+ Last updated:
 April 09, 2012


Site Links



Vermont Workshops

A New Awakening

Book Excerpts

Other Resources

Core Library


Dick B.'s website




Book Excerpt Links


Chapter 1

Chapter 2


Contact Information

Dick B.
PO Box 837
Kihei, HI 96753-0837
Phone: 808 874 4876
Email: dickb@dickb.com

Email Dick B.

Prepare to Learn from Dr. Bob of A.A.

How to “Stick with the Winners”
What “Old-School” AAs Actually Did

By Dick B.

© 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Introduction to 14 Resources for You to Study

Early A.A. Claimed a 75% Overall Success Rate!

According to following statement in the "Foreword to Second Edition" of Alcoholics Anonymous, found also in "the Fourth Edition of the Big Book, the Basic Text for Alcoholics Anonymous":

Of alcoholics who came to A.A. and really tried, 50% got sober at once and remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses, and among the remainder, those who stayed on with A.A. showed improvement.[1]

The statement above, found in A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature, echoes A.A. cofounder Bill Wilson's remarks at the "Rockefeller Dinner" on February 8, 1940:

To continue with what had happened out in Akron. By the time the book was published last April [of 1939] there were about one hundred of us, the majority of them in the West. Although we have no exact figures, in counting heads recently, we think it fair to state that of all the people who have been seriously interested in this thing since the beginning, one-half have had no relapse at all. About 25% are having some trouble, or have had some trouble, but in our judgment will recover. The other 25% we do not know about.[2]

And this claimed success rate was with “seemingly-hopeless,” “medically-incurable,” “last-gasp-case,” “real” alcoholics who thoroughly followed the early A.A. path.[3]

Early Cleveland A.A. Had a Documented 93% Success Rate with No Relapses!

Cleveland A.A.--whose first group was founded on May 11, 1939, shortly after the Big Book was published on April 10 of that year—had an even greater, documented, 93% success rate—with no relapses! As Clarence Snyder (Dr. Bob's sponsee and founder of A.A. in Cleveland) stated in the A.A. General Service Conference-approved book, DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers:

"I think A.A. was more effective in those days. Records in Cleveland show that 93 percent of those who came to us never had a drink again. When I discovered that people had slips in A.A., it really shook me up."[4]

Here is what Mitchell K., Clarence Snyder's biographer, reported as to the 93% success rate in Cleveland:

Two years after the publication of the book [i.e., of Alcoholics Anonymous (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.[5]

And three of Clarence Snyder's sponsees wrote: "Of the first 260 people who came into A.A. in Cleveland, ninety-three percent never drank again!"[6] These were the Cleveland groups that grew from one to thirty in a year.[7]

I believe—based on just about 26 years of continuous sobriety and 22 years of investigation and research—that the “winners,” the “old-school” AAs, the recovered alcoholics led by A.A. cofounder Dr. Robert Smith, publicized by cofounder Bill Wilson, and followed by Clevelander Clarence Snyder—established recovery techniques which can and should be applied in 12 Step fellowships, Christian recovery programs, and alcoholism treatment today.

These Are the 14 Resources to Use in Preparation for and at the 2012 Meetings

1.      The seven-point summary of the Akron program prepared by Frank Amos, presented to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and now published in DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers at page 131.

2.      The remarks of Dr. Bob presented in his last major address to AAs in 1948 and now published in The Co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks (A.A. General Service Conference-approved pamphlet P-53).

3.      The remarks of Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson together on the stage of the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in 1948 before a crowd of thousand and recently discovered reported in the Roman Catholic newspaper The Tidings, in the Friday, March 26, 1948, issue.

4.      D. J. Defoe’s long-“lost” interview of Dr. Bob published in the September 1939 issue of Your Faith magazine.[8]

5.      RHS, the January 1951 Grapevine Memorial Issue published at the time of Dr. Bob’s death.

6.      The AA of Akron pamphlet, A Manual for Alcoholics Anonymous, published shortly after the Big Book was came out in 1939, and containing the writing of Evan W. of Akron, who was commissioned to write it by Dr. Bob (still available at Akron Intergroup Office)

7.      The AA of Akron pamphlet Spiritual Milestones for Alcoholics Anonymous (same data).

8.      The AA of Akron Pamphlet Second Reader for Alcoholics Anonymous (same data).

9.      The AA of Akron Pamphlet A Guide to the TWELVE STEPS of Alcoholics Anonymous (same data).

10.  The 16 Practices of the “old-school” AAs, published in Dick B. and Ken B., Stick with the Winners: How to Conduct More Effective 12-Step Recovery Meetings Using Conference-Approved Literature:  A Dick B. Guide  for Christian Leaders and Workers in the Recovery Arena (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2012).

