From the March 1968 magazine.

Winds of Change

New kinds of AA meetings

THIRTY-THREE years ago, when AA's co-founders, Bill and Dr. Bob, met, it was an Oxford Group member who put them in touch. The earliest meetings of what was later to be called Alcoholics Anonymous were intimately connected with the meetings of the Oxford Group, religious pioneers of the day, who stressed honest disclosure about oneself to one's peers in the "group" as an essential step toward change of character and correction of troublesome behavior patterns.

As AA grew, it became more independent of the Oxford Group influence (although, as Bill W. has acknowledged, the influence on AA of an Oxford Group leader, the Rev. Canon Samuel Shoemaker, continued to be deep and pervasive for years). AA meetings as we know them today began to take shape. Since then, it has been traditional that in AA talks and at discussion meetings certain kinds of self-revelation are out of bounds. Evidently, in the early days of the Fellowship, among the small groups of members who knew each other intimately, the need for complete honesty with at least some others was fulfilled by private conversations. This remains true for some AAs in some circumstances today. But there has grown up a tendency, even allowing for the Fifth Step, for many AAs to attempt a spiritual life based on new principles without anything like adequate elimination of "old ideas" and the behavior that resulted from them.

-- The Editors

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