Monday, December 24, 2012

The Term "God of our understanding" - the Myth

The Term “God of Our Understanding,”

Occurrences of the Word “God” and Related Words in the Big Book, and a Big Myth


By Ken B.

© 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved


Aloha to you, Paul, from Maui, Hawaii!

Thank you for keeping us “in the loop.” Here are some comments on the A.A. history portions of the email message you sent out today.

1. The term "God of our understanding" does not occur on pages 1-164 of the fourth edition of Alcoholics Anonymous (2001). Please see the attached file "The Term 'God of Our Understanding' Is Not in the Big Book or the 12 and 12" for a detailed discussion.


[If you are reading this article on a Dick B. blog or Web site, please contact Ken B. at about the availability of this file.]

A.A. cofounder Bill W. decided to write what he described as "the new version of the program, now the 'Twelve Steps.'" (Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 162; bolding added). A.A. cofounder Dr. Bob's sponsee Clarence S. founded the third A.A. group in the world in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 11, 1939. Clarence's biographer, Mitchell K., states: "Two years after the publication of the [Big] book [on April 10, 1939], Clarence made a survey of all of the members in Cleveland. He concluded that, by keeping most of the 'old program,' including the Four Absolutes and the Bible, ninety-three percent of those surveyed had maintained uninterrupted sobriety." (Mitchell K., How It Worked: The Story of Clarence H. Snyder and the Early Days of Alcoholics Anonymous in Cleveland, 108; bolding added). Frank Amos' summary of the seven-point "old program"--which he prepared for John D. Rockeller, Jr., in February 1938 (the month and year in which Clarence S. got sober in Akron under Dr. Bob)--is quoted on page 131 of DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers. There is no mention in those seven points of "God as we understood Him," "a Higher Power," or "a Power greater than ourselves." Rather, item #2 states:


He must surrender himself absolutely to God, realizing that in himself there is no hope.

Dr. Bob--whom A.A. cofounder Bill W. called "the prince of all twelfth-steppers" because he, accompanied by Sister Ignacia, helped 5,000 alcoholics recover between 1940 and 1950--stated:

I didn't write the Twelve Steps. I had nothing to do with the writing of them. [The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches: Their Last Major Talks, 14]

In speaking of very significant "battle over the book," Bill W. stated:

All this time I had refused to budge on these steps. I would not change a word of the original draft, in which, you will remember, I had consistently used the word "God," . . . We [i.e., Bill W., Hank B., John Henry Fitzhugh M. ("Fitz"), and Ruth Hock] finally began to talk about the possibility of compromise. Who first suggested the actual compromise words I do not know, . . . In Step Two we decided to describe God as a "Power greater than ourselves." In Steps Three and Eleven we inserted the words "God as we understood Him." . . . Such were the final concessions to those of little or no faith; this was the great contribution of our atheists and agnostics. . . . God was still there in our Steps, but He was now expressed in terms that anybody--anybody at all--could accept and try." [Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 166-67; italics in original, bolding added]

Bill W. states the following on page 12 of the fourth edition of Alcoholics Anonymous:

My friend [i.e., Ebby T.] suggested what then seemed a novel idea. He said, "Why don't you choose your own conception of God?"

That paragraph was part of a four-paragraph, handwritten insertion that was made in the "printer's manuscript" of the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous.. The four handwritten paragraphs were not present in the so-called "Multilith Edition" or "Original Manuscript" of which Bill W. states "four hundred mimeograph copies . . . were made and sent to everyone we could thin of . . ." (Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 165). For a very extensive analysis of the question "Why don't you choose your own conception of God?" see Appendix 1: "Why Don't You Choose Your Own Conception of God?" in our new title, Pioneer Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous: God's Role in Recovery Confirmed! by Dick B. and Ken B., which is now available in 6" x 9" format from ( and in Kindle eBook format ( It should be available in other eBook formats (e.g., iPad, iPhone, Nook, etc.) from and other sources within the next few days.

