We can gain some insight into the writing of the book through an
examination of the original text (pre-publication "Multilith") in
conjunction with the text as printed in the first edition.
Keep in mind, there were more or less two camps within AA at the
time Bill wrote the book. The Akron/Cleveland camp was Bible based
and religious in nature; the New York bunch was more psychological
using a mental approach to gain the confidence of the newcomer and
then hitting him with the spiritual angle. Sounds like a difficult
task to write a book that would satisfy both trains of thought.
Most of the changes involved inserting "we" for "you" and making the
text more inclusive and less like a sermon. Other changes involved
key words that were inserted to change the basic meaning of the
Today and in our next post, we will go through the first three pages
of Chapter 5 to illustrate how the book was transformed by these
changes. The words that were replaced will appear in [brackets]
following the words or phrases by which they were replaced.
Paragraph 1 - "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly
followed our path [directions]."
"They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of
living [way of life] which demands rigorous honesty."
Paragraph 2 - "If you have decided you want what we have and are
willing to go to any length to get it - then you are ready to take
certain steps [follow directions]."
Paragraph 3 - "At some of these we balked [you may balk]. We thought
[You may think] we could find an easier, softer way. But we could
not [We doubt you can]."
Paragraph 4 - "Remember we deal [you are dealing] with alcohol -
cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us
[you]. But there is One who has all power - that One is God. May you
[You must] find Him now!"
We'll continue with paragraph 1 on page 59 and into the original
written text of the 12 Steps with our next post.
Have a great day!
Weekend Big Book Studies with Jim & Dave - visit: