Emmett Fox: His association with alcoholics anonymous

Emmet Fox and Alcoholics Anonymous

By Igor S., Hartford, Conn. February 1996 AA Grapevine
One of the very early recovering alcoholics who worked with co-founder Bill W. was a man named Al, whose mother was secretary to Emmet Fox, a popular lecturer on New Thought philosophy. When the early groups were meeting in New York, members would frequently adjourn after a meeting and go to Steinway Hall to listen to Fox's lecture. To this day there are AA groups that distribute Fox's pamphlets along with Conference-approved AA literature.

An account sets forth in "Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers" tells of the influence of Emmet Fox and his classic work, "Sermon on the Mount." An AA old-timer recollected: "The first thing he (Dr. Bob) did was to get Emmet Fox's 'Sermon on the Mount'....Once when I was working on a woman in Cleveland, I called and asked him what to do for someone who is going into DT's. He told me to give her the medication and he said, 'When she comes out of it and she decides she wants to be a different woman, get her Drummond's 'The Greatest Thing in the World.' Tell her to read it through every day for thirty days and she'll be a different woman.' Those were the three main books at the time; that and 'The Upper Room' and 'The Sermon on the Mount.'"

Perhaps the fundamental contribution of Emmet Fox to Alcoholics Anonymous was the simplicity and power of "The Sermon on the Mount." This book sets forth the basic principles of the New Thought philosophy that "God is the only power, and that evil is insubstantial; that we form our own destiny by our thoughts and our beliefs; that conditions do not matter when we pray; that time and space and matter are human illusions; that there is a solution to every problem; that man is the child of God, and God is perfect good."

Central to New Thought philosophy was the perspective which saw that love and personal forgiveness were the keys to fundamental transformation: "Love is by far the most important thing of all. It is the Golden Gate of Paradise. Pray for the understanding of love, and meditate upon it daily. It casts out fear. It is the fulfilling of the Law. It covers a multitude of sins. Love is absolutely invincible."

Fox went on to say that forgiveness was an integral part of the Pathway of Love, "which is open to everyone in all circumstances, and upon which you may step at any moment - at this moment if you like - requires no formal introduction, has no conditions whatever. It calls for no expensive laboratory in which to work, because your own daily life, and your ordinary daily surroundings are your laboratory. It needs no reference library, no professional training, no external apparatus of any kind. All it does need is that you should begin steadfastly to expel from your mentality every thought of personal condemnation (you must condemn a wrong action, but not the actor), of resentment for old injuries, and of everything which is contrary to the law of Love. You must not allow yourself to hate either person, or group, or nation, or anything whatever.

"You must build-up by faithful daily exercise the true Love-consciousness, and then all the rest of spiritual development will follow upon that. Love will heal you. Love will illumine you."

One of the cornerstones of Fox's philosophy was to live but one day at a time, to be responsible for one's own thoughts and to clear up resentments, just as AA was to teach that "resentments are our number one cause of slips." For Fox, one of the most important rules for growth was to live in the present: "Live in today, and do not allow yourself to live in the past under any pretence. Living the past means thinking about the past, rehearsing past events, especially if you do this with feeling...train yourself to be a man or woman who lives one day at a time. You'll be surprised how rapidly conditions will change for the better when you approach this ideal."

Emmet Fox emphasized the idea that thoughts are real things, and that one cannot have one kind of mind and another kind of life. According to Fox, if we want to change our lives, then we must change our thoughts first. Many of his simply stated profundities have contributed to an AA philosophy that has transformed the lives of literally millions of recovering alcoholics.

The Golden Key

Scientific prayer will enable you to get yourself or anyone else, out of any difficulty. It is the golden key to harmony and happiness.

To those who have no acquaintance with the mightiest power in existence, this may appear to be a rash claim, but it needs only a fair trial to prove that, without a shadow of doubt, it is a just one. You need take no one's word for it, and you should not. Simply try it for yourself.

