did Bill W. pass away?
and Triangle Symbol Trademark.
Origin of "I am Responsible..."?
D: Origin of
AA's Statement of Responsibility?
of The Chip System
F: The 4
happened to The Oxford Group?
was the first AA Meeting?
I: Who wrote
the Big Book?
do meetings end with The Lord's Prayer?
K: Wilson and
Silkworth in The Dr.'s Opinion.
Bill Wilson use LSD?
Who was Ebby
more about the history of Bill W. & the program of
alcoholics anonymous from Joe
& Charlie who met and new Bill W.
did Bill W. pass away?
Bill W. Obituary. William Griffin Wilson
Circle and Triangle Symbol Trademark
Why did A.A stop using the circle and triangle symbol?
Did we lose
the trademark on it?
What happened was that after many years of using the symbol
and claiming it as a trademark, A.A. World Service tried to
stop non-A.A. companies from using it on things link
process they learned that the symbol had been in wide spread
use, even in temperance societies, well before A.A. existed.
Because of that AA never had a legitimate claim to ownership
of the symbol and stopped using it.
start of the symbols use in A.A. it was recognized as dating
back hundreds of years. Page 139 of A.A. Comes of Age
describes its start, meaning and history this way:
at the International Convention at St. Louis in 1955,
floated a banner on which was inscribed the then new
symbol for A.A., a circle enclosing a triangle. The circle
stands for the whole world of A.A., and the triangle
stands for A.A.'s Three Legacies: Recovery, Unity and
perhaps no accident that priests and seers of antiquity
regarded this symbol as a means of warding off spirits of
Origin of "I am Responsible..."?
Where did the phrase "I am responsible" come from?
The Responsibility Declaration was written by Al S., a
former Grapevine editor and trustee of Alcoholics Anonymous
for the 1965 International Convention held in Toronto. Bill
W. expanded on the theme in an essay called
"Responsibility Is Our Theme" for the July 1965
Grapevine. It became a regular feature of the Grapevine
Responsibility Declaration: "I am responsible. When
anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of
A.A. always to be there. And for that: I am
hand in hand with the Fifth Tradtion. The long form says
"Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a
spiritual entity having but one primary purposeóthat of
carrying its message to the alcoholic who still
Origin of AA's Statement of Responsibility?
What is the origin of AA's Statement of Responsibility?
Also known as "The Responsibility Pledge of Alcoholics
Anonymous", the Responsibility Declaration was first
introduced in July 1965 at the 30th Anniversary
International Convention in Toronto, Canada.
written by Al S., an editor of The AA Grapevine magazine.
The theme of the convention was "Responsibility."
The recitation of this pledge was part keynote presentation
during the conventions "big meeting."
Statement of Responsibility says:
responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help,
I want the hand of AA always to be there. And for that: I
Origin of The Chip System
Where did the chips system originate and why were those
specific time periods chosen as times for awarding a chip?
Sometimes referred to as coins, medallions or tokens, the
practice of giving out a chip of some kind to mark a period
of sobriety actually predates A.A.
A.A. began, organizations such as temperance societies, gave
out medallions or coins to people who pledged to quit
drinking or for marking periods of sobriety. This common
custom was taken up by individual A.A. groups as each saw
fit. Eventually private companies began to make "A.A."
chips and began selling them to groups.
There is no
codified system for giving out chips in A.A. What might be
given out, how it is done and for what lengths of sobriety
varies from place to place and even group to group. The
periods of sobriety denoted by the chips are determined by
their manufacturer. In most cases the medallions given out
in A.A. are made by private companies who have no
affiliation with A.A.
The 4 Absolutes
What were the "Four Absolutes" that were part of
the Oxford Group?
The Oxford Group, a Christian fellowship out of which A.A.
grew, had four guiding spiritual goals that they tried to
practice to the fullest extent possible. These ideals called
What happened to The Oxford Group?
Does The Oxford Group still exist? What happened to it and
can I still join?
In a way you can still join The Oxford Group, in
some fashion or another it has never stopped going.
AA grew in
part out of The Oxford Group, a Christian group by
Frank Buchman, a Lutheran Minister around the year 1919. The
first group was loosely called A First Century Christian
Fellowship and the Oxford Group name was later attached
to the fellowship due to coincidental affiliation with
the start of AA, The Oxford Group in the USA was
renamed to Moral Re-Armament in 1938. It became
more widely known as MRA. In England, Oxford Groups
continue to exist and follow the original tenets of the
movement more closely than the groups descendant from MRA.
In 2001 MRA
changed its name to Initiatives of Change and can
be found today on the Web at: http://www.initiativesofchange.org.
Today, Initiatives of Change bears little
resemblance to the original fellowship in structure, belief
When was the first AA Meeting?
Where and on what day was the first A.A. meeting held?
Typically June 10, 1935, the day of Dr. Bob's last drink is
considered the day that A.A. was founded.
first "meeting" was is less clear. At first it was
Bill and Bob hanging out and looking for someone else they
could help. Perhaps when they met with "A.A. Number
Three", Bill D. in his hospital bed on June 26, 1935
counts as the first meeting. According to the story
"Alcoholics Anonymous Number Three" in the second
edition of the Big Book, A.A. Group Number 1 of Akron Ohio,
started that day with that meeting in Akronís City
say the first meeting was when Dr. Bob first met with Bill
W. According to Dr. Bob's Story, they first met with Bill
trying to help sober up Dr. Bob on Mother's Day of 1935
which would have been May 12 at 5pm at the home of Henrietta
Seiberling, a friend of Bob's wife. This house has come to
be known as "The Gatehouse" and is in Akron, Ohio.
