Taking, Believing, and Understanding the Twelve Steps

Why Take Them Before You Know What the A.A. Cofounders Said about Them?

Both Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, the cofounders of A.A., spoke explicitly on where the 12 Steps came from. In sum, they stated that the basic ideas came from: (1) the Bible; (2) Dr. William D. Silkworth; (3) Professor William James; and (4) Reverend Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr.

As we will see in this article, that is not the whole story. But here's what A.A.'s cofounders said:

In his last major address to AAs, delivered in Detroit in 1948, A.A. cofounder Dr. Bob stated:

When we started in on Bill D., we had no Twelve Steps . . . we had no Traditions. But we were convinced that the answer to our problems was in the Good Book. To some of us older ones, the parts that we found absolutely essential were the Sermon on the Mount, the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, and the Book of James. [The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches: Their Last Major Talks (NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1972, 1975), 13.]

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Copyright by Richard G. Burns, J.D.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Dick B. was a writer, historian, retired attorney, Bible student,
CDAAC, and an active and recovered member of the A.A. fellowship.
He had more than 29 years of continuous sober and clean time in
Alcoholics Anonymous; having sponsored more than 100 men in their
sobriety; and published 46 books, more than 1,750 articles, audios,
and videos on the roles God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible
played in early A.A.'s astonishing success of AA and on the Christian recovery movement
Contact his son Ken
PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837

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