Barry Leach Speaking at
AAWS Convention Toronto
He died 3 weeks after this speech
I have in my possession the
printers manuscript (of the AA Big Book)
Its just in my keeping not in my possession,
and looking through the old manuscript
(the manuscript goes to
AA Archives Upon my demise,)
(this is Barry's Exact Words Verbatum)
I happened to find on the flyleaf
some unfamiliar writing in pencil.....
He goes on here to make a point in the aa talk he was giving.
You may download this talk at www.xa-speakers.org
The Point is
What Happened with Barry's Wishes??
see below click here
A good guess for BL of Manhattan is the
Barry Leach, a very considerable scribe, a good
friend (secretary?) to Lois, and author of the
popular AAWS title Living Sober.
photo of Barry L sent to me by Mel Barger
I don't have much on Barry Leach. Even though I knew him personally, I haven't been able to get a portrait of him. In the attached photo, we see Jack Bailey (of Queen for a Day) shaking hands with Lois Wilson at the 43rd anniversary of AAat Founder's day in Akron. This would have been 1978, and Jack was one of the main speakers. Right behind Lois is Barry Leach, wearing glasses. Barry was like a son to Lois and served as her escort when she traveled. I have no doubt that he was probably included in her will, except that he preceded her in death.
Barry was gay, but was fairly discreet about it, although mostfriends knew about him and his companion, who preceded him in death. Barry was the author of Living Sober and did other work for GSO.Two months after Marty Mann's death, I attended a memorial service for her at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in New York. I sat with Barry and another AA member. The service was partly conducted by Yev Gardner, who worked with Marty at NCA but was also an ordained Episcopal minister.
If you find another, better photo of Barry, I hope you will favor me with a copy.
Alcoholics: Ten Case Histories / Edward J. Small, Jr. and Barry Leach
Leach, Barry: Does Alcoholics Anonymous Really Work? In: Bourne, P.G./Fox, R.(ed.): Alcoholism; Progress in Research and Treatment. Academic Press, New York 1973, SS 245-284.
Leach, Barry: A.A. Its Effectiveness, Nature and Availability Proceedings
28th Congress on Alcohol and Alcoholism. New Brunswick NJ Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies 1968
Leach, Barry, and
Norris, John L., Factors in the Development of Alcoholics
Anonymous (A.A.), pp. 441-543 in Kissen, B. and Begleiter, H.
The B.L. inquired about in a recent post was
Barry Leach, who was also the main author of the
AA book on spirituality called Living Sober
and the pamphlet/series Twelve Steps for the
Older Member -- not to mention a scathing
attack on the political conservatism of the AA
Board of Trustees. Ernest Kurtz
also wrote a series of
articles in the Grapevine Archives Under name of
B. L., Manhattan, NY. Each article seems to be
a checklist for each one the traditions
don't know what conference approved of Living Sober but I do know
it was written by Barry Leach, now deceased. Barry was very devoted to Lois
Wilson---somewhat like a surrogate son---and even accompanied her on trips
when she was very elderly. I took a picture of Barry and Lois greeting Jack
Bailey (the famous Queen for a Day man) when he spoke in Akron in 1978. I
wish I could find a portrait of Barry for use in my Power Point
K researching at Brown University
I enjoyed the rifts and details over book royalties - Sue asking for Dr. Bob's
royalties; Clarence blasting away over Bill's payments; the request for
royalties on Living Sober by Barry Leach on March 7, 1982 for $191,416.54 ; Bill
receiving a royalty check for $585.70 on 9/30/43 ; Bill not having a royalty
agreement until 1963; etc.
Copyright 1975 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. First Printing 1975.
This book is a paperback in very good condition. A first initial and last name are on the inside front cover. Otherwise, there is nothing written in the book.
