Biblical Roots of the 12 Steps: Cured

By Terry D.       Part 1 | Part 2

Finally, my questions have been answered. For years now, I’ve been searching for
answers about the origins of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the 12 Step Fellowships.
At first, I pretty much knew from instinct, and from previously studying the Bible,
that A.A. and the 12 Steps were Christian-based ideals and principles. Recently, I’ve
had the great pleasure of meeting Dick B., who is considered the leading A.A. historian
of the world at this moment. Dick B. has written several books about the Biblical
roots of A.A. through intensive and thorough research. In all of his books, Dick B.
provides excellent support and evidence for everything he discusses. Early literature
and documents provide the foundation of Dick B’s research, and he provides this
TRUE evidence in every book that he writes. This article will review the important
principles, facts, and truths about Dick B’s book, Cured: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts
The following material will be direct quotes from this book, while also emphasizing important scriptures.
I will now provide an accurate and thorough summary of Cured: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts while I analyze and
provide documented facts about this whole “cured” controversy surrounding the
rooms of A.A. and most 12 Step Fellowships.

From the moment a newcomer enters the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, they are told
that they have the “incurable disease” of alcoholism. The following evidence will provide
documented facts about early AAs, and how they knew and acknowledged the fact that they
[Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob, and Bill Dotson] were cured, while explaining HOW it was achieved.
First, I’ll begin with a quote from Cured! when Dr. Bob explains:
…But we [Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob] were convinced that the answer to our problems was
in the Good Book [the Bible]. 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” (quoted in Cured! 3).

The Basic ideals and principles found in A.A. were originated by Christian believers, who
used Christian-based practices to CURE an unbelievably high percentage of early alcoholics,
commonly referred to as the “Pioneer Program of Recovery,” or, “Pioneer AAs.” The
following is a list of practices that early alcoholics adhered to as they were finally cured
of their drunkenness:

…(1)Admission of alcoholism, incurable from a medical viewpoint, coupled with the
willingness to stop drinking forever. (2) Hospitalization or medical attention at the
earliest moment-in almost every case. (3) Belief in the Creator. (4) Establishment
of a relationship with Him through acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
(5) Obedience to God’s will. (6) Removal from the alcoholic’s life of the sins which
were contrary to God’s will and frequently accompany alcoholism. (7) Participation
in Morning Quiet Time and devotion, with Bible study, prayer, and reading of Christian
literature. (8) Consistently helping other alcoholics get straightened out.
(9) Maintaining frequent social and religious comradeship with other ex-alcoholic
believers. (10) Weekly attendance at some religious service. (11) Family participation”
(Cured! 7).

The practices and Pioneer AA essentials listed above proved to be a very successful
“Program” to cure alcoholics at an amazingly high success rate. Dick B. further
emphasizes this important fact when he writes, “Bill Wilson frequently declared that
AAs did not ‘invent’ their program; nor did anyone invent it, he said. The AAs
borrowed it. And they correctly called their ‘spirituality’ reliance on the Creator” (Cured! 9).

What alarms me is the fact that early A.A. was so successful, but now the success rate
of A.A. isn’t even close to the early days of A.A., when members followed and lived in
accordance with the important Christian essentials listed above. Since the days of
early A.A., we now use terms like, “Higher Power,” instead of applying and adhering
to the true Christian roots of A.A. And, because of this, I believe that is the main
reason why early A.A. was successful, and not the A.A. of today. I truly love A.A.
and the 12 Step Fellowship, but these documented facts need to be known and
applied to our current program of recovery that is laid out by A.A. If this critical
and essential information is utilized, then it will be extremely likely that the alcoholics
and addicts of today be cured from their sickness. That is the reason why it is so
important to me to share this vital information. The true Biblical roots of A.A.,
and early A.A. practices did work, and can still work today.

In Cured: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts, Dick B. mentions early AAs when he says that “They had been cured!
By Almighty God! They had merely to look in their Good Book. What’s to fear!”
Dick B. continues on by quoting important scripture to settle the issue:

The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.
[Proverbs 29:25]

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a
sound mind [2 Timothy 1:7] (Cured! 10).

