Volume V Number 1 May/June, 1998
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"Shoemaker, stick to thy last!" "Our common welfare should come first ..."

Table of Contents for This Issue

  1. Newsletter Committee Meetings
  4. About the Fourth Edition
  7. More About a Fourth Edition
  8. The German Situation
  10. Getting in Touch with OPPF

OPPF Newsletter Meetings

Since some of the opinions printed in OPPF may be of a controversial nature and since full names are used [but edited out in the web edition], in accordance with our Tenth and Eleventh Traditions all views expressed in this publication are confidential and not for quotation outside the Fellowship.

Our next business meeting will be Sunday, June 28, 1997, at Dupars Restaurant, 75 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., (near Moorpark Rd.) in Thousand Oaks, CA. The meeting will start at 10:00 AM.

Membership in the OPPF Newsletter Committee (Back to Basics) is open to all active members of the Fellowship who attend. We invite your support and participation!

Jim H., Editor

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After a series of curses and blessings, we are back producing the newsletter again. I had a disk crash wherein all the data for OPPF, including the mailing list, was lost. A friend and reader paid to have the data retrieved, so we got the mailing list back, although some other data was not recoverable.

I then upgraded my system and spent a couple of weeks trying to get things to work again. I'm now about 95% operational, so the newsletter can begin again.

Thanks to all of you who wrote and phoned your concern about not receiving your newsletters. It is heartening to know that it was missed by so many of you. We are trying to insure that some future mishap won't cause an equal amount of damage in the future.

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Since last we wrote we have managed to get our web site up and running with a few back issues of OPPF. Although we have many more issues to go, we have made a beginning.

http://aabbsg.de/oppf is now a repository for past issues of the newsletter, as well as an additional outlet for it. As each issue is published and mailed out, an electronic version is also e-mailed out. Now there will be an internet version as well.

The chief difference between the internet version and the others is that full names are not published in the web version.

We are visited by a couple of dozen people every day, so it does seem to be an efficient way to communicate our message and information. We have been visited by more than a thousand people from around the world, including Australia, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the Virgin Islands.

We have attempted to preserve anonymity by introducing a simple quiz to gain entry to the "members only" section of the web site. So far, the device seems to be effective. We have about twice as many visitors to the "public meeting" as we do to the "members only" section.

The other major difference in the web version is that we can offer "hyperlinks" to materials that document many of the topics to which we make reference in our articles. Thus the web version is not only a repository of past OPPF articles, but it is also a research edition, offering rich sources of background materials for our articles.

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About the Fourth Edition

The publication of the Fourth Edition of the Big Book is an all but accomplished fact now. The following excerpts from the November 1997, and March 1998, newsletter Harbor Light (Long Beach Central Office) put the matter directly:

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A number of people have asked why the General Service Conference in New York this year decided to go ahead with a fourth edition of the Big Book.

Didn't we just take a survey of the membership and decide that there was no real need for a fourth edition?

Well, it appears that the folks in New York want a new edition of the Big Book, regardless of what the membership says.

As early as the 1993 conference it was stated that -- "Because of strong sentiment against any changes in the first 164 pages of the Big Book, the request to rewrite the first three chapters of the Big Book not be implemented" (Conf. Report, pg. 14).

Then at the 1994 Conference, the Literature Committee in regard to the Big Book, indicated that an, "Area request for a fourth edition was forwarded to the Conference Literature committee, with the suggestion that more information be gathered on need and interest from the Fellowship", (Conf. Report, pg. 33).

So, way back in 1993-94, there was a questionnaire sent out asking for a group conscience regarding whether a fourth edition should be developed. The general consensus throughout the country was that there was no need for a new edition.

Next, at the 1995 Conference, the Literature Committee reviewed the report "Should there be a fourth edition of the Big Book, A report on Area Response" and concluded there was no need to publish a Fourth Edition of the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, at this time.

Why then, at the 1996 Conference, did the Trustees' Literature Committee ... (3) [forward] the draft outline of proposed content of a Fourth Edition of the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous ... to the Conference Literature Committee for feedback and further guidance on how to proceed, (Conf. Report, pg. 43).