This book does not offer a plan for recovery from alcoholism. It tells only some methods we have used for living without drinking. You are welcome to all of them, whether you are interested in Alcoholics Anonymous or not
1. Using this booklet
2. Staying away from the first drink
3. Using the 24-hour plan
4. Remembering that alcoholism is an incurable, progressive, fatal disease
5. “Live and Let Live
6. Getting active
7. Using the Serenity Prayer br>8. Changing old routines
9. Eating or drinking something - usually, sweet
11l. Availing yourself of a sponsor
12. Getting plenty of rest
13. “First Things First”
14. Fending off loneliness
15. Watching out for anger and resentments
16. Being good to yourself
20. Remembering your last drunk
21. Avoiding all chemical mood-changers
22. Eliminating self-pity
23. Seeking professional help
24. Steering clear of emotional entanglements
25. Getting out of the “if” trap
26. Being wary of drinking occasions
27. Letting go of old ideas
28. Reading the A.A. message
29. Going to A.A. meetings
30. Trying the Twelve Steps
31. Finding your own way
Some questions often asked by new nondrinkers--and pages that offer some answers
What do I say and do at a drinking party?
Should I keep liquor in the house>
How do I explain to people why I’m not drinking now?
What about sex?
What about insomnia?
What about drinking dreams?
Should I go into bars?
What can I do when I get lonely?
As long as I’m happy, am I safe?
Should I seek professional help?
Is it necessary to give up old companions and habits?
Charlie Bishop Author (with Bill Pittman) of
To Be Continued: the AA World Bibliography
Dedicated the book to Barry Leach
= to the late Barry Leach and the late John L. Norris,
authors of Factors in the Development of Alcoholics
Anonymous in Kissin &, Begleiter, editors, Treatment and
Rehabilitation of the Chronic Alcoholic. Vol. 5, Plenum
Press, NY, 19/7. Their early bibliographical research
was an historic landmark in the literature of AA.
= to Julianne Phillips, author of the 1974 Alcoholics
Anonymous. An Annotated Bibliography 1935-1972
From People in AA History Silkworth net
* Barry L. - joined Manhattan Group 1945; story of doing desk duty at clubhouse on 41st Street when a black man, ex-convict, all belongings on back, hair bleached blond, wearing makeup, dope fiend came for help; group asked Bill what do, Bill said if he a drunk that all mattered; anonymous author Living Sober (N 352) (P 317-318)
Excerpt from AA World History (unpublished
Living Sober, the other booklet, published in 1975, had a more tortuous
history. Around 1968, there were discussions by the Board of the need for a
pamphlet for sober old-timers, and the need to point out traps or danger
signals. Members of the Literature Committee and others were asked to
submit their ideas. Out of this grew a specific proposal for a piece of
literature to be developed around the topic, How We Stay Sober. It was in
outline form by October 1969, and was assigned to a professional writer on
the staff of a prestigious national magazine. After nearly two years of
work, he submitted a complete draft.. Which everyone agreed would not do at all. They felt it needed such drastic revision that it should be started
again from scratch by a new author. Barry L., a seasoned, skillful freelance
writer/consultant for G.S.O. was given the task. With Bob H., general
manager of G.S.O., he negotiated a flat fee for the project. After four and
a half years of organizing material and writing . and probably some
procrastinating, as well, Barry came up with a simple, intensely practical,
charmingly written manual on how to enjoy a happy, productive life without
drinking. It was not spiritual and contained nothing about getting sober;
but it was chock-full of the kind of advice and suggestions a newcomer might
get from a super-sponsor. (A.A.'s First Aid Kit was Bayard's name for it.)
And it was written in a style unlike any other A.A. literature: breezy,
impertinent, colloquial and informal. Living Sober proved to be hugely
popular, and after it had sold nearly a million copies, Barry L. felt he
should have been compensated more generously and should receive some sort of royalty. He sent a letter to all past Trustees and G.S.O. staff members with whom he was acquainted, to advance his claim. The AAWS Board and the General Service Board considered his case, but declined to take action. He then threatened legal recourse, but perhaps realizing the weakness of his case, never followed through.
About the book “Living Sober”
It was written by NY member Barry L, published in 1975 and had a bit
of a tortuous history. Around 1968, there were discussions by the
Board of the need for a pamphlet for sober old-timers, and the need to
point out “traps” or “danger signals.” Members of the Literature
Committee and others were asked to submit their ideas. Out of this
grew a specific proposal for a piece of literature to be developed
around the topic, “How We Stay Sober.” It was in outline form by
October 1969, and assigned to a professional writer on the staff of a
prestigious national magazine. After nearly two years of work, he
submitted a complete draft which was rejected. The sense that it
needed such drastic revision led to it being started again from
scratch by a new author. Barry L, a seasoned, skillful freelance
writer/consultant for GSO was given the task.
