholics Anonymous. Their meetings are attended by Catholics, Protestants, Jews, near-agnostics, and near-atheists. There is the utmost tolerance. It seems of no concern to the group with what religious bodies non-church-going members eventually identify themselves; indeed there is no pressure to join any church whatever. What particularly impresses me is the fact that each individual can conceive of the Power-not-himself in whatever terms he pleases.

"Bill" - the writer already quoted in ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS - makes this tolerance clear when he further narrates his conversation with his ex-alcoholic friend:

My friend suggested what then seemed a novel idea. He said, 'Why don't you choose your own conception of God?'

That statement hit me hard. It melted the icy intellectual mountain in whose shadow I had lived and shivered many years. I stood in the sunlight at last.

It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a power greater than myself. Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning. I saw that growth could start from that point. Upon a foundation of complete willingness I might build what I saw in my friend. Would I have it? Of course I would!*

*Alcoholics Anonymous (New York, AAWS, Inc., 1976), p. 12

Perhaps these laymen in Alcoholics Anonymous are laying foundations for a new universal movement in religion. Surely the conventional conceptions of religion have been too narrow. Religion, itself, is far bigger and broader than we thought. It is something we can no more capture through rigid dogmas than we can squeeze all the sunshine in the world through one window.

3. The principle of mutual aid

Consider again the case of Mr. X. When he was being hospitalized eighteen laymen visitors called on him within the brief space of five days. These men were willing to give their valuable time in trying to help a man they had never seen before. To Mr. X they related their own dramatic experiences in being saved from slavery to alcohol, and offered their assistance. Upon leaving the hospital Mr. X began attending the weekly meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. (editor's note- these were actually meetings of the Oxford Group as Alcoholics Anonymous was not officially named in 1938)

Before long he was following the example of the men who had so generously given him of their help. From what I know of the practices of these members of Alcoholics Anonymous, I feel quite confident that Mr. X this very day is using virtually every hour of his spare time to assist other victims in getting on their feet.

As he said to me recently, "Only an alcoholic can help an alcoholic. If a victim of chronic alcoholism goes to a doctor, psychiatrist, or a minister, he feels the listener cannot possibly understand what it means to be afflicted with a compulsion psychosis. But when he talks with an ex-alcoholic, who has probably been in a worse fix than himself and has found the way out, he immediately gains a confidence in himself that he hasn't had in years. He says to himself in substance, 'If this fellow has been saved from disaster I can be too'."

The weekly meetings of the Alcoholics Anonymous operate on this same principal of mutual aid. The ex-victims bolster up each other's morale through comradeship. Like ship-wrecked sailors on a raft headed for the shore, the bond that holds them together is the same that they have escaped from a common peril. Upon each newcomer is impressed the necessity of helping other alcoholics obtain the freedom he has attained. They believe they gain strength from expenditure - not expenditure of money, of which most of them have but little, but of themselves. Said one of them to me, "What I have is no good unless I give it away." There are no dues, no fees, just the sheer pleasure and, in this case, moral profit, that comes from helping the other fellow. This mutual aid acts as a sort of endless chain. Mr. A, Mr. B, and Mr. C help Mr. X out of the frightful mess hi is in; then Mr. X turns around and helps Mr. Y and Mr. Z. These in turn help other victims.


My wife and I abandoned ourselves with enthusiasm to the idea of helping other alcoholics to a solution of their problems. It was fortunate, for my old business associates remained skeptical for a year and a half, during which I found little work. I was not too well at the time, and was plagued by waves of self-pity and resentment. This sometimes nearly drove me back to drink. I soon found that when all other measures failed, work with another alcoholic would save the day. Many times I have gone to my old hospital in despair. On talking to a man there, I would be amazingly uplifted and set on my feet. It is a design for living that works in rough going.*

* Alcoholics Anonymous (New York, AAWS, Inc., 1976), p. 15

4. The principle of transformation

During the last half century many able psychologists have turned the searchlight of their investigations on "religious experience." It seems quite clear from these studies that religion consists not primarily in the intellectual acceptance of certain beliefs. It involves even more the transformation of human character. Such transformations have taken place not only in the lives of saints and religious leaders, but in the souls of multitudes of common folk as well. It is a scientific fact that through religious faith people are sometimes suddenly, and sometimes gradually aroused to a new set of interests, are raised from lower to higher levels of existence. Life and its duties take on new meaning, and selfishness (half-conscious often) is displaced by the conscious desire to help other people.

If any human being needs such a transformation, it is the chronic alcoholic. He may not be at the point where he is willing to admit that, but his family and friends are! Alcoholism is a sickness, to be sure, but it is unlike any other malady in certain fundamental aspects. Compare for example, the case of the alcoholic with that of a tubercular patient. Everybody is sorry for the "T.B." and wants to help. He is surrounded by friendliness and love. But in all likelihood, the alcoholic has made a perfect hell of his home and has destroyed his friendships one by one. He has drawn to himself not compassion and love, but misunderstanding, resentment, and hate.

There seems to be every evidence that the Alcoholics Anonymous group has been amazingly successful in bringing about religious transformation. Note how a doctor describes the effect of this technique on one of his patients:

He had lost everything worth while in his life and was only living, one might say, to drink. He frankly admitted and believed that for him there was no hope. Following the elimination of alcohol, there was found to be no permanent brain injury. He accepted the plan outlined in this book (ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS). One year later he called to see me, and I experienced a very strange sensation. I knew this man by name, and partly recognized his features, but there all resemblance ended. From a trembling, despairing, nervous wreck, had emerged a man brimming over with self-reliance and contentment. I talked with him for some time, but was not able to bring myself to feel that I had known him before. To me he was a stranger, and so he left me. More than three years have now passed with no return to alcohol.*

* Alcoholics Anonymous, "The Doctor's Opinion" (New York, AAWS, Inc., 1976), p. xxix

Every member of this movement declares that since he has come to believe in a Power-greater-than-himself a revolutionary change has taken place in his life; even his acquaintances note a marked change. He has radically altered his attitudes and outlooks, his habits of thought. In the face of despair and impending collapse, he has gained a new sense of direction, new power.

I have seen these things with my own eyes. They are convincing, dramatic, moving.

One final word to the members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Go back to your synagogues and churches; they need you and you need them. Preserve your principle of Universality, your faith that all religion is one. Never allow yourselves to be absorbed by any single church or sect. Keep your movement what you call it now, a "layman's outfit." Avoid over-organization for religious organizations always tend to follow the letter rather than the spirit, finally crushing the spirit. Remember that early Christianity was promoted not by highly involved organization, but by the contagion of souls fired with enthusiasm for their cause. And keep your sense of humor! So far you do not seem afflicted with the curse of over-seriousness.

