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.
Because Becoming Recovered is an open source text, anyone may download it, make any changes they like, and print and distribute it freely. For more details on the terms of use of this text, please see this post.

22 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Thank you, thank you, thank you….

Comment by melissa

find Gods way.

Comment by maj

Congratulations to the person who authored this article. It is a thoughtful comparison of Oxford Group ideas and writings to A.A. writings. This is the first time I’ve seen this since I did my own comprehensive study of all twenty-eight Oxford Group ideas that impacted on A.A. Thus there is a counterpart piece of Oxford Group language (and the language of Sam Shoemaker) that led to or matches the ideas in each of the Steps. See Dick B., The Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living That Works and New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker and A.A.

Comment by Richard G. Burns, J.D.

[…] Downloads […]

Pingback by IT’S HERE!!! «

Thanks Guys,
Very much appreciated.

Comment by fredjoiners

me gustaria recibir la literatura completa de dick b en espanol gracias, y literatura de la fundacion henzal

Comment by jaeli


Thanks for your post. I don’t know where you can find Dick’s books in Spanish. You might try writing to him at his site.

Comment by James R.

Thank you very much for this website. It is amazing. Where would I gain permission to use “Becoming Recovered” material for recovery meetings? I am in the process of establishing an alcohol/drug regeneration ministry and I believe “Becoming Recovered” would be awesome as a basic text. Thanks again for your wonderful work. God be with you all.

Comment by Jason D.

Thanks for the superb recovery guide.

Comment by AK

Thanks to our inquiring friend about hispanic translations of my books. Puedo hablar espanol. However, though several have wanted to translate and been authorized to do so, that has not happened yet. Nonetheless, these days, the transformed materials can presently be pulled up on the internet. Muchas gracias. Ricardo

Comment by Richard G. Burns, J.D.

Thank you very much. I really need the materials for the Oxford groups. Thank you for sharing the files.

Comment by Joseph A. Cheung

Thank You very much!! You Rock!! Please if possible continue to expand the PDF book downloads on the Oxford Group as they are almost impossible to find and very expensive at the very least to buy. They have most diffenately improved my program and provided me the ability to bring something different to the table when I share and be more responsible in making sure the hand of AA is always there when topics like the Four Absolutes are brought up in a meetings.
Thank You and God Bless,
Bradley B.

Comment by Bradley L. Brumit/8upAlcoholic

Do not be mislead by the selective presentation of the OG/MRA here.

For a fairer representation, and greater gratitude for AA’s break with the OG, read:

‘All I Could Never Be,’ by Beverly Nichols. May neo-OG sites refer to ‘The Fool Hath Said,’ Nichols glowing account of his infatuation with the Group. A year later, after learning that he had been deliberately deceived by the Group and suffering a near complete breakdown, Nichols had other things to say.

‘The Mystery of Moral Re Armament’ by Tom Driberg. Yes, Driberg may have been a fellow traveller and all that; but he did do his homework on Buchman, to the point of finding the original(s) of at least one of Buchman’s famous Amends letters. Also of interest to modern readers is the coded suggestion that Buchman may have been a self-loathing homosexual.

The OG was a kind of anti-AA. Obsessed with money, property and prestige, the Group discouraged Wilson’s work in New York and opposed AA’s existence as a free-standing entity. Please do not be fooled by the blandishments of fundamentalist infiltrators of AA. OUR primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to acheive sobriety. Leave evangelical empire building to the swamis and sociopaths.

Comment by John the Drunkard

Sad commentary, John. Get acquainted with Rev. Sam Shoemaker, an American leader, whom Bill Wilson called the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Comment by Dick B.

HERE HERE…If as we understood had been left out, millions more would have died!!!

Comment by Bo

Thank you. An objective look at Frank Buchman reveals much to be loathed. Some of the more rabidly anti-intellectual and crank-spritualist elements of AA can still be traced to his warped mind and imagination.

Shoemaker make his break with Buchman and the OG eventually, and for good reason–though Buchman, typically, lied about the rift afterwards, citing meaningless practical matters as the root.

Comment by thalio

That is a dismal look and fault finding presentation. My own spirituality is not based on any human faults or dependable upon some finite being. I worked through and continue to AA twelve, then want something closer. So I find more, in my search I found OG practices to be useful as furthering my journey. Especially the instructions on meditation and the method presented for testing those ideas. It has become second nature to test all my thoughts for honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love which allows me to further grow, in turn being able to help those along the way.

Comment by Bullard

Thank you for the original Oxford Group documents. Reading the original books helps to understand the evil that was the Oxford Group.

Comment by Terrance H.

Many Thanks for your literary service. A favorite saying of any early sponsor may apply here, “we come to AA and tell our story until we get it right.” Finally, it’s been suggested that, it’s simply God’s story. Increasingly a tough sell, but perhaps, more attractive than ever. namaste

Comment by Pierre Faillettaz

We are currently in a 12 step workshop and i find that this is some the most usfull information to date . Thank you for this site.By the way im a member of cocaine anonymous .

Comment by jimmie w


Comment by Lapet

You’re welcome, Lapet. Glad to know the site has been useful to someone in Poland.

Comment by James R.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: