International Christian Recovery Coalition
A New Way Out
"We Christians in the Recovery Arena Are Not Alone"
Eleventh Step Quiet Time Practices and
Dick B. © 2009 Anonymous. All rights
Partnering in Eleventh Step-Quiet
Time Programs and Guides
Endorsing, Funding, and Offering Quiet Time Projects
The Bible contains considerable
information about prayer and meditation. And setting aside a significant block
of time each day for these activities--using such names as "Quiet Time" or "the
Morning Watch"--was an important part of many Christian programs which came
before A.A. (e.g., the Young Men's Christian Association, Christian Endeavor,
and the Oxford Group). Many Christian books and articles were written before the
summer of 1935 (e.g., F.B. Meyer’s The Secret of Guidance, and those
written by Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker). From the pre-A.A. Christian Morning Watch
programs, the pre-A.A. devotionals the pioneers used, and the Quiet Time
practices and the literature written prior to A.A. came most of the key concepts
relating to A.A.’s Eleventh Step.
Our proposal is that Coalition
participants, as well as other Christian leaders and workers in the recovery
arena, who are involved with the planning and/or presenting of Christian
recovery-oriented study groups, would benefit substantially from including in
those study groups a "package" of Christian-oriented recovery materials showing
the origins of the Eleventh Step ideas and the adequacy and utility of the
resources early AAs used.
A major element of this "package"
could be one or more of the many useful recovery books, periodicals, and
devotionals including those written prior to the early days of A.A., used by
pioneers, and still, for the most part, available today. For example:
- F. B. Meyer, The Secret of
- Amos R. Wells, Expert
Endeavourer: A Textbook of Christian Endeavor Methods and Principles;
- H. J. Rose, The Quiet Time;
- Donald W. Carruthers, How to
Find Reality in Your Morning Devotions;
- Dick B., Good Morning: Quiet
Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A.;
- Dick B., The Books Early AAs
Read for Spiritual Growth;
- Dick B., Anne Smith’ Journal,
- The Upper Room;
- Nora Holm, comp. and ed., The
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for
His Highest; and
- E. Stanley Jones, Victorious
The "package" should also include:
- An International Christian
Recovery Coalition flyer shaped to meet the needs and program of the
Coalition participant, or other Christian leader and/or worker in the
- A history pamphlet for
presentation or inclusion containing a concise presentation of Dick B.'s
research on the Christian origins and astonishing successes of early A.A. in
Akron and Cleveland;
- The Dick B. Christian Recovery
- One or more CDs or DVDs (optional)
with additional information for those who would like to pursue personal
study on a deeper level; and
- A plan for using the materials in
Proposed Introduction for Quiet Time
By Dick B.
© 2009 Anonymous. All rights reserved.
- Bible verses commonly cited
to support appropriate approaches to Quiet Time
- Psa 46:10: Be still, and know
that I am God
- 1 Sam 3:9: Speak, LORD, for
thy servant heareth
- Acts 9:6: Lord, what wilt thou
have me to do
- Isa 40:31: But they that wait
upon the LORD shall renew their strength ...
- Jer 30:1-2: The word that came
to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel
saying, Write down all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book
- Examples of Quiet Time
practices in the pre-A.A. period
- The YMCA (of which Dr.
Bob’s father was president in St. Johnsbury while Dr. Bob was attending
St. Johnsbury Academy just down the street, and of which Bill Wilson was
president at Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester, Vermont) observed
what it called “the Morning Watch.”
- The Christian Endeavor
society (in which Dr. Bob was active during his youth at North
Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury) observed what it called the
“Quiet Hour” and encouraged its use by having members become
“Comrades of the Quiet Hour.”