To doctors and psychiatrists I would say; Be skeptical, investigate this movement with an open mind. If you become convinced of their sincerity and the efficacy of their methods, give these men your approval and open support.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS ought to have a wide reading by the general public. For one thing the public ought to learn first hand that the chronic alcoholic is suffering not from a vice, but from a disease; that it is impossible for him to "drink like a gentleman." Moderation for him is out of the question. For him there is no such thing as the single drink. It is one taste, and then the deluge.

Certainly every victim of alcoholism and every friend of victims ought to buy or borrow and read this book, then seek to get in touch with some member of the movement. The writer of this article will be glad to furnish addresses of the Cleveland leaders. Or communicate with Alcoholics Anonymous, Box 658, Church Street Annex, New York City.

List of Appendixes

Table of Contents



A.A. Sponsorship Pamphlet

This is the first pamphlet ever written concerning sponsorship. It was written by Clarence H. Snyder in early 1944. Its original title was to be "A.A. Sponsorship...Its Obligations and Its Responsibilities." It was printed by the Cleveland Central Committee under the title; "A.A. Sponsorship... Its Opportunities and Its Responsibilities."


Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is a potential sponsor of a new member and should clearly recognize the obligations and duties of such responsibility.

The acceptance of an opportunity to take the A.A. plan to a sufferer of alcoholism entails very real and critically important responsibilities. Each member, undertaking the sponsorship of a fellow alcoholic, must remember that he is offering what is frequently the last chance of rehabilitation, sanity or maybe life itself.

Happiness, Health, Security, Sanity and Life of human beings are the things we hold in balance when we sponsor an alcoholic.

No member among us is wise enough to develop a sponsorship program that can be successfully applied in every case. In the following pages, however, we have outlined a suggested procedure, which supplemented by the member's own experience, has proven successful.


No one reaps full benefit from any fellowship he is connected with unless he whole-heartedly engages in its important activities. The expansion of Alcoholics Anonymous to wider fields of greater benefit to more people results directly from the addition of new, worth-while members or associates.

Any A.A. who has not experienced the joys and satisfaction of helping another alcoholic regain his place in life has not yet fully realized the complete benefits of this fellowship.

On the other hand, it must be clearly kept in mind that the only possible reason for bringing an alcoholic into A.A. is for that person's gain. Sponsorship should never be undertaken to -

1. Increase the size of the group

2. For personal satisfaction and glory

3. Because the sponsor feels it his duty to re-make the world

Until an individual has assumed the responsibility of setting a shaking, helpless human being back on the path toward becoming a healthy useful, happy member of society, he has not enjoyed the complete thrill of being an A.A.


Most people have among their own friends and acquaintances someone who would benefit from our teachings. Others have names given to them by their church, by their doctor, by their employer, or by some other member, who cannot make a direct contact.

Because of the wide range of the A.A. activities, the names often come from unusual and unexpected places.

These cases should be contacted as soon as all facts such as: marital status, domestic relations, financial status, drink habits, employment status and others readily obtainable are at hand.


Much time and effort can be saved by learning as soon as possible if -

1. The man* really has a drinking problem?

2. Does he know he has a problem?

3. Does he want to do something about his drinking?

4. Does he want help?

*The masculine form is used throughout for simplicity, although it is intended to include women as well.

Sometimes the answers to these questions cannot be made until the prospect has had some A.A. instruction, and an opportunity to think. Often we are given names, which upon investigation, show the prospect is in no sense an alcoholic, or is satisfied with his present plan of living. We should not hesitate to drop these names from our lists. Be sure, however, to let the man know where he can reach us at a later date.


A.A. is a fellowship of men and women bound together by their inability to use alcohol in any form sensibly, or with profit or pleasure. Obviously, any new members introduced should be the same kind of people, suffering from the same disease.

Most people can drink reasonably, but we are only interested in those who cannot. Party drinkers, social drinkers, celebrators, and others who continue to have more pleasure than pain from their drinking, are of no interest to us.

In some instances an individual might believe himself to be a social drinker when he definitely is an alcoholic. In many such cases more time must pass before that person is ready to accept our program. Rushing such a man before he is ready might ruin his chances of ever becoming a successful A.A.. Do not ever deny future help by pushing too hard in the beginning.

Some people, although definitely alcoholic, have no desire or ambition to better their way of living, and until they do........ A.A. has nothing to offer them.

Experience has shown that age, intelligence, education, background, or the amount of liquor drunk, has little, if any, bearing on whether or not the person is an alcoholic.


In many cases a man's physical condition is such that he should be placed in a hospital, if at all possible. Many A.A. members believe hospitalization, with ample time for the prospect to think and plan his future, free from domestic and business worries, offers distinct advantage. In many cases the hospitalization period marks the beginning of a new life. Other members are equally confident that any man who desires to learn the A.A. plan for living can do it in his own home or while engaged in normal occupation. Thousands of cases are treated in each manner and have proved satisfactory.


The following paragraphs outline a suggested procedure for presenting the A.A. plan to the prospect, at home or in the hospital.


1. In calling upon a new prospect, it has been found best to qualify oneself as an ordinary person who has found happiness, contentment, and peace of mind through A.A.

Immediately make it clear to the prospect that you are a person engaged in the routine business of earning a living. Tell him your only reason for believing yourself able to help him is because you yourself are an alcoholic and have had experiences and problems that might be similar to his.


2. Many members have found it desirable to launch immediately into their personal drinking story, as a means of getting the confidence and whole-hearted co-operation of the prospect.

It is important in telling the story of your drinking life to tell it in a manner that will describe an alcoholic, rather than a series of humorous drunken parties. this will enable the man to get a clear picture of an alcoholic which should help him to more definitely decide whether he is an alcoholic.


3. In many instances the prospect will have tried various means of controlling his drinking, including hobbies, church, changes of residence, change of associations, and various control plans. These will, of course, have been unsuccessful. Point out your series of unsuccessful efforts to control drinking...their absolute fruitless results and yet that you were able to stop drinking through application of A.A. principles. This will encourage the prospect to look forward with confidence to sobriety in A.A. in spite of the many past failures he might have had with other plans.


4. Tell the prospect frankly that he can not quickly understand all the benefits that are coming to him through A.A.. Tell him of the happiness, peace of mind, health, and in many cases, material benefits which are possible through understanding and application of the A.A. way of life.


5. Explain the necessity of reading and re-reading the A.A. book. Point out that this book gives a detailed description of the A.A. tools and the suggested methods of application of these tools to build a foundation of rehabilitation for living. This is a good time to emphasize the importance of the twelve steps and the four absolutes.


6. Convey to the prospect that the objectives of A.A. are to provide the ways and means for an alcoholic to regain his normal place in life. Desire, patience, faith, study and application are most important in determining each individual's plan of action in gaining full benefits of A.A.