Barry negotiated a flat fee for the project. After 4 1/2 years of
organizing material and writing, Barry came up with a simple and
practical manual on how to enjoy a happy, productive life without
drinking. It was not meant to be spiritual and contained nothing about
getting sober; but focused on the kind of advice and suggestions a
newcomer might get from a sponsor. “Living Sober” was written in a
style unlike other AA literature: breezy, impertinent, colloquial and
informal. It proved to be hugely popular.
About the author
After the book had sold nearly a million copies, Barry L felt he
should have been compensated more generously and should receive some
sort of royalty. He sent a letter to all past Trustees and GSO staff
members with whom he was acquainted, to advance his claim. AAWS and
the General Service Board considered his case but declined to take
action. Barry then threatened legal recourse, but perhaps realizing
the weakness of his case, never followed through.
Barry was one of the first homosexual members of the Fellowship. He is
mentioned in the book “Pass It On” (pgs 317-318) in regard to a 1945
incident that occurred at the 41st St clubhouse in NYC. Bill W was
called from the clubhouse by Barry to alert him of the arrival of “a
black man who was an ex-convict with bleach-blond hair, wearing
women’s clothing and makeup.” He also admitted to being a “dope
fiend.” When asked what to do about it, Bill posed the question, “did
you say he was a drunk?” When answered “yes” Bill replied “well I
think that’s all we can ask.” Anecdotal accounts often erroneously say
that this individual went on to “become one of the best 12th Steppers
in NY.” It’s not true. The book “Pass It On” (pg 318) states that
“although he soon disappeared, (repeat “soon disappeared”) his
presence created a precedent for the Third Tradition.”
As an item of possible interest, not long ago the mark-up manuscript
used to record the final editorial changes for the 1st Ed Big Book was
auctioned off at over 1 1/2 million dollars. That manuscript was given
to Barry L as a gift by Lois W.
About the Big Book and other literature
There is no mention at all in the Big Book that other literature
should conformance to what is written in it. To the contrary, in its
closing paragraphs it states “Our book is meant to be suggestive only.
We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to
you and to us.”
You will not find rigid conformance between the Big Book and 12&12
which were written by the same author (Bill W) about the same program
of recovery. For example, the 2 chapters in the 12&12 on Steps 6 and 7
are far more expansive on these Steps than the mere 3 paragraphs that
describe them in the Big Book.
From 1951 on, determination of the content of AA literature has been
the product of the process of informed Group Conscience through the
Trustees Literature Committee, Conference Literature Committee and the
participants in the General Service Conferences. In service material
released by GSO, the following was offered:
“Conference-approved”--What It Means to You
The term “Conference-approved” describes written or audiovisual
material approved by the Conference for publication by GSO. This
process assures that everything in such literature is in accord with
AA principles. Conference-approved material always deals with the
recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous or with information about the
The term has no relation to material not published by GSO. It does not
imply Conference disapproval of other material about AA. A great deal
of literature helpful to alcoholics is published by others, and AA
does not try to tell any individual member what he or she may or may
Conference approval assures us that a piece of literature represents
solid AA experience. Any Conference-approved booklet or pamphlet goes
through a lengthy and painstaking process, during which a variety of
AAs from all over the United States and Canada read and express
opinions at every stage of production.
LDP Editor aabibliography.com
It seems that since Barry did not receive any
royalties and really got royally shafted on the book Living
Sober. . He was best and long time friends with Lois. This must
be the reason she left him the original printers manuscript!!
Its really to bad that he could not have sold it in his lifetime and received some of the benefits of the $1000000. It is a great dismay to me that
someone did not buy the manuscript and donate it to AAWS or Brown University Archives, or that AAWS themselves did not bid on and buy
tradition 3 pdf this came from justaudio aa website
As Mel B noted, the booklet Living Sober was written by NY member Barry Leach. I could not find a Conference advisory action (in publication M-39) that explicitly approved it. However, the 1974 Conference passed an advisory action that stated: the partial draft of the new booklet 'Staying Sober' be reviewed by the committee and returned with comments and suggestions to GSO by June 1, 1974.
