1. RECOVERIES ANONYMOUS was formed to return to the basic 1930's-1940's version of the original Twelve Step program. This is the same program that produced spectacular recoveries for the people who went through it at that time.
2. R.A. goes back to the original universal concept practiced by the Oxford Groups of being open to anyone, with any problem or behavior, as well as those just seeking spiritual growth.
3. R.A. does not try to adapt or interpret the Twelve Step program. R.A.'s goal is to work all Twelve Steps by following the pioneers' original "clear-cut directions."
4. R.A.'s experience has been that the identical Twelve Step program that produced such spectacular results for the pioneers who detailed it, if applied exactly as it is written, will work just as effectively for any other problem or behavior.
5. The only change R.A. has made in the Twelve Steps is to focus on problems and behaviors in general, rather than on the single specific problem of alcoholism.
6. R.A.'s experience has been that following the pioneers' original "clear-cut directions" which are detailed in the Big Book would work as well for any other problem or behavior as they do for alcoholism.
7. When some of the other programs adapted the Twelve Steps, they put their focus on one specific symptom. The result is that people frequently switch from one problem or behavior to another. They may switch to what they consider a less harmful problem or behavior, but it is still a compulsive behavior. This can cause them to seek out a separate Twelve Step program for each behavior.
8. Two examples of this are the alcoholic who stops drinking alcohol, but becomes a compulsive overeater, and the compulsive overeater who loses weight but becomes a compulsive spender.
9. Switching a compulsion can, in the short term, seem to be less harmful. However, in the long run, it can be equally harmful. It is certainly just as compulsive. Substituting one compulsion for another is not recovery.
10. As was earlier noted, three years into their recovery the pioneers of the program wrote the book "Alcoholics Anonymous." They wrote it to contain their "clear-cut directions." This was intended to help others duplicate the same course of action that had REMOVED their problems.
11. R.A.'s experience has been that, when someone applies the pioneers' "clear-cut directions" to all of their problems and behaviors, the result is that they experience recovery in all areas of their lives.
12. In R.A., we note that there is one thing that distinguishes the pioneers' original program from most of those that came later. The pioneers of the program who wrote down their "clear-cut directions" had already recovered. Their problems and behaviors had been solved. Their obsession and compulsion had been removed.
13. The pioneers' book was not written as a theoretical exercise in what they hoped might, someday, help them. Their book details what had already worked for them. Most of the other books written for programs that adapted or interpreted the Twelve Steps do not have this background.
14. History shows that the people who adapted or formulated these programs were almost uniformly still obsessive and compulsive. Many of them rejected the spiritual principles that had worked for the pioneers of the program as being inappropriate for them.
15. The pioneers who wrote the Big Book knew from their personal experience that these spiritual principles worked. They had already experienced the result. They had tangible living proof in their own lives. They detailed what had already worked for them.
16. Occasionally, while in a Twelve Step program of recovery, individuals have applied the identical spiritual program that worked for the pioneers to their various other problems and behaviors. Their experiences were identical with those of the pioneers. Their problems and behaviors were completely removed.
17. Recoveries Anonymous can trace its beginning to an incident that happened in a meeting of another fellowship. In June of 1981, a relative newcomer to that Twelve Step program attended a discussion meeting. In that meeting, the newcomer joined a group of about twenty people who were sitting in a circle.
18. One by one the first four people in the circle stood to share. Each one shared about something that was going on in their lives. The newcomer, since he was new, did not think it was unusual that those who spoke did not talk about God or the Twelve Steps.
19. The newcomer was the fifth to speak. He had read A.A.'s 12&12 the night before. Therefore, not knowing much about the program, he simply shared that he hoped that someday he could have what the Second Step promised—that God could restore him to sanity and remove his obsession.
20. The newcomer was shocked when each of the remaining fifteen people directed their sharing to him. They told him that his sanity would never be restored. They said that he would be as sick when he finished the program as when he started it.
21. They told him that his obsession would never be removed. They said that some days might be easier than others, but that the obsession would always be with him.
22. They told him that on some days his knuckles might not be as white as on other days, but he was always going to be hanging on, one day at a time. He was told that he would always be insane. They said that nothing could restore his sanity.
23. As he walked out of that meeting, two thoughts went through his mind. Since he was new to the program, and very insecure, he thought that perhaps he had read the Second Step in A.A.'s 12&12 wrong.
24. Then, he began to think that, if he had read it wrong and he would never be rid of his obsession, why should he be part of a program that was telling him that he would be as sick when he finished it as when he started it!
