Spiritual Homecoming, November, 2005,
Man Nobody Knew When A.A. “Came
of Age” at St. Louis in 1955
A.A.’s Spiritual Homecoming, November,
2005, St. Louis – It’s Time for
© 2005 by Dick B.
● Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker,
Jr., the man nobody knew when A.A.
“Came of Age” at St. Louis in 1955
“There came to next to the lecturn
a figure that not many A.A.’s had
seen before, the Episcopal clergyman
Sam Shoemaker. It was from him that
Dr. Bob and I in the beginning had
absorbed most of the principles
that were afterward embodied in
the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous,
steps that express the heart of
A.A.’s way of life.” Alcoholics
Anonymous Comes of Age. (NY: Alcoholics
Anonymous World Services, Inc.,
1957), pp. 38-39.
● Significant comments from
A.A. and Al-Anon literature about
Bill Wilson, A.A., and Rev. Sam
[Bill himself said:] “The early
A.A. got its ideas of self-examination,
acknowledgment of character defects,
restitution for harm done, and working
with others straight from the Oxford
Groups and directly from Sam Shoemaker,
their former leader in America,
and from nowhere else.” A.A. Comes
of Age, p. 39.
“The Rev. Samuel Shoemaker helped
lead early members toward the spiritual
principles embodied in the Twelve
Steps.” Pass It On (NY: Alcoholics
Anonymous World Services, Inc.,
1984), p. 128.
“While Bill was always generous
in recognizing A.A.’s debt to the
Oxford Group, he would always tie
the Oxford Group connection to Dr.
Shoemaker.” Pass It On, p. 174.
“Bill’s first three steps were culled
from his reading of [William] James,
the teachings of Sam Shoemaker,
and those of the Oxford Group.”
Pass It On, p. 199.
[Bill himself said:] “Where did
the early AAs find the material
for the remaining ten Steps? Where
did we learn about moral inventory,
amends for harm done, turning wills
and lives over to God? We did we
learn about meditation and prayer
and all the rest of it? The spiritual
substance of our remaining ten Steps
came straight from Dr. Bob’s and
my own earlier association with
the Oxford Groups, as they were
then led in America by that Episcopal
rector, Dr. Samuel Shoemaker.” The
Language of the Heart (NY: The AA
Grapevine, Inc., 1989), p. 298.
[Lois Wilson said:] “Bill and Sam
Shoemaker of the Oxford Group were
very good friends. . . . For reasons
of his own Sam became disenchanted
with the Oxford Group and resigned.
Later, in 1955 and 1960, he made
grand talks before thousands of
AAs at the two International Conventions
celebrating the twentieth and twenty-fifth
anniversaries of their Fellowship.
Sam was a great man, an understanding,
tolerant, inspiring human being,
with a personality that drew people
to him.” Lois Remembers (NY: Al-Anon
Family Group Headquarters, Inc.,
1987) , p. 103.
● The definitive and detailed
history of the immense role and
relationship of Shoemaker to Bill
Wilson and A.A. is Dick B., New
Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker,
and A.A. New. Rev. ed., Kihei HI:
Paradise Research Publications,
● Appendix One contains a
complete list of the Sam Shoemaker
Collection assembled by Dick B.
in over 15 years of research.
● Appendix Two tells the story
of how the Shoemaker collection
is “on tour” and presently being
made available free of charge to
viewers at conferences and conventions
● Appendix Three details the
immense contributions of Sam Shoemaker
to A.A., Bill Wilson, & the
● For additional information,
contact Dick B., firstname.lastname@example.org;
808 874 4876
B., PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837; 808
874 4876; email@example.com