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.

March 2020
Eastern Canada’s First Service AssemblyThe 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 Anniv...
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Cuban A.A. Continues to GrowThe 18th General Service Conference of A.A. in Cuba is held in Santa Clara, Cuba, March 23-25. Representatives from the United States/Canada service structure learn how A.A. in Cuba continues to grow despite lacking basic necessities, such as a phone line. Sub-Saharan Africa Service Meeting in JohannesburgThe 8th Sub-Saharan Africa Service Meeting is held in Johannesburg, South Africa, June 9-11. In attendance are 24 delegates from 12 nations: Botswana, Ghana, Ke...
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A.A. in Addis Ababa, EthiopiaThe 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 facilit...
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