Pages - Back To
Basics and Conference Approved Literature
Faith With Works Publishing Company
has received numerous letters asking if the book, Back to Basics - The Alcoholics
Anonymous Beginners Meetings is General Service Conference Approved literature.
Since the General Service Conference only approves literature for which
holds the copyright, the Conference wouldnt even consider adding Back to Basics to
the Conference Approved literature list because the copyright for Back to Basics is held
by Wally P.
Just because Back to Basics isnt Conference
Approved literature, this does not mean that the book is Conference Disapproved
literature. In fact, Back to Basics meets all of the G.S.O. guidelines for
literature. Hopefully, the following information will help reduce some of the confusion
surrounding the subjects of Conference Approved literature and A.A. literature.
Not all AA literature is Conference Approved.
The article titled, "Service Material From GSO
" (5M/12/87/TC) contains the following statement:
All A.A. literature is not Conference Approved
"Central office and intergroups do write and
distribute pamphlets or booklets that are not Conference- Approved. If such pieces meet
the needs of the local membership, they may be legitimately classified as
literature...The conference does not disapprove of such material."
Back To Basics is distributed by a significant
number of Central and Intergroup Offices. It has become an integral part of A.A.s
life saving program throughout the world. Many Back to Basics Beginners Meetings are
conducted by registered A.A. Groups. The Back to Basics book meets the needs of these
local Groups and as such, can legitimately be called A.A. literature, as per GSO
The classic case of the use of Non Conference
Approved material within A.A. is the A.A. Grapevine. This Non Conference Approved monthly
magazine is used as a source for topics at many A.A. meetings. A number of
have a Grapevine Representative whose is responsible for selling this Non-Conference
Approved magazine at A.A. meetings.
theme of the Back to Basics book has been endorsed by Bill Wilson, co-founder of
The Conference Approved pamphlet titled, Problems
Other than Alcohol (P-35), contains the following statement made by Bill W. in 1958.
"Sobriety - freedom from alcohol - through
the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of an
Groups have repeatedly tried other activities and they have always failed. If we
dont stick to these principles, we shall almost surely collapse. And if we collapse,
we cannot help anyone."
(Reaffirmed as a guiding principle of
A.A. by the
members of the A.A. General Service Conferences of 1969, 1970 and 1972.)
Back To Basics is most definitely in accord with
Bills belief that our sole purpose is to teach and practice the Twelve Steps.
does Conference Approved mean anyway?
The Conference Approved designation was first
adopted for future A.A. material at the 1951 General Service Conference. It was during
this same conference that Bills royalties for the Big Book were increased from 10%
Conference Advisory Actions - General Service
"This conference feels that in future years
A.A. textbook literature should have Conference Approval."
"The conference voted affirmatively, with
"Prior to the vote on this subject, it was
pointed out that adoption of the suggestion would not preclude the continued issuance of
various printed documents by non-Foundation (GSO) sources. No desire to review, edit or
censor non-Foundation (GSO) material is implied. The objective is to provide, in the
future, a means of distinguishing Foundation (GSO) literature from that issued locally or
by non A.A. interests."
"In addition, the Conference approved
unanimously a motion recommending to the Trustees of the
Foundation(GSO) that steps be
taken to insure that Bill and Lois receive book royalties so long as either one shall
live. This motion was adopted after is was disclosed that under the existing arrangement
Bill would have no legal basis for claiming royalties upon the expiration of the Big Book
copyright and that no provision exists for Lois in the event of Bills prior
death." (The copyright for the First Edition, as well as the Second Edition of
Alcoholics Anonymous, was not renewed. As a result, the first 164 pages of the "Big
Book" have become part of the Public Domain.)
"Inflation and the decline in book sales
have combined to cut Bills income practically in half in the past year. The five
percent increase in royalty means that his earnings will once more approximate those of
three years ago." (With this conference action, Bills percentage of the
retail price of all "Big Book" sales was increased from 10% to 15%.)
(Report of the First Annual General Service
Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous, April 20-22-22, 1951)
Because the Conference voted to establish Conference
Approved literature during the same session that they voted to increase Bills
royalties, some early A.A. members concluded that "Conference Approved" meant
that "Bill gets a piece of the action." In later years, his proved not to be the
case as the Conference started approving literature produced by "writers for
hire" other than Bill.
Even today, "Conference Approved" has more
to do with who gets the money rather than what is actually written. All proceeds from
Conference Approved literature sales go to A.A.W.S. in New York City.
So, "where does the money from the sale of the
Back to Basics book go?" The answer to this question can be found on Roman numeral
page x of the Back To Basics book.
"Authors note: I do not believe in
making money out of A.A. Any proceeds from this book, after out of pocket
expenses are met, will be used to distribute books at no cost to individuals and groups
who cannot afford to buy them."
To date, well over one-half of all Back To Basics
books have been either given away or sold at cost. As of March 1999, there have been no
proceeds. Faith With Works Publishing Company will continue to give away books in order to
insure that Back to Basics is distributed for spiritual rather than monetary purposes.
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