Alcoholics Anonymous (1939)

First Edition

This work is featured in the May 2018 Substance Dependence Treatment Review

This book is the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous. There were few changes between the original manuscript and the first edition, which was published in 1939. Changes in the text are noted in added footnotes.


Personal Stories

  1. The Doctor's Nightmare (aka Dr. Bob's Nightmare) (183)
  2. The Unbeliever (194)
  3. The European Drinker (206)
  4. A Feminine Victory (217)
  5. Our Southern Friend (226)
  6. A Business Man's Recovery (242)
  7. A Different Slant (252)
  8. Traveler, Editor, Scholar (254)
  9. The Back-Slider (265)
  10. Home Brewmeister (274)
  11. The Seven Month Slip (282)
  12. My Wife and I (287)
  13. A Ward of the Probate Court (296)
  14. Riding the Rods (303)
  15. The Salesman (317)
  16. Fired Again (325)
  17. The Fearful One (aka The Man Who Mastered Fear) (332)
  18. Truth Freed Me! (336)
  19. Smile with Me, at Me (340)
  20. A Close Shave (348)
  21. Educated Agnostic (351)
  22. Another Prodigal Story (357)
  23. The Car Smasher (aka He Had To Be Shown) (364)
  24. Hindsight (370)
  25. On His Way (375)
  26. An Alcoholic's Wife (378)
  27. An Artist's Concept (380)
  28. The Rolling Stone (386)
  29. Lone Endeavor (391)*

*Removed from the second printing of the First Edition


This work is in the Public Domain in most countries. The original manuscript did not have a copyright notice on it, which means it immediately went into the public domain in the United States. Those parts of the first edition which are identical to the draft manuscript were already in the public domain. While a copyright notice was included in the first edition, it was not renewed as copyright law required, in the 28th year. This means the copyright expired on 01 January 1967.

When the Berne treaty came into force in March 1989 in the United States, other Berne treaty signatories might be obliged to provide copyright at the minimum standard of the Author's Life + 50 years (which would be January, 2022). However, Canada, the United Kingdom, and most other countries either have specific exclusions, or do not recognize or enforce copyright that has expired in the country of origin. There are third party countries which may enforce copyright if the work is not under copyright in the originating country.

Currently, Germany is the only known country which has legal precedent on enforcing copyright that had expired in the country of origin. In Germany, the copyright is enforced based upon an earlier treaty which supercedes copyright law.

This is the same case with the first (1939) and second (1955) editions of the book Alcoholics Anonymous. Those two works originally had copyrights, but they were not renewed in the United States, as was required at the time, and so they are in the Public Domain in all countries except for Germany.

This work is featured in the May 2018 Substance Dependence Treatment Review