Basic Text comparisons to original manuscript

In June of 1938, and after having embraced a solution for chronic alcoholism, some alcoholics who had previously believed themselves hopeless now knew the reality of permanent recovery. We do know they had yet to begin using the word “permanent”, but their new-found knowledge of “hopeless” having been nothing greater than a misconstrued feeling is certainly evidenced here:

“We…have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.”
(“Alcoholics Anonymous“, Foreword to First Edition)

Discovery of truths by learning to live within truth can set people free.
–  NoNameYet  –

Seizing each new opportunity to try to be helpful to still others, those same people had also begun saying this amongst themselves:

“If we keep on the [word-of-mouth] way we are going there is little doubt much good will result, but the surface of the problem would hardly be scratched…hundreds…dropping into oblivion…could recover if they had the opportunity we have enjoyed. How then shall we present that which has been so freely given us?
“We have concluded to publish an anonymous volume…our combined experience and knowledge…a useful program for anyone concerned with a drinking problem.” (page 19)

As an aside here, please notice that precise order… 1: combined experience; 2: knowledge. These people had not “knowledged” their individual ways into various new manners of living, they had commonly lived their way – “a simple religious idea (Step Three) and a practical program of action (Steps Four through Nine)” (page 9) – into “a revolutionary change in their (now-common) way of living and thinking” (page 50).

By December of that year, those early A.A.s had a “working manuscript” for their book. They printed a number of multilith copies for review by members and select others…and all of that ultimately helped formulate the final text of “Alcoholics Anonymous”, the book, as we know it today.

From A.A. World Services in reference to these comparisons we offer: “…we would have no objection to the production of a few copies of such a work.” (February 23, 1987, letter on file)

With corrections where we had missed edits and made typos, here is our online copy of our 1993 comparison between the Third Edition of “Alcoholics Anonymous” – the A.A. “Big Book” – and its pre-publication multilith.

a line-by-line comparison between
Alcoholics Anonymous
and its pre-publication manuscript
dedicated to
those who trudge the Road of Happy Destiny
in memory of
those who first blazed the trail
with hope for
those who may yet seek our way


~ ~ ~ technical notes ~ ~ ~
Q: Why are line lengths different here than in the book?
A: Adding brackets, edits, removals and additions within
the text causes some lines to grow too long (too wide)
for display on a line otherwise printable on any page,
and the same is true for printable page lengths. The
page numbers you see here are the same as in the book,
but the lengths of these HTML "pages" vary greatly.
Much care has been taken to assure the accuracy of this
line-by-line comparison, and please let us know if you
might happen to notice any errors or typos on our part!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Dr. Bob's "prescription" for the real alcoholic
First Edition (Eighth Printing) Dust Jacket


A L C O H O L I C ' S
Published by:
Works Publishing Co.,
17 William St.,
Newark, N. J.

Here is a link to our entire comparison as a single web page:

Entire Line-by-Line Comparison

Here are links to our chapter-by-chapter comparisons:

Foreword to First Edition (comparison)
The Doctor’s Opinion (comparison)
Bill’s Story (comparison)
There is a Solution (comparison)
More About Alcoholism (comparison)
We Agnostics (comparison)
How It Works (comparison)
Into Action (comparison)
Working With Others (comparison)
To Wives (comparison)
The Family Afterward (comparison)
To Employers (comparison)
A Vision For You (comparison)
Appendix to First Edition

Here is a download link for the entire comparison:
note: Some format editing will be required prior to printing.

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