Personal Stories From The First Edition


IN OUR text we have shown the alcoholic how he may recover but we realize that many will want to write us.

To receive these inquiries, to administer royalties from this book and such other funds as may come to hand, a Trust has been created known as The Alcoholic Foundation. Seven Trustees are members of Alcoholics Anonymous, the other eight are well-known business and professional men who have volunteered their services. The Trust states these eight (who are not of Alcoholics Anonymous) or their successors, shall always constitute a majority of the Board of Trustees. The Alcoholic Foundation maintains an office in New York City as national headquarters of Alcoholics Anonymous.

We must frankly state however, that due to our rapid growth we may be unable to reply to all inquiries promptly. Nevertheless we shall strenuously attempt to communicate with those men and women who are able to report that they are staying sober and working with other alcoholics. It is our practice once we have such an active nucleus, to refer to its members those inquiries originating near them. Starting with small but active centers created in this fashion, hundreds of successful fellowships have already sprung up.

The Alcoholic Foundation is our sole agency of its kind. We have agreed that all business engagements touching nationally upon our alcoholic work shall have the approval of its trustees. People who state they represent The Alcoholic Foundation should be asked for credentials and if unsatisfactory, these ought to be checked with the Foundation at once. We welcome inquiry by scientific, medical and religious societies.

This volume is published by Works Publishing Inc., originally organized and financed by small subscriptions from our older members. These subscribers, forty-nine in all, have since donated their entire interest in Works Publishing Inc. to The Alcoholic Foundation, thereby giving the Foundation complete ownership and control of this book.

To order this book please send your check or money order to
Grand Central Annex
Box 459
New York City (17)

General Correspondence to
The Alcoholic Foundation
Grand Central Annex
Box 459
New York City (17)



THE terms "spiritual experience" and "spiritual awakening" are used many times in this book which, upon careful reading, shows that the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism has manifested itself among us in many different forms.

Yet it is true that our first printing gave many readers the impression that these personality changes, or religious experiences, must be in the nature of sudden and spectacular upheavals. Happily for everyone, this conclusion is erroneous.

In the first few chapters a number of sudden revolutionary changes are described. Though it was not our intention to create such an impression, many alcoholics have nevertheless concluded that in order to recover they must acquire an immediate and overwhelming "God-consciousness" followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook.

Among our rapidly growing membership of thousands of alcoholics such transformations, though frequent, are by no means the rule. Most of our experiences are what the psychologist William James calls the "educational variety" because they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference long before he is himself. He finally realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life; that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone. What often takes place in a few months could seldom have been accomplished by years of self discipline. With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves.

Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves the essence of spiritual experience. Our more religious members call it "God-consciousness."

Most emhpatically we wish to say that any alcoholic capable of honestly facing his problems in the light of our experience can recover provided he does not close his mind to all spiritual concepts. He can only be defeated by an attitude of intolerance or belligerent denial.

We find that no one need have difficulty with the spiritual side of the program. Willingness, honesty and open mindedness are the essentials of recovery. But these are indispensable.

This section has Personal Stories from the "Big Book®" of Alcoholics Anonymous®. The copyright for the First Edition has expired.
AA®, Alcoholics Anonymous®, and The Big Book® are registered trademarks of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services.