Then, in a preliminary report from the 1997 Conference, the Literature Committee recommended that ... "A draft Fourth Edition of the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, be developed and a progress report be brought to the 1998 Conference Literature Committee. ... "

And, finally, the Quarterly Report from G.S.O. August 1997, we are told that, "a subcommittee on the Fourth Edition of the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, was appointed. The subcommittee chairperson noted that the two meetings, to be held before the next full meeting, would discuss the process to be followed and that approach will be brought back to the Trustees' Literature Committee in November.

Why is the Trustees' Literature Committee so anxious to publish another edition?

Since "Our leaders are but trusted servants," perhaps it would be more appropriate to conduct another survey of the membership before they go to the expense of publishing a book for which there is no real need?

So, it is up to you, the membership of Alcoholics Anonymous to let your G.S.R. and your Delegate to the 1998 World Services Conference know how you feel about a fourth edition being published at this time.

Or contact World Services in New York at, Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, N.Y. 10163.

Neil E., Long Beach

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Last November this newsletter carried an article "Why Another Edition of the Big Book"?

Since then I have received letters from some folks locally, agreeing that there is no need for another edition at this time.

I have also received a letter and a couple of phone calls from New York. Basically, they are saying that the request came from Regional Forums, delegates and other A.A. members, affirming that they wanted a Fourth Edition.

They continue to assure me that there will be no progress on publishing the new edition without input from the Groups (I assume this means the Delegates).

You'd better let your Delegate know how you feel on this issue, or better yet, write to the Literature Coordinator at BOX 4-5-9 in New York. His name is Doug R., a real nice guy and he's interested in knowing how the members feel about it.

I also found it interesting that when Doug wrote me, he included an informal "History of Preparation and Publication of the First, Second and Third Editions of the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous.

The information is informative; there is a copy on file at the Central Office if anyone is interested.

The part I found most interesting was the last two pages where the "History" included a discussion about what has transpired since the 1994 Trustee's Literature Committee suggested a letter be sent to all delegates seeking input on a possible 4th Edition.

It talked about what transpired at the Conferences in 1995, 1996 and 1997. It even states that a publication of the stories dropped from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Editions should be developed with the 4th Edition.

Do you suppose the Trustee's Literature committee wants a 4th Edition?

Do you suppose there will be any discussion regarding whether or not there should be a Fourth Edition?

Do you suppose you have any voice in the decision?

Obviously, there is going to be a Fourth Edition of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

They are already writing "The History of the Preparation and Publication of the Fourth Edition."

Neil E., Long Beach, CA

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More About a Fourth Edition

I had an opportunity to talk with a member of the General Service Board not long ago. The official word is that there is strong support for a 4th edition at the level of area assemblies.

The membership clearly wants a Fourth Edition that will more adequately reflect the membership of A.A. as it is today. My comment that the membership of today doesn't adequately reflect alcoholics wasn't taken seriously.

Jim H., Editor

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The German Situation

Since we last published the newsletter, the German GSO has gone ahead with its lawsuit against a German A.A. member who has printed the Big Book in several languages, including German, and given it away free.

This action, which is personally punitive, has not been opposed or in any way hindered or discouraged by our own General Service Office. New York, in fact, seems to have encouraged the legal pursuit of individual A.A. members.

The legal persecution didn't confine itself to the matter of the copyright/license allegations, but also probed for possible income tax improprieties on the part of the individual involved. To no avail, we might note.

One version of a tendered "agreement" says, in effect, that the suit would be dropped if the member will stop publishing the Big Book AND will never again touch one or give or sell one! That means that the member would agree not to hand a Big Book to a newcomer or anyone else who might be looking for a solution to his alcoholic dilemma.

Is this really the way we want to carry the message?

More information about the history of this case can be found online at the web site, http://aagso.org

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Even though the newsletter was not produced recently, expenses have continued, especially with regard to the web site.

As a result, our prudent reserve has been depleted and I have been paying for the operation out of my own shallow pockets. In accordance with our Seventh Tradition, contributions will be gratefully accepted.

And thanks to those of you who have contributed during the hiatus of the past few months.


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  All of the following information is obsolete and is no longer valid  

Please write and send contributions to: (address and payment information outdated since 2001!)

P. O. Box 6656
Thousand Oaks, CA 91359-6656
or e-mail:

For voluntary contributions according to our 7th tradition please make checks payable to: Back to Basics

Thank you for your support!

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Updated: 3 September 1998