The Birth of AA in Texas – April 1940

The Birth of AA in Texas – April 1940


by Paul W. 


The seeds of Texas A.A. were planted in the winter of 1940 when Larry J., a newly sober newspaperman from Cleveland, took a job with The Houston Press. Larry was sponsored by Dr. Bob & Clarence S. (Clarence’s story, Home Brewmeister, appeared in the first three editions of the Big Book) Larry completed the steps while detoxing in the hospital, and did not attend a single meeting before coming to Houston. 

He boarded the train to Texas with nothing more than the first edition of our basic text and a spiritual experience. During this train ride, Larry had another spiritual awakening while reading the Big Book. This led him to write a six-part series on A.A. for The Houston Press, which was published in February of 1940. These articles were the catalysts for two major events. Not only were they eventually re-published as A.A.’s first pamphlet, they also put Larry in touch with Roy Y., a native Houstonian. These two men would form the first Texas A.A. group in April of that year. The original Houston Group still meets today. Larry J. is also believed to be the author of the “Texas Prayer”, which was used to open A.A. meetings across the state for years. The prayer, which can also be found in Bill Pittman’s book Stepping Stones to Recovery, is as follows: 

“Our Father, we come to You as a friend. You have said that, where two or three are gathered in Your name, there You will be in the midst. We believe You are with us now. We believe this is something You would have us do, and that it has Your blessing. We believe that You want us to be real partners with You in this business of living, accepting our full responsibility, and certain that the rewards will be freedom, and growth, and happiness. For this, we are grateful. We ask You, at all times, to guide us. Help us daily to come closer to You, and grant us new ways of living our gratitude.” 

Unfortunately, Larry’s story ended on a sad note. He found himself at odds with the early Houston members and they formed a steering committee to replace him as the leader of the Houston group. He became resentful over the matter and was never able to fully reconcile with the other members. He returned to active addiction and he was unable to regain his sobriety, save for a few brief intervals. Larry J. passed away in May of 1944. However, his struggles at the end not diminish the fact that Larry J. founded A.A. in Texas. And for that, we all owe him a debt of eternal gratitude.

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