Akron AAs called their group (Akron Number One) a Christian Fellowship. Many likened it to First Century Christianity. Its principles and practices authenticated these Christian fellowship ideas. After two and a half years of hard work in Akron, there was a "counting of noses" by Bill W. and Dr. Bob that showed that by November, 1937, forty alcoholics had achieved a highly unexpected recovery rate of fifty percent with another twenty-five who had slipped but returned. The winners accomplished this feat by following Christian techniques so labeled and which, in Dr. Bob's own words, were developed by the studies and efforts and teachings that had been going on in the Bible from the very founding of A.A. in 1935.
Frank Amos' Seven-Point Summary of the Original Akron A.A. Program:
- An alcoholic must realize that he is an alcoholic, incurable from a medical viewpoint, and that he must never drink anything with alcohol in it.
- He must surrender himself absolutely to God, realizing that in himself there is no hope.
- Not only must he want to stop drinking permanently, he must remove from his life other sins such as hatred, adultery, and others which frequently accompany alcoholism. Unless he will do this absolutely, Smith and his associates refuse to work with him.
- He must have devotions every morning-a "quiet time" of prayer and some reading from the Bible and other religious literature. Unless this is faithfully followed, there is grave danger of backsliding
- He must be willing to help other alcoholics get straightened out. This throws up a protective barrier and strengthens his own willpower and convictions.
- It is important, but not vital, that he meet frequently with other reformed alcoholics and form both a social and a religious comradeship.
- Important, but not vital, that he attend some religious service at least once weekly.
Dr. Bob called the group a "Christian fellowship." Frank Amos declared: "Members did not want the movement connected directly or indirectly with any religious movement or cult; they stressed the point that they had no connection whatever with any so-called orthodox religious denomination, or with the Oxford Movement. (Obviously, Amos meant the Oxford Group)." As to this regular weekly meeting, old-timer Bob E. stated: Dr. Bob and T. Henry "teamed" the meeting; T. Henry took care of the prayers with which the meeting was opened and closed. "There were only a half dozen in the Oxford Group. We [the alcoholics] had more than that. Sometimes, we'd go downstairs and have our meeting, and the Oxford Group would have theirs in the sitting room." This "regular meeting" became the King School A.A. Group in Akron. That followed the break with the Oxford Group people in 1939 which transitioned into the "regular" meeting at Dr. Bob's home which was full to overflowing before long. Then it moved to the King School in Akron. And here, based on the recollections of A.A. old-timer Duke P., are some snippets as to how the "old-school" A.A. continued in Akron even after the Big Book was published but while Dr. Bob and Anne Smith were still very much involved:
- The meetings were held in an assembly room that contained tables and chairs. There was no podium, so the meeting leader stood at the head of one of the tables.
- For the first 25-30 minutes, the Chairperson would "qualify."
- After the "lead," the Chairperson opened the meeting up for discussion. During this period, anyone could say anything that was on his or her mind. Dr. Bob's wife Anne Ripley Smith always spoke about some aspect of the program or commented on how the speaker's story had personally affected her. Dr. Bob spoke during some, but not all, of these discussion periods.
- No one read from the Big Book. Once in a while, the chairperson would read something from the Bible if the passage related directly to his story. Duke remembered one Chairperson reading from the Book of James and Dr. Bob's reading 1 Corinthians 13.
- Everyone dressed up for the meeting. All the men wore a coat and tie-done out of respect for A.A. and as a demonstration that their lives had changed as a result of being "on the program."
- No refreshments were served and no basket was passed (there was no charge for the use of the King School).
Prior to 1946, Akron AA had published A Manual for Alcoholics Anonymous. It contained the following description of the newcomer's plan of action as soon as he was out of the hospital: "First off, your day will have a new pattern. You will open the day with a quiet time. This will be explained by your sponsor. You will read the "Upper Room" or whatever you think best for yourself. You will say a little prayer asking for help during the day. . . . Finally, at the end of the day, you will say another little prayer of thanks and gratitude for a day of sobriety."