There were a lot of books around the Wilson House, Bill W’s birth place. There were more books at Dr. Bob’s house in Akron, Ohio. I understand that they used many books in the beginning of AA, before there was a Big Book to thump.
I was listening to The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and there were several parts that I related to the AA program as I understand it. He was describing a particular religious sect and he said something along the lines of this. He asked an elder why they had nothing written down. No doctrine. And the elder explained that they were afraid to write down their religion as they practiced it because if they did so it would become a static thing and they wouldn’t be open to further revelation from God. Two generations later, he said, their followers would be effectually frozen into the understanding of the current adherents.
I don’t fear that will happen in AA, but I’m dismayed when I come across the attitude that only “approved” literature should be made available at AA meetings. I truly the believe that the vulnerable newcomer is steered to the Big Book and maybe one or two other “approved” books and that having other books available won’t hurt anyone.
And that it might help some of us who aren’t so new.
I always have at least one book that relates somehow to sobriety that I’m currently reading. Usually more than one.
I’m working on a list of what I’ve read, and it feels like one of things I’ll do if I ever retire that I’ll get the list together and comment on the books. For now it’s going to go on a page here.
I urge everyone in AA who isn’t brand-spanking-new to read these and others and everything. The idea of banning books is abhorrent to me, yet I understand that AA can’t promote outside literature. Nor can AA “approve” much more than it currently does. But the expanding mind of AA members is AA’s vitality, I believe. We cannot become frozen in the writings of 75 years ago, no matter how enlightened those writing are. I think that’s a lot of the sentiment expressed by these words:
Our book is meant to be suggestive only. Werealize we know only a little. God willconstantly disclose more to you and to us.