A.A. literature censorship?

12 Feb

Has your sponsor or home group forbidden you to read from any AA literature that has not been sanctified by AAWS? Maybe they call it “AA-approved?”

Pic of Bill Wilson“Here at the Foundation we are not policemen, we’re a service and AA’s are free to read any book they choose.” ~Bill Wilson

“An A.A. which no longer follows the traditional A.A. program laid down by the good old-timers, will lose its heart and spirit, and its power to transform human lives and lift lost souls out of the miry pit where they had lain them down to die…How could it conceivably be ‘against the rules’ in A.A. to read what these good old-timers wrote, and the books that they advised newcomers to read?” ~Barefoot Bob Hardison, DOS: 2/28/1974

The following information is summarized from Barefoot Bob’s website.

There is no Tradition that can or should or will censor or “censure” what is presented at a meeting. An AA member may read anything anytime, anywhere, and for any purpose. There is no Tradition that says otherwise. Our Traditions were never intended to prohibit free speech, or freedom of religion or spiritual path by AAs or others.
There is no such thing as “AA-Approved” Literature
and A.A. has no index of forbidden books, and never will have. Many good pamphlets and books from early Alcoholics Anonymous are available for us to use for our ‘new way of living.’

From GSO Box 4-5-9 (Volume 23, No 4)
“Any literature that pertains to the principles of AA or is approved by a GROUP CONSCIENCE—is perfectly acceptable to be read by any AA member or in an AA meeting.”

Until 1993 books which were owned, copyrighted and printed by AAWS were identified by the use of a Circle-Triangle Symbol bearing the three legacies. In 1993 after losing the copyright, AAWS stated that “Alcoholics Anonymous will phase out the ‘official’ use of the circle and triangle symbol in and on its literature, letterheads and other material.” In fact, that document was issued without a conference action or a “group conscience.” (Link to more info)
This term “Conference Approved literature” replaces the original logo only to  IDENTIFY (AAGV Vol. 50-7 1993) the books solely owned, copyrighted and published by AAWS and not as a predetermined list and does NOT mean the Conference disapproves of any other publications.


Pic A A meetingPLEASE, study the textbook and ANY literature from the founders and pioneers (many pamphlets using Bill and Bob’s messages are NOT AAWS material).  These materials ARE ‘AA-related literature.’ So, unless a meeting’s group conscious specifically states that they censor literature, i.e. “only conference-approved literature may be read in this meeting” you are free to use other AA literature.
Just keep in mind that outside literature–medical, psychiatric, legal, self-help–is NOT AA-related, so reading and discussing these in meetings is not in accordance with AA’s Singleness of Purpose.

ETC, a recovered alcoholic in Oregon—relieved of the obsession but not cured of the allergy.

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