25. He went home and reread the Second Step in A.A.'s 12&12. He saw that the Second Step did say that "a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." Just as he remembered, it did say in the middle of the first paragraph, "that none but a Higher Power can remove our obsession."
26. He realized that there were, in effect, two programs. There was the one that was detailed in the program literature. Then, there was a second program—the program he found in the meeting he had just attended.
27. He wanted to stop attending meetings. However, his compulsive nature kicked in. He became worried that people would criticize him if he left before working the program. Therefore, he decided to fully work the Twelve Steps as closely as humanly possible to the way the literature said to work them.
28. He was certain that he was so much sicker than the people in the literature that nothing would ever work for him. Therefore, he felt that, once he tried to work the program, and failed, he would be able to leave with a clear conscience.
29. There was one major flaw to his plan. When he started working the Twelve Steps by thoroughly following the pioneers' original "clear-cut directions" from the Big Book, his sanity started to return. Much to his surprise, by the time he had worked all Twelve Steps, God had solved his problems and removed his harmful behaviors. He had recovered.
30. This man was a guest speaker at a meeting on the night before Thanksgiving, November 23, 1983. This date is now considered the founding date of Recoveries Anonymous.
31. At this meeting, he shared that he had recovered by following the pioneers' original "clear-cut directions" to work all Twelve Steps.
32. Several of the people who attended this meeting stayed in touch with him. They subsequently recovered by duplicating the course of action he had followed. They applied the pioneers' original "clear-cut directions" for working the Twelve Steps to their various problems and behaviors. They also recovered.
33. In January of 1984, a group of these recovered people began to meet each week. They shared their experience, strength and hope with one another. This group's own experiences proved that the same program worked for any type of problem or behavior, no matter what its label.
34. They discovered that there was no need to limit the focus of the program to a single type of problem or behavior. This also proved that a person with one type of problem or behavior could be of help to someone suffering from a different problem or behavior. They could do this through the sharing of the common spiritual solution, rather than their problems.
35. It soon became clear, as the original program suggested, that to keep what they had they would need to give it away. They recognized that, if each of them tried to carry this message individually, few people would be able to accept these recovery experiences as having application to their own lives.
36. They needed the support, and the testimony, of each of the other recovered people to confirm what had happened to them. They realized that they also needed a common understanding of the program. This would enable them to validate what each member shared with newcomers.
37. They also recognized that they did not want to imply that anyone else should change what they were doing. They firmly believed that if what someone was doing was working for them, they should not fix it.
38. Therefore, they decided to form a new program. They decided to call it "RECOVERIES ANONYMOUS." They then formed R.A. as an independent, not-for-profit corporation.
39. A.A. has granted permission for R.A. to adapt the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. However, as with all the other anonymous organizations, R.A. is neither affiliated with, nor endorsed by, A.A.
40. Except for the use of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, there is no connection between R.A. or any of the various anonymous organizations including A.A.
R.A.'s Step Presentation
41. The members of this new fellowship wanted to fully understand and comprehensively describe the exact program that had worked for the pioneers and for themselves. So, they intensively studied all the available literature. This included the histories of the Twelve Step program and the biographies of the pioneers.
42. They also studied the literature that the pioneers had used to develop their program. The result of this effort produced a clear understanding of the original program and its wider application.
43. They then decided to choose specific positive highlights from these books. These highlights accented the solution that had produced the pioneers' recovery. They placed these highlights into an outline form that would allow other people access to them. These highlights were approved by R.A.'s group conscience.
44. They shared and discussed these highlights with newcomers. As they did so, they found that they needed to elaborate upon these outlines by adding cross-references, and personal experiences.
45. These outlines were used as formats for R.A.'s workshops where the program was presented to newcomers. At least three of these workshops were held. In each workshop, all of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions were discussed. These sessions were recorded and later transcribed. The transcripts were then reviewed, compiled, and edited into more comprehensive formats.
46. These formats were then expanded to include every paragraph from R.A.'s Multilith Big Book. These expanded formats were then used in additional workshops which took newcomers through the Twelve Steps. These workshops were again taped, transcribed, and edited. R.A.'s group conscience then formally approved this updated format which then became the basis for R.A.'s Step Presentation.
47. When a newcomer goes through R.A.'s Step Presentation, every paragraph in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book is read and discussed. Every one of the pioneers' original "clear-cut directions" is followed.
48. R.A.'s Step Presentation is proving to be extremely effective in guiding people with various problems and behaviors to permanent recovery, recovery that is only available by working the pioneers original Twelve Step program of recovery.
Please use R.A.'s Questions and Answers Forum to ask any questions or make any comments about any of this.