11.  Dick B., That Amazing Grace: The Roles of Clarence and Grace S. in Alcoholics Anonymous (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, 1996).

12.  Mitchell K., How It Worked: The Story of Clarence H. Snyder and the Early Days of Alcoholics Anonymous in Cleveland, Ohio (Washingtonville, NY: AA Big Book Study Group, 1997).

13.  Our A.A. Legacy to the Faith Community: A Twelve-Step Guide for Those Who Want to Believe, by Three Clarence Snyder Sponsee Old-Timers and Their Wives, compiled and edited by Dick B. (Winter Park, FL: Came to Believe Publications, 2005).

14.  The personal stories of old-timers now available in Alcoholics Anonymous: The Original 1939 Edition: With a New Introduction by Dick B. (Minneola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2011).

If you want accurate information as to: (1) what the “old-school” pioneers of A.A. did, in or as a result of the leadership of, Dr. Bob; (2) how to prepare and to be prepared for the forthcoming “Stick with the Winners” meetings, classes, workshops, and conference at His Place Church, Westminster, Orange County, California May 14-21, 2012; and (3) how you can organize and conduct “old-school” A.A. classes with your program, your group, your fellowship, 12 Step fellowships, clients, patients, and churches; then the foregoing resources are for you.

These resources will be available in Southern California for discussion and suggestions from May 14-21, 2012, in Orange County. They are mostly available online today. They are largely reprinted or posted on the many Dick B., International Christian Recovery Coalition, and blog sites. They should be part of the library and teaching tools of every Christian leader or worker in the recovery arena interested in carrying the message of how to apply “old-school” A.A. in today’s 12 Step and other recovery scenes.


Gloria Deo

[1] From "Foreword to Second Edition" in Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., xx.

[2] "The Rockefeller Dinner," http://www.barefootsworld.net/aarockdinner.html; accessed 7/4/09. For further details about this important event in the history of A.A., see Mitchell K., How It Worked: The Story of Clarence H. Snyder and the Early Days of Alcoholics Anonymous in Cleveland, Ohio (Washingtonville, NY: AA Big Book Study Group, 1997), 163-69.

[3] See DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers (New York, N.Y.: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1980), 131, for the seven points of Akron’s highly-successful program. Dr. Bob called Akron’s Group No. 1 “a Christian fellowship.” (See DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, 118.)

[5] Mitchell K., How It Worked: The Story of Clarence H. Snyder and the Early Days of Alcoholics Anonymous in Cleveland, Ohio (Washingtonville, NY: AA Big Book Study Group, 1999), 108.

[6] Three Clarence Snyder Sponsee Old-timers and Their Wives, comp. and edited by Dick B., Our A.A. Legacy to the Faith Community: A Twelve-Step Guide for Those Who Want to Believe (Winter Park, FL: Came to Believe Publications, 2005), 9. See also pages 4 and 75.

[7] Nobody seemed to reject the claim that the greatest growth in early A.A. was in Cleveland. From a single group which first met in May 1939, Cleveland had grown into perhaps thirty groups over a year period. In Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, at pages 21-22, Bill wrote of the growth in both the number of groups, the several hundred members, and results which he said “were of the best.” Bill said that, a year after the publication of the Plain Dealer articles [October 21, 1939, to November 4, 1939—"1939 Cleveland Plain Dealer Articles"; http://barefootsworld.net/aaplaindealer.html; accessed 7/8/09], “Cleveland had about thirty groups and several hundred members." After a diligent investigation of the Cleveland A.A. picture, historian Wally P. reported: “By the end of 1940, Cleveland had 20-30 groups and 400 to 500 members. In September, Dorothy discussed with New York the possibility of setting up a Directory with the names and addresses of group members. . . . The Headquarters responded favorably. . . . The Group Directories were compiled starting in 1940." See Wally P., But, For the Grace of God. . . : How Intergroups & Central Offices Carried the Message of Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1940’s (Wheeling, WV: The Bishop of Books, 1995), 76.

[8] D. J. Defoe, "I Saw Religion Remake a Drunkard," in Your Faith magazine, September 1939, 84-88 http://silkworth.net/aahistory/drbob/drbob_interview_fm_0939.html ; accessed 2/22/12.