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.

 

36 comments:

Unknown 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.
"...as 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.

Unknown said...

Semper Fi. One day @ a time

Unknown said...

I think everyone in AA owes a big thank you to the Oxford group. Without them Ebby would never have heard the message. It then would never have been told to Bill, and with Dr. Bob been turned into the great organization that saves lives daily. I for one am so grateful to them, for without their group we would all still be suffering from this horrible affliction.
Also I love reading history, true history.

Unknown said...

I really wish there was a group I could attend that are practicing these spiritual steps!! Apparently, it just died out and AA took over???

Unknown said...

Such a group is this is starting October 2 every Tuesday night in Surrey BC at Newton easy does it club 7 PM Tuesday nights hope to see you there. For more details call Vincent at 778-834-7064.

Phillip Blackerby said...

These six steps, which are referenced on page 263 of the Big Book (4th Ed.), were developed by early AA members, before the Big Book. The Twelve Steps were developed in the process of writing the Big Book in late 1938 (published 1939), and clearly evolved from and expanded these six steps.

Unknown said...

The Oxford Group is alive and well although changed/modernized somewhat under a new name "Initiatives of Change" or IofC.

Unknown said...

Start one. I've been doing one in St.louis.

Unknown said...

Theres a " Cult " in AA called " Back to basics by Willy P. . He wrote his own Big Book and others plus CD . They use the 6 tenants of the Wxford group . He started his AA way in 1995 but like the old saying goes " If I taint broke dont fix it " and this is what hes trying to do !)

Unknown said...

Is it the Cult group Back to basics by Wally P. ?

Unknown said...

They were called the 6 Tenant .

SanityIsNotCoincidence said...

The "SIX TENETS".. principles generally held to be true. For the members of the Oxford Group, at the time, to be sure. Before the watering down began, which changed how we see such things, in modern A.A. As someone mentioned: the OG is still alive and well, not dead. As not said, so far: there is no "cult" in A.A. - but there are some folks who have realized how much has fallen through the cracks with the A.A. web spreading wider, and these folks try to bring back what is still essential to real alcoholics really recovering.. at their deepest level of existence. Why anyone would find fault with that I haven't a clue..

Unknown said...

AA if it isnt broken dont fix it . Back to basics by Wally P. Is a cult with in AA that wants to go back and use the 6 tenants . Also they follow Wally P books not AA .

Unknown said...

The trrue amount or degree of how the 12 steps of AA has helped human beings all around this planet has not yet been fully realized in my opinion. I don’t have proof of This, but I believe that is has saved more lives, and in general helped more people ( in ways that some have difficulty understanding) than any other organization in the history of the world. When you consider the families that were helped, saved, enlightened, educated; and then when you consider that there are nearly 100 other 12 step groups in the world today that all still continue to save and dramatically help lives and families, The number of individuals whose lives have been saved or greatly improved by these steps is higher than probably any of us can possibly fathom.

Unknown said...

I don’t know about this culture you speak of, I guess I just never have heard it talked about in the AA group that I attend. I do know this, there has never been another program, medicine, treatment, therapy, etc. That his help as many people to recover from a hopeless state of mind and body then the 12 step groups.

Unknown said...

Theres 2 kind of Monopolies in AA in the Big Book read them . Also Dr. Bob said in 1935 that we are not the only way to get sober . Read Dr. Bob and the good oldtimers. Also look up the " Back to basics by Wally P " he is trying to fix AA his way .

Unknown said...

Amen

Unknown said...

Celebrate Recovery is Bible centric with the 12 steps. Very similar to AA, but openly Christian

Unknown said...

we practice these principles in Danville Pa

Unknown said...

Back to Basics means. Back to the Big Book. Which is how Dr Bob and the Oldtimers "Recovered"

Unknown said...

true

Unknown said...

they just do not understand and are doing the best they can

Unknown said...

false. Back to Basic uses the Big Book and has a 75+ sucess rate. If you study it you will see it says to follow the Big Book and not misguided opinions of those who deviate from the program

Unknown said...

we had Walley P come an do a workshop for us. The only material we used was the book. Alcoholics Anonymous. Anyone trying to bring AA back to its bacic text is on a good path

Unknown said...

surrendering to God,taking inventory and making restitution will give anyone a spiritual awakening. Showing others will insure the awakening grows

Unknown said...

I’m grateful to all who have worked to recover. It had all helped to build AA.
What does it matter whether or not AA is directly tied to the OG (😆) or how? That debate could go on & on. All I know, is that I tried & tried to get & stay sober, & AA was & still is the only thing that works. So I do that. I folow directions. It is opening up my life & it is awesome. And I respect anyone who is doing the same through whatever means works for them. Know history & be grateful is my personal approach

Scott L. said...

So do we give credit to the non alcoholic for helping the alcoholic to recover? I could never understand why we label them "earthlings" or saying that "they"(non alcoholics) don't get it. They obviously "get it" as far as Im concerned and by and through these 6 Steps, Bill, with Guidance was able to come up with a solution(s) for all that would help them recover, putting God first of course.
I realize credit is not important where the essential of Humility is a basis and essential for recovery, but when I hear these labels, the misunderstandings of our history, I think credit should be given where credit is due. Thank you Oxford Group for those 6 steps which I believe are the substance of which we do recover. Oxford wrote the Steps, Bill reworked the steps...Thank God I am clean ad sober today!

Anonymous said...

This is your typical alcoholic thread. Over-analyzing the great fact that God has revolutionized Our Lives. How he chooses to do it and who he chooses to use is his business not ours.

Jennifer Benson said...

I don’t agree that god is the number one ingredient to staying sober. I and many others who do not use a god of our understanding have stayed sober for many years and died sober as well. There are over 500 secular groups in the world. It amazes me how many folks do not know about them, or acknowledge them, and how some denounce them as not real AA. Tradition 3 says otherwise.

Unknown said...

They learned not to do what the Oxford group did like their political views.

Anonymous said...

Wally P and his back to basics cult are a dangerous lot. His close associates refer to him as the "Messiah of AA" and if that does not warn you of the danger nothing will. This is a cult that has learned from the mistakes of others and it operates covertly in the fellowship. It would not last 5 minutes if it came out in the open. AA recommends that the Big Book is meant for personal study and interpretation. B2B advocates the opposite which enables it to use the BB as a tool to brainwash people and to tell people that if they buy Wally Ps books, audios etc, etc they will be working the program in the real original and authentic way plus when you lay yr bucks out and do it the Wally P fast track way you will be'cured'in a matter of weeks and therefore will have superior form of sobriety. Hence the reason we have B2B ego tripping monsters who cannot be reasoned with, and who daily give the fellowship a bad name.

Unknown said...

I have used Wally P. for the chronic relapser. It gets them through the steps fairly quickly, releasing from big spiritual blockages. They feel a relief. Then we go through the book of AA, word by word. They are more at ease with the process. the "Wally P" version requires you to use the BB of AA, you cannot complete the process without the BB's guideance..

Cuz said...

Our book is suggestive only

Anonymous said...

While there are differences, the AA program is clearly a spiritual based program that tells one they MUST find a Higher Power and/or God of their choosing. While it may not fit the restrictive models of organized religion, it's certainly aimed at bring one closer to God.