Philosophy of Courage by Philip Leon, with a foreword by Glenn F. Chesnut (pdf)
Philip Leon, philosopher and Oxford Group member, published this work in 1939, when the AA Big Book was first printed. Leon’s take on Oxford Group ideas is helpful in understanding both what AA took from the OG, and what we left behind. Because it is a philosophical and theological work, The Philosophy of Courage is not always an easy book to read, and so Glenn F. Chesnut’s introduction provides a chapter-by-chapter overview of Leon’s ideas, making this important book much more accessible.
Soul Surgery by Howard Walter (pdf)
Originally published in 1919, this book is the result of collaboration between Frank Buchman and Howard Walter, Buchman’s associate and a missionary in India. The subject of Soul Surgery is “personal work,” also called “personal evangelism.’” It criticizes mass evangelism as superficial, and contends that real religious change happens only when two people sit down together and are totally honest with one another.
It is possible to read Soul Surgery as an essay on Twelfth-Step work. Walter’s suggestions for the personal evangelist all apply to those of us who serve others as sponsors. The religious language here is very strong, but the underlying spirituality is equally strong and fully compatible with the Steps. The basic message of Soul Surgery is this: we grow spiritually only by helping others along the same path.
What is the Oxford Group?, by A Layman with a Notebook (pdf)
While Soul Surgery outlines the Group’s method of personal work, What is the Oxford Group? examines the Group’s full range of practices. In the book’s discussion of the Four Absolutes, we find the precursor of inventory. Likewise, the chapters on surrender, restitution, and Guidance are clearly what AA adopted as the Third Step, amends, and the Eleventh Step, respectively. What is the Oxford Group? serves as an excellent introduction to Oxford Group thought and practice, and could almost serve as a pre-step Step guide for those interested in working with the roots of Twelve Step spirituality.
I Was a Pagan, by V.C. Kitchen (pdf)
V.C. Kitchen was a regular in Sam Shoemaker’s Oxford Group circle where he met and befriended Bill Wilson. I Was a Pagan tells the story of Kitchen’s failed attempts to make his life meaningful and his transformative encounter with the Oxford Group. Many helpful comparisons can be made between Kitchen’s autobiography and Wilson’s writings, primarily Alcoholics Anonymous.
Readers familiar with the Big Book will recognize many of its expressions in Kitchen’s story. Readers will also notice that Kitchen does not see alcoholism as a disease. Kitchen treats his own drinking as a moral problem, one which was solved by the moral program of the Oxford Group.
Unpublished NA 4th Step Guides (pdf)
From early drafts of the NA Basic Text and It Works: How and Why, these Fourth Step guides offer to connect us with a spiritual tradition at the roots of NA.
Becoming Recovered 1.0 an open source recovery text (pdf)
Here is the first draft of our recovery guide, which presents a strong, spiritual recovery program in inclusive terms. Modeled after the AA Big Book, and based on the experiences of recovered alcoholics, addicts and alanons who all worked steps from the Big Book, Becoming Recovered attempts to make Big Book recovery accessible to all.
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