“You Shyster, You!”: A Brief Biography of Jimmy K. (By Heidi Weston)
May 21, 2008, 1:03 am
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As a child growing up in Paisley, Scotland, Jimmy K., widely recognized as the founder of Narcotics Anonymous, struck up an unusual friendship with a man named Mr. Crookshack:

“My very, very close friend was the town drunk. And he was a great guy, you know? He was so good to me in so many ways, and he was such a louse in so many others. He used to fall down the stairs and break himself open, break his head open, and blood would be running down two or three flights of stairs. When I was seven and a half, he fell down and I found him. I found him and went running in to get my mother. We got him into a hospital. I used to keep saying to her ‘When can we see Mr. Crookshack?’ and she said ‘Next week, next week’. This kept going on. Finally, I said ‘I have to see him’. So she took us up to a place called Crow Road. This was the nut house. And here he was sitting in a wheel chair, just staring straight ahead. I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t see me and wouldn’t talk to me. I said, ‘what’s wrong with him?’ She said ‘He drank too much and got hurt too much over the years’. I said, ‘When I grow up, I’m gonna help people like Mr. Crookshack’. I’ve never forgotten that. I had to become an alcoholic and addict to fulfill my destiny.”

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History of the Beginners Classes: a Speech by Wally P.
May 21, 2008, 1:00 am
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Initial growth in Alcoholics Anonymous took place in Cleveland, Ohio. Clarence S. and the guys went out actively pursuing drunks and brought them off bar stools and street corners. We don’t do that today, but we were doing it back then [late 1930’s and 1940’s]. And it worked!

In early 1940, when there were about 1,000 members of AA, more than half were from Cleveland. The book ‘AA Comes of Age’ talks about it on pages 20 and 21: “It was soon evident that a scheme of personal sponsorship would have to be devised for the new people. Each prospect was assigned an older AA, who visited him at his home or in the hospital, instructed him on AA principles, and conducted him to his first meeting.” So even back in the early days the sponsor was taking the sponsee to meetings and getting together with him, rather than having the sponsee track the sponsor down. ‘AA Comes of Age’ continues by saying, “But in the face of many hundreds of pleas for help, the supply of elders could not possibly match the demand. Brand-new AA’s, sober only a month or even a week, had to sponsor alcoholics still drying up in hospitals.” Because of this rapid growth in Cleveland, the idea of formalized classes started. In the book ‘Dr. Bob and the Good Old-timers’ it states on page 261, “Yes, Cleveland’s results were the best. Their results were in fact so good that many a Clevelander really though AA had started there in the first place.” Over half of the fellowship was from Cleveland up and through the mid-1940s. Continue reading

May 21, 2008, 12:58 am
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A story told by Dr. Frank Buchman at the World Assembly for Moral Re-Armament, Riverside, California, June 1948

This afternoon I want to take you back forty years to the time when the then Chairman of the Democratic National Committee asked me to come to State College, Pennsylvania, and see whether I could do anything to settle the differences between the faculty and the students who did not seem to understand each other. He was on the Board of Trustees and he was worried. And he ought to have been worried. There was a strike on, a students’ strike. The atmosphere was antagonistic and he had an idea that I could find the solution. I had no such idea at all. I frankly told him I didn’t think it was my job. But he kept after me and finally I consented to go.

It was there that I found the laboratory that made what is hap­pening here possible. The life of the students reflected the Godless-ness of the place. The first night I got there, there were nineteen liquor parties. Someone said it was so wet you could float a battle­ship… Continue reading

What the church has to learn from Alcoholics Anonymous (By Sam Shoemaker)
May 21, 2008, 12:49 am
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from a speech given by Rev. Shoemaker at the twentieth anniversary convention of A.A. in St. Louis , Missouri .

God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise.
God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.

I Corinthians 1:26

During the weekend of the Fourth of July last, I attended one of the most remarkable conventions I ever expect to attend. It was a gathering in St. Louis of about five thousand members of the movement called Alcoholics Anonymous. The occasion was the celebration of their twentieth anniversary, and the turning over freely and voluntarily of the management and destiny of that great movement by the founders and “old timers” to a board which represents the fellowship as a whole.

As I lived and moved among these men and women for three days, I was moved as I have seldom been moved in my life. It happens that I have watched the unfolding of this movement with more than usual interest, for its real founder and guiding spirit, Bill-, found his initial spiritual answer at Calvary Church in New York , when I was rector there, in 1935. Having met two men unmistakable alcoholics, who had found release from their difficulty, he was moved to seek out the same answer for himself. But he went further. Being of a foraging and inquiring mind, he began to think there was some general law operating here, which could be made to work, not in two men’s lives only, but in two thousand or two million. He set to work to find out what it was. He consulted psychiatrists, doctors, clergy, and recovered alcoholics to discover what it was. Continue reading