Alcoholics Anonymous and Other Twelve-Step Programs in Relation to New Thought

The most important connection of AA and New Thought was by means of the writings of popular New Thought writer Emmet Fox. Igor I. Sikorsky, Jr., in his AA's Godparents: Carl Jung, Emmet Fox, Jack Alexander (Minneapolis: CompCare Publishers, 1990, p. 20), says:
Perhaps Emmet Fox's fundamental contribution to AA was the simplicity and power of The Sermon on the Mount as well as his other books that set forth in very simple language the truths of the New Thought philosophy.
Sikorski especially refers to Fox's emphasis on living in the present, similar to AA's teaching one to live a day at a time. He finds another similarity in nonownership of property by AA and the Church of the Healing Christ, of Fox, who used to speak in large public halls, primarily in New York. The essential impossibility of holding a mindset inconsistent with one's lifestyle is another parallel. Sikorski says, "Five of the original stories in the Big Book were by early AA members deeply influenced by Emmet Fox (p. 23)." Sikorsky also notes (p. 19) that an early recovering alcoholic who worked with co-founder Bill Wilson was Al Steckman, whose mother was Fox's secretary, and that as a result of this connection early AA groups often would go to listen to Fox.

A valuable writing is "New Thought and 12 Step Recovery From Addiction: Practical American Spiritualities" by Kenneth E. Hart, from Spiritual and Religious Issues in Behaviour Change, 9: 3-5. Hart's longer presentation on this topic to the Society for the Study of Metaphysical Religion is expected to be published in its journal.

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Created June 13, 1998
by Alan Anderson
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Latest update June 21, 1998