When four principles became Six Steps expanded to Twelve

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.
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leejosepho
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When four principles became Six Steps expanded to Twelve

Post by leejosepho » Thu Oct 01, 2015 4:51 pm

I used to wonder how Bill W., Dr. Bob and other early A.A.s could have taken the Twelve Steps before they had even been written, and here is what I have learned. First, A.A. invented nothing...

"The basic principles of A.A....were borrowed mainly from the fields of religion and medicine..." (12&12, Forewords)

To begin, there were "The Four Absolutes":
—Honesty
—Unselfishness
—Love
—Purity

Those soon led to this as from a story in the back of our book:

"Dr. Bob...had me to the office and we spent three or four hours formally going through the Six-Step program...
"The six steps were:
"1. Complete deflation.
"2. Dependence and guidance from a Higher Power.
"3. Moral inventory.
"4. Confession.
"5. Restitution.
"6. Continued work with other alcoholics."

Then, here is how Bill ultimately shares his own transformational process:

"...(Ebby)...told of a simple religious idea (Step Three) and a practical program of action (the essence of Steps Four through Nine)..." (page 9)

Bill initially had a bit of trouble at Step Two:

"...the vestiges of my old prejudice...a certain antipathy..." (page 12)

note: The next four paragraphs in Bill's story had not appeared in our book's first draft, but were added prior to publication...

"My friend suggested what then seemed a novel idea. He said, 'Why don't you choose your own conception of God?'
"That statement hit me hard...melted the icy intellectual mountain...
"It was only a matter of being willing to believe...
"A new world came into view."

Bill had just "stepped past religion", we might say, now willing to offer himself "...to God, as I then understood Him..." (page 13)

He next reiterates the essence of Steps One and Two:

"I admitted for the first time that of myself I was nothing; that without Him I was lost." (page 13)

Then in a summary of the remaining Steps, he ultimately shares this:

"My schoolmate visited me, and I fully acquainted him with my problems and deficiencies. (Steps Four and Five) We made a list of people I had hurt or toward whom I felt resentment. (Step Eight) I expressed my entire willingness to approach these individuals, admitting my wrong. (also Step Eight) Never was I to be critical of them. I was to right all such matters to the utmost of my ability. (Step Nine)
"I was to test my thinking by the new God-consciousness within. (Step Ten) Common sense would thus become uncommon sense. I was to sit quietly when in doubt, asking only for direction and strength to meet my problems as He would have me. (Step Eleven) Never was I to pray for myself, except as my requests bore on my usefulness to others (Step Twelve)." (page 13)
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: When four principles became Six Steps expanded to Twelve

Post by PaigeB » Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:16 am

My sponsor pointed out to me the 12 Steps Bill did in his story! Good stuff!

Didn't Bill find out the Washingtonians had first had some success with recovering alkies? I mean it all fell apart because they got involved in outside issues. Where did their ideas come into play with the 12 Steps?
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

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Re: When four principles became Six Steps expanded to Twelve

Post by sober_life » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:06 am

There is heaps of AA history from books,
"Dr Bob and the Good Ol Timers"

There is also a "lost book", How it Worked, a true story,
The story of Clarence H Snyder and the early days of AA in Cleveland Ohio.
by Mitchel K.
In the BB stories he is the "Home Brewmeister" BB Editions 1,2 and 3.

The early history *is* out there, just ask and eventually it all appears !

Honest Search Page
Sorry sober life link removed in keeping with forums policy.

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Re: When four principles became Six Steps expanded to Twelve

Post by positrac » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:19 am

"The basic principles of A.A....were borrowed mainly from the fields of religion and medicine..." (12&12, Forewords)

To begin, there were "The Four Absolutes":
—Honesty
—Unselfishness
—Love
—Purity

Those soon led to this as from a story in the back of our book:

"Dr. Bob...had me to the office and we spent three or four hours formally going through the Six-Step program...
"The six steps were:
"1. Complete deflation.
"2. Dependence and guidance from a Higher Power.
"3. Moral inventory.
"4. Confession.
"5. Restitution.
"6. Continued work with other alcoholics
These are good reminders because life does get hectic and I believe we forget the mission of carrying the message to the ones still suffering. We all come from some many different walks in life and the 4 absolutes can be the hardest to over come.