AA Comes of Age (pg xi) states: 1975 - Publication of booklet Living Sober, detailing some practical methods AA members have used for not drinking.
The 1974 advisory action infers that the booklet's title originally was planned as “Staying Sober” instead of “Living Sober” (its opening narrative About that title seems to address this). The first printing occurred in 1975 and based on the mention in AA Comes of Age, 1975 also appears to be its Conference approval year.
The booklet's author, Barry L, is historically prominent in two other areas. He was among the earliest homosexual members of the AA Fellowship. Barry also was the individual who (in 1945) called Bill W from the 41st St clubhouse concerning a black man who was described as an ex-convict with bleach-blond hair, wearing women's clothing and makeup (re “Pass It On” pgs 317-318). The black man also admitted to being a dope fiend. He is reported (in Pass It On) to have disappeared shortly after yet anecdotal accounts (at least here in Texas) often erroneously say that he went on to become one of the best 12th Steppers in NY.
The booklet “Living Sober” is reputed to be the second highest selling publication in AA today.
The master copy of the working draft of the book Alcoholics Anonymous, which belonged to William Wilson, a co-founder of A.A., was sold at auction yesterday for $1.576 million. Sotheby's sold the 161-page manuscript, considered the bible of A.A., to a classic book collector from La Jolla, Calif., said Matthew Weigman, a spokesman.
The auction house had estimated the manuscript's price at $300,000 to $500,000. It was offered for sale by an unidentified A.A. member who said he received it from an aunt who knew Wilson.
Some collectors and scholars expressed concern that the manuscript's sale would put it out of the reach of scholars interested in studying 12-step programs like A.A., which some consider one of the most important movements of the 20th century. They wanted the manuscript to go to A.A. or to an archive.
The typewritten manuscript has a multitude of annotations that showed how the Big Book, as it is known, was very much a group project. Early drafts went to dozens of people, from alcoholics to psychologists. In the manuscript's margins they refined the language and hammered out their philosophy of how only another alcoholic could help an alcoholic stop drinking. It was published in 1939.
Wilson, better known as Bill W., founded A.A. with Robert Smith in 1935 and became very much its public face. He died of emphysema in 1971.
A 1978 inscription on the manuscript is from Wilson's wife, Lois Wilson (who died in 1988), to a Barry. Some historians think that is the writer Barry Leach, who wrote a biography of her.
AA history for sale. In AACA p. 169 it states
in Henry's (Hank P) clear
handwritting all corrections were transferred to it.
Last year, May 2003, I was contacted by Bauman Rare Books in New York. They
had the printer's copy for sale. I flew out to take a look and verify the
handwriting. Lois gave the multilith to Barry Leach Jan 1, 1978. A relative
of Barry's is selling it. The owner thinking it is very valuable has now
taken it to Sotheby's and will be auctioned June 18. Put Bill W in search at
www.sotherbys.com and you will see item# N08006 in Lot 330.
The item description is wrong in my opinion. Bill W's handwriting is not in
the manuscript. It would be great to have it purchased and donated to GSO
archives or Stepping Stones.
Barry Leach and 3rd Tradition Information
screen print below
is from Francis Hartigan Book
Hartigan was close to Lois Wilson
and knew Barry Leach Personally
Rev Sally Brown writes 10/02/2012
Hi, AAHS - I cannot locate an AAHistoryLovers email from a woman,
whose name I
cannot remember! Nor can I find my answer to her. I permanently deleted all my
summer email a couple of weeks ago. It was an unsatisfactory answer, anyway, as
far as I was concerned, because all of Dave's and my research went to Brown a
couple of years ago.
Her question was about an argument with some AA man about the origins of Trad
3. She had read in the Marty Mann bio that the first non-alcohol issue that
arose was because of a homosexual man presenting himself to Dr Bob's Akron mtg,
and their dilemma about what to do. The AAHistoryLovers man, however, was
absolutely certain that "other drugs" were responsible, and Trad 3 had nothing
to do with LGBTs, at least until much later.