7. Since the belief of a Power greater than oneself is the heart of the A.A. plan, and since this idea is very often difficult for a new man, the sponsor should attempt to introduce the beginnings of an understanding of this all-important feature.

Frequently this can be done by the sponsor relating his own difficulty in grasping a spiritual understanding and the methods he used to overcome his difficulties.


8. While talking to the newcomer, take time to listen and study his reactions in order that you can present your information in a more effective manner. let him talk too. remember... Easy Does It.


9. To give the new member a broad and complete picture of A.A., the sponsor should take him to various meetings within convenient distance of his home. Attending several meetings gives a new man a chance to select a group in which he will be most happy and comfortable, and it is extremely important to let the prospect make his own decision as to which group he will join. Impress upon him that he is always welcome at any meeting and can change his home group if he so wishes.


10. A successful sponsor takes pains and makes any required effort to make certain that those people closest and with the greatest interest in their prospect (mother, father, wife, etc.) are fully informed of A.A., its principles and its objectives. The sponsor sees that these people are invited to meetings, and keeps them in touch with the current situation regarding the prospect at all times.


11. A prospect will gain more benefit from a hospitalization period if the sponsor describes the experience and helps him anticipate it, paving the way for those members who will call on him.


These suggestions for sponsoring a new man in A.A. teachings are by no means complete. They are intended only for a framework and general guide. Each individual case is different and should be treated as such. Additional information for sponsoring a new man can be obtained from the experience of older men in the work. A co-sponsor, with an experienced and newer member working on a prospect, has proven very satisfactory.

Before undertaking the responsibility of sponsoring, a member should make certain that he is able and prepared to give the time, effort, and thought such an obligation entails. It might be that he will want to select a co-sponsor to share the responsibility, or he might feel it necessary to ask another to assume the responsibility for the man he has located.


*These headings were not in the original draft for this pamphlet. They were added for the first, and subsequent printings.

List of Appendixes

Table of Contents




Written by Clarence H. Snyder, January 1972

Alcoholics Anonymous is not a "booze cure" or a psychological means of controlling one's excessive or obsessive drinking. A.A. is a program, a life changing program, and, in a great part, we owe our inception as a fellowship to our origin in the Oxford Group movement during the mid 1930's.

The Oxford Group was designed as a Life Changing program- and we in A.A. have for our own uses and affiliation, modified their program, chiefly by designing our twelve step program in a manner that the alcoholic who feels he needs and wants a change from what they are experiencing, can comfortably accept and apply the program and thereby change their life.

To do so, requires certain attitudes, willingness, and acts on our parts.

We have simplified the program, in the feeling that any alcoholic with an alcohol problem, can live a life free of the obsession to drink.

Our program of the twelve steps is really accepted in four distinct phases, as follows:

1) Need (admission)

2) Surrender (submission)

3) Restitution

4) Construction and Maintenance

Phase #1 - Is covered in Step 1- "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable" - this step points out phase 1- or our own need - there is a need for a change!

Phase #2 - Includes the 2nd through the 7th steps which constitutes the phase of submission.

Step#2 - "We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." Since we could not manage our own lives, of ourselves, we found ourselves to be powerless over alcohol, we were encouraged by the power of example of someone or some others to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. In this step, we have the "proof of the pudding" before we are asked to eat it!! Others tell us of their experiences and share their deepest feelings with us and those members are alcoholics such as we are, and there they stand, sober, clean-eyed, useful, confident and with a certain radiance we envy and really want for ourselves. So, we WANT to believe it! Of course, some persons could conceivably be a bit more startled at first by the reference to "being restored to sanity," but most of us finally conclude that in hearing of some of the experiences our new friends had during their drinking careers were anything but the actions of a rational person, and when we reflect upon our own actions and deeds prior to our own introduction to A.A., it is not difficult to recognize that we too, were pretty well out in left field also! In fact, most of us are happy in the feeling that we were not really responsible for many of our past unpleasant and embarrassing situations and frankly, this step does much to relieve our feelings of guilt and self-condemnation.

Step #3 - "We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God..."

Now here is the step which separates the men from the boys (or the women from the girls) - this is the step which tells the story as to whether we are going to be in A.A., or around A.A. Yes, we can attend meetings, visit the clubs, attend the social functions, but, unless we really take step #3, we are continuing to make up our own program. Since our entire program is based upon dependence upon God and our lives are to be directed by Him! So, here we are, making a decision which in itself is quite an accomplishment for the alcoholic, since they are one of the most indecisive creatures in society, due to their incapacity to manage their own life due to their obsession- But- to make a decision to turn our life and our will over to the care of God- this creature in the far blue yonder, whom we have little acquaintance with and probably much fear of, this is really asking very, very much of an alcoholic! Rest assured, that if they are not ready, if they have not reached their "bottom" or extremity, and if they are not really "hurting more than they ever have," they are not about to take step #3. So - they go pretty much on their own as usual, except that they do have the advantage of better company than they had been associating with and this in time, could really foul up any type of drinking life they may have in the future! Another important feature enters here, in that they know now that there is a way out of their dilemma and this is bound to "work" on them as time goes on, if they have any pride at all in themselves! At this point - their biggest problem is to overcome FEAR and "Let go and let God."

Step #4 - "Made a searching and fearless Moral inventory of ourselves."

This is a step which should be taken with the assistance of a sponsor, or counselor who is well experienced in this changed life - due to the capacity of the alcoholic to find justification for about anything - a sponsor can bring up through sharing - many various moral weaknesses which need attention in their life and can smooth the way for the alcoholic to examine them in a frank fashion. The next step suggests that someone is helping with step #4 - since it reads as follows:

Step #5 - "Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact NATURE of our wrongs."

We put ourselves on record and leave no options nor reservations! Note that it states, NATURE of our wrongs- not the wrongs themselves! We are not required to narrate details of our many indiscretions. Many of them we don't even remember, nor are conscious of. This is not a laundry for dirty linen, this is recognition of character defects which need elimination or adjustments!

Step #6 - "Were entirely ready to have God remove ALL these defects of character."

This step allows for no reservations. The alcoholic, being an extremist must go the whole route. We are not a bit ready, or about to be ready, but entirely ready to have God, not us, remove ALL these defects of character, (the interesting ones as well as the more damnable ones!).

Step #7 - "Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings."

We tried to make no deal, as we did in the past when situations would overwhelm us. It was common to say- "Dear God, get me out of this mess and I will be a good boy (or girl), I will not do thus and such, etc., etc., etc.,... " NONE OF THAT! We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. The Good Book assures us that anything we ask believing, we shall receive!

