CASA 12-Steps Blog
A.A. and the Twelve Steps
By Dick B.
© 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved
Would you like to learn about A.A. its Twelve Steps? Would you like make A.A. history and the roots of A.A. a part of your study? Would you like to know what A.A. “founder” Rev. Samuel Shoemaker said about A.A. and the Twelve Steps? If you would, then Courage to Change by Bill Pittman and Dick B. is the first place to turn. http://www.amazon.com/Courage-To-Change-Christian-Twelve-Step/dp/1568382456. In fact, Courage to Change: The Christian Roots of the Twelve-Step Movement is one of earliest source books for the study of A.A. history, reporting the role of A.A. founder Bill Wilson and of the man Bill Wilson dubbed a “cofounder” of A.A., as a means for understanding A.A. and the Twelve Steps.
There are other, later, A.A. history books by author Dick B. that add to the A.A. and study groups scene. And we will talk about them in a moment.
In Courage to Change, Bill Pittman and Dick B. crafted a simple, A.A.-founder-related presentation of each of the Twelve Steps—covering the Steps one by one. Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker was Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in New York. His church was in charge of Calvary Mission where A.A. founder Bill Wilson went to the altar and made his decision for Jesus Christ about December 7, 1934. Shoemaker was the chief American lieutenant of the Oxford Group which laid out the biblical principles and the practical program of action that Bill codified in the A.A. Big Book and its Twelve Steps. So much so, that Bill Wilson asked Rev. Shoemaker to write the Twelve Steps, but Shoemaker declined. However, A.A. “founder” Shoemaker did work with Bill Wilson in Shoemaker’s book-lined study at Calvary House as Bill was developing the language of A.A.’s 12 Steps contained in the book Alcoholics Anonymous published April 10, 1939.
Sam Shoemaker was known as “a Bible-Christian.” His 30-plus books, articles, sermons, and efforts at Calvary Church regularly presented key ideas long before A.A. was founded in June 1935 that eventually made their way into A.A. Shoemaker frequently cited a Bible verse that supported a Step idea. In describing what a Step meant and how to take it, Shoemaker would cite a Bible verse and then use the very language for that Step that one can find in both Shoemaker’s words and in the words of Bill Wilson.
In addition to laying out each Step and the correlative language from the Bible and Shoemaker, Pittman and Dick B. also included two vitally-important and useful articles by Shoemaker which were directly related to A.A. and the Twelve Steps. The first was the “Those Twelve Steps as I Understand Them.” The second was “What the Church Can Learn from Alcoholics Anonymous.”
Dick B. went on to write and publish three additional books about A.A. and the Twelve Steps. Each adds more A.A. history specifics to the ideas that Bill Wilson and Rev. Shoemaker formulated in the actual Steps. The first title is Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A. Pittsburgh ed.: www.dickb.com/newlight.shtml. The second title is Dick B., Twelve Steps for You: www.dickb.com/12StepsforYou.shtml. The third is By the Power of God: www.dickb.com/powerofgod.shtml
There are several things a reader can do to enhance his understanding of the Twelve Steps, his knowledge about A.A. and the Twelve Steps, and his ability to “take” the Twelve Steps and take a newcomer through each Step. The first is to look at the 12 suggested Steps as they are spelled out in the Big Book. The second is to look for the specific instructions the Big Book provides for taking each Step (sometimes a bit murky or actually missing in details). The third is to read two A.A. General Service Conference-approved books—Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age by Bill Wilson and The Language of the Heart—where Bill Wilson specifically attributes at least 10 of the 12 Steps to Shoemaker. The fourth is to read Bill Pittman and Dick B., Courage to Change. Finally, to read the three Dick B. books cited above and particularly the explanation of Shoemaker’s part in each Step.
Courage to Change is now available in Kindle format from Amazon.com: http://goo.gl/rItYA.