Back to the Basics

2014 Collaborative Session Notes 


Convener: Wally P.  [email protected] 520-297-9348

Participants: Leonard Bade, Integrative Recovery Solutions
Carver Brown, Pine Grove       Dave Alexander, Northbound
Megan O’Connor, Valley Hope      Bill Kinloch, The Refuge
Jordan Spektor, A New Path       Jordin Tate, Balboa
Ami Gilland, Lakeview         Karen Zaccour, Lakeview
Sabrina Mathis, Foundations        Renee Baribeau, Foundations
Heather Lister, CeDAR       Brook Ford, Steps Recovery Center
Missy Garrison, Rosecrance      Murry Sandlin, Ranch at Dove Tree
Kacy Ritter, Origins     Emili Barbour, New Directions for Women


  • Wally is the AA archivist and historian.
  • B2B is a reenactment of the 1940’s AA meeting. Participants go through all steps in one hour.
  • B2B is about “demystifying the steps” by discussing each step and then taking a step.
  • Sponsee talks. Sponsor writes.
  • Bill Watson was primary author for the Big Book but Dr. Bob thought it was too complicated. 95% was not used to go through the steps.
  • Not just for newcomers. It is relevant for any stage of sobriety.
  • Can be purchased at or call Wally at 520-297-9348


Anyone can teach after going through it once:

  • Get an outline and script plus the book.
  • 75 minute DVD of Wally going through steps (PBS – high quality, done in three 25 minute segments)

There are a variety of ways for the sessions to be held:

  1. Carver (Pine Grove) does an all-day workshop
    • Begin at 9:30. Distribute the book and highlighters.
    • Go through steps 1 – 5 before lunch.
    • Lunch – bring in food. Partner men, women groups of 2 -3 to share their inventories.
    • Afternoon – go through steps 6 – 9. Give examples of amends made. Share stories with every passage.
    • Guided meditation
    • Continue passages through step 12
    • Adjourn at 3:30.
  1. Family Week
  • Do on last day – Friday morning
  • Take families and patients through steps in two-hour version
  • Encourage families to consider Al-Anon or COSA
  1. Four Step version for Native American and indigenous groups
  • Wally puts the steps on the medicine wheel of recovery
  • Walks through all 12 steps each day; walks through the wheel each day
  1. Versions for narcotics, sex addiction, OA and Al Anon, too.
  2. Can fit the presentation to the time available – all day, 2 hour, ½ day, etc. Shorter sessions do not
    allow enough time to share inventories.
  3. Can be done with families and clients together or just families. Carver does them together and Dave
    does them separately.

Leonard went with Wally to eight cities to take B2B to the communities.  They had volunteers lined up to help take it to their patients.  Everyone was led by the spirit and value to share.  It works with organizations like the Salvation Army or community groups just like it does for treatment centers.

Dave learned how to do sessions through his experience at Northbound.  He led a session at Michael’s House, which was their highest rated presentation.  People want to know “can you really do this” and he believes it is the type of recovery that changes lives because it is simple and increases understanding and comprehension.

If you’d like Wally or Carver to do a session for your clients:


  • Pay his travel expenses and provide a place to stay.
  • He’s booked through 2015 and accepting 2016 bookings.


  • Pine Grove believes its part of their outreach. Carver does it at many treatment centers.  He can do it for your patients the first time if it can be part of a Pine Grove marketing trip.  Call him 601-297-6639 to discuss.
  • 250 – 400 is typical size for workshop.

If you want to do your own sessions:

Spring 2015 Collaborative Session Notes

Back to the Basics

Convener: Carver Brown, Pine Grove, [email protected]

Scribe: Karen Zaccour [email protected]


Bade, Leonard Hazelden/Betty Ford [email protected]
Chaffee, Heidi Astoria Pointe [email protected]
Cox, Mitch Focus [email protected]
Gilbert, Molly Pride Institute [email protected]
Gordan, Becky A New Path [email protected]
Haggerty, Kevin The Ranch [email protected]
Hall, William Cornerstone Recovery Center [email protected]
Heller, Nicole Beachway Therapy Center [email protected]
Hutts, David Benchmark [email protected]
Kimbrough, Shea The Refuge [email protected]
McLeod, Tim Sierra Tucson [email protected]
Miller, Ryan Futures [email protected]
O’Neil, Cara Hanley Center at Origins [email protected]
Placencia, Tammy Hazelden/Betty Ford [email protected]
Ritter, Kacy Origins [email protected]
Smith, Melissa Serenity Now [email protected]
Smith, Tharin Origins [email protected]
Spollen, Shannon The Meadows [email protected]
Starbuck, Lisa The Farley Center [email protected]
Wood, Courtney Westbridge [email protected]
Zaccour, Karen Lakeview [email protected]


List 3 (or more) important ideas offered by the convener.