Step #8 - Begins our phase #3- that of restitution. So now we have admission in Step #1, Submission, Steps #2 through #7. Now for the Restitution in Steps #8 and #9.

Step #8 - "Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. Steps 8 and 9 should also be taken with the assistance of a knowledgeable sponsor or a counselor, since in our present state of impatience with almost complete lack of judgement, we could conceivably cause much harm in executing this phase of the program.

Most of us probably have persons on that list whom we just do not want to have any contact with. The step states plainly - ALL persons we had harmed! Obviously some of these persons are not available, having passed on, or disappeared etc., so we must ask God to handle those details. But step #9 states - "Made direct amends Whenever Possible except when to do so would injure them or others." We cannot and should not try to clear our slate or conscience at the expense of any others. This phase is very important and it eliminates the possibility of carrying over some details into our new life that could consciously come back to haunt or harm us in our new life. We are going into a new life, and we should "Let the dead bury the dead."

Now that we have taken 9 steps !!! We have concluded 3 phases of our program. These 9 steps we have accomplished - so - FORGET THEM!!! They have required action and you have taken the action, so there is no need of repeating it! There are only two occasions when one must refer back to the first nine steps, #1- is in the event that the person "resigns and resumes," obviously they must start all over again! The other occasion when we may refer to the first nine steps is when we are trying to explain them to a new member and helping them with them.

So, now we have our last phase, that of Construction - Steps 10-11- and 12. With these steps, we construct our life, these are our living steps. We no longer must be concerned with 12 steps- ONLY 3 STEPS!! How simple, how wonderful!!

Step #10 - "Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it."

This step has absolutely no connection with step #4. Note, in step #4, it calls for a searching and fearless Moral inventory. This step calls for a personal inventory. This step is our daily check on ourselves. This is our check on the small and large and otherwise details of my life TODAY. My simple way of handling step 10 may help someone, since I find that it is most adequate for me, and I prefer to keep things simple and uncomplicated.

At night, after I am in bed, my day is over, I find this is one of my most important prayer times. I think about my day, what have I done, whom I have been with, what has transpired. Sometimes I find that I am not proud of something I have done today, and I owe someone an apology, I do not permit these things to go unattended. I have found that it is not the so-called "big" things which seriously affect the alcoholic in their new life, but the "little" things. They can go on and on and add up and become a real burden and eventually have drastic effects upon our new life. This is the reason for step 10, keep things "cleaned up," keep the walk swept! Maintain a good healthy attitude.

Step #11 - "Sought through Prayer and Meditation, to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."

This is a great step, first, because it brings us into a prayer life. Back in step #3, we made a decision to turn our life and will over to the care of God. In step #11, we receive our orders!! Let us break this step down and discover how it is both simple and profound. We are seeking something, seeking to improve our conscious contact with God. What does that mean? To me it means He is not in the far blue yonder, beyond reach, but right here, close where I can talk to Him and listen to Him (the Bible states that He is closer than hands and feet, and that is most close!). So, I am seeking to make this contact through Prayer and Meditation. What does this mean? To me, Prayer is talking to God, and Meditation is listening to Him! The good Lord endowed us with one mouth and two ears, which should suggest something to us!! We are enjoined- "Be Still" - and that is how we should be while listening! The answers surely will come if we but listen. Now, the step tells us what to pray for.

"Only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out." Since we submitted ourselves and turned our will and life over to the care of God in phase #2- now we ask for His orders and strength to carry them out. We are promised that He will never expect anything from us that He won't give us the power to execute.

Now then, do you see any place in the step thus far to suggest we pray for sobriety? Of course not, and it is absolutely unnecessary - you HAVE sobriety. Thank Him for it - but it is pointless to pray for what you already have The 11th step states very plainly how to pray and what to pray for!!

Step #12 - We have experienced 11 steps and something has happened to us. In fact, something happened at the end of step 9! Step 12 states very plainly - "Having had a Spiritual Experience as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other Alcoholics and to practice these principles in ALL of our affairs."

What is a Spiritual Experience? That is the changed life we have been referring to. That is the change that comes to a person who has turned their will over to the care of God and continues to try and improve themselves, mentally, morally and spiritually. It states that we try to carry this message (not the alcoholic) to alcoholics. We practice these principles of love and service in all our affairs. Not just in A.A. meetings and associations, at home, at business, everywhere! What a blessing this fellowship is. What a great opportunity to love and be loved. Why cheat yourself? We have the prescription, the means of getting well, staying well, growing and best of all, SERVING. Come on in, the water's fine!! Friends are wonderful, the fellowship is distinct and GOD IS GREAT!!

[This was transcribed from Clarence's handwritten copy.]

List of Appendixes

Table of Contents



Hospital Rules

Report of Central and Group Hospital Committee meeting

held at the Women's Hospital October 21st, 1941

The following Group Hospital Committees were present:

Lee Monday Lake Shore

Lee Thursday Brooklyn

Lee Friday Orchard Grove

Windemere Women's

Crawford Berea

Miles Lorain Avenue

Collinwood Men's

Absent: Avon, Parma

The rules were unanimously adopted by all groups represented which a copy is enclosed. It was suggested that the hospital be notified by members of the Central Hospital Committee and necessary printing be furnished by the Central Committee.

It was also suggested that the Hospital Committee of the various groups meet at least once a month to work out better hospitalization for A.A. patients.

The next meeting will be held at 8920 Euclid Avenue, Tuesday, November 18th, 1941 at 8:30 P.M.



H. L. M______________(Chairman)

At a meeting of the Hospital Committee, consisting of representatives from each group, held at 12214 Detroit Avenue on Tuesday, October 21st, 1941, the following rules and regulations were adopted for general use by the Hospitals and the Sanitariums accepting A.A. patients.


1. The sponsor's first action shall be to notify a group hospital committee and to obtain their sanction, before entering a patient, giving full particulars as to the identity and financial responsibility of said patient, and who is to be responsible for payment of bill.

2. It shall be the duty of the sponsor to see that the person who is to be responsible for the payment of the hospital bill has made satisfactory arrangements with them directly or prior to the admittance of the patient.


1. Call a physician immediately.

2. The hospital will make out a complete case history.

3. The hospital will be furnished official A.A. Visitation Record, which must be kept for each patient.

4. No one excepting A.A. members will be permitted to visit patients, except at the discretion of attending physician.

5. No visitors will be permitted after 11:00 P.M.

6. Patient will not be given his street clothes until the last day, except on occasions when sponsor brings him to a meeting. Upon returning from the meeting, clothes are to be taken from the patient.

7. All packages for the patient must be inspected by the person in charge.

8. Hospitals and Sanitariums will not permit more than two men to talk with any one patient at any one time.

9. Patients will not be permitted any outside contact, such as, mail or telephone calls, except through his sponsor.

10. Hospitals will have patients available to visitors at all times, up to 11:00 P.M., except where it conflicts with the Hospital rules.