The 29 testimonies by the early A.A. pioneers contained in the "Personal Stories" section of the 1939 edition are talking about the "old," highly-successful(!) Akron A.A. "Christian fellowship" program which A.A. cofounders Bill W. and Dr. Bob began developing together over the summer of 1935. Bill W.'s "new version of the program" did not exist! 22 of those personal stories in the first edition were not included in the second edition published in 1955. And four more of the original stories were not included in the fourth edition published in 2001. Thus readers of today's Big Book are receiving very little information about the "old program" for which A.A. claimed a 75% success rate up to the time the first edition was published in April 1939. If you want to see the many testimonies to the roles played by God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible in early A.A.'s astonishing successes among "seemingly-hopeless," "medically-incurable" alcoholics, check out Alcoholics Anonymous: The Original 1939 Edition with a 23-page Introduction by Dick B.:



2. Here are some facts about the word "God," capitalized pronouns, and biblical descriptions as they used of the Creator of the heavens and the earth on pages 1-164 of the fourth edition of the Big Book:

  • The word "God" [and related word-forms including "God-consciousness" (p. 13), "God's" (pp. 24, 25, etc.), "God-sufficiency" (p. 52), "God-given" (p. 69), and "God-conscious" (p. 85)] occurs 135 times on pages 1-164. If one chooses to omit/disqualify "for God's sake" (p. 24) and "the God of reason" (p. 54), that would leave 133 occurrences fairly clearly referring to the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
  • Capitalized pronouns (i.e., "He," "His," "Him," "Thou," "Thy," "Thee") referring to the Creator of the heavens and the earth (i.e., God) occur 81 times on pages 1-164.
  • Biblical descriptions of the Creator of the heavens and the earth (i.e., God), other than the word "God" (i.e., "Creator," "Maker," "the Father," and "the Father of Light") occur 16 times.

So there are 232 (or 230, see above) occurrences of the word "God" and related words on pages 1-164 of the fourth edition of Alcoholics Anonymous. I have attached three documents providing all of the actual occurrences of the words and phrases just discussed. In addition, I have attached a document containing the 41 occurrences of non-biblical descriptions of the Creator of the heavens and the earth (i.e., "God") for your review.

[If you are reading this article on a Dick B. blog or Web site, please contact Ken B. at about the availability of this file.]

3. There is a myth that has been floating around A.A. for a long time that needs to be put to rest:

The "first 164 pages," "The Doctor's Opinion," and "Appendix II: Spiritual Experience" are the "basic text" of the Society of Alcoholics Anonymous.

That statement is NOT true. If one looks up the meaning of the word "text" in the dictionary, most of the questions would be answered. But for the purpose of exploding this myth, one only needs to look at the front cover of the dust jacket of the fourth edition of Alcoholics Anonymous. The front cover states:

Alcoholics Anonymous: This is the Fourth Edition of the Big Book, the Basic Text for Alcoholics Anonymous

If that isn't clear enough, one may go to page xi of the Preface for clarification:

[Paragraph two:] ". . .[T]his book has become the basic text for our Society . . ."


The original "Big Book"--i.e., the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous published April 10, 1939--was 410 pages. It contained 10 pages of "front matter" and 400 pages of "main text." (At that time, the chapter titled "The Doctor's Opinion" was included in the "main text," and its pages were numbered 1-9, with "Chapter One: Bill's Story" beginning on page 10. Chapter 11, "A Vision for You," ended on page 179. The "Personal Stories" section--containing 29 personal testimonies from early A.A. pioneers for whom A.A. claimed a 75% success rate among those "who really tried" and "thoroughly followed our path"--was 396 pages long, with Dr. Bob's personal story beginning on the renumbered page 1. Then there was an Appendix about the Alcoholic Foundation.

In today's fourth edition (2001), the "front matter" is 32 pages long and includes "The Doctor's Opinion." Chapter 1: "Bill's Story," now begins on page one, and the first eleven chapters of the book end on page 164. The "Personal Stories" section now begins on unnumbered page 165 and ends on page 559. Pages 561-73 consist of seven Appendices.

Why are these details important? First and foremost, because the whole book, Alcoholics Anonymous, is the "basic text" for the Alcoholics Anonymous Society, and the Big Book says so! Second, because vitally-important testimony to the roles played by God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible in early A.A.'s astonishing successes are contained in the "Personal Stories" section beginning after page 164. Have you seen the last line of Dr. Bob's personal story?

Your Heavenly Father will never let you down! [p. 181]

Have you seen this statement by A.A. cofounder Bill W.:

"Henrietta, the Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep talking about it and telling people." [p. 191]

Have you seen this statement by A.A. Number 3, Bill D.:

Bill [W.] was very, very grateful that he had been released from this terrible thing, and he had given God the credit for having done it, and he's so grateful about it he wants to tell other people about it. That sentence, "The Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep telling people about it," has been a sort of a golden text for the A.A. program and for me.