Dr. Bob drank after this meeting, but it was still the first
meeting of two men talking about the program that was
becoming Alcoholics Anonymous. Here is an excerpt from Dr.
time a lady called up my wife one Saturday afternoon,
saying she wanted me to come over that evening to meet a
friend of hers who might help me. It was the day before
Motherís Day and I had come home plastered, carrying a
big potted plant which I set down on the table and
forthwith went upstairs and passed out. The next day she
called again. Wishing to be polite, though I felt very
badly, I said, "Letís make the call," and
extracted from my wife a promise that we would not stay
over fifteen minutes.
We entered her house at exactly five oíclock and it was
eleven fifteen when we left. I had a couple of shorter
talks with this man afterward, and stopped drinking
abruptly. This dry spell lasted for about three weeks;
then I went to Atlantic City to attend several daysí
meeting of a national society of which I was a member. I
drank all the scotch they had on the train and bought
several quarts on my way to the hotel.
Who wrote the Big Book?
Who wrote the Big Book?
While AA co-founder Bill Wilson is often credited with
writing The Big Book and he describes his role as more of an
editor in a talk he gave in 1954. In part he said then
preparation started and some more chapters were done and
we went to A.A. meetings in New York with these chapters
in the rough. It wasn't like chicken-in-the-rough; the
boys didn't eat those chapters up at all. I suddenly
discovered that I was in this terrific whirlpool of
arguments. I was just the umpire - I finally had to
stipulate. "Well boys, over here you got the Holly
Rollers who say we need all the good old-fashioned stuff
in the book, and over here you tell me we've got to have a
psychological book, and that never cured anybody, and they
didn't do very much with us in the missions, so I guess
you will have to leave me just to be the umpire. I'll
scribble out some roughs here and show them to you and
let's get the comments in." So we fought, bled and
died our way through one chapter after another. We sent
them out to Akron and they were peddled around and there
were terrific hassles about what should go in this book
and what should not. Meanwhile, we set drunks up to write
their stories or we had newspaper people to write the
stories for them to go in the back of the book. We had an
idea that we'd have a text and all and then we'd have
stories all about the drunks who were staying sober.
A copy of
Bill W's notes on the
Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
Why do meetings end with The Lord's Prayer?
How did the practice of closing an A.A. meeting with The
Lord's Prayer develop? Does it go back to the Oxford Groups?
In A.A. the closing of meetings with The Lord's Prayer is
common in some regions and somewhat rare in others. Many
groups open with the Serenity Prayer and close with The
Lord's Prayer. It is also common for groups to open without
a prayer and to close with the Serenity Prayer.
Prayer, found in The Bible (Matthew 6:9-13), was used
extensively in both the Oxford Group and early A.A.
In a letter
written in 1959, Bill Wilson explained it this way:
the business of adding the Lord's Prayer to each A.A.
practice probably came from the Oxford Groups who were
influential in the early days of A.A. You have probably
noted in A.A. Comes of Age what the connection of these
people in A.A. really was. I think saying the Lord's
Prayer was a custom of theirs following the close of each
meeting. Therefore it quite easily got shifted into a
general custom among us.
there will always be those who seem to be offended by the
introduction of any prayer whatever into an ordinary A.A.
gathering. Also, it is sometimes complained that the
Lord's Prayer is a Christian document. Nevertheless this
Prayer is of such widespread use and recognition that the
arguments of its Christian origin seems to be a little
farfetched. It is also true that most A.A.ís believe in
some kind of God and that communication and strength is
obtainable through His grace. Since this is the general
consensus it seems only right that at least the Serenity
Prayer and the Lord's Prayer be used in connection with
our meetings. It does not seem necessary to defer to the
feelings of our agnostic and atheist newcomers to the
extent of completely hiding our light under a bushel.
around here, the leader of the meeting usually asks those
to join him in the Lord's Prayer who feel that they would
care to do so. The worst that happens to the objectors is
that they have to listen to it This is doubtless a
salutary exercise in tolerance at their stage of progress.
Wilson and Silkworth in The Dr.'s Opinionn
On the bottom of Big Book page XXVII where it says:
"Later, he requested the privilege of being allowed to
tell his story to other patients here and with some
misgiving, we consented." was this Bill W. asking the
favor of Dr. Silkworth?
Yes, the story told in The Doctor's Opinion was written by
William Duncan Silkworth, M.D. who worked at the Charles B.
Towns Hospital in New York City.
is the fellow first described on page XXV in this paragraph:
1934 I attended a patient who, though he had been a
competent businessman of good earning capacity, was an
alcoholic of a type I had come to regard as hopeless.
indeed told his story to other patients and A.A. began when
he told Dr. Bob how he had found sobriety.
Did Bill Wilson use LSD?
Is it true that A.A. co-founder Bill Wilson used LSD after
he stopped drinking?
Yes, back when it was still legal in The United States and
Canada, Bill used LSD in a clinical setting. At the time LSD
was an experimental drug tried in many types of therapies.
It was done in the company of Canadian pharmaceutical
researchers who were investigating potential clinical uses
for this new drug.
took LSD on August 29, 1956. According to Pass It On: The
story of Bill Wilson and How the A.A. Message Reached the
World, published by A.A. World Services, Inc., Bill was
enthusiastic about his experience; he felt it helped him
eliminate many barriers erected by the self, or ego, that
stand in the way of one's direct experience of the cosmos
and of God. He thought he might have found something that
could make a big difference to the lives of many who still
quoted as saying:
It is a
generally acknowledged fact in spiritual development that
ego reduction makes the influx of God's grace possible.
If, therefore, under LSD we can have a temporary
reduction, so that we can better see what we are and where
we are going ó well, that might be of some help. The
goal might become clearer. So I consider LSD to be of some
value to some people, and practically no damage to anyone.
It will never take the place of any of the existing means
by which we can reduce the ego, and keep it reduced.
370 & 371 in Pass It On.