- Quiet Time suggestions from
Evangelist F. B. Meyer (Long before Frank Buchman organized the
Oxford Group, he consulted the evangelist F. B. Meyer who asked Buchman,
“Do you let the Holy Spirit guide you in all you are doing?” Meyer
persisted, “Do you give God enough uninterrupted time really to tell you
what to do? At that time, Buchman decided to give at least an hour each
day in the early morning to listening to God, a period he came to refer
to as a “Quiet Time.”
- Oxford Group author Jack
Winslow wrote much on Quiet Time, stating: “The morning Quiet
Time has come to mean to me a time when I seek to know God’s plan for my
day—when I come to Him for orders. After a time of quiet adoration and
thanksgiving and the renewal of my self surrender for His service, I ask
Him for His directions, and listen receptive for them.”
- Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker,
Jr. (the personal friend of Bill Wilson’s and whom Bill Wilson
dubbed a “cofounder” of A.A.) said, “I plead again for the keeping of
the Morning Watch—coming fresh to God with the day’s plans unmade,
submitting first our spirits and then our duties to Him for the shedding
of His white light on both. To steam full speed through icebergs is
irreligious. To start the day without one thought of our Maker is to
invite catastrophe. . . . Now I let Him find His way down to me.
Listening became the dominant note. Not the exclusive note: for there
was Bible study first, taking a book and studying it straight through;
and there was ordinary prayer, confession, petition, thanksgiving,
intercession. But the bulk of the time is listening.”
- The Quiet Time principle and
practice was a vital part of the early A.A. program.
- An example is the account
of Dr. Bob’s prayer life:
Bob’s morning devotion consisted of a short prayer, a 20-minute study of a
familiar verse from the Bible, and a quiet period of waiting for directions as
to where he, that day, should find use for his talent. Having heard, he would
religiously go about his Father’s business, as he put it.” DR. BOB and the
Good Oldtimers, p. 314.
- Dr. Bob’s wife, Anne Ripley
Smith wrote in the journal that she kept and shared
with early AAs and their families
(See Dick B., Anne Smith’ Journal 1933-1999, 3rd ed.):
conditions for an effective Quiet Time—through whole-heartedly giving
oneself to Jesus Christ by: (a) willingness to let go every known sin; (b)
maintaining right relationship with all men; (c) willingness to make
restitution; and (d) adherence to the Four Absolutes by seeking God, waiting
upon God, obedience to the Will of God;, and belief in prayer according to the
Word., p. 110.
Why not answered? Until we are ready to fulfill the conditions the deepest
wishes of our heart cannot be realized. Intercessory prayer—pray that Spirit may
tell you what to pray for. . . . A way to find God’s will not to change it. . .
. Right orientation of soul towards God. Conceive God as Father and it is not
unnatural to lay before Him our hopes and needs—interest—fears. . . .
Petitionary prayer—These we submit not because we distrust his goodness or
desire to bend His will but because He is our Friend. . . . If we do not find
ourselves desiring to pray for others as we pray for ourselves, we are not
traveling in the right direction. . . . Correct me—direct—praise—adoration and
thanksgiving—Romans II., p. 114.
course the Bible ought to be the main Source Book of all. No day ought to pass
without reading it., “p. 82.
- The vital necessity for a
morning devotion and Quiet Time in early A.A. is repeatedly underlined in
the A.A. General Service Conference-approved book DR. BOB and the Good
Oldtimers. The following quotes illustrate:
- “Point 4 of the report by
Frank Amos to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., stated of the Original Akron A.A.
alcoholic] must have devotions every morning—a “Quiet Time” of prayer and some
reading from the Bible and other religious literature. Unless this is faithfully
followed, there is grave danger of backsliding.” DR. BOB, p. 131.
- A.A. itself stated as to
the implications in the Amos report:
members of that time did not consider meetings necessary to maintain sobriety.
They were simply “desirable.” Morning devotion and “Quiet Time,” however, were
musts.” DR. BOB, p. 136.
- DR. BOB and the Good
Oldtimers further states:
Quiet Time continued to be an important part of the recovery program in 1938-39,
as did the spiritual reading from which the early members derived a good deal of
their inspiration. . . . The Bible was stressed as reading material, of course.”