In GOD's love,

Ken B.

PS: Please check out the International Christian Recovery Coalition. It is FREE to become a "Participant": And please check out the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show, the "Russell S. Talks," and other Christian Recovery resources available at:



Saturday, December 22, 2012

Speaking of Jesus and the Bible in an A.A. Meeting

How to Share about
Jesus and the Bible at an A.A. Meeting

Free Audio Talks by
International Christian Recovery Coalition Participant

Russell S. of Miami, Florida

(from—used by permission from Russell S., May 2012)

Russell S., The Office, Men’s Stag, Santa Monica, CA, 2012
Russell S., Unity of Pompano, 2012
Russell S., Saturday Night Sobriety, 2012
Russell S., WICYPAA Convention, 2012
Russell S. Sabal Palms 2011-2012
Russell S. Xmas Eve Old Timers Meeting 12 Step House 2011
Russell S. Fort Lauderdale Speaker Group
Russell S. North Miami Group Upper Room 2011
Russell S. Grenada Presbyterian Church Alive Again
Russell S. New Year’s Day 2011
Russell S. New Year’s Day 2011
Russell S. I’m Compelled 4/2010
Russell S. Greensboro Mind 2006

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Latest Group of International Christian Recovery Participants to Join Us

Add to the International Christian Recovery Participants List






                        Chris Mullen, President and Lead Prison Minister, Mercy and Grace Ministries,

                        PO Box 1567, Pleasanton, CA 94566, 925 550 9403,


            San Jose


                        Jeff  King, CityTeam International,, 408 207 3542


                        Don Zonic, J.O.T.L. Ministries,,408 568, 4874,



Darryl Pearson, Pastor, Seven Trees Church, 3195 Senter Road,  San Jose, California  95111,  650  289 1253


Rory Fly, believer 408 469 8182




                        Jeffrey A.  Poling, 41829 Albrae Street, Fremont, California 94538.

                        916 838 1880,




            Jacksonville Beach


Jimmy Hughes, PO Box 50325, Jacksonville Beach, FL , 32250,, 246 4731


            Altamonte Springs


Debbie Baranska, Recovered believer, 586 Orange Dr., Apt 112, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701, 407 252 4073,




                        Paul Cullum, Recovered believer, 1012 S.  Parrott Ave, Okeechobee, Florida

                        34974, 903 407 3467,


            Pompano Beach


                        Pastor Don Fugate, CAC, Director, Journey2Freedom, 971 S. Dixie Highway W.,                                     Pompano Beach, FL 33050,, 954 946 7332


             New Port Richey

                        Vincent Leo, Recovered believer,, 9101 Peony St.

                        New Port Richey, Florida 34654


            Jensen Beach


Tom Kocur, Chicago  PD, USCGR, Retired, 1600 NE Dixie Highway, Building

12, Unit 205, Jensen Beach, FL 772 342 2467,


            Old Town


                        Yvonne Holt, believer, owner of Cable TV Co. in Suwannee, PO Box 56,

                        Old Town, Florida 32680, 352 542 9037,


            Port Saint Lucie


                        Annie Rupp, believer, 2079 SW Castinet Lane, Port Saint Lucie, Florida 34953



Nancy Budd, believer, 4300 SE St. Lucie Blvd, 216 Palm, Florida, 772 287 8316




                        Sonja L. Reed, believer, PO Box  247, Suwannee, Florida, 32692, 352 542 0704,


North Carolina           




Michael Elliott, Recovered believer, PO Box 1865, Davidson, North Carolina 28036, 704 765 6078,







                        David Gillette, Cleveland Intergroup, 216 289 4033,




Greg Miller, Recovered believer, 330 501 7536, 1636 Gypsy Lane, Niles, Ohio 44446





                        Hayley & Tyler Ford, Recovered believers, Adventure Guides, PO Box 1261,

                        Volcano, HI 96785, 808 640 1618, EXLORE@AKAMAITOURS.COM




            Rick & Jo Voirol, Recovered believers, 17233 Devall Road, Spencerville, IN 46788.

            260  458 5868,


            Joyce Butler, Recovered believer, 6719 Chickasaw, Ft. Wayne, Indiana 46815,

            260 433 3976 ,