The more I thought about the history, the more a tape of Barry Leach came to
mind, but I knew that was at Brown. Until today! Whadda you know? I was finally
filing a bag of CDs I used with my VA dual diagnosis patients. And hidden
beneath that pile of CDs was the Barry Leach tape! Plus 2 of Bill Wilson that
I'd held back for myself.
I listened to Barry this afternoon, and sure enough, he was a speaker at the
1985 Montreal Convention (he died a few days later.) Tradition 3 was the focus
of the talk. During his talk he played an excerpt of an old Bill Wilson tape, in
which Bill described how in 1937 a very sick man had landed on AA's doorstep.
The man was honest but circumspect. He was obviously a low-bottom drunk badly in
need of help. He took Dr Bob aside and confided the group might not want him
because he had another stigma even worse than alcoholism -- he was a "sexual
deviant." Those 2 words are a direct quote from Bill Wilson's tape.
That was the beginning of the many heated conversations in Akron and NYC.
According to Barry, Dr Bob finally nailed down a consensus in Akron by asking
something like, "Isn't it time we consider what the Master would do?" I believe
that in NYC, Marty Mann and the handful of other homosexuals in the meetings
there, had already prepared the way.
And course this original impetus for Trad 3 opened the doors later to the great
numbers today who suffer from drug addiction as well as alcohol.
Sorry about the length of this, Glenn. But I feel responsible for trying to get
a proper answer to the woman who emailed me. Is there some way you could post
just the paragraphs above that your keen editor's eye deems relevant to a
question about the origin of Trad 3?
Shalom - Sally
Rev Sally Brown, MS, MDiv, BCC
coauthor with David R Brown, A Biography of Mrs. Marty Mann: The First Lady of
Alcoholics Anonymous (Center City, MN: Hazelden, 2001).
United Church of Christ Board Certified Clinical Chaplain
Palo Alto Veterans Administration Medical Center, California (Ret)
1470 Sand Hill Rd, 310
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Phone: 650 325 5258
FROM THE MODERATOR
People often confuse the two stories.
#1 -- AKRON 1937 (DR. BOB WAS INVOLVED)
"WORSE STIGMATIZED ADDICTION" where the major issue was an LGBT issue (lesbian,
gay, bisexual, transgender).
#2 -- NEW YORK 1945 (BILL W. + BARRY LEACH INVOLVED)
"BLONDE TRANSVESTITE" -- although the person who raised the issue was a male to
female transgender of some type, the real issue here was that the person was a
AAHistoryLovers Message 1973, from Arthur Sheehan:
In the year 1937: On the AA calendar of "year two" the spirit of Tradition 3
emerged. A member asked to be admitted who frankly described himself to the
"oldest" member as "the victim of another addiction even worse stigmatized than
alcoholism." The "addiction" was "sex deviate."** Guidance came from Dr Bob (the
oldest member in Akron, OH) asking, "What would the Master do?" The member was
admitted and plunged into 12th Step work. (Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers
240-241, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions 141-142)
[Note: this story is often erroneously intermingled with an incident that
occurred 8 years later in 1945 at the 41st St clubhouse in New York City.]
**Information on this revelation was provided by David S from an audiotape of
Bill W at an open meeting of the 1968 General Service Conference. See also the
pamphlet The Co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. (publication number P-53, pg
THE BLONDE TRANSVESTITE (a totally different person):
In the year 1945, Bill W was called by Barry L (who would later author Living
Sober) from the 41st St clubhouse. Bill persuaded the group to take in a black
man who was an ex-convict with bleached-blond hair, wearing women's clothing and
makeup. The man also admitted to being a "dope fiend." When asked what to do
about it, Bill posed the question, "did you say he was a drunk?" When answered
"yes," Bill replied, "well I think that's all we can ask." The man was reported
to have disappeared shortly after. (BW-FH 8, Pass It On 317-318)
Anecdotal accounts erroneously say that this individual went on to become one of
the best 12th Steppers in NY.
[This story is often erroneously intermingled with that of a 1937 incident
involving an Akron member that is discussed in the Tradition Three essay in the
12&12 (pgs 141-142).]