International Christian Recovery Coalition

+ Last updated:
 August 19, 2009

International Christian Recovery Coalition

A New Way Out

"We Christians in the Recovery Arena Are Not Alone"



Eleventh Step Quiet Time Practices and Guide

Dick B. © 2009 Anonymous. All rights reserved

 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 Guidance;
  • 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, 1933-1939;
  • The Upper Room;
  • Nora Holm, comp. and ed., The Runner’s Bible;
  • Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest; and
  • E. Stanley Jones, Victorious Living.

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 recovery arena;
  • 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 Manual.
  • 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 the "package."


Proposed Introduction for Quiet Time Programs

By Dick B.
© 2009 Anonymous. All rights reserved. 

  1. Bible verses commonly cited to support  appropriate approaches to Quiet Time
    1. Psa 46:10: Be still, and know that I am God
    2. 1 Sam 3:9: Speak, LORD, for thy servant heareth
    3. Acts 9:6: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do
    4. Isa 40:31: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength ...
    5. 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
  2. Examples of Quiet Time practices in the pre-A.A. period
    1. 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.”
    2. 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.”
    3. 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.”
    4. 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.”
    5. 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.”
  1. The Quiet Time principle and practice was a vital part of the early A.A. program.
    1.  An example is the account of Dr. Bob’s prayer life:

“Dr. 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. 

    1. 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.):    

The 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. 

“Prayer. 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. 

“Of course the Bible ought to be the main Source Book of all. No day ought to pass without reading it., “p.  82.

  1. 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:
    1. Point 4 of the report by Frank Amos to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., stated of the Original Akron A.A. “Program”:

“He [the 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.

    1. A.A. itself stated as to the implications in the Amos report:

“The A.A. 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.

    1. DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers further states:

“Morning 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. 

  1. 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, p. 178.

  1. 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.

and Ken 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.

  1. 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:
    1. “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)
    1. 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)
    1. “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)
    1. “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)
    1. “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)
    1. “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)



  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Each and all of the foregoing quotations can be documented with footnotes, if requested.
  1. Also, a good many more documented quotations can be provided, if needed.
  1. 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.
  2. 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 in:
    1. Dick B., The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living That Works, 3rd ed.;
    2. Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A., 2d ed.;
    3. Dick B., Anne Smith’s Journal, 1933-1939: A.A.’s Principles of Success, 3rd ed.
    4. Dick B., Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A., 2d ed.
    5. Dick B., Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Good Book As a Youngster in Vermont; and
    6. Garth Lean, Frank Buchman: A Life (London: Constable, 1985), 35-36, 74-75, 170-71.

International Christian Recovery Coalition
c/o Dick B.
P.O. Box 837
Kihei, Hawaii
Ph/fax: (808) 874-4876


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Trademarks and Disclaimer: ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, A.A., and Big Book are registered trademarks of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Freedom Ranch Maui Incorporated, the International Christian Recovery Coalition, and Dick B., are neither endorsed nor approved by nor associated or affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

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