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Whenever a civilisation or society declines or perishes there is always one condition present - they forgot where they came from. -- Carl Sandburg

Back to Basics

​Alcoholics Anonymous,  born in 1935, is the "non-organisation" that has provided the template for every 12-step recovery program that has followed.

But there is something different about A.A. meetings now than they were originally ... They have gone soft ... They have forgotten the Basics of Recovery in large measure.

A radical return to A.A.'s founding spirit and methods is beginning with Back to Basics meetings, with strict adherence to the A.A. principles engendered in the steps and traditions.

A.A., it may be observed, has drifted away from its original purpose by allowing alcoholics to take too long to complete the 12 steps, to shy away from spirituality as they try to recover, and to devise their own methods of staying sober. In short, A.A. has tended to have been “watered down”

In Back to Basics meetings, attendees are expected to go through all 12 steps in short, manageable sessions, and they are expected to stick to them. In the meetings there is little talk about the problem and the individual's drinking career. The talk is about a Higher Power, Spirituality and The Steps.

The Steps are begun immediately with none of the one step a year procrastination, with none of the psychobabble inherited from the treatment centres.

In most current A.A. meetings, the primary A.A. format is open discussion, where people talk about anything, the "My Dog Died, My Car Wouldn't Start, But I Didn't Drink Over It" meetings.

And as a result the recovery rates have plummeted from the 75% recovery in early A.A. which have been documented many times, to a 5 to 10% permanent recovery rate today.

In the forward to the 1955 second edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, there is an estimate that of alcoholics who came and really tried,

  • 50 percent got permanently sober,

  • 25 percent got permanently sober with some relapses,

  • 25 percent showed improvement.


The A.A. Twelve Step Program can be divided into three parts.

  • Steps 1-3 are "Trust God," 

  • Steps 4-10 are "Clean House," 

  • Steps 11-12 are "Help Others." 


It takes action and continued work in all three parts for a person to get sober and stay sober.

With the return to Back to Basics and the original A.A. program as practised in the 1940's,  identical results -(as noted in the Big Book), are being seen today in these meetings, with three out of four members achieving permanent sobriety.

Back to Basics members say the program works for them because it gives them practical ways to stay sober and fewer excuses for failing.


If anyone reading this has a genuine desire to follow this method on a one to one basis with me, then please get back to me. We shall be working together using the Zoom platform so you need to have this loaded onto your device. We can work to mutually agreed times so there is room for flexibility.

You can message me by email to and mention this page on this website. 


If you need to learn more about alcoholism, there's no better place than a meeting. 

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