Definition of New Thought:
A mental healing movement devoted generally to spiritual healing, constructive thinking, and personal guidance from an inner presence.

Synonyms of New Thought:
Growth for development, for perpetual and eternal progress, recognizing the superior and excellent in man, etc.

These notes are from recovery in AA and/or related 12 step programs.
Readers are encouraged to click external links for more detail.
We hope you find them helpful.

Love in fellowship.


The New Thought movement, especially by way of the writings of Emmet Fox, has been a significant influence in Alcoholics Anonymous. The New Thought movement is a philosophical movement which developed in USA in the 19th century, considered by many to have been derived from the unpublished writings of Phineas Quimby.

New Thought is a mind-healing movement that originated in the 19th-century United States. It has no one creed, but its fundamental teaching is that spirit is more real and more powerful than matter and that the mind has the power to heal the body.

New Thought groups are based in Christianity. New Thought is an ever evolving understanding that all of life happens through us, never to us.

Life is consciousness,’ leads one to the ever unfolding idea that in order to affect a change in our life, the realm of mind called consciousness must first change –Emmet Fox
I am a child of God, and therefore I do not inherit sickness said Myrtle Fillmore a co-founder of the Unity Church in 1891

The Unity Church is the largest New Thought movement today.
If you don’t like your world, change your thought and your world will follow suite.


Ours is not to make the world right, but to see the world right.
The “Mind-cure movement…”  –William James/The Varieties of Religious Experience

The two most commonly-held and fundamental beliefs in New Thought are:

(1) the Divine is in all things
(2) the mind is much more real and powerful than matter.

As disease is due to false reasoning, so health is due to knowledge of the truth. To remove disease permanently, it is necessary to know the cause, the error which led to it.

“The explanation is the cure.” Phineas Parkhurst Quimby was the earliest proponent of what today is called New Thought.


Others say that New Thought is traced back to Jesus who in every way gave a new interpretation to old truths, conditions and experiences. God is considered as the one and only presence and power whose essence is absolute goodness, abundant supply, infinite knowing and unfathomed joy.

This Energy always moves through man and woman, never to them… Hence a refined belief that because thought (mind) is the tool for either alignment with or opposition to this omnipresent Essence, we each are the creators of our own reality.

In New Thought one might hear, “If you don’t like your world, change your thought and your world will follow suite.” Also one might hear, “Ours is not to make the world right, but to see the world right.” – Love lights more fires than hate extinguishes.


New Thought is neither monolithic nor doctrinaire, in general, modern-day adherents of New Thought share some core beliefs:

1, God or Infinite Intelligence is “supreme, universal, and everlasting”;

2, Divinity dwells within each person, that all people are spiritual beings;

3, “The highest spiritual principle [is] loving one another unconditionally… and teaching and healing one another”; and;

4, “Our mental states are carried forward into manifestation and become our experience in daily living”

New Thought holds that Infinite Intelligence, or God or spirit, is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, sickness originates in the mind, and “right thinking” has a healing effect. William James may have been right in attributing the rise of New Thought

The promise that all you need to do is believe to make things better for yourself and the world is a common response to life’s uncertainty, indifference, haphazard distribution of pleasures and pains, and unfairness. Some New Thought Quotes for ‘Immediate Inspiration’ are….

“Prepare your mind to receive the best that life has to offer.” -Ernest Holmes
“There is one power in the Universe and we can all use it.”  -Ernest Holmes

 “It is the childlike mind that finds the kingdom.” -Charles Fillmore
“Truth is immortal; error is mortal.” -Mary Baker Eddy

“Divine love always has met and always meets every human need.” -Mary Baker Eddy
“Happiness is spiritual, born of truth and love.” -Mary Baker Eddy

“The ancestor of every action is a thought.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Whenever you are afraid of something you are worshipping it.” -Emmet Fox

“Whatever you fear, you bow down to and give it power.” -Emmet Fox
“Men for the sake of getting a living forget to live.” -Margaret Fuller


Animism is the oldest known type of belief system in the world that even predates paganism. It is still practiced in a variety of forms in many traditional societies. Animism is used in the anthropology of religion as a term for the belief system of many indigenous tribal peoples,

Henotheism is the worship of a single god while not denying the existence or possible existence of other deities. Polytheism is the worship of or belief in multiple deities, which are usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses,

Polytheism is a type of theism. Within theism, it contrasts with monotheism, the belief in a singular God, in most cases transcendent. Polytheism was the typical form of religion during the Bronze Age and Iron Age up to the Axial Age and the development of Abrahamic religions,

Monotheism has been defined as the belief in the existence of only one god that created the world, is all-powerful and interferes in the world. Another, more broad definition of monotheism, is the belief in one god.

