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.

Japan celebrates the 40th Anniversary

In February 2015, Japan celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the first Japanese-speaking meeting. The special weekend-long occasion includes a Flag march and a variety of meetings.

A.A.’s 80th Birthday celebrated in Atlanta, Georgia, July 2 - 5

Over 57,000 A.A. members and guests from 94 countries around the world celebrated A.A.’s 80th birthday in Atlanta, Georgia, with the theme “80 Years – Happy, Joyous and Free!” Nearly 250 scheduled meetings were held in various languages. At the Sunday morning meeting, the 35 millionth copy of the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, was presented to the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, the religious order of Sister Ignatia, who worked closely with Dr. Bob to sober up thousands of alcoholics at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio. 

Twi Big Book

After nine years of painstaking and diligent work by three local women translators, 1,200 copies of Alcoholics Anonymous, were printed locally in Twi, the language of Ghana. The book, with hand-sewn bindings, is now being used at A.A. meetings throughout the region. 

A.A.’s 80th Birthday celebrated in Atlanta, Georgia, July 2 - 5

Over 57,000 A.A. members and guests from 94 countries around the world celebrated A.A.’s 80th birthday in Atlanta, Georgia, with the theme “80 Years – Happy, Joyous and Free!” Nearly 250 scheduled meetings were held in various languages. At the Sunday morning meeting, the 35 millionth copy of the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, was presented to the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, the religious order of Sister Ignatia, who worked closely with Dr. Bob to sober up thousands of alcoholics at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio. 

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