Where They Came From
The mottoes Easy Does It, One Day at a Time, First Things First, Live and Let Live and Think, Think, Think adorn the walls of 12 Step recovery meeting rooms and clubs around the globe. Few realize however these concepts entered AA’s collective consciousness most likely from Emmet Fox. The early members of what would become Alcoholics Anonymous* residing in New York attended Dr. Fox’s gatherings in the 1930’s in the ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria, Steinway Hall even The Hippodrome as attendance grew. This continued up to the start of World War II when large gatherings were suspended out of security concerns. The early AA members** who did not live in New York studied Dr Fox’s teaching through his best sellers The Sermon on the Mount, Power Through Constructive Thinking and Sparks of Truth which is a collection of teachings originally published as a series of inexpensive pamphlets. It is in these pamphlets that the mottoes later adopted by AA are found. Additionally, in early pamphlets published by the first recognized AA group, King’s School in Akron, Sermon on the Mount is suggested reading, listed right after the Holy Bible.
*Though AA dates its birth from 6/10/35 the first AA meeting (the group broke from the Oxford Group (Moral Rearmament) and stood in singleness of purpose in helping those suffering from alcoholism) did not take place until 5/11/39 in Cleveland Ohio, the secretary Clarence Snyder, a few months after the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous) was published. Source: Bill and Lois Wilson’s personal correspondence in archives.
**Bill Wilson sponsored (helped sober up) Emmet Fox’s secretary’s son, Al Steckman. Al would go on to be the first editor of the AA Grapevine and has been credited with coining the phrase “I am responsible” at the first AA International Convention. Source: Igor Sikorsky Jr. AA’s Godparents 1990. https://miraclesofrecovery.com/
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