The simple fact that there IS a cure makes it wrong to tell the newcomer that there
is no cure. The newcomer would feel extremely better and more confident knowing
that there is a cure through belief in God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Here are
Dick B’s comments on this issue, “What a prescription for life-long bondage-bondage
to illness, bondage to treatment, bondage to therapy, bondage to negatives, and
bondage to endless sick ideas within and outside of A.A.” (Cured! 11). Furthermore,
“The Creator, God Almighty-whose name is Yahweh, not ‘Higher Power’-can cure,
has cured, and has healed alcoholics” (Cured! 14).

According to Dr. Bob himself, “…[T]his was a man [Bill Wilson] who had
experienced many years of frightful drinking, who had had most all the drunkard’s
experiences known to man, but who had been cured by the very means I had been
trying to employ, that is to say the spiritual approach [Alcoholics Anonymous,
4th ed., p.180] (Cured! 14). The following documented facts, researched and
written by Dick B., will further prove the fact that alcoholism could be cured in
early A.A.:

When he [Dr. Bob] said that he and Bill had found a “cure” for alcoholism, he
knew what he meant. When he said “Your Heavenly Father will never let you down,”
he knew what he meant (Cured! 19).

They were cured. They relied on Almighty God. And they said so! (Cured! 18).

Bill Wilson said that A.A. Number Three walked from the hospital a free man,
never to drink again. Wilson said of himself that the Lord had cured him.
Dr. Bob said they had found a cure (Cured! 21).

Well, all of this talk about being cured from A.A. founders. So, what exactly is the cure?

The cure is found in the miracle of using God’s power and our own will to end the
drunkenness and, in fact ending it-for good (Cured! 31).

Some still insist that alcoholism is a sickness or disease. If so, then asking
God in the name of Jesus Christ to heal that disease, believing it can be done,
and experiencing its removal is the cure (Cured! 32).

If any or all of the foregoing-sin, disease, behavior disorder, evil spirits-are
the problem, then believing the Word of God and acting accordingly, will
produce the “cure”-the answer, the recovery, the deliverance that is
sought…(Cured! 32).

It is now my ultimate objective to spread the truth about early A.A. history,
while explaining A.A.’s Biblical roots and documented facts and statistics.
Isn’t it important that the 40 A.A. Pioneer’s had a success rate of over 75%
of the alcoholics cured? Whereas today’s A.A. success rates are as low
as 1%. In order for the program to produce excellent results, early A.A.
history needs to be made publicly known so everyone today can apply the
life-saving principles to our own recovery. So we too can be cured. Yes,
cured! Dick B. adds vital information when he explains, “The cure can
and will… be accompanied by a full and abundant life; by fellowship
with like-minded believers; by fruitful, Godly service and endeavors;
by love for God and His kids, and by a prosperous and healthy life”
(Cured! 33). Here is what the Bible says:

John 10:10b-“…I am come that they might have life, and that they might
have it more abundantly” (Cured! 33).

Early A.A. principles and ideals became fruitful when “…Wilson picked up…
some major ideas about deflation in depth, honesty, confession, life-change,
restitution, prayer and ‘meditation,’ working with others, and adherence to
Christian principles in daily living” (Cured! 54).

The origins of the 12 Steps have been a controversial issue for years and
years now. Well, I’ve discovered documented ideals regarding the 12 Steps
from Bill Wilson in Dick B’s Cured! I will now divulge this important
information to my beloved readers. Here are the real 12 Steps and their
main roots found in Cured!

One: We admitted we were licked. Alcohol was our master. We prayed:
“O, God, manage me because I can’t manage myself.”

Two: We became “willing to believe” that God could cure us; to “act as if”
He would; and to take the action that proves God really can and does cure.

Three: We “made a decision” to “rely on the Creator” for help and to “do His will.”

Four: We gave ourselves a written, moral test, checking our life by the
“four absolutes”-the standards of God’s will taught by His Son Jesus-honesty,
purity, unselfishness, and love.

Five: We admitted our moral failures to God, to ourselves, and to another believer.

Six: We became “convicted” of sin against God; were “willing” to
“hate and forsake” the sins uncovered, and to ask that God “remove
those sins” from our lives.

