Our Story

Bill and Arbutus O’Neal of Texas dedicated more than fifty years of their lives to collecting and preserving an audio history of Twelve-Step work with alcoholics. During their lives they were able to record several hundred AA and Al-Anon conventions and roundups. These recordings became the Mid-West Tape Library.  The O’Neals were truly the pioneers in the recording of these conventions and they also assisted others who expressed an interest in starting and creating their own tape library.

In 2006, Arbutus and her family reached out to Mike F. and encouraged him to purchase the original library and carry on the work that Bill & Arbutus began.  Mike understood that both Bill & Arbutus wanted the library to be preserved and made available for all future generations interested in the 12-Step fellowships.

Midwest Tape Library Reel-to-Reels
Original reel-to-reel tapes in the Midwest Tape Library

Taking on the task of digitizing the more than 3000 original reel-to-reel tapes began in 2007.  This process has been both expensive and time-consuming. As of late 2020 the digitizing is still in process with only about 20% completed!  Additional audio libraries have also been added to create what is now known as Recovery Speakers.  The library currently consists of more than 20,000 audio files.

 

In keeping with Bill & Arbutus’ original mission, Recovery Speakers is dedicated to collecting and preserving the audio history of the 12-Step fellowships. In recent years we have included talks from not only AA and Al-Anon, but also from other new and popular 12-Step programs.

The Midwest Tape Library

Recovery Speakers began making talks available online in 2007 and has continued to expand and improve the user experience by providing new features.  A few of our newer features include:  daily speaker talks sent via email to our subscribers, blogs with relevant topics, an online weekly history meeting, and much more.

Over the years the site and project have been funded by Mike and his family. As time has gone on the expense of site development, digitizing, and other related costs have increased we are now asking users to help support our work. We are committed to making the site available for “free” to everyone, but we do ask that if you’re able, to please help out with a donation.

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