The newcomer is most likely an alcoholic, an addict, and difinitely "at risk." When they arrive in a structured program, it may involve intervention, detox, counseling, treatment, and avoidance of relapses. But the A.A. newcomer has no armor. They didn't hear that hear recovery in early A.A. very much resembled First Century Christianity. And there was therefore little stress on Christian fellowship, believing, prayer, or study of the Bible. Was A.A. like that? If so, the newcomer didn't hear it. The strongest contrast to what the newcomer didn't hear was stashed away in the pages of A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature, which offered a simple beginning. Quit drinking forever. Give one's life to God. Live according to God's will. And the placing of one's major focus on the helping of others. Was A.A. like that? The newcomer didn't hear it. When we started our research into A.A.'s background, our focus was on "training the trainers" as to what they did with and for the newcomers, urging Bible study, prayer, meetings in the home daily, and helping others. This information was virtually unknown in the Fellowship until our effort was turned on to research and publishing 46 books and 1,700 articles on how A.A. had begun and operated. Was that information passed along? The movement of A.A. from some 40 people in late 1937 to some 2 million today focuses much more on the social aspects of the Fellowship rather than on the guts of getting sober and preventing relapse. The answer we stress for the newcomer is absolute abstinence, helping others, learning the absolute necessity for relying on God and obeying His will. Though this lengthy series will cover books, articles, radio shows, webinars, and conferences, we'd like all the listeners to remember that the initial emphasis of early A.A. was on seeking God's help, focusing on how to help others, and essential elements.
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