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 Chapter 1    
2We gave up our positions and off we roared on a12We gave up our positions and off we roared on a motorcycle, the "a" was added, perhaps it sounds better now?"
 motorcycle, the sidecar stuffed with tent, blankets, a sidecar stuffed with tent, blankets, change of clothes, and three  
 change of clothes, and three huge volumes of a finan- huge volumes of a financial reference service. Our friends thought  
 cial reference service. Our friends thought a lunacy a lunacy commission should be appointed.  
 commission should be appointed.    
14The good doctor now sees many men who24The good doctor now sees many men who have such experiences.""that" was added, perhaps it sounds better now?"
 have such experiences. He knows that they are real. He knows they are real. 
15I have seen25I have seen one hundred families set their feet in the path that number was increased,
 hundreds of families set their feet in the path that "really goes somewhere; have seen the most impossible domestic "historical adjustment
 "really goes somewhere; have seen the most impossible" "situations righted; feuds and bitterness of all sorts wiped out. " 
 "domestic situations righted; feuds and bitterness of all"   
 sorts wiped out.    
15In one western city and its environs there25In one western city and its environs there are eighty of us and number was increased,
 are one thousand of us and our families.  our families. historical adjustment
16At these informal gatherings one may often26At these informal gatherings one may often see from 40 to 80 number was increased,
 see from 50 to 200 persons. We are growing in num- persons. We are growing in numbers and power.historical adjustment
 bers and power.*  footnote added
 *In 1984, A.A. is composed of approximately 58,500 groups.   
16Bill W., co-founder of A.A.,26 info added 
 died January 24, 1971.   
 Chapter 2    
17WE, OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, know27WE, OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, know one hundred men number was increased,
 thousands of men and women who were once who were once just as hopeless as Bill. All have recovered. efficiency decreased
 just as hopeless as Bill. Nearly all have recovered. They have solved the drink problem. 
 They have solved the drink problem.   
18But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solu-28But the ex-alcoholic who has found this solution, who is properly Changed because
 tion, who is properly armed with facts about himself, armed with facts about himself, can generally win the entire ""ex-alcoholic" was not in line with the doctrin"
 can generally win the entire confidence of another al- confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours. ""Once an alcoholic -- always an alcoholic" (pg33)"
 coholic in a few hours.    
20Our very lives, as ex-problem30Our very lives, as ex-alcoholics, depend upon our constant thought ""ex-alcoholic" was not in line with the doctrin"
 drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others of others and how we may help meet their needs. 
 and how we may help meet their needs.   
25The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we36The great fact is just this, and nothing less: that we have had deep  
 have had deep and effective spiritual experiences* and effective spiritual experiences, which have revolutionized our  
 which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows, and toward God's  
 life, toward our fellows and toward God's universe. universe.  
 *Fully explained--Appendix II.  footnote states, most members
26Then he had gone36Then he had gone 
 to Europe, placing himself in the care of the celebrated to Europe, placing himself in the care of the celebratedFull name added. Why? To impress the reader?
 physician (the psychiatrist, Dr. Jung) who prescribed physician who prescribed for him.  
 for him.    
27With many individuals the methods which I em-38With many individuals the methods which I em- 
 ployed are successful, but I have never been successful ployed are successful, but I have never been successful 
 "with an alcoholic of your description."*" "with an alcoholic of your description."" 
 *For amplification--see Appendix II.   
29Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing39Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered.  
 how we recovered. These are followed by forty-three These are followed by more than a score of personal experiences. 
 personal experiences.   
 Chapter 3    
30The idea41The idea  
 that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his  
 drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal liquor drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal  
 drinker.  drinker.  
31Science may one day accomplish this,42Science may one day accomplish this,  
 but it hasn't done so yet. but it evidently hasn't done so yet. 
31We do not like to pronounce any individual as alco-43We do not like to brand any individual as an alcoholic,  
 holic, but you can quickly diagnose yourself.  but you can quickly diagnose yourself.  
33Several of44Several of  
 our crowd, men of thirty or less, had been drinking our crowd, men of thirty-five or less, had been drinking  
 only a few years, but they found themselves as help- only a few years, but they found themselves as helpless as those  
 less as those who had been drinking twenty years. who had been drinking twenty years. 
33Potential female alcoholics often turn into the real45Potential feminine alcoholics often turn into the real thing and are  
 thing and are gone beyond recall in a few years. gone beyond recall in a few years. 
34But try and get them to see it!*45But try and get them to see it!footnote added
 *True when this book was first published. But a 1989    
 U.S./Canada membership survey showed about one-fifth of A.A.'s were    
 30 and under.   
40" Let him tell you about it: "I was much impressed"51"Let him tell you about it: "I was much impressed with what you " 
 with what you fellows said about alcoholism, and I fellows said about alcoholism, but I frankly did not believe it would  
 frankly did not believe it would be possible for me to be possible for me to drink again.  
 drink again.    