11. Hospitals and Sanitariums will be used for the purpose for which they are intended, and not as meeting places or club rooms, except at the Women's Hospital.

12. Under no circumstances may a patient in Hospital or Sanitarium be taken to a meeting, without the approval of his sponsor.

13. Wives or husbands of A.A. members will not be permitted to be present, when a patient is being contacted.

14. No hospitals or sanitariums are to make any reference to A.A. in its promotional or publicity programs.


A man or woman who has been sponsored, and has attended at least one A.A. meeting, and then takes a drink, is considered a retrovert, or slipper.


1. When a retro is placed in a hospital, the procedure followed shall be the same as that for the new patients.

2. Retroverts may not be placed in a hospital unless arrangements can be made for their complete isolation from new patients.

3. Except for visitation by sponsor, retroverts will be left completely alone for two days and two nights.

List of Appendixes

Table of Contents




(Adopted by Board of Trustees July meeting 1948)

Including pertinent correspondence relating to this matter.

During the past months the Trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation have made a critical review of problems arising from the phenomenal growth of the A.A. Movement and from the swelling routine activities of the Foundation. In connection with that review the Trustees reached certain conclusions which are set forth below.

Basically the Trustees regard themselves as servants of A.A., first, in performing these secondary tasks which are necessary to support the principal objectives of the individual members of A.A., and secondly, in preserving the stability and integrity of the A.A. Movement. They affirm the aim of the Foundation to limit its organization and activities to the bare essentials required to perform its important but limited duties. The Trustees were also guided by their desire that the Foundation grow as little as possible while the Movement expands boundlessly in its healing mission to all who seek recovery from the ravages of alcohol.

The unanimous conclusion reached by the Trustees is that they can discharge their duties and avoid confusion as to the lines of responsibility affecting the Trustee function and the administrative function in matters of policy and execution by continuing to perform their services as they have heretofore done.

The discussions referred to were likewise fruitful in that they involved a re-examination of first principles, an emergence of a common understanding concerning them and a resolution to adhere to them.

These discussions also indicated that the rapid growth of the A.A. Movement with its attendant problems makes highly desirable a periodic evaluation of ideals and examination of practices lest its spiritual birthright be impaired. The Trustees, therefore, believe it would be of value to older members, and informative to newer members, to set forth at this time the principles which they have reviewed, by which they are guided, and which require repeated reaffirmation; and to restate the function of the Alcoholic Foundation in its relation to the A.A. Movement and its members.

At the outset we must distinguish between the A.A. Movement which is not an organized body and the activities of the Foundation which is an incorporated body dedicated to serving the members of A.A. individually and collectively through its subsidiary facilities.

The Movement is exclusively a spiritual endeavor whose only aim is to attain personal recovery and to carry the message of the way to recovery to others. The Movement is the all-important thing. It is in no sense governed by the Foundation which, in truth, is entirely guided by the Movement.

The Movement is a spiritual entity, comprising in substance the individual members of A.A. and the Groups, in the local activities of which most, but not all, members participate. The precepts of A.A. grew out of experience, the experience of individuals and the experience of Groups. So far, the basic principles of A.A. are reflected, as to personal rehabilitation, in the Twelve Steps to Recovery; as to its relations, in the Twelve Points to Secure Our Future, sometimes called the Twelve Points of Tradition.

The Movement represents a spiritual ideal in process of growth. It can be imperiled by secular problems of money, property and authority. These problems are involved with organization. Development of organizational structure is intimidate to A.A. as a Movement. Organization, therefore, has been and should continue to be kept to a minimum. As the Movement grows the need for Organization diminishes. Most of the problems of relations are coming to be handled by local and regional groups and committees, functioning autonomously, which is as it should be.

The Twelve Points of Tradition developed out of concern for the common welfare of A.A.. They are applicable at all levels: individual, group, regional and central. Among other things the Twelve Points reaffirm out of experience that God alone is our ultimate authority; that we have but one primary purpose-- to carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers; that the principle of Anonymity has primarily a spiritual significance -- to practice a truly humble modesty; that A.A. should remain forever non-professional and that only special services in extraordinary circumstances should be paid for; that the least possible organization is required; that all contributions are to be purely voluntary and the accumulation of excess funds discouraged; and that matters of business, policy, money and property should be separated from the spiritual concerns of A.A. to the extent of delegating such affairs to appropriate instrumentality.

The Alcoholic Foundation is such an instrumentality at the national level. The Trustees (Directors) comprise five non-alcoholics and four alcoholics. The Trustees are subordinate to the Movement; they do not initiate activities nor administer them, nor, in the first instance, deal with questions of "medium" gravity. They do have jurisdiction over matters of large contract and important policy and in all matters they constitute a tribunal of final decision.

The Trustees are primarily custodians of money, policy and tradition. More concretely, they have custody of the funds contributed by Groups and derived from the sale of the book Alcoholics Anonymous and the monthly publication The A.A. Grapevine, although the latter is not yet self-supporting; they maintain a general headquarters office to deal with inquiries from individuals and Groups; they conduct certain necessary business and legal affairs; they endeavor to protect the Movement from objectionable publicity where the problem cannot feasibly be handled at a local level; in general, they strive to safeguard the established tradition and policies derived from the thoughts and experiences of members everywhere.

Again, more concretely, the Trustees feel that they will best safeguard the established tradition of A.A. by seeing to the application of the Twelve Points of Tradition to A.A. activities at their central point, insofar as practicable, in the following respects; compliance in spirit and letter with the principle of Anonymity; rotation in office or position; observance of appropriate standards in compensation of paid workers; limitation of volume and scope of activities at the general headquarters office; and inauguration of a program of gradual decentralization of headquarters activities to the end that the responsibility of "carrying the message" may be gradually assumed by local groups and committees.

Finally, the Trustees feel that in order fully to carry on the duties with which they are charged the independence of the Foundation must be observed in respect of its constituency and its proceedings.

It is the considered judgement of your Trustees that if the A.A. Movement remains unshackled by the fetters of organization and is kept free from the corroding effect of political procedures which stem from over-organization, it will grow in vast numbers and beneficent influence among those who are open to its message.

[This Statement of Principles was transcribed from a copy that was sent to Clarence by Royal S. who was a member of the "Orthodox Movement"]

Appendix H

Appendix I

List of Appendixes

Table of Contents



Clarence's Story in the Big Book from the First Edition


STRANGELY ENOUGH, or by some queer quirk, I became acquainted with the "hilarious life just at the time in my life when I was beginning to really settle down to a common sense, sane, domestic life. My wife became pregnant and the doctor recommended the use of Porter Ale . . . so . . . I bought a six gallon crock and a few bottles, listened to advice from amateur brewmeisters, and was off on my beer manufacturing career on a small scale (for the time being). Somehow or other, I must have misunderstood the doctor's instructions, for I not only made the beer for my wife, I also drank it for her.

