Back to Basics
P.O. Box 91648
Tucson, AZ 85752-1648
(520) 297-9348 (Office)
(520) 297-7230 

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Site last updated 05/02/2022
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Southwest Archives

We wish to thank Joan G. for her generous donation of materials to the Southwest Archives. She supplied us with the following...

  • Good Housekeeping, October 1936 (Article: "How the Oxford Group Challenges America" p. 34)

  • Liberty, May 22, 1937 (Article: "Will Oxford Group Drive Get into Politics?" p. 61)

  • Life, February 15, 1937 (Article: "Buchman's Oxford Groupers Marching as to War" p. 44)

  • Life, January 3, 1938 (Article: "Speaking of Pictures--Oxford Group's Magazine" p. 2)

  • Readers Digest, October 1939 (Article: "Buchman and Moral Re-Armament" p. 32)

  • Woman's Home Companion, September 1938 (Article: "The Oxford Group--What is it?" p. 10)

God Bless you Joan

We have had numerous requests for archival materials that demonstrate the legitimacy of the Back to Basics program and show how the "original" A.A. Beginners' Meetings came into existence and produced a 75% recovery rate from alcoholism in the 1940's and 1950's. In keeping with our philosophy that, "Its all about saving lives," we have compiled a few of these archival materials (23 items) into a display that can be used used to answer the naysayers and skeptics. Yes, the "original" Beginners' Meetings worked and they continue to work for the over 2,000 groups and meetings that have started up since 1997.

The first thing you can do to stop any controversy surrounding or animosity toward a Back to Basics meeting is to register the group that is hosting the meeting with GSO. It only takes a few minutes to fill out the Group registration form and forward it to New York City. Most groups register as a "Beginners' Group."

Once the group is registered, there isn't anything anyone can legitimately say because "each group is autonomous." You have the God given and the GSO sanctioned right to use the an "original" A.A. meeting format, if your group so desires.

The second thing you can do is display the Back to Basics archives and show everyone "Why it Works." As of 3/6/01, the Back to Basics archives are at the Macomb Intergroup Office in Center Line, MI. The archives are to be displayed at the Indiana Area Assembly on 3/9-3/11/01. They will be on display in Austin, TX during the Back to Basics AA workshop being held there later in March (3/23-3/31/01).

The Alcoholics Anonymous Beginners' Meetings
An Integral Part of the 75% Recovery Rate of the 1940's and 1950's

This all but lost piece of A.A. history was resurrected in the late 1990's and has produced a dramatic revitalization of the A.A. fellowship.  This original program of recovery was developed by Dr. Bob and many of the A.A. pioneers.  The Beginners' Meetings solved the problem of how to take newcomers through the Twelve Steps in an orderly and effective manner.  At the time, the fellowship was growing so rapidly, the A.A. pioneers needed a way to quickly train sponsors as well as to assist those reaching out for help.  In these four one-hour sessions, newcomers gained a fundamental understanding of the principles upon which the A.A. program was built, and sponsors had the opportunity to practice working with others.

Many today are unfamiliar with "How it really worked" during the early days.  They think the A.A. program of today has been in existence since the beginning of the movement.  Sadly, this is not the case. , In many respects, A.A. today doesn't even remotely resemble the program of the 1940's and the 1950's.  Back then a large percentage of newcomers attended Beginners= Meetings, took all Twelve Steps in one month, recovered from alcoholism, and came back to help others through the Steps.

Others say it doesn't matter what happened fifty or sixty years ago.  They are oblivious to the fact that, although A.A. membership used to double every ten years, the growth rate has slowed since the 1980's, and since 1992 membership has fallen 20 percent.  Millions have died who would be alive today if we were still practicing our "original program of recovery."

In this archival display you will find some of the A.A. Grapevine and other newsletter articles, early correspondence, group pamphlets, and General Service Office (Alcoholic Foundation) materials that demonstrate why we had a 75% recovery rate during the 1940's and 1950's.  Dr. Bob's "Keep it Simple" philosophy was in full effect, the treatment centers hadn't come into prominence, and there was no dilution of the message that A.A. provided a God based, spiritual solution to alcoholism.

 The various articles on display are numbered and a summary sheet explaining the significance of each piece is included.

Archival materials provided by:
Wally P., A.A. Archivist and Historian


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