Aeeeee cher
:D
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
George Allen, Sr.

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Re: When four principles became Six Steps expanded to Twelve

Post by leejosepho » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:35 am

PaigeB wrote:Didn't Bill find out the Washingtonians had first had some success with recovering alkies? I mean it all fell apart because they got involved in outside issues. Where did their ideas come into play with the 12 Steps?
I do not know anything about the Washingtonian "program", assuming it had one, but I believe historians tend to place it in the same kind of "sprung from religion" category as A.A.

Yes, being " involved in outside issues" was definitely part of the demise of the Washingtonians, and I would doubt whatever they were doing influenced A.A. since Bill had known nothing whatsoever about them until someone had mentioned them to him and suggested he consider not allowing A.A. to repeat their demise...

...and thus were our Traditions born.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: When four principles became Six Steps expanded to Twelve

Post by leejosepho » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:40 am

positrac wrote:
"The basic principles of A.A....were borrowed mainly from the fields of religion and medicine..." (12&12, Forewords)

To begin, there were "The Four Absolutes":
—Honesty
—Unselfishness
—Love
—Purity

Those soon led to this as from a story in the back of our book:

"Dr. Bob...had me to the office and we spent three or four hours formally going through the Six-Step program...
"The six steps were:
"1. Complete deflation.
"2. Dependence and guidance from a Higher Power.
"3. Moral inventory.
"4. Confession.
"5. Restitution.
"6. Continued work with other alcoholics
These are good reminders because life does get hectic and I believe we forget the mission of carrying the message to the ones still suffering. We all come from some many different walks in life and the 4 absolutes can be the hardest to over come.
One of the neat parts of all of this is that the individual can begin either at the "expanded Steps" or at the core "Absolutes" and still ultimately end up getting it all together!
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: When four principles became Six Steps expanded to Twelve

Post by Stepchild » Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:25 pm

The Washingtonians were a Temperance Society that started in the 1840's. They relied on each other for support...And not a Higher Power. I believe they got their fingers into too many outside issues and fell apart. One of the reasons Bill W. put those traditions together.

Let me ask you Lee. Do you think Dr. Silkworth should get some credit for giving Bill W. the first step? Or Dr. Carl Jung credit for the second step? The doctor they talk about in There is a Solution....

The doctor said: "You have the mind of a chronic alcoholic. I have never seen one single case recover, where that state of mind existed to the extent that it does in you." Our friend felt as though the gates of hell had closed on him with a clang.

He said to the doctor, "Is there no exception?"

"Yes," replied the doctor, "there is. Exceptions to cases such as yours have been occurring since early times. Here and there, once in a while, alcoholics have had what are called vital spiritual experiences. To me these occurrences are phenomena. They appear to be in the nature of huge emotional displacements and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them. In fact, I have been trying to produce some such emotional rearrangement within you. With many individuals the methods which I employed are successful, but I have never been successful with an alcoholic of your description."

pg 27

This is the same guy that got sober and took the message to Ebby T. who took it to Bill W.

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Re: When four principles became Six Steps expanded to Twelve

Post by leejosepho » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:35 pm

Stepchild wrote:The Washingtonians were a Temperance Society that started in the 1840's. They relied on each other for support...And not a Higher Power. I believe they got their fingers into too many outside issues and fell apart.
That all certainly adds up. Thinking we humans ever might produce much good at all on our own power is what had been killing me!
Stepchild wrote:Do you think Dr. Silkworth should get some credit for giving Bill W. the first step? Or Dr. Carl Jung credit for the second step?
...[as after Roland H.] got sober and took the message to Ebby T. who took it to Bill W.
Absolutely, and I first heard that from "Charlie & Joe".* Silky essentially said "No human power will ever get the job done", Jung essentially said "Go see God" and then it seems Bill just happened to be the first to have all the pieces on one table after Ebby showed up with the Oxford Groups' combination of "simple religious idea (Step Three) and a practical program of action (Steps Four through Nine)." (page 9)

*I have heard it said you only have to give the other guy credit three times before claiming something as your own, but those two guys were my own "Bill & Bob" who also told me where they first got it!
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: When four principles became Six Steps expanded to Twelve

Post by Stepchild » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:56 pm

Pretty amazing how it all came together. And that Roland's family had the money to send him to one of the best in the world. I got a guy who does a Big Book study I attend that says...Imagine if they sent him to Freud instead...None of us would be here.

