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.

An Anniversary Celebration

The A.A. French Audio Internet Group – Vivre Sans Alcool (Living Sober) – celebrates its fifth anniversary online in February 2011. The group has more than 70 French-speaking A.A. members from over a dozen countries, including Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Brazil, India, Australia and the United States.

Thailand’s First Round-up

Under the theme “How It Works,” the first annual Thai Round Up is held in Bangkok, Thailand in October 2011. The majority of attendees are Thai A.A. members, and the workshops and meetings are conducted in Thai, with some English translations for English-speaking travelers and members who also attended. English-speaking meetings have been held in Thailand since 1971.

First Eastern Arctic A.A. Convention

Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, is selected as the location to host the first Eastern Arctic A.A. Convention. The two-day convention begins on June 24th with a ceremonial lighting of the Qulliq (an Inuit lamp) and welcoming remarks from the mayor of Iqaluit. Featured speakers from both A.A. and Al-Anon address the crowd, sharing in Inuktitut, the native language of the Inuits.

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