…nameless bunch of alcoholics.


This month’s Box 459 includes a new 32-page booklet, “A Brief History of the Big Book.”
The following is an excerpt from the book.  Please see explanation from GSO at the end.

In May 1938, when Bill W. began work on the first draft of what is now the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, in New York City and Newark, New Jersey, he had been sober about three and a half years. Dr. Bob was sober a few months less than three years, and the other 100 early members who contributed in one way or another to the writing of the book had been sober for periods ranging from a couple of years to a couple of months.

The early members realized the book would need a “story” section. “We would have to produce evidence in the form of living proof, written testimonials of our membership itself. It was felt also that the story section could identify us with the distant reader in a way that the text itself might not.”

Dr. Bob and the members in Akron, Ohio led this effort. One member of the Akron Group was a former Newspaperman with two years of sobriety, named Jim. He and Dr. Bob “went after all the Akronites who had substantial sobriety records for testimonial material. In most cases Jim interviewed the prospects and wrote their stories for them. Dr. Bob wrote his own.” By January, the Akron Group had come up with 18 stories.

In New York, where there was no one with writing expertise, they decided that each member with substantial sobriety would write his own story. When Bill and a fellow member turned to edit these “amateur attempts,” there were objections. “Who were we, said the writers, to edit their stories? That was a good question, but still we did edit them. The cries of the anguished edited taletellers finally subsided and the story section of the book was complete in the latter part of January 1939. So, at last, was the text.”

The book still lacked a title. “The Akron and New York groups had been voting for months on possible titles. This had become an after-the-meeting form of amusement and interest. The title ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’ had appeared very early in the discussion…. We do not know who first used these words. After we New Yorkers had left the Oxford Groups in 1937 we often described ourselves as a ‘nameless bunch of alcoholics.’ From this phrase it was only a step to the idea of ‘Alcoholics Anonymous.’”

More than 100 titles were considered, but in the end, it came down to “Alcoholics Anonymous” or “The Way Out,” and when the two groups voted, “The Way Out” received a slight majority. At this point, one of the A.A.s visited the Library of Congress to research the number of books titled “The Way Out” versus those called “Alcoholics Anonymous.” There were 12 with the former title, none with the latter, and since nobody wanted to make the book the thirteenth “Way Out,” the problem was solved. “That is how we got the title for our book, and that is how our society got its name.”

So, this somewhat shaky, often fearful group of men and women somehow brought to publication, on April 10, 1939, the book Alcoholics Anonymous.

This book became a blueprint for recovery from alcoholism that has been followed successfully for nearly 80 years—and something of a publishing phenomenon. The Big Book has been translated into 68 languages and is read by millions of people in approximately 170 countries around the world. Approximately 35 million copies of the first four editions of the Big Book (in English) have been distributed. It sells about one million copies per year, worldwide.

An Email from GSO Staff for this region explains:
“I am a G.S.O. staff member and my duties include serving as a correspondent for inquiries from the Pacific region. Thank you for writing, I am glad to be in touch. The booklet, “A Brief History of the Big Book” (item no. F-166) was printed to be sent out on a complimentary basis with the Fall 2014 issue of Box 4-5-9. It will be posted on the www.aa.org website, as is other free literature, available for viewing online. At this time, it is not for sale and is not listed in our literature catalog.”

For a direct link to the booklet, click here.


Agenda for Mini-PRAASA


​​Hosted by District 22 Placerville, Ca

​​​October 17th-19th 2014

Friday, October 17th

4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Registration Opens

7:00 – 7:15 p.m. Call to Order

12 Traditions

12 Concepts

GSR Preamble



Roll Call

7:15 – 7:30 p.m. Weekend Overview  “The Area Takes its Inventory”  Lela M

7:30 – 7:45 p.m. Approval of Post-Conference Assembly Minutes

​​     Assembly reports:

2015 Winter Assembly

2015 Pre-Conference Assembly

2015 Post Conference Assembly

7:45 – 8:15 p.m. Liaisons, Appointed Chair, and Officerreports

8:15 – 9:00 p.m. Panel #1 Communicating our Legacies: Vital in a Changing World

Recovery: ​  Practicing Principles in all our Affairs. ​​Mike S GSR D27

Unity: ​​  The Home Group. ​​​​Frank R GSR D36

Service: ​  Lighting up Dark Groups. Matthew L AREA Registrar

9:00 – 10:00 p.m. Roundtables *GSRS*   *DCMS*    *AREA OFFICERS and APPOINTED CHAIRS*


Saturday, October 18th

8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Registration Opens

9:00 – 9:15 a.m. Call to Order

Announcements, Introductions, Housekeeping

9:15 -10:00 a.m. Discussion and Approval of 2015 Spending Plan

10:00 -11:30 a.m.

Old Business

YPAA Liaison Position motion

Communication with the Linguistic Districts​​

New Business

Mental Illness Pamphlet Agenda item

Written Translations appointed Chair position

7th Tradition

11:30 –12:30 p.m. Delegate’s Report

12:30- 1:30 p.m. Lunch

1:30 – 5:30 p.m. CNIA Inventory

5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Dinner

7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Speaker Meeting: Ken M CNCA 06 Past Delegate Panel 61

8:00 – 8:30 p.m. ICE CREAM SOCIAL

8:30 – 9:30 p.m. Roundtables *GSRS*  *DCMS* *AREA OFFICERS and APPOINTED CHAIRS*


Our Common Welfare through Gratitude in Action

  • Diversity in AA Our Heritage of Inclusion
  • Safety and Respect-Practicing Principles Begins in Our Home Group
  • Safeguarding our Traditions through the Evolution of Technology
  • Inventory-Looking Back to Move Ahead


Sunday, October 19th

9:00 a.m. Assembly Reconvenes

9:00-9:30 a.m.  Roundtable Report backs-from Friday and Saturday nights

9:30 -10:45 a.m. DCM Reports

10:45 -11:45 a.m. Panel #2 Communicating our Legacies: Vital in a Changing World

Recovery: Emotional Sobriety. Susan K   GSR D43

Sponsorship: What’s missing today? What are we doing right? Victoria A GSR D47

Unity: Spirituality-Is AA all Inclusive?​​ Nancy K   GSR D25

Service: THE 6 WARRANTIES: How do they Apply in our Groups ? Gary B     GSR D15

11:45 –12:00 p.m.  Ask-it Basket  &  What’s On Your Mind

12:00 p.m. Assembly closes