How it Works (Continued)
J: When the manuscript was first written... Bill wrote it that night. Imagine how he must have felt, seeing the Twelve Steps for the first time. He said he kind of associated this
with the Twelve Apostles for some reason. He just finished and he--I know how he was by seeing this. Just about that time one of the members (See AA Comes of Age p 161-2).
Oxford Group members, whatever they called them in those days, he came by with one of his prospects, coming from 8 meeting. Bill felt--oh man, he was enthused, you know how he must have felt, what he had just written. He had his first time to show this to one of the other members.
I remember, this guy came by and he showed it to him, and boy, this guy didn't like it. He said, what in the hell is that? You know how you would feel. I remember, they had six steps in the Oxford Groups meetings. They had penned out a little six steps and that was what they were using How would you feel if ... you left the other day, you and me, we had twelve steps, suppose you got back Monday and they had twenty-four? How would you feel? (laughter)
This guy said, what in the hell is all this? We don't need all that. And really, most of the first
people -- there was a lot of controversy -- most of them didn't like the Twelve Steps. Most of them did not like it. There was a greater argument, a great confusion over the Big Book, which almost destroyed the book project. There was a great fight over the Twelve Steps, what he had written that night. The fight ended up in the changes to the (original) version that we do have in our book (today).
C: The guy that sat here in Arizona, he was never going to see those people up there in Akron, New York City and Cleveland. He was never going to have the opportunity to have a classic Twelve Step call made on him in person. So the Big Book had to do it. The Doctor's Opinion and the first four chapters make the Twelve Step call.
They show us all the information we need for Steps One and Two. Before I saw the original manuscript, I would read How It Works. At the end of that statement it would say, we're now at Step Three. I'd say, where in the hell did One and Two go?
Every Step from Three on, the book tells you, first: why you need to take it. It tells you how to take it, and tells you what the results will be. But there's no explanation of One and Two. It's only when we got the original manuscript that we saw what Bill had done in the writing of the book. He gave us all that information to recognize that we're powerless over alcohol and that our lives are unmanageable. He's given us all this information to recognize that there is a Power greater than ourselves that can restore us to sanity. We're going to be called upon to make a decision in Three.
There's no way that we could make that decision without first seeing Steps One and Two. You see, they didn't have a Step One and Two then. They started with Step Three when they brought you to an A. A. meeting, when they sponsored you into the group. They said, I've been talking to this joker. I believe he recognizes that he's powerless, and I believe he believes in a Power greater than himself therefore I'm going to sponsor him
into this group.
That's where sponsorship came from in the beginning. But now, the book had to be complete in that detail. So now we recognize that there's really no work involved in Steps One and Two. They are conclusions of the mind. They are facts that we picked up from the information in The Doctor's Opinion and the first four chapters.
(Transcriber's note: "Pass It On, '. p. 197. "There is no
evidence that the Oxford Group had such a specific program: yet the Oxford
Group ideas prevail in these original six steps, as listed by Bill:
- We admitted that we were licked, that we were powerless over
- We made a moral inventory of our defects or sins.
- We confessed or shared our shortcomings with another person in
- We made restitution to all those we had harmed by our
- We tried to help other alcoholics, with no thought of reward in
money or prestige.
- We prayed to whatever God we thought there was for power to practice
these precepts." [Pass It On," p. 206, footnote 2: 2].
In later years, some A. A. members referred to this procedure as the
six steps of the Oxford Group. Reverend T. Willard Hunter, who spend 18
years in full-time staff positions for the Oxford Group and M.R.A., said,
"I never once saw or heard anything like the Six Tenets. It would be
impossible to find them in any Oxford Group-M.R.A. literature. I think
they must have been written by someone else under some sort of
misapprehension." [Pass It On, Copyright 1984 by Alcoholics Anonymous
World Service, Inc. All rights reserved.])