  1. Back to the Basics (B2B) is a format that takes someone/group through All 12 Steps in either four one hour sessions or all in one day.
  2. This can be offered to patients, alumni or families
  3. Can be used for any type of addiction by slightly changing the language in the big book

List 3 (or more) great ideas offered by the participants.

  1. Helps give patients confidence in the steps and their knowledge of them
  2. Helps simplify the big book and the steps
  3. All different styles can teach


Other things discussed:

Wally Patton author of Back to the Basics book [email protected] 520-297-9348

Carver Brown [email protected] will send you more information and an audio version of a live B2B with an SAA group

DVD and passages in the big book can be made available to you

If you go through B2B, you can become a presenter

Can implement this into the treatment process

Pass out mini big books for participants, you can order for under $1 each at

Fall 2015 Collaborative Session Notes 

Back to Basics: Return to the Big Book as used by people in recovery in the 1940’s.

Convener: Wally Patton   [email protected]

Scribe:  Tamara Jimenez, Anaheim Lighthouse  [email protected]


Jaime Gibbons, Cumberland Heights        [email protected]

Todd Richardson, Prescott House   [email protected]

Meredith Turnbull, The Gardens at Lake Worth   [email protected]

Michael Lee, Malibu Beach Sober Living   [email protected]

Laura Niedringhaus, Beacon House   [email protected]

Mitch Cox, Focus Treatment Center   [email protected]

Jaana Woodbury, Northbound     [email protected]

Xena Blair, Acadia Malibu     [email protected]

Brenda Capizzi, The Mesa House    [email protected]


The fellowship saw it as a “how to get sober book”

It’s used in aftercare, treatment centers, jails & institutions.

The Book was written as a history book.

Over 700,000 people have used it.

The book was intended to be a history book of the Fall of 1946.

The process worked back then as well as how they didn’t keep trace of recovery rates until you ‘ve been through the process at least 3 times and then there is a 50-75% recovery rate.  The process is meant to be done “quickly and often”, “quickly and often”, “quickly and often”


Personal story by Brenda:  Got clean but was still confused.  She had been to meetings and through the steps in the NA Step Working guide.  Her written 4th step caused her to lose custody of her child.  At three years sober, she had opened a halfway house.  Some men who had been in prison told her about “Back to Basics” and how it changed their lives.   Brenda loaded up the car and went to “Back to Basics”.   They only read some passages out of the Big Book.  Continued to go, when she got to the 4th step, her sponsor asked the questions and did the writing.  She realized she was the problem, finally after being 3 years in recovery.  It’s simple and gives you the whole picture.  It’s like no other meeting.  Taught her how to pray and meditate and how to listen.  She learned how to listen to her Higher Power.


95% of the Big Book was NOT sued to take newcomers through the steps by the Pioneers.  What absolutely was NOT done was sending a newcomer or sponsee home with a book and telling them to read it alone.  The book is meant to be read together.  The 50 key paragraphs are spellbinding.  Magic happens!  The key is that the sponsor does the writing, not the sponsee.


In treatment, the schedule stops for 1 day to allow for 1 day of “Back to Basics”  Facilitator has clients write letters to themselves about how they are currently and where they want to be in 6 months.  They also write to their Higher Power.  They include the alumni coordinators who are the facilitators, name and phone number.  After 6 months, the letter is mailed out.  This becomes a tangible way for the clients to see how it works.


This program can be used in various types of recovery groups & fellowships.

Different facilitators add creativity into the presentation.

This 1 day format frees up treatment team time to allow for training, note taking, etc.


“Back to Basics” has been integrated into treatment plans at treatment centers and with the alumni. It can be done in 74 minutes with just a Big Book with the highlighted 50 key paragraphs.  There are additional materials available for enhancement depending on how much time you have available.


It has changed the culture of the treatment program, facilitator personally, how the facilitator sponsors personally, and built the alumni program around Back to Basics.


It’s all about saving lives!  There are numerous translations available.


Wally Paton is an archivist and historian for AA and makes no money off of “Back to Basics”.  He has personally taken over 100,000 people through the steps this way.  Again, Wally Paton intended this book to be a history book at the time it was written.  He had no idea what it would become.  It is available on DVD format and other multi-media forms.

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Contact Information

Treatment Professionals in Alumni Services
PO Box 1152
Salida, CO 81201
(757) 784-7550


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