In the early days of AA the fellowship operated under a loose set of spiritual principles borrowing heavily from the ideas of The Oxford Group. There was no single way of “doing AA.” Some people favored a plan focused on living “One Day at a Time” others were focused on prayer and “quiet time.” As the steps evolved there were various versions used at different times and in different places.
Here are some descriptions of the early six step versions of the program as found in AA’s literature and archives:
The day before I was due to go back to Chicago, a Wednesday and Dr. Bob’s afternoon off, he had me down to the office and we spent three or four hours formally going through the Six-Step program as it was at that time. The six steps were:
- Complete deflation.
- Dependence and guidance from a Higher Power.
- Moral inventory.
- Continued work with other alcoholics.
Found in the AA Archives in NY is a version of the steps as recalled in 1953 in a handwritten note by Bill W. and presumably for Father Ed Dowling. The note reads:
For Ed –
- Admitted hopeless
- Got Honest with self
- Got honest with another
- Made Amends
- Helped other with demands
- Prayed to God as you understand Him