Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Six Steps of The Oxford Group

This afternoon I gave a talk at The Troy New York Public Library introducing the new book, “Out of the Woods” published by Central Recovery Press.

Part of the talk included some history of Alcoholics Anonymous and how it integrates Albany history, Carl Jung and The Oxford Group—an evangelical, Christian sect that was lifesaving for Roland Hazard, then Ebby Thacher and ultimately Bill Wilson and Bob Smith.

Many folks in recovery and almost no one outside of recovery knows that early history, and that Bill and Bob were part of the Oxford Group, and the debt we all owe to their yes, religious fundamentalism in the 1930’s.

But we need only read the Six Steps of the Oxford Group to see how deeply indebted we are. Here are those Six Steps that Oxford Group members used for the purposes of religious conversion:

The Oxford Group’s Six Steps

1.       A Complete deflation.
2.       Dependence on God.
3.       A Moral inventory.
4.       Confession.
5.       Restitution.
6.       Continued work with others in need.

AA also benefited from mistakes made by the Oxford Group. One reason the Oxford movement no longer exits is because they got all tangled up in politics, international affairs and had opinions on all manner of public matters.

Today, AA has as one of its Traditions this statement: “AA has no opinion on outside issues.” A lesson that AA learned from The Oxford Group.



Marshall Loring said...

The Oxford group didn't have 6 steps

28 principles according to Anne Smith. (or 29)
The 5 "C"s
The 4 absolutes for our actions

Dick B (just one example)
has delved into the Oxford Drunk Squad and their influence on AA. Unfortunately, AA approved literature is more about the suppression of the truth than historical fact.

Dick B.
" I dived into Oxford Group research. I saw the surgery come together piece by piece: (1) Sin was the problem. (2) Sin was anything that blocked you from God or other people. (3) To do God’s will, you had to cut out sin. (4) The "art" of Soul Surgery, as Buchman called it, was to cut sin out of your life by an incisive "surgical" process that began with surrender of your life to God’s care and direction and then utilizing the power of God to cut out sin. (5) You did that, said Buchman and his colleagues, by the Five C’s–Confidence, Confession, Conviction, Conversion, and Conservation [later called "Continuance"]. (6) The process also involved making amends or restitution, seeking God’s guidance, continuing with a daily surrender, passing it on, and living by the spiritual principles of the Bible.

It didn’t take me long to see that these were the heart ideas of our Twelve Steps as Bill heard the instructions from Ebby Thacher, Rowland Hazard, Shep Cornell, Victor Kitchen, the Twitchells, Rev. and Mrs. W. Irving Harris, Sam Shoemaker, and Bill’s other Oxford Group friends of the mid-1930's.
Dick B. "

Unknown said...

Thanks for this information. I’ve been sober 9 years and along the way, I began to realize how paramount the relationship with God was. I noticed a lot of “works based recovery” around me- people suggesting their sobriety was strong because of how many meetings they attended, how many sponsees they had, how “good” their share was in a meeting, etc. These are all good things, but I’ve always felt it was the relationship with God that makes or breaks it all. I’m so grateful to say that along the way in my sobriety, I became a born again Christian. Diane and Marshall’s capturing of the Oxford group says it all- there is sin that we are unable to stay free from. Much of this sin is obsessive and compulsive dependence on drugs, alcohol, etc. and not on God. Jesus Christ sacrificed himself so that we can call upon him for strength in our sin problem. When I did this, I discovered a whole new relationship with God. A whole new recovery. If anyone reads this, know this: I spent my whole life denouncing Jesus and His existence. One day, I made a choice to pray to my “Higher Power of My Own Understanding” to just ask if this whole Jesus thing was real (in my heart I was sure it wasn’t). The next week and half I was filled with what can only be described as supernatural live and peace. I started to crack the Bible and realized everything Jesus said and was this peace and love I was feeling. I also learned that anyone who knocks at His door He will answer and he will bring spiritual nourishment to them. Nourishment that is unlike anything without Him. If you think I’m full of crap, I understand. I encourage you to not write off the possibility of Christ in your life-simply be willing to make the ask to Him if He is real and see what may happen!

Jeff Mcneill said...

The Oxford Group is still around, it has just gone through some renaming. It was called "Moral Re-Armament" in 1938 and then "Initiatives of Change" in 2001. Certainly A.A. didn't "learn" anything from the Oxford Group if by that you mean no outside opinions. Sure A.A., has the 12 traditions, but that didn't come out of the Oxford Group or any of its changes.

Benjamyn OConnor said...

Semper Fi. One day @ a time