40I rather appreciated your ideas about51I somewhat appreciated your ideas about the subtle insanity which  
 the subtle insanity which precedes the first drink, but precedes the first drink, but I was confident it could not happen to  
 I was confident it could not happen to me after what I me after what I had learned.  
 had learned.    
 Chapter 4    
44To be doomed to an alcoholic death56To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual  
 or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy basis--not always easy alternatives to face. 
 alternatives to face.   
44About half our original56About half our fellowship were of exactly that type.  
 fellowship were of exactly that type.    
44But cheer up, something like half of us thought we56But cheer up, something like fifty of us thought we were atheists  
 were atheists or agnostics.  or agnostics.  
47At the start, this was all we59At the start, this is all we needed to commence spiritual growth, to  
 needed to commence spiritual growth, to effect our effect our first conscious relation with God as we understood Him.  
 first conscious relation with God as we understood   
 Him.    
47That59That is growth, but if we wished to grow,  
 was growth, but if we wished to grow we had to begin we had to begin somewhere.  
 somewhere.    
47It has been repeatedly proven among us that59It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple  
 upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.  
 spiritual structure can be built.*   
 "*Please be sure to read Appendix II on "Spiritual Experience.""   
50In our personal stories you will find a wide variation62In our personal stories you will find wide variation in the way each  
 in the way each teller approaches and conceives of teller approaches and conceives of the Power which is greater  
 the Power which is greater than himself.  than himself.  
50Experience has taught us62Experience has taught 
 that these are matters about which, for our purpose, that these are matters about which, for our purpose, 
 we need not be worried.  we need not be worried.  
50Here are thousands of men and women, worldly in-62Here are one hundred men and women, worldly indeed.  
 deed.    
50Once con-63Once confused and baffled by the seeming futility of existence, they  
 fused and baffled by the seeming futility of existence, will show the underlying reasons why they were making heavy  
 they show the underlying reasons why they were going of life.  
 making heavy going of life.   
51They show how the change came over them. 63They will show how the change came over them.  
51When63When one hundred people, are able to say that the consciousness  
 many hundreds of people are able to say that the of The Presence of God is today the most important fact of their  
 consciousness of the Presence of God is today the most lives, they present a powerful reason why one should have faith. 
 important fact of their lives, they present a powerful   
 reason why one should have faith.   
51Others came near putting Galileo63Others like them came near putting Galileo to death for his 
 to death for his astronomical heresies. astronomical heresies. 
52We had to ask ourselves why we shouldn't apply to64We had to ask ourselves why we shouldn't apply to our human  
 our human problems this same readiness to change problems this same readiness to change the point of view.  
 our point of view.    
52When we saw others solve their problems by a65When we saw others solve their problems by simple reliance upon  
 simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we the Spirit of this universe, we had to stop  
 had to stop doubting the power of God.  doubting the power of God.  
56That very night, years ago, it dis-69That very night three years ago it disappeared.  
 appeared.   
 Chapter 5    
6012. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result7212. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these* steps, we *second printing March 1941 had "those", second edition 1955 reads again "these"
 of these steps, we tried to carry this message to tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these  
 alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all principles in all our affairs.  
 our affairs.   
60(c) That God could and would if He were sought.72(c) That God could and would if sought. 
61He begins to think life doesn't treat him73He begins to think life doesn't treat him right. He decides to exert  
 right. He decides to exert himself more.  himself some more.  
62And there often74And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self  
 seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without without Him.  
 His aid.    
65My wife Misunderstands and Pride--Personal78My wife Misunderstands and Pride--Personal and 
 nags. Likes Brown. sex relations-- nags. Likes Brown. sex relations--Se- 
 Wants house put in Security (fear) Wants house put in curity (fear) 
 her name. her name. 
 Chapter 6    
76If we still cling to something we will not let go, we88Should we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to 
 ask God to help us be willing. help us be willing. 
80This all happened years ago.93This all happened three years ago. 
82If we have no such complication, there is plenty we94Should we have no such complication, there is plenty we should do 
 should do at home.  at home.  
 Chapter 7    
90Sometimes it is wise to wait till he goes on a binge.102Usually it is wise to wait till he goes on a binge.  
92And be careful not to brand him as an104And be careful not to brand him an alcoholic.  
 alcoholic.    
92Continue to speak of alcoholism as an illness, a fatal104Continue to speak of alcoholism as a sickness, a fatal malady.  
 malady.    
93Let him ask you105Let him ask you that question, if he will. If he does not  
 that question, if he will. Tell him exactly what hap- ask, proceed with the rest of your story. Tell him exactly what  
 pened to you.  happened to you.  