Seven: We “humbled ourselves, submitting ourselves to God;” were
“born again” of His spirit and therefore became a “new creature in Christ;”
could thereafter be renewed in the spirit of our mind; and could put on the
new man which is created in righteousness.

Eight: We became “willing” to “agree with our adversaries,” obey God’s
command to “love you neighbor as yourself;” and to set things right with others.

Nine: We took action to (1) reconcile ourselves with any brother that had
anything against us; (2) restore to him anything wrongfully taken from him;
and (3) forgive him for any of his trespasses against us.

Ten: We continued to watch for, and pray for the removal of, those
“major” sins blocking us from fellowship with God-namely resentment,
selfishness, dishonesty, and fear. When they cropped up, we applied
the same corrective steps involved in our initial housecleaning; we tried
to adhere to a new code of love and tolerance; and we began reaching
out to others.

Eleven: Before retiring, we checked our behavior against Christ’s moral
standards, asking forgiveness where we had failed to observe them and
guidance toward doing better in the future. We sought daily fellowship
with God and other believers through Bible study, prayer, seeking His
guidance, reading Christian literature, and often through church
attendance. We turned to God for peace, and our reliance on Him
provided relief from anxiety and fear.

Twelve: Having received the power of God through accepting Christ,
and having the ability to bring into manifestation that power of the
Holy Spirit, we passed on to others the Steps we had taken, and
tried to do God’s will in all our affairs-particularly emphasizing the
principles spelled out in 1 Corinthians 13 (Cured! 55-61).

Did you know that “In early A.A., God came first. ‘First Things First’
meant seeking God first. The Bible was the first book allowed the
alcoholic for reading” in the early days of the program (Cured! 83).
Here are a few Bible scriptures that proved vital in the early days of A.A.:

· There is but one God (Ephesians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:5).
· To come to God, we must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
· God’s only begotten Son is the way, the truth, and the life; and no man comes unto the Father but by God’s Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

Those are a few scriptures that were emphasized; however, in all
actuality, the entire Bible was the major source of guidance, hope,
strength, and love. Dick B. and I believe that “Alcoholics need the
simple truths in the Bible about what God has done, can do, promises
to do, and will do if we obey His will and believe” (Cured! 99).
Furthermore, “Alcoholics should not be told they cannot be cured.
They should be told they can be cured. They should be told their
founders were cured. Those founders were cured by the Creator!
Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob, and Bill Dotson all said so-explicitly, many times”
[See Big Book, 4th ed.,pp.181,191] (Cured! 100). The following account
by Bill Wilson, A.A. Number One, explains his own cure when he writes:

There was a sense of victory, followed by such a peace and serenity as I
had ever known. There was utter confidence. I felt lifted up, as though
the great clean wind of a mountain top blew through and through. God
comes to most men gradually, but His impact on me was sudden and profound
[Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed.,p.14] (Cured! 103).

In Dick B’s Cured!, he ends the book with this very important fact when
he writes, “The despondent, homeless, sick person does not exert the
self-will it takes to get well if he thinks he never will get well, never will
get over his troubles, and never will attain a normal life” (Cured! 115).

I strongly suggest that anyone in A.A., N.A., or any other 12 Step
Fellowship understand that there was a cure in early A.A., and today
we still have the opportunity to live by the principles and essentials
necessary to be cured. Also, to learn more about getting Cured!,
please visit this link to read Dick B’s book:
Plus, to learn more about early A.A. History and the Biblical roots of
A.A., please visit Alcoholics Anonymous with Dick B. at My overall thoughts about
Dick B’s Cured: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts Is that everyone should read it because it tells
the true story of A.A. and AAs founders, and how early AAs really
got cured. Dick B. is an excellent writer, and top-notch A.A. Historian.
I hope everyone enjoyed these true accounts of early A.A., provided by Cured!
Good luck to all, and to all a good recovery. God Bless.

Also see: Part 1

Alcoholics Anonymous. 4th ed. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, 2001.
B., Dick. Cured: Proven Help for Alcoholics and Addicts Kihei: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2003.
*A special thanks to Dick B. for providing excellent research on the topic of being cured.

Copyright 2005 by Terry D. All rights reserved. Used by permission.