God is omnipotent, and we are God's image and likeness and have dominion over all things. This is the inspired teaching, and it is intended to be taken literally, at its face value. The ability to draw on this power is not the special prerogative of the mystic or the saint, as is so often supposed, or even of the highly trained practitioner. Everyone has this ability Whoever you are, wherever you may be, the golden key to harmony is in your hand now. This is because in scientific prayer it is God who works, and not you, and so your particular limitations or weaknesses are of no account in the process. You are only the channel through which the divine action takes place, and your treatment will be just the getting of yourself out of the way.

Beginners often get startling results the first time, for all that is essential is to have an open mind and sufficient faith to try the experiment. Apart from that, you may hold any views on religion, or none.

As for the actual method of working, like all fundamental things, it is simplicity itself. All you have to do is this: Stop thinking about the difficulty, whatever it is, and think about God instead. This is the complete rule, and if only you will do this, the trouble, whatever it is, will disappear. It makes no difference what kind of trouble it is. It may be a big thing or a little thing: it may concern health, finance, a lawsuit, a quarrel, an accident, or anything else conceivable: but whatever it is, stop thinking about it and think of God instead -- that is all you have to do.

It could not be simpler, could it? God could scarcely have made it simpler, and yet it never fails to work when given a fair trial.

Do not try to form a picture of God, which is impossible. Work by rehearsing anything or everything that you know about God. God is wisdom, truth, inconceivable love. God is present everywhere, has infinite power, knows everything, and so on. It matters not how well you may think you understand these things: go over them repeatedly.

But you must stop thinking of the trouble, whatever it is. The rule is, to think about God. If you are thinking about your difficulty, you are not thinking about God. To be continually glancing over your shoulder in order to see how matters are progressing is fatal, because it is thinking of the trouble, and you must think of God and nothing else. Your object is to drive the thought of the difficulty out of your consciousness, for a few moments at least, substituting for it the thought of God. This is the crux of the whole thing. If you can become so absorbed in this consideration of the spiritual world that you forget for a while about the difficulty, you will find that you are safely and comfortably out of your difficulty -- that your demonstration is made.

In order to "golden key" a troublesome person or a difficult situation, think. "Now 1 am going to 'golden key' John, or Mary. or that threatened danger": then proceed to drive all thought of John, or Mary, or the danger out of your mind, replacing it with the thought of God.

By working in this way about a person, you are not seeking to influence his conduct in any way, except that you prevent him from injuring or annoying you, and you do him nothing but good. Thereafter, he is certain to be in some degree a better, wiser, and more spiritual person, just because you have "golden keyed" him. A pending lawsuit or other difficulty would probably fade out harmlessly without coming to a crisis, justice being done to all parties concerned.

If you find that you can do this very quickly, you may repeat the operation several times a day with intervals between. Be sure, however, each time you have done it, that you drop all thought of the matter until the next time. This is important.

We have said that the golden key is simple, and so it is, but of course it is not always easy to turn. If you are very frightened or worried, at first it may be difficult to get your thoughts away from material things. But by constantly repeating a statement of absolute Truth, such as: There is no power but God: I am the child of God, filled and surrounded by the perfect peace of God: God is love; God is guiding me now; or, perhaps best and simplest of all. God is with me -- however mechanical or trite it may seem -- you will soon find that the treatment has begun to "take." And that your mind is clearing. Do not struggle violently; be quiet, but insistent. Each time you find your attention wandering, switch it back to God.

Do not try to think in advance what the solution to your difficulty will be. This is called "outlining" and will only delay the demonstration. Leave the question of ways and means to God. You want to get out of your difficulty that is sufficient. You do your half, and God will never fail to do God's.

"Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21). Emmet Fox
(The Story of how the Golden Key came into being can be read in Emmet Fox His Life Story)

FIFTEEN POINTS I Am Really In Truth:

If - I always look for the best in each person, situation and thing. If - I resolutely turn my back on the past, good or bad and live only in the present & future If - I forgive everybody without exception, no matter what he may have done; and if I then forgive MYSELF whole-heartedly. If - I regard my job as sacred and do my day's work to the best of my ability (whether I like it or not). If - I take every means to demonstrate a healthy body and harmonious surroundings for myself. If - I endeavour to make my life of as much service to others as possible, without interfering or fussing. If - I take every opportunity wisely to spread the knowledge of Truth to others. If - I rigidly refrain from personal criticism, and neither speak nor listen to gossip. If - I devote at least a quarter of an hour a day to prayer and meditation. If - I read at least seven verses of the Bible everyday. If - I specifically claim spiritual understanding of myself every day. If - I train myself to give the first thought on waking to God. If - I speak the Word for the whole world every day, say at noon. If - I PRACTICE, the Golden Rule of Jesus instead of merely admiring it. He said, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." The important point about the Golden Rule is that I am to practice it whether the other fellow does so or not. If - above all, I understand that whatever I see is but a picture which can be changed for the better by Scientific Prayer. If you want to demonstrate ask yourself once a week how far you are observing these points in your life. Emmet Fox

What is Scientific Prayer?

Scientific prayer or spiritual treatment is really the lifting of your consciousness above the level where you have met your problem. If only you can rise high enough in thought, the problem will the solve itself. This is really the only problem you have - to raise in consciousness. The more "difficult," which means the more deeply rooted in your thoughts, is the problem concerned, the higher you will have to rise. What is called a small trouble, will yield to a slight raise in consciousness. What is called a serious difficulty, will require a relatively higher rise. What is called a terrible danger or hopeless problem, will require a considerable rise in consciousness to overcome it - but that is the only difference.

Do not waste time trying to straighten out your own or other people's problems by manipulating thought - that gets you nowhere - but raise your consciousness, and the action of God will do the rest.

Jesus healed sick people and reformed many sinners by raising his consciousness above the picture they presented. He controlled the wind and the waves in the same way. He raised the dead because he was able to get as high in consciousness as is necessary to do this.

To raise your consciousness you must positively withdraw your attention from the picture for the time being (The Golden Key) and then concentrate gently upon spiritual truth. You may do this by reading the Bible or any spiritual book that appeals to you, by going over any hymn or poem that helps you in this way, or by the use of one or more affirmations, just as you like.

I know many people who have secured the necessary elevation of consciousness by browsing at random through the Bible. A man I know was saved in a terrible shipwreck by quickly reading the 91st psalm. Another man healed himself of a supposedly hopeless disease by working on the one affirmation, "God Is Love," until he was able to realize something of what that greatest of all statements must really mean.

If you work with affirmations, be careful not to get tense; but there is no reason why you should not employ all these methods in turn, and also any others that you can think of. Sometimes a talk with a spiritual person gives you just the lift that you need. It matters not how you rise so long as you do rise. "I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself." Emmet Fox

Now I speak the word

(paraphrased)

God is Infinite Life. God is Boundless Love. God is Infinite Intelligence.

God is Unfathomable Wisdom. God is Unspeakable Beauty.

God is Unchanging Principle of Perfect Good. God is the Soul of man.

I am the image and likeness of God, and I have the power of the Word.

When I speak the Word, it goes forth and cannot return void.

It accomplishes the thing where unto I send it.

That word goes forth charged with the power of God.

Now I speak the Word. I invoke the power of the Healing Christ, and I say that the full power of God is now awakened in me, filling my soul with peace and life and joy.

God is Light, and that Light fills my soul. Emmet Fox

NOW IS THE ACCEPTED TIME

God's time for my demonstration is NOW

The time God wants me to be healed is NOW

The time God wants me to be prosperous is NOW

The time God wants love in my life is NOW

The time God wants me to raise my consciousness is NOW

The time God wants me to be in my True Place is NOW.

There is nothing to wait for except the change of my own consciousness. Emmet Fox

Index of AA History Pages on Barefoot's Domain

As in so many things, especially with we alcoholics, our History is our Greatest Asset!.. We each arrived at the doors of AA with an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That Do Not Work" .. Today, In AA and In Recovery, Our History has added an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That DO Work!!" and We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it!! KEEP COMING BACK! ONE DAY AT A TIME! Barefoot's World

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