A.A.’s Eleventh Step Prayer and Meditation by Dick B via Silkworth
GNN Note – If you want to know the history of the 12 Steps, true recovery from addictive behavior of any kind and the origins of how a very small group of Godly men brought a simple way to introduce the world to Jesus Christ, the library of Dick B, the many books he has written is a wellspring of valuable information. Highly, highly recommend. / END
The Opportunity to Communicate with our Creator and Know His Will
God either is, or He isn’t. In its basic text, Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson wrote: When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn’t. What was our choice to be? (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed. NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 2001, p. 53, bold face added). Bill said that Rev. Sam Shoemaker, Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church, was the well spring of A.A. ideas, was a co-founder of A.A., and that almost every one of the Twelve Step ideas came directly from the teaching of Shoemaker (Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age. NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1957, pp. 38-40; The Language of the Heart. NY: The AA Grapevine, Inc., 1988, pp 297-298). And, in fact, Sam’s influence was so great that we have the eye-witness account by Rev. Garrett Stearly (friend of both Shoemaker and Wilson) that Shoemaker told him (Stearly) that Bill Wilson asked Sam to write the Twelve Steps, but Shoemaker declined – saying they should be written by an alcoholic, namely Bill (See Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A., 2d ed. Kihei HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1999, p. 374).
Students of A.A. history must therefore look closely at what Sam Shoemaker said and wrote over a period of some fifteen years before Bill Wilson ever took pen to paper. In 1932, Sam Shoemaker published his book Confident Faith. A copy was owned by Dr. Bob, was tucked into the copy of Anne Smith’s Journal that I found at Stepping Stones, and had language which seems to have found its way into page 53 of Bill’s Big Book – almost verbatim. Sam wrote: Faith is not sight; it is a high gamble. There are only two alternatives here. God is, or He isn’t. You leap one way or the other. It is a risk to take to bet everything you have on God. So it is a risk not to (Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr., Confident Faith. NY: Fleming H. Revell, 1932, p. 187; Extraordinary Living for Ordinary Men. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1965, pp. 20-21, bold face added) Long before these books were published, Sam was quoting Hebrews 11:6: But without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (bold face added. See Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr., Religion That Works. New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1928, p. 88; The Gospel According to You. NY: Fleming H. Revell, 1934, p. 47. That God is our Creator, Yahweh—God as He specifically names Himself in the Bible
Start with Genesis 1:1—the first verse in the Good Book, as early AAs described the Bible: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. The Bible repeatedly speaks of God as our Creator. For example, the New Jerusalem Bible translates Isaiah 40:28: Did you not know? Had you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, he created the remotest parts of the earth. He does not grow tired or weary, his understanding is beyond fathoming. And Ecclesiastes 12:1: Remember your Creator while you are still young, before the bad days come, before the years come which, you will say, give you no pleasure. Though hardly a Bible student, Bill Wilson explicitly refers to God as “Creator” twelve times (Big Book, pp. 13, 25, 28, 56, 68, 72, 75, 76, 80, 83, 158, 161).