AA – Only in America

When you think about it,  AA could have only emerged as a spiritual movement in the United States.

No other country is more ecumenical and offers such broad religious plurality. Only in that rich and accepting American soil could concepts like “power greater than yourself” replace the more overtly religious iconography of Jesus (or another figure).

This more generic spirituality swung the doors wide open allowing many of small religious faith to find “a God of their understanding” in the steps of AA.

In contrast, had AA arisen in Ireland, meeting halls full of Catholics and Protestants would have led to fierce emotional debate. Meeting rooms might have even become targets for bombings during the unrest of the 60’s.

Similarly, Russians seeking a spiritual solution for drinking would be sent to Gulags. The state preferred to keep their citizenry inebriated. That made for better communists.

And on it goes country by country – except for America.

Bill and Bob were first American. Their meeting and coming together could have happened only in America – where freedom to associate is a given. Only in America would churches, schools, and community organizations offer their rooms for meeting halls. Only in America could the book Alcoholics Anonymous be written and published without editorial commentary or political limitation. Finally, only in America would this program achieve success and recognition (like the Lasker award) and be exported to the rest of the world helping millions to recover from alcoholism.

So as you think of this great country, all who have sacrificed to make it what it is, do not forget that a spiritual solution to alcoholism could happen only in America.


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