As time went on, I found that it was customary to open a few bottles whenever visitors dropped in. That being the case, it didn't take me long to figure out that my meager manufacturing facilities were entirely inadequate to the manufacture of beer for social and domestic consumption. From that point on, I secured crocks of ten gallon capacity and really took quite an active interest in the manufacture of home brew.

We were having card parties with limburger and beer quite regularly. Eventually, of course, what with all the hilarity that could be provoked with a few gallons of beer, there seemed to be no need of bridge or poker playing for entertainment. Well . . . we all know how those things go. The parties waxed more liquid and hilarious as time went on, and eventually I discovered that a little shot of liquor now and then between beers had the tendency to put me in a whacky mood much quicker than having to down several quarts of beer to obtain the same results. The inevitable result of this discovery was that I soon learned that beer made a very good wash for whiskey. That discovery so intrigued me, that I stayed on that diet almost entirely for the balance of my extended drinking career. Yes sir, the old Boilermaker and his Helper. The last day of my drinking career, I drank 22 of them between 10 and 12 A.M. and I shall never know how many more followed them until I was poured into bed that night.

I was getting along fairly well with my party drinking for quite some time however, but eventually I began to visit beer joints in between parties. A night or so a week in a joint, and a party or so a week at home or with friends, along with a little lone drinking, soon had me preparing for the existence of a top flight drunkard.

Three years after I started on my drinking career, I lost my first job. At that time, I was living out of town, so I moved back to the home town and made a connection in a responsible position with one of the larger companies in the finance business. Up to this point I had spent six years in the business and had enjoyed the reputation of being very successful.

My new duties were extremely confining and my liquor consumption began to increase at this time. Upon leaving the office in the evening, my first stop would be a saloon about a block from the office. However, as there happened to be several saloons within that distance, I didn't find it necessary to patronize the same place each evening. It doesn't pay to be seen in the same place at the same hour every day, you know.

The general procedure was to take 4 or 5 shots in the first place I stopped at. This would get me feeling fit, and then I would start for home and fireside, thirteen miles away. Well . . . on the way home numerous places must be passed. If I were alone I would stop at four or five of them, but only one or two in the event I had my mistrusting wife with me.

Eventually I would arrive home for a late supper, for which, of course, I had absolutely no relish. I would make a feeble attempt at eating supper but never met with any howling success. I never enjoyed any meal, but I ate my lunch at noon for two reasons: first, to help get me out of the fog of the night before, and second, to furnish some measure of nourishment. (My enjoyment of meals now is an added feature to the Seven Wonders of the World to me. I can still hardly believe it). Eventually, the noon meal was also dispensed with.

I cannot remember just when I became the victim of insomnia, but I do know that the last year and a half I never went to bed sober a single night. I couldn't sleep. I had a mortal fear of going to bed and tossing all night. Evenings at home were an ordeal. As a result, I would fall off in a drunken stupor every night.

How I was able to discharge my duties at the office during those horrible mornings, I will never be able to explain. Handling customers, dealers, insurance people, dictation, telephoning, directing new employees, answering to superiors, etc. However, it finally caught up with me, and when it did, I was a mental, physical, and nervous wreck.

I arrived at the stage where I couldn't quite make it to the office some mornings. Then I would send an excuse of illness. But the firm became violently ill with my drunkenness and their course of treatment was to remove their ulcer in the form of me from their payroll, amid much fanfare and very personal and slighting remarks and insinuations.

During this time, I had been threatened, beaten, kissed, praised and damned alternately by relatives, family, friends and strangers, but of course it all went for naught. How many times I swore off in the morning and got drunk before sunset I don't know. I was on the toboggan and really making time.

After being fired, I lined up with a new finance company that was just starting in business, and took the position of business promotion man, contacting automobile dealers. WOW . . . was that something??? While working in an office, there was some semblance of restraint, but, oh boy, when I got on the outside with this new company without supervision, did I go to town???

I really worked for several weeks, and having had a fairly wide acquaintance with the dealer trade, it was not difficult for me to line enough of them up to give me a very substantial volume of business with a minimum of effort.

Now I was getting drunk all the time. It wasn't necessary to report to the office in person every day, and when I did go in, it was just to make an appearance and bounce right out again. Was that a merry-go-round for the eight months that it lasted???

Finally this company also became ill and I was once more looking for a job. Then I learned something else. I learned that a person just can't find a job hanging in a dive or barroom all day and all night, as jobs don't seem to turn up in those places. I became convinced of that because I spent most of my time there and nary a job turned up. By this time, my chances of getting lined up in my chosen business were shot. Everyone had my number and wouldn't hire me at any price.

I have omitted details of transgressions that I made when drunk for several reasons. One is that I don't remember too many of them, as I was one of those drunks who could be on his feet and attend a meeting or a party, engage in a conversation with people and do things that any nearly normal person would do, and the next day, not remember a thing about where I was, what I did, who I saw, or how I got home. (That condition was a distinct handicap to me in trying to vindicate myself with the not so patient wife).

I also committed other indiscretions of which I see no particular point in relating. Anyone who is a rummy or is close to rummies knows what all those things amount to without having to be told about them.

Things eventually came to the point where I had no friends. I didn't care to go visiting unless the parties we might visit had plenty of liquor on hand and I could get stinking drunk. Fact is, that I was always well on my way before I would undertake to go visiting at all. (Naturally, this condition was also a source of great delight to my wife).

After holding good positions, making better than average income for over ten years, I was in debt, had no clothes to speak of, no money, no friends, and no one any longer tolerating me but my wife. My son had absolutely no use for me. Even some of the saloon keepers where I had spent so much time and money, requested that I stay away from their places. Finally, an old business acquaintance of mine, whom I hadn't seen for several years offered me a job. I was on that job a month and drunk most of the time.

Just at this time my wife heard of a doctor in another city who had been very successful with drunks. She offered me the alterative of going to see him or her leaving me for good and all. Well . . . I had a job, and I really wanted desperately to stop drinking, but couldn't, so I readily agreed to visit the doctor she recommended.

That was the turning point of my life. My wife accompanied me on my visit and the doctor really told me some things that in my state of jitters nearly knocked me out of the chair. He talked about himself, but I was sure it was me. He mentioned lies, deceptions, etc. in the course of his story in the presence of the one person in the world I wouldn't want to know such things. How did he know all this? I had never seen him before, and at the time he hoped to hell I would never see him again. However, he explained to me that he had been just such a rummy as I, only for a much longer period of time.