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Re: When four principles became Six Steps expanded to Twelve

Post by ezdzit247 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:58 pm

leejosepho wrote:....One of the neat parts of all of this is that the individual can begin either at the "expanded Steps" or at the core "Absolutes" and still ultimately end up getting it all together!
Or any individual can began by following the Vedic path to spiritual enlightment (circa 5000 BC) or the Nazarite/Essene path to enlightment (circa 700 BC) or the Buddhist path to enlightenment (circa 500 BC) or the Pythagorean path to enlightenment (circa 500 BC) or Plato's Gnostic Path to enlightenment (circa 350 BC) or the Spiritual Exercises of St.Ignatius Loyola (circa 1540 AD) etc, etc, etc. It's kind of like the Islamic proverb says: "All roads lead to Mecca". It really doesn't matter which spiritual path an individual chooses to follow, both the journey and the destination brings enlightenment.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: When four principles became Six Steps expanded to Twelve

Post by Stepchild » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:59 pm

Which one did you follow ez?

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Re: When four principles became Six Steps expanded to Twelve

Post by leejosepho » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:29 pm

I was raised in an Anabaptist setting and the man who helped me take the Steps was a Hindu.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: When four principles became Six Steps expanded to Twelve

Post by ezdzit247 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:52 pm

leejosepho wrote:I was raised in an Anabaptist setting and the man who helped me take the Steps was a Hindu.
Wonderul! That's what I love about the AA fellowship....it's diversity.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: When four principles became Six Steps expanded to Twelve

Post by tyg » Sat Oct 03, 2015 1:58 pm

I came across an old Oxford group pamphlet, "How to Listen to God," by John E. Batterson. Though Ebby Thacher didn't stay sober, Bill W did. Ebby carried the message to Bill and took him through the Steps. Thank you.. Ebby!!!! I wonder what would have happened if Ebby didn't approach and work with Bill?

I copied a section of the Oxford pamphlet about Blocks:

9. Blocks?
What if I don't seem to get any definite thoughts? God's guidance is as freely available as the air we breathe. If I am not receiving thoughts when I listen the fault is not Gods.

Usually it is because there is something I will not do:
something wrong in my life that I will not face and make right; a habit or indulgence I will not give up;
a person I will not forgive;
a wrong relationship in my life I will not give up;
a restitution I will not make;
something God has already told me to do that I will not obey.
Check these points and be honest. Then try listening again.


Though I know really nothing about the Oxford group, seems they had a solution to get around the Blocks that keep us from the sunlight of the spirit and... sounds a lot like the process of the Steps to me:

"1. Complete deflation.
"2. Dependence and guidance from a Higher Power.
"3. Moral inventory.
"4. Confession.
"5. Restitution.
Of Course, "faith without works is dead"...so Step 6 is born.

Many different belief systems I know have this similar process.
Last edited by tyg on Sat Oct 03, 2015 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When four principles became Six Steps expanded to Twelve

Post by leejosepho » Sat Oct 03, 2015 2:31 pm

tyg wrote:Though I know really nothing about the Oxford group, seems they had a solution to get around the Blocks that keep us from the sunlight of the spirit and... sounds a lot like the process of the Steps to me:

"1. Complete deflation.
"2. Dependence and guidance from a Higher Power.
"3. Moral inventory.
"4. Confession.
"5. Restitution.
Of Course, "faith without works is dead"...so Step 6 is born.

Many different belief systems I know have this similar process.
I had not know until just now that the originals had come so directly from The Oxford Groups. But since Bill and the others had been known as (being part of?) "The Drunk Squad of The Oxford Groups", adding "6. Continued work with other alcoholics" at the end would seem quite logical.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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