Back To Basics


Here are the Steps We Took in Four One-Hour Sessions

Author: Wally P.

This book has created a spiritual renewal by taking newcomers and old-timers alike back to the original A.A. program that produced a 75% recovery rate from alcoholism.  The first edition sold out in less than eight months.  The second edition was modified based upon the experiences of the first 100 Back to Basics groups and an A.A. General Service Office review of the book.

In 1958, Bill W. commented on the Beginners’ Meetings. He said: “. . . teaching the Twelve Steps is the sole purpose of an A.A. group. The Beginners Meetings of the 1940’s really worked.”

Bill went on to elaborate, “Here are some of the reasons:”

  • Sponsoring” newcomers through the Twelve Steps was a four-week commitment.
  • Newcomers and “Sponsors” took all Twelve Steps together.
  • All of the Steps (with the exception of the 5th Step) were taken during the meetings. For the Newcomer who was incapable of writing a 4th Step inventory, the Sponsor wrote it for him or her.
  • The essential written step for the Newcomer was the 11th Step – Guidance from the God of the Newcomer’s understanding.
  • It was the “Sponsor’s” responsibility to call the Newcomer during the month of sponsorship.
  • After completing the sessions, both the Newcomer and “Sponsor” moved on to “sponsor” others through the Twelve Steps.

Back to Basics is based on two years of research, and more than one hundred interviews of old-timers who found lasting sobriety in the 1940’s.  In this book, Wally P., archivist, historian and author, will take you through the Twelve Steps as they were taken in the “original” A.A. Beginners’ Meetings.  You will learn how to develop a direct two-way communication with the “God of your understanding”, and how to follow the “Guidance” you receive. You will have the opportunity to experience the life-changing spiritual awakening that occurs as the direct result of completing the Twelve Steps in four one-hour sessions.  In addition, you will learn how to become a “life changer” by bringing the Beginners’ Meetings to others.

The book Back to Basics – The Alcoholics Anonymous Beginners’ Meetings has been dedicated to Dr. Bob, who endorsed this meeting format.  His daughter, Sue Smith-Windows, has whole-heartedly agreed that her father was an absolute believer in the “Keep It Simple” approach detailed in this book.

Chapter 1 of Back to Basics  is an accurate account of the history of the Four One-Hour Meetings.

Chapters 2 through 5 consist of two A.A. home group members, taking newcomers through the Twelve Steps during the fall of 1946.

Chapter 2 — Session 1, Overview and Step 1.

Chapter 3 — Session 2, Steps 2, 3 and 4.

Chapter 4 — Session 3, Steps 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

Chapter 5 — Session 4, Steps 10, 11 and 12.

Chapter 6 contains additional information on the AA program of the 1940’s and “How it worked”.

This book shows why the Beginners’ Meetings were such an integral part of A.A.’s initial success!








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