93But he will be curious to learn why his own convictions105But he will be curious to learn why his own convictions have not  
 have not worked and why yours seem to work so well. worked, and yours seem to work so well.  
98Argument and fault-finding are to111Argument and fault-finding are to be avoided like leprosy. 
 be avoided like the plague.    
 Chapter 8   footnote added
104TO WIVES *117TO WIVES 
 *Written in 1939, when there were few women in A.A., this    
 chapter assumes that the alcoholic in the home is likely to    
 be the husband.    
 But many of the suggestions given here may be adapted to help the    
 person who lives with a woman alcoholic--whether she is still drinking    
 or is recovering in A.A. A further source of help is noted on page 121.   
108These are some of the questions which race through121These are some of the questions which race through the mind of  
 the mind of every woman who has an alcoholic hus- every girl who has an alcoholic husband.  
 band.    
111He will124He will use that as an excuse to drink some more.  
 use that as an excuse to drink more.    
111He may seek someone else to console him--124He may seek someone to console him--not always another man. 
 not always another man.   
113He knows that thousands of126He knows that over a hundred men, much  
 men, much like himself, have recovered. like himself, have recovered. 
114We make this127We make this recommendation with some confidence. About a year  
 recommendation with some confidence. For years we ago a certain state institution released four chronic alcoholics. It was  
 have been working with alcoholics committed to in- fully expected they would all be back in a few weeks. Only one of  
 stitutions. Since this book was first published, A.A. them has returned. The others had no relapse at all. The power  
 has released thousands of alcoholics from asylums and of God goes deep! 
 hospitals of every kind. The majority have never re-   
 turned. The power of God goes deep!   
114The wives and children of such men suffer horribly, but128The wives and children of such men suffer horribly, but  
 not more than the men themselves. not less than the men themselves. 
115You will no longer be128You will no longer be self-conscious, nor feel that you must  
 self-conscious or feel that you must apologize as apologize as though your husband were a weak character. 
 though your husband were a weak character.   
121That is why134That is why we are anxious that you understand, that you avoid  
 we are anxious that you understand, and that you these unnecessary difficulties. 
 avoid these unnecessary difficulties.*   
 The fellowship of Al-Anon Family Groups was   
 formed about thirteen years after this chapter was   
 written. Though it is entirely separate from Alcoholics   
 Anonymous, it uses the general principles of the A.A.   
 program as a guide for husbands, wives, relatives,   
 friends, and others close to alcoholics. The foregoing   
 pages (though addressed only to wives) indicate the   
 problems such people may face. Alateen, for teen-aged   
 children of alcoholics, is a part of Al-Anon.   
 If there is no Al-Anon listing in your local tele-   
 phone book, you may obtain further information on   
 Al-Anon Family Groups by writing to its World Ser-   
 vice Office: Box 182, Madison Square Station, New   
 York, NY 10159.   
 Chapter 9    
124We think137We think each family which has been relieved owes something to  
 each family which has been relieved owes something those which have not, and when the occasion requires, each  
 to those who have not, and when the occasion re- member of it, should be only too willing to bring former mistakes, no  
 quires, each member of it should be only too willing matter how grievous, out of their hiding places.  
 to bring former mistakes, no matter how grievous, out   
 of their hiding places.   
125A man may138A man may criticize or laugh at himself and it will affect others  
 criticize or laugh at himself and it will affect others favorably, but criticism or ridicule of him coming from another often  
 favorably, but criticism or ridicule coming from an- produces the contrary effect. 
 other often produces the contrary effect.   
126With these we have had experi-139With these we have experience galore. 
 ence galore.   
130We have come to believe He would like us to keep our143We have come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the  
 heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to be firmly planted  
 to be firmly planted on earth. on earth, nevertheless. 
131Instead144Instead of developing new channels of activity for themselves,  
 of developing new channels of activity for themselves, mother and children may demand that he stay home and make up  
 mother and children demand that he stay home and the deficiency. 
 make up the deficiency.   
 Chapter 10    
136AMONG MANY employers nowadays, we think of150ONE of our friends, whose gripping story you will read, has spent  
 one member who has spent much of his life in much of his life in the world of big business. 
 the world of big business   
138I felt this was inevitable and wondered152I felt this was inevitable and wondered if the bank were doing  
 if the bank was doing the man an injustice.  the man an injustice.  
139Even when you understand the154Even when you understand the malady better, you may find  
 malady better, you may feel this feeling rising. this feeling rising. 
142At this point, it might be well to explain alcoholism, the illness.156At this point, it might be well to explain alcoholism, the sickness.  
 Say that you believe he is a gravely ill per- Say that you believe he is a gravely-ill person, with this  
 son, with this qualification--being perhaps fatally ill, qualification--being perhaps fatally ill, does he want to  
 does he want to get well?  get well immediately?  
144That won't158That won't hurt him a bit, though he does not go for this remedy. 
 hurt him a bit, even though he does not go for this   
 remedy.   
