A.A. Origins

The origins of Alcoholics Anonymous can be traced to the Oxford Group, a religious movement popular in the United States and Europe in the early 20th century. Members of the Oxford Group practiced a formula of self-improvement by performing self-inventory, admitting wrongs, making amends, using prayer and meditation, and carrying the message to others.

In the early 1930s, a well-to-do Rhode Islander, Rowland H., visited the noted Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung for help with his alcoholism. Jung determined that Rowland’s case was medically hopeless, and that he could only find relief through a vital spiritual experience. Jung directed him to the Oxford Group.

Rowland later introduced fellow Vermonter Edwin (“Ebby”) T. to the group, and the two men along with several others were finally able to keep from drinking by practicing the Oxford Group principles.

One of Ebby’s schoolmate friends from Vermont, and a drinking buddy, was Bill W. Ebby sought out his old friend at his home at 182 Clinton Street in Brooklyn, New York, to carry the message of hope.

Bill W. had been a golden boy on Wall Street, enjoying success and power as a stockbroker, but his promising career had been ruined by continuous and chronic alcoholism. Now, approaching 39 years of age, he was learning that his problem was hopeless, progressive, and irreversible. He had sought medical treatment at Towns Hospital in Manhattan, but he was still drinking.

Bill was, at first, unconvinced by Ebby’s story of transformation and the claims of the Oxford Group. But in December 1934, after again landing in Towns hospital for treatment, Bill underwent a powerful spiritual experience unlike any he had ever known. His depression and despair were lifted, and he felt free and at peace. Bill stopped drinking, and worked the rest of his life to bring that freedom and peace to other alcoholics. The roots of Alcoholics Anonymous were planted.

La Viña celebrates its 10th anniversary

The magazine La Viña, A.A.'s "meeting in print" for Spanish-speaking alcoholics, was first published in 1996. As La Viña celebrates its tenth anniversary in June 2006, the initial circulation of 6,000 has grown to nearly 10,000.

AA Grapevine available in digital audio format

The long-running monthly magazine of A.A., the AA Grapevine, is made available in an audio format with a service called AudioGrapevine in June 2006. Subscribers can download and listen to much of the monthly Grapevine content, including the personal stories of A.A. members sharing their stories.

Celebrating 60 years

South Africa observes 60 years of A.A. held in Johannesburg in November. The event is marked with a mini rally with over 300 people in attendance. A banner at the front of the main stage boldly spells out the theme of the event “From Darkness into Light – AA in SA 1946 -2006.” Among the items on display is a 1947 Big Book owned by Solomon M., who was among the first to help start A.A. in South Africa.

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