History of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Alcoholism is the excessive intake of alcohol, which leads to addiction and poor health. AA is a group that aims at helping alcohol addicts and other people to stay sober. Christians argue that AA has Christian root because it was attached to Oxford Group, which is also called Moral Re-Armament (MRA).

Historians believe that the persons who invented AA were following the Oxford movement in 1930s. It is not clear whether the founders of alcoholics anonymous, Bill Wilson and Bob Smith, acknowledged Jesus Christ as their savior or the way to God.

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According to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Frank Buchman was the founder of the group named as First Century Christian Fellowship which later changed its name to Oxford Group.

Samuel shoemaker was the other leader, but from the Episcopal Church. The driving force of the movement depended on the experience rather than the bible teachings. Buchman never criticized any doctrine in his meetings because he did not want to displease anyone, and he was able to have a large group of people as his followers. The Oxford Group was a nondenominational movement.

There are some facts that the founders of AA did not receive Jesus Christ as their personal savior, and did not have time to listen to the gospel. Wilson and Smith went to the Oxford Group to learn the Oxford Group’s techniques of prayer, for example: surrender, guidance, and moral principles. In the occult guidance, the followers prayed and kept quit to hear from God. They would write down what they heard and their guidance came from their spirits rather than from God.

Wilson was a drunkard and was not able to graduate from his law school. His drinking problems destroyed his marriage and he was hospitalized for alcoholism. To spread the word, he wrote down the principles of sobriety, and each scripture was sent to Smith for editing.

The book had many titles, such as The Way Out and The Empty Glass, which was edited to 400 pages, hence became Alcoholic Anonymous book in 1938. In the same year Oxford Group changed its name to Alcoholics Anonymous; the group had many members, but they were still drinking.

In the early years of the group formation, there was a slight decline in the number of group members, but with time it doubled and tripled. Wilson had many audience in twelve traditions, and that is when he set the by-laws of alcoholics and anonymous.

He created individual freedom, and no contributions were required in this group. Today A.A has more than two million members who hold meetings in church basements. Members classify themselves as alcoholics and give their stories. They use only their first names and there are no rules and regulations.

As AA group grew, Wilson became its icon. He wrote a book in 1939 whose title was the Alcoholic Anonymous, and was referred as the Big Book by its members, and its main topic was how to stay sober.

He helped create governing rule, board members of the group, and gave over his power and said that he had become a pupil rather than a teacher. He declined to take money for counseling and leadership and refused many honors, such as a degree from Yale University in 1954, and he refused to appear on the magazine cover regardless of people urging him to turn his back. He later died of pneumonia and emphysema in 1971.

Furthermore, the anonymity of AA was practiced because it was experimental, and its aim was to protect members from being seen as alcoholics because they feared that if they made their membership in public, and then go back to drinking, it would ruin the reputation of the group, and threaten the progress of the group.

Wilson considered anonymity as a rule that would make members to avoid indulging in behaviors that might lead to going to alcoholism again. Oxford Group had a great impact on AA because it practices a formula of self development by performing self account, admitting mistakes and correction, and meditation using prayers while passing the message to others.

Work Cited

Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous Timeline: Over 70 Years of Growth. 2011. Web. 2 April 2011.
< http://www.aa.org/aatimeline/timeline_h1.php?lang=_en>

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