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.

Eastern Canada’s First Service Assembly

The historic first meeting of the Canadian Eastern Regional Alcoholics Anonymous Service Assembly (CERAASA) meets in southwest Quebec (Area 87), February, 2013. The Service Assembly is sponsored by the ten areas of the Eastern Canada Region, covering New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and Quebec.

Half-century of A.A. in Barbados

“Barbados Comes of Age” is the theme selected for the 50th Anniversary celebration of A.A. Barbados, in March 2012. The convention is attended by more than 166 participants.

India Experiences an Explosion of Interest

In July 2012, a popular Indian television personality hosts an investigative series, with one episode titled “Alcohol Abuse – Think Before You Drink” on the topic of alcoholism. The show features interviews with recovering alcoholics, including one of India’s Class A (nonalcoholic) trustees. The result is an overwhelming flood of inquiries. In the days following the show, A.A. centers across India answer more than 90,000 calls and over 700 letters. The chairman of India’s A.A. Public Information committee notes, “It seems that at last A.A. in India has found its own Jack Alexander.”

22nd World Service Meeting

The 22nd World Service Meeting (WSM) meets October 2012 in Rye Brook, New York. Sixty-one delegates attend from 32 countries, as well as A.A. entities, such as Flemish-speaking Belgium, Northern and Southern Zones of Central America, and German-speaking and French-speaking Europe. The theme is “Rotation: The Heartbeat of A.A.”

The First Spanish PSA

In 2011, the General Service Conference approves the development of a Spanish-language Public Service Announcement (PSA), the first of its kind. Titled “Tengo Esperanza,” the PSA begins to air on Spanish-language TV in November 2012.

About the Author



Japan celebrates the 40th AnniversaryIn February 2015, Japan celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the ...

Read More >


A milestone for the AA GrapevineWith the March 1978 issue, the circulation of the Fellowship’s...

Read More >


Hospital and prison groups worldwideA G.S.O. New York report of the 1970 World Service Meeting notes...

Read More >


Italy comes aboardThe start-up of A.A. in Italy is said to be 1972, when a small group of Americans ...

Read More >


Support for French Equatorial AfricaA.A. France's sponsorship of African countries begins with a...

Read More >


Delegates descend on Denver“Let It Begin With Me” is the theme of the Fellowship’s...

Read More >

Post a Comment