DR. BOB, pp. 150-51.
- Bill Wilson himself wrote about
the morning hour of meditation that had been so successful in the homes of
pioneers Wally and Annabelle G. and said
“I sort of always felt that something was lost from A.A.
when we stopped
emphasizing the morning meditation.” DR. BOB,
- There is a wonderful
illustration of the actual Quiet Time practice that we found in the personal
notations in his diary by Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr., for the periods in
1931 and 1935:
Dr. Shoemaker’s personal diary entries were made
available to Dick B.
B. by; Shoemaker’s daughters Sally Shoemaker Robinson and Nickie Shoemaker
Haggart, and were inspected at length by Nickie Haggart, Dick B., and Ken B. at
the home of Shoemaker's daughter, Nickie Shoemaker Haggart in Florida. The pages
were photocopied in that home, and then later included in a pamphlet by Dick B.,
titled, “Sam Shoemaker Papers. A copy is lodged in the Shoemaker Room of the
Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Shoemaker served as
rector in his later years.
- That the Quiet Time and
meditation principles are still present and influential in present-day A.A.
recovery ideas is exemplified by the following quotes from A.A.’s basic
text, Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 2001:
- “11. Sought through prayer and
meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood
Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to
carry that out.” (p. 59)
- “Step 11 suggests
prayer and meditation. We shouldn’t be shy on this matter of prayer.
Better men than we are using it constantly.” (pp. 85-86)
- “On awakening let us think
about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day.
Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking . . .” (p. 86)
- “We usually conclude the
period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day
what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take
care of such problems.” (p. 87)
- “If circumstances warrant, we
ask our wives or friends to join us in morning meditation. . . . There
are many helpful books also. Suggestions about these may be obtained
from one’s priest, minister, or rabbi. Be quick to see where religious
people are right. Make use of what they offer.” (p. 87)
- “Our book is meant to be
suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly
disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what
you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come
if your own house is in order.” (p. 164)
- We believe that the Alcoholics
Anonymous program, and the programs of other 12-Step fellowships, should be
studied, learned, and understood through careful examination of the roots of
the ideas, the way those sources were applied in early A.A., and the traces
of their existence that are patently present in A.A. literature today.
- We believe a brief presentation of
accurate, documented history and comments such as that above, should be
part—in fact an introduction to—every area of recovery. This means, for
example, in presentation of “prayer and meditation” and of the Eleventh
Step; by speakers, study groups, counselors, therapists, treatment and
recovery programs; outreach to prisons and hospitals; outreach to the
military and veterans; in sober living houses; and in outreach to those
suffering from life-controlling problems and self-destructive behaviors.
Such introductory materials should be foundational in treatment, recovery
work, prevention work, and in suggested solutions.
- Each and all of the foregoing
quotations can be documented with footnotes, if requested.
- Also, a good many more documented
quotations can be provided, if needed.
- It is my hope that this simple
memorandum can be used by each sponsor, speaker, group leader, study group,
therapist, counselor, clergyman, and recovery fellowship and program
whenever there is a discussion of prayer, meditation, journaling, and quiet
time as an element of recovery and spiritual wholeness.
- The entire subject of Quiet Time
and its historical origins, biblical roots, use in the predecessor programs,
and presence in A.A. itself are adequately covered, reported, and amplified
- Dick B., The Oxford Group &
Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living That Works, 3rd
- Dick B., New Light on
Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A., 2d ed.;
- Dick B., Anne Smith’s
Journal, 1933-1939: A.A.’s Principles of Success, 3rd ed.
- Dick B., Good Morning!:
Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A., 2d ed.
- Dick B., Dr. Bob of
Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Good Book As a
Youngster in Vermont; and
- Garth Lean, Frank Buchman:
A Life (London: Constable, 1985), 35-36, 74-75, 170-71.