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AA co-founder scaled back references to God
Whitney Jones, Religion News Service
September 24, 2010
2 MIN READ TIME

AA co-founder scaled back references to God

AA co-founder scaled back references to God
Whitney Jones, Religion News Service
September 24, 2010

The basic text used for

Alcoholics Anonymous programs, known as “The Big Book,” initially used stronger

religious language but was reduced to appeal to a wider audience, The

Washington Post is reporting.

Hazelden, a nonprofit

addiction treatment center, will release the working manuscript of the book

written by AA’s co-founder, Bill Wilson, including hand-written edits and

comments, according to The Post.

The changes marked in red,

black and green reveal a debate on how openly God should be a part of addiction

recovery in the published manuscript, according to The Book That Started It

All: The Original Working Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The adoption of more vague

religious terms in “The Big Book,” including phrases like “higher power” and

the “God of your understanding,” show how Wilson scaled back the religious tone

to engage a broader group of people.

Worship terms were also

taken out of the revised version of the book. The seventh step of the 12-step

recovery program, which is “humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings”

originally stated “humbly, on our knees, asked Him to remove our shortcomings —

holding nothing back.”

Nick Motu, senior vice

president of Hazelden publishing, agreed with Wilson’s decision to take out the

strong religious language.

“If it had been a Christian-based

book, a religious book, it wouldn’t have succeeded as it has,” he told The

Post.