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.

A.A. in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The first Amharic-speaking group in the African nation of Ethiopia was formed in January 2016. Addis Group evolved out of a hospital program, the only one in the country addressing alcoholism.  One group member was able to translate to Amharic the pamphlet “Frequently Asked Questions About A.A.,” which they use as a subject  for group discussions and for giving to newcomers.

Release of “A New Freedom”

Filmed inside correctional facilities in the U.S. and Canada, this 30 - minute video features a diverse group of A.A. members who are currently incarcerated or have been incarcerated and are staying sober one day at a time. They share what it was like when they drank, what happened after participating in A.A. in prison, and what it’s like now as a result of working the Twelve Steps and continuing to participate in the A.A. Fellowship. In July it became available for live streaming on aa.org, and in September the DVD was released to rave reviews from inmates, corrections professionals, and A.A. members throughout the U.S. and Canada.

200th Regional Forum

The 2016 Western Canada Regional Forum was held in Kamloops, British Columbia, August 26-28. Registration for the Forum was 280 including 168 members attending their first Forum.  The Western Canada Regional Forum marked the 200th Regional Forum since their inception in 1975.  A celebratory cake was enjoyed by attendees during a break on Saturday afternoon.

24th World Service Meeting

With the theme “One World, One A.A., One Language of the Heart,” 61 delegates from over 40 areas around the world gathered in Rye Brook, New York for the 24th World Service Meeting.  Each delegate was a representative of the A.A. service structure from a country or zone, and came to share experience on the national level about carrying the A.A message, helping to establish the Fellowship in new lands, strengthening the service structure, and providing literature translated into many languages.

About the Author



Austria West, Austria EastIn 1959, two A.A. members from Reichenall, Germany, decide to carry the me...

Read More >


The First World Service MeetingFor the first time, representatives from countries where A.A.s have e...

Read More >


Joining the fold...Alcoholics Anonymous begins its fourth decade on firm footing, garnering respect ...

Read More >


Knickerbocker Hospital Treats AlcoholicsAt New York's Knickerbocker Hospital, a pioneering exper...

Read More >


France’s first French-speaking groupsWhile American A.A.s had met in Paris as early as 1949, t...

Read More >


Rockefeller’s stanceFrank Amos (right), who attended the December meeting and is a close frien...

Read More >

Post a Comment