Secular AA's Podcast

Exploring Fact & Fiction about AA's 12 Steps with Bill Schaberg

December 14, 2021 secular AA Season 2 Episode 3
Secular AA's Podcast
Exploring Fact & Fiction about AA's 12 Steps with Bill Schaberg
Show Notes

William Schaberg wrote Writing the Big Book: The Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous (2019) after over eleven years of primary documentary research. William reflects on the three things the research revealed that drastically altered his core beliefs about early AA:

1.     Bill Wilson was a fabulous storyteller and not a reliable source for accurate historical details. 

2.     No Hank Parkhurst—no book! Almost written out of AA history, Hank P had as much to do with the publication of Alcoholics Anonymous as anyone, including Bill Wilson. The influence on this little-known man reverberates in our 12-Step culture, today. 

3.     Akron AA had no interest and no creative input into the first 164 pages of the Big Book. Despite the story of the book being an ensemble effort of one-hundred AA members, it’s (the first 164 pages) is largely Bill W’s story. 

Season Two/Episode 3 of the Secular AA podcast focuses on facts vs. folklore about the creation of the Twelve Steps. Evidence shows that much of what we’ve heard, even from the author Bill Wilson is more artful, than accurate. 

The truth will set us free? You tell us. “More will be revealed,” in one hour and 15 minutes; it sure makes for an informative and riveting podcast. 

This recording is from the December 11, 2021 International Conference of Secular AA held on Zoom. 

Agnostic, Atheists, Freethinking, Humanist and Pagan AA’s have been coming together from around the world, starting in Santa Monica in 2014. We were in Austin in 2016, Toronto in 2018 and the twice re-scheduled Washington DC conference is still waiting to happen as we broadcast this, due to COVID. Since the pandemic and the era of AA Zoom, December 5th, 2020 was our first online gathering and June 19th, 2021, we enjoyed another 1st: The European ICSAA. This session is one of over ten meetings/panels that happened in two Zoom rooms throughout the day of December 11th. 

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Secular AA is AA sobriety without the God-stuff, one of the fastest growing subcultures within Alcoholics Anonymous offering 100 agnostic/atheist/freethinkers AA meetings every day + regional events and the International Conference of Secular AA (ICSAA). More @