He advised me to enter the particular hospital to which staff he was connected and I readily agreed. In all honesty though, I was skeptical, but I wanted so definitely to quit drinking that I would have welcomed any sort of physical torture or pain to accomplish the result.

I made arrangements to enter the hospital three days later and promptly went out and got stiff for three days. It was with grim foreboding and advanced jitters that I checked in at the hospital. Of course, I had no hint or intimation as to what the treatment was to consist of. Was I to be surprised!

After being in the hospital for several days, a plan of living was outlined to me. A very simple plan that I find much joy and happiness in following. It is impossible to put on paper all the benefits I have derived . . . physical, mental, domestic, spiritual, and monetary.

This is no idle talk. It is the truth.

From a physical standpoint, I gained 16 pounds in the first two months I was off liquor. I eat three good meals a day now, and really enjoy them. I sleep like a baby, and never give a thought to such a thing as insomnia. I feel as I did when I was fifteen years younger.

Mentally . . . I know where I was last night, the night before, and the nights before that. Also, I have no fear of anything. I have self confidence and assurance that cannot be confused with the cockeyness or noise-making I once possessed. I can think clearly and am helped much in my thinking and judgment by my spiritual development which grows daily.

From a domestic standpoint, we really have a home now. I am anxious to get home after dark. My wife is ever glad to see me come in. My youngster has adopted me. Our home is always full of friends and visitors (No home brew as an inducement).

Spiritually . . . I have found a Friend who never lets me down and is ever eager to help. I can actually take my problems to Him and He does give me comfort, peace, and radiant happiness.

From a monetary standpoint . . . in the past nine months, I have reduced my reckless debts to almost nothing, and have had money to get along comfortably. I still have my job, and just prior to the writing of this narrative, I received an advancement.

For all of these blessings, I thank Him.

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Alcoholics Anonymous. Newark, Works Publishing Company; 1938 (Manuscript) 

Alcoholics Anonymous. New York, Works Publishing Company; 1939

Alcoholics Anonymous. New York, Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing, Inc.; 1955

Alcoholics Anonymous. New York, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.; 1975

AA. New York, The Alcoholic Foundation; 1940 (Pamphlet)

A.A. Tradition - How It Developed. New York, The Alcoholic Foundation; 1947

AA Today - 25. New York, AA Grapevine, Inc.;1960

Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age - A Brief History Of A.A. New York, Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing, Inc.; 1957

Alexander, Jack. "Alcoholics Anonymous: Freed Slaves of Drink, Now They Free Others." The Saturday Evening Post; March 1, 1941

Allen, James. As A Man Thinketh. Toronto, The Musson Book Co., Ltd.; ND

Begbie, Harold. Twice Born Men - A Clinic In Regeneration. New York, Fleming H. Revell Company; 1909

.................. Life Changers (More Twice Born Men). New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons; 1927

Behanna, Gertrude. The Late Liz - The Autobiography of an Ex-Pagan. New York, Meredith Press; 1968 (Revised)

Buchman, Frank, N.D. Remaking The World. London, Blanford Press; 1961

B. Dick. Anne Smith's Spiritual Workbook. Seattle, Glen Abbey Books;1992

........... The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous. Seattle, Glen Abbey Books; 1992

........... The Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous. Seattle, Glen Abbey Books; 1992

Chambers, Francis T.,Jr. as told to Gretta Palmer. "The Unhappy Drinker." The Saturday Evening Post; 1/15/38

Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost For His Highest. New York, Dodd, Mead & Company, Inc.; 1935

Clark, Glenn. I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes. New York, Harper & Brothers; 1937

Cleveland Central Bulletin. Cleveland, Cleveland Central Committee, Volumes I - XII (1942 - 1955)

Darrah, Mary C. Sister Ignatia, Angel of Alcoholics Anonymous. Chicago, Loyola University Press; 1992

Foot, Stephen. Life Began Yesterday. New York, Harper & Brothers; 1935

Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Meaning of Service. New York, Association Press; 1927

Fox, Emmet. The Sermon on the Mount. New York, Harper & Brothers Publishers; 7th Edition

Harris, Irving. The Breeze of the Spirit - Sam Shoemaker and the Story of Faith-At-Work. New York, Seabury Press; 1978

Howard, Peter. Ideas Have Legs. New York, Coward-McCann, Inc.; 1946

....................... The World Rebuilt - The True Story of Frank Buchman and the Achievements of Moral Re-Armament. New York, Duell, Sloan and Pearce; 1951

...................... Frank Buchman's Secret. New York, Doubleday and Company, Inc. ; 1961

James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience. New York, Longmans Green and Company; 1909

....................... Habit. New York, Henry Holt and Company; 1914

Kagawa, Toyohiko. The Religion of Jesus and Love The Law Of Life. Philadelphia, The John C. Winston Company; 1931

Kurtz, Ernest. Not-God - A History of Alcoholics Anonymous. Center City, Hazelden Educational Services; 1979

.................... AA - The Story. San Francisco, Harper/Hazelden; 1988

.................... & Ketcham, Katherine. The Spirituality of Imperfection - Modern Wisdom From Classic Stories. New York, Bantam Books; 1992

The Layman With A Notebook. What Is The Oxford Group? New York, Oxford University Press; 1933

London, Jack. John Barleycorn. New York, Grosset & Dunlap Publishers; 1913

Moffatt, James. A New Translation of the Bible. New York, Harper & Brothers Publishers; 1935

....................... The New Testament. A New Translation Together With The Authorized Version in Parallel Columns. New York, Harper & Brothers Publishers; 1935

Patterson, Bonnie. From Hell To Here - The True Story of an Alcoholic. Boston, The Christopher Publishing House; 1963

Peabody, Richard R. The Common Sense Of Drinking. Boston, Little, Brown, And Company; 1931

Pfau, Ralph, Hirschberg, Al. Prodigal Shepherd. New York, J.B. Lippincott Company; 1958

Pittman, Bill. AA - The Way It Began. Seattle, Glen Abbey Books; 1988

Russell, A.J. For Sinners Only. London, Hodder and Stoughton; 1937

Seliger, Robert V. Alcoholics Are Sick People. Baltimore, Alcoholism Publications; 1945

Towns, Charles B. Habits That Handicap - The Menace of Opium, Alcohol, and Tobacco, and the Remedy. New York, The Century Co.; 1916

Weatherhead, Leslie D. Discipleship. New York, The Abingdon Press; 1934

Williamson, Geoffrey. Inside Buchmanism, An Independent Inquiry Into The Oxford Group Movement and Moral Re-Armament. New York, Philosophical Library; 1955

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SN 1940/006 Radio Address signed by CHS 1940, Box 1638 Station "C" Cleveland, Oh.

What is alcoholism? What is an alcoholic? What is being accomplished?

We have nothing to sell, our fellowship has no dues, officers or paid directors. Our interest in fellow alcoholics is purely from a humanitarian standpoint, with no mercenary motives whatsoever. Many people have hobbies of collecting stamps, coins and various objects of interest to them. Our hobby happens to be the rehabilitation of hopeless alcoholics.

SN 1940/007 Radio Address by CHS "Used at civic and church group meetings."

Here is an outline of our program --

The prospective member is introduced to our fellowship. His qualifications are considered and if he qualifies, his sponsor then gains his confidence by relating experiences of his own drinking days as evidence that he has been there as well so to speak and is qualified as an expert in alcoholism through his own particular experience. The sponsor is a member of a group, who takes the responsibility of teaching and guiding the new member. His duties are many and varied and very important. It is he to whom the new member looks first for all his immediate needs.

Letter re: black member request SN 1940/023

Mr. And Mrs. Chas. H. Snyder

1571 Winchester Rd.

Lyndhurst, Oh


Dear Friends,

Dr. Lupton informed me how very active you are in "Alcoholics Anonymous," and you were so kind as to put a very appropriate worker in touch with one of my friends who was in need of acquaintance with "Alcoholics Anonymous" almost a year ago. So again I come to you.

In this case it is at the request of a sweet voiced woman, whose husband is my own husband's legal client. I believe Mr. King is a mail carrier. Mrs. King has told me he is a negro and also spanish descent, with above the average in desirable boyhood environment. They have been a long time married, have no children, and it would seem that both husband and wife would never cease to be grateful if "Alcoholics Anonymous" could meet their need. It is probable Mrs. King, as in most cases, would rather her husband did not know that she is the one who has tried to instigate the work to be done. I do hope also that you have one or more high type colored workers. The Kings are listed in the phone book LO 1507, address 3346 East 134th Street. Thank you for anything at all that you can do for them.

Very sincerely yours,

Signed- Romaine (Mrs. H.F.) Hamilton

(Member of Dr. Lupton's Church)

Stationery: H. Franklin Hamilton, 817 Public Square Building, Licensed Real Estate Broker

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The research and writing of this book took over 11 years to complete. Several resources were utilized in its production. Resources of the following Archival Centers and private collections were used:

Archives at the General Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous, NYC

Archives at the Stepping Stones Foundation, Bedford Hills, NY

Archives at the Cleveland Central Office of Alcoholics Anonymous, Cleveland, OH

Archives at Dr. Bob's Home (Founders Foundation), Akron, OH

The Rockefeller Archives, North Tarrytown, NY

Private Archival Collections and Repositories. Most notably, these are:

The collection of Charlie Bishop, Jr. in Wheeling, W VA

The collection of Merton M. in Summit, NJ

The collection of Wally P. in Phoenix, AZ

The collection of Danny Whitmore and Denise Kline-Whitmore in Lancaster, CA

The Clarence H. Snyder Memorial Archival Collection, part of which was given to the author by Clarence H. Snyder. Also included is the archival collection of the author. This collection consists, in part, of the following:

Several hundred pieces of early correspondence from early prospective members and/or their families, friends of the fellowship, and early members covering over 30 states and beginning in the late 1930's through the mid- 1980's, some of whom include:

T.E. Borton, Margaret B., Jim B., Warren C., Grace Cultice, Harry D., Norman C.E., Emmet Fox, Samuel F. G., Leonard V. Harrison, Ruth Hock, Bill V.H., Rev. Dilworth Lupton, Irwin M., Dorothy S.M., Henry G. P., Charles S., Carl S., Doherty S., Royal S., Henrietta Seiberling, Dr. Bob Smith, Anne Smith, Selma Snyder, Arch T., Glen W., Bill Wilson, and Roy Y.

Original Cleveland, OH. Group histories compiled by Norman C.E. - Recording Statistician of the Cleveland Central Committee. These were filled out by the original group secretaries between April - June 1942 and constitute the history of the first 29 groups in Cleveland, OH.

Approximately 100 historical documents relating to the Cleveland Central Committee and its predecessor, the AA Association. These documents include committee minutes, bulletins to all groups, and correspondence.

The first twelve year's issues of the Cleveland Central Bulletin, AA's first newsletter. This includes correspondence from Harry D., one of the first co-editors of the Bulletin.

Over 100 early Cleveland area meeting rosters showing member's names, addresses and phone numbers. The earliest roster in the collection is a typed listing from the late summer of 1939 from the original Cleveland Group ( The G. Group). The list includes Warren C., Abby G., Dr. R.H. Smith, and Clarence H. Snyder.

Over 100 pamphlets from the original "AA" pamphlet of 1940 through to the early 1980's. The collection includes several early Cleveland pamphlets, Washington, D.C. pamphlets from the mid- 1940's, and the early Akron AA pamphlets.

Over 300 books. Included are several printing's of the First Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous. All 16 printing's of the Second Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous. Approximately 30 printing's of the Third Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous. A copy of Clarence's copy of the Original Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous. A Harper's First Edition of Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, as well as many other AA publications. Also Included are most of the early spiritual books read by the early AA members. Some authors of these books include: James Allen, T.S. Arthur, Harold Begbie, Lewis Browne, Frank N.D. Buchman, Oswald Chambers, Glenn Clark, Henry Drummond, Stephen Foot, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Emmet Fox, E. Stanley Jones, V.C. Kitchen, A.J. Russell, Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, and Robert E. Speer. Also included are several of the more recent books relating to AA's history, both "Conference Approved," and non-conference approved.

Correspondence and materials relating to the first unofficial "International" AA convention held in Cleveland in 1945 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the founding of AA. There were over 3400 members in attendance from more than 30 states and Canada. Also included is material relating to the first official "International" convention in Cleveland and several other of the subsequent Internationals.

Over 30 pieces of correspondence and materials relating to the "Orthodox Movement" of the early 1950's. These include letters from Bill V.H., Henrietta Seiberling, and Royal S.

The collection also includes several hundred flyers, cards, and other early memorabilia relating to the growth of AA. Also Included are several early magazines such as Liberty, Life, and The Saturday Evening Post with articles about the Oxford Group and AA.

Over 100 early photographs of Clarence, and most of the original writers of the Big Book.

Over 400 audio cassette tapes. These include several of the people whose stories are included in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, leads from around the United States and abroad, archival interviews, and early friends of the AA movement. Approximately 100 of these tapes are of Clarence's leads, and archival interviews.

Approximately 50 newspaper clippings with articles relating to Alcoholics Anonymous dating back to 1940.

Over 50 pages of Clarence's handwritten notes for talks he gave to AA groups, civic and social organizations. These date from the early 1940's.

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