June 10th, 2018

The Original Working Manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous AA bookThe saga of the working manuscript of the AA “Big Book” came to a satisfactory conclusion at a May 5th auction. Having slipped away from its intended caretakers at AA in 1985, the book had disappeared from public sight. By any measure, the 12-Step approach to addiction has accomplished an enormous amount, but the course of this progress, like recovery itself, has been full of twists and turns.

My fear had been that the auction could have resulted in continued inaccessibility of the manuscript. Its new owner, however, clearly understands the importance of the original manuscript to the recovery community and intends to make it available to the general public. He plans to put it on display for several months at AA headquarters in New York as well as to send it on tour around the country so that it can be seen by a wider audience.

The History of the AA book

The official name of the book, “Alcoholics Anonymous,” became the name of the until-then nameless organization that published it in 1939. Over the past 79 years, the book has been a source of hope to many people struggling with alcohol problems. Annual book sales of one million testifies to its continued relevance.

I have never visited the AA headquarters in New York City, but will now have a reason to do so when the manuscript arrives. From the looks of their website such visits appear to be welcomed. Fortunately, you can own your own copy of a facsimile of the manuscript at a reasonable price. We can only hope that one day AA will become the permanent home of the manuscript.

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