144Your are betting, of course, that your changed atti-158You are betting, of course, that your changed attitude and the  
 tude plus the contents of this book will turn the trick. contents of this book will turn the trick.  
144As our work spreads and our159When our work spreads and our numbers increase, we hope your  
 numbers increase, we hope your employees may be employees may be put in personal contact with some of us.  
 put in personal contact with some of us.    
145The greatest enemies of us alcoholics are resent-159The greatest enemies of we alcoholics are resentment, jealousy,  
 ment, jealousy, envy, frustration, and fear.  envy, frustration, and fear.  
146After your man has gone along without drinking   
 for a few months, you may be able to make use of his160After your man has gone along without drinking a few months,  
 services with other employees who are giving you the you may be able to make use of his services with other employees  
 alcoholic run-around--provided, of course, they are who are giving you the alcoholic run-around-provided, of course,  
 willing to have a third party in the picture.  they are willing to have a third party in the picture.  
147If you take it, your past will be forgotten162If you do, your past will be forgotten and the fact that you went  
 and the fact that you went away for treatment will away for treatment will not be mentioned.  
 not be mentioned.    
150I have enjoyed every moment spent in getting them164I have enjoyed every moment spent in getting them 
 straightened out.* straightened out.* 
 *See Appendix VI--We shall be happy to hear from you if we can *See appendix--The Alcoholic Foundation. We may be able to  
 be of help. carry on a limited correspondence. 
 Chapter 11    
151As ex-problem drink-166As ex-alcoholics, we smile at such a sally.  
 ers, we smile at such a sally.    
152Years ago, in 1935, one of our number made a168Nearly four years ago, one of our number made a journey to a  
 journey to a certain western city.  certain western city.  
154After all, had he not been sober six months now? 168Then after all, had he not been sober six months now? 
155Painfully aware of being169Painfully aware of being somehow abnormal, the man did not fully  
 somehow abnormal, the man did not fully realize realize what it means to be alcoholic. 
 what it meant to be alcoholic.*   
 *This refers to Bill's first visit with Dr. Bob. These men later be-   
 "came co-founders of A.A. Bill's story opens the text of this book;"   
 Dr. Bob's heads the Story Section.   
156Goes off his head com-170Goes off his head completely when drinking.  
 pletely when he's drinking.    
156Understand he was once a170Understand he was once a well-known lawyer 
 well-known lawyer in town, but just now we've got "in town, but just now we've got him strapped down tight."" 
 "him strapped down tight."*"   
 *This refers to Bill's and Dr. Bob's first visit to A.A. Number Three.   
 See the Pioneer Section. This resulted in A.A.'s first group, at Akron,   
 Ohio, in 1935.   
160He succumbed to that gay174He succumbed to that gay crowd inside, who laughed  
 crowd inside, who laughed at their own misfortunes at their misfortune and understood him.  
 and understood his.    
161Being a large175Being a large place, we think that some day its Fellowship will  
 place, we think that some day its Fellowship will number many hundreds. 
 number many hundreds.*   
 *Written in 1939.   
161Under only slightly different conditions, the same176Under only slightly different conditions, the same thing is taking  
 thing is taking place in many eastern cities.  place in several eastern cities. 
162We are greatly indebted to the176We are greatly indebted to the doctor in attendance there, for he,  
 doctor in attendance there, for he, although it might although it might prejudice his own work, has told us his 
 prejudice his own work, has told us of his belief in ours. belief in our work. 
162Then, in this176Then, in this eastern city, there are informal meetings such as we  
 eastern city, there are informal meetings such as we have described to you, where you may see thirty or forty, there  
 have described to you, where you may now see scores are the same fast friendships, there is the same helpfulness to  
 of members. There are the same fast friendships, one another as you find among our western friends.  
 there is the same helpfulness to one another as you   
 find among our western friends.    
162This practice enables us to lend a177This practice enables us to lend a hand, at the same time avoiding  
 hand, at the same time avoiding certain alluring dis- certain alluring distractions of the road, about which any traveling  
 tractions of the road, about which any traveling man man can inform you. 
 can inform you.*   
 *Written in 1939. In 1984, there are about 58,500 groups. There is A.A.   
 activity in 114 countries, with an estimated membership of over 1,000,000.   
163You forget that you have just now tapped177You forget that you have just now tapped a source of power  
 a source of power much greater than yourself.  so much greater than yourself.  
163We know of an A.A. member who was living in a177We know a former alcoholic who was living in a large community.  
 large community.   
163This was only a few days ago at this writing. (1939)177This was only a few days ago at this writing. 
164He178He will show you how to create the fellowship you crave. 
 will show you how to create the fellowship you   
 crave.*   
 *Alcoholics Anonymous will be glad to hear from you. Address   
 P.O. Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163.