AA Original Manuscript Shows Debate Over Religion
October 1, 2010
News Report by Benjamin Chambers
"The original manuscript of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Big Book is being published for the first time, along with edits that changed its references to religion, the Washington Post reported Sep. 22.
The first AA manual, called: "Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism," was published in 1939, the Associated Press (AP) reported Sept. 28.
First drafted by co-founder Bill Wilson, the 12-step manual has become known as the "Big Book" or "Bible." Wilson's working manuscript is now being published by Hazelden under the title, "The Book That Started It All."
The annotated manuscript shows that Wilson picked a group of people -- whose identities are still unknown -- to review and edit the Big Book. Their changes and comments indicate there was disagreement over how explicitly to talk about God and religion.
For example, a sentence in the first chapter that read "God has to work twenty-four hours a day in and through us, or we perish," was changed to read "Faith has to work twenty-four hours a day in and through us, or we perish." The anonymous editor explained, "Who are we to say what God has to do?"
The editors also made changes to the 12 Steps as well. In Wilson’s original version, Step 7 read, "Humbly, on our knees, asked Him to remove our shortcomings -- holding nothing back." The editors suggested it be changed to read, "Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings," because "on our knees" suggested church worship, the Post said. " ...