People

The New Founders

Thousands of Founders: “While I thank God that I was privileged to be an early member of A.A., I honestly wish that the word `founder’ could be eliminated from the A.A. vocabulary…When you get right down to it, everyone who has done any amount of successful Twelfth Step work is bound to be the founder of a new life for other alcoholic.” As Bill Sees It

Preface: There is no one story that accurately represents the history of Alcoholics Anonymous—like America, AA is not one, it is many, and it is united only under a common agreement to respect and honor its own multiplicity.

Between 1981 and 1988 an uncommon group of Alcoholics Anonymous arose, abided, and subsided under the rubric, “The Secondary Purpose Group.” For seven years they read: “The Upper Room,” Dostoevsky’s “The Gambler,” and the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous… For seven years they helped each other…For seven years they assumed that sobriety was best seen as a natural product of learning to live your life, rather than some sort of project that. And for seven years no one drank. 

The group dissolved just as organically as it had arisen..

With the rise of the Internet they began finding each other: all they were anonymous to the world they were not anonymous to each other. Knowing that “you identify to get sober, but compare to get sober,” they began exchanging stories. One of their stories leads off their Sequel to the Big Book as Chapter 1, “Tell Me a Story I can Use.” It was chosen for the clarity of purpose, its guiding principles & values, and its commitment to the cause—but it is typical of many who drifted back to AA after a few years sabbatical.

“The New Founders” represent the immediacy of a personal struggle, the intensity of historical momentum, and a universal transcendance..

—an esoteric, oral tradition within AA…New Founders are both reality and an ideal

the pioneering times are always here; there is no tradition to protect beyond constantly re-inventing the meeting between Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson in 1935. That is AA—everything else is just a choice in application.

“We are the New Founders. And each one of us is our own sponsor, our own home group, and our own higher power—and god created us to be just that.”

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