The (Monotheism) Trinitarian (Three in One) view emphasizes that God has a will, and that God the Son has two wills, divine and human, Islam teaches that God is the same god worshipped by the members of other Abrahamic religions (Christianity and Judaism)

Judaism is based on a strict monotheism. God is a unity unlike any other possible unity”.
This is referred to in the Torah: “Hear Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One”.


God is conceived of as eternal, the creator of the universe, and the source of morality. Before Alcoholics Anonymous (Big Book) was published in 1939…….

Bill Wilson & Dr Bob Smith before formal AA meetings were conceived was a period of four years when AA could only be transmitted through face-to-face contact, one alcoholic speaking to another. They used three main spiritual texts at the time.

One of the texts, The Upper Room, was a quarterly magazine started in 1935 and published by the Methodist Church. This was largely an interdenominational collection of spiritual experiences related by its own readers with daily prayers and meditations.

The second was The Greatest Thing in the World, a book by Scottish evangelist Henry Drummond, which was published in 1894. The third, and probably most important, was Sermon on the Mount: The Key to Success in Life, a practical handbook of spiritual development by Emmet Fox written in 1938.

Emmet Fox’s secretary had a son who worked in Bill Wilson’s office during the pioneering times of AA in New York. The AAs were also known to have gone to hear Fox’s sermons after their meetings owing to the proximity of their meeting house to Carnegie Hall.


Emmet Fox was therefore woven into the early roots of AA, both in its conception and establishment. The principles of the AA program might be summarized as willingness, open-mindedness, and honesty with an emphasis on humility.

As they say in AA, religion is for people who believe in hell and AA is for people who have been to hell. In his AA’s Godparents: Carl Jung, Emmet Fox, Jack Alexander, Igor I.Sikorsky Jr. says, “Five of the original stories in the Big Book were by early AA members deeply influenced by Emmet Fox (p. 25).”

Sikorsky also notes (p. 19) that an early recovering alcoholic who worked with co-founder Bill Wilson was Al Steckman, whose mother was Fox’s secretary As a result of this connection early AA groups would often go to listen to Fox.

Pragmatic spirituality focuses on how you believe, not on what you believe which can be difficult to grasp for those who are accustomed to propositional religion. When these people try to get sober, they think they already have the spirituality angle worked out because they answer in the affirmative to all the right propositions.

They already believe, and as far as they’re concerned belief is what spirituality is all about. Their religiosity prevents them from seeing the obvious: “You already believe.”


If the problem persisted in the face of their belief, then more of that belief cannot possibly be the solution. Belief is worthless unless it affects our actions. A “belief” that fails to inspire action is no belief at all.

People often do not believe what they say they believe. A thought is an unsubstantiated idea. Whereas a belief is an idea we are inclined to trust based on some measure of evidence, even if we cannot prove it to be true or rationally explain our position.

Belief is an idea, or network of ideas, substantiated by enough reason or experience to inspire action, though it falls short of knowledge or the state of knowing. Most people do not actually believe—they think. Their “beliefs” are in reality unsubstantiated ideas. Such feeble “beliefs” actually prevent true believing.

The experiential component comes from spiritual practice. That is why practice-based spirituality is so important.

Emmet Fox’s fundamental contribution to AA was the simplicity and power of The Sermon on the Mount as well as his other books that set forth in very simple language the truths of the New Thought philosophy.


| More…
New Thought/Wikipedia | More…
New Thought (aka Mind Cure or Mind Science) movement | More….
New Thought fast facts and introduction | More…
New Thought Quotes for Immediate Inspiration | More…
Emmet Fox: The Sermon on the Mount and Alcoholics Anonymous | More…
What Religion Could Learn from 12-Step Spirituality | More…

Suggested Reading;
Communicating with Spirit: Here’s How You Can Communicate (and Benefit from … By Carl Llewellyn Weschcke, Joe H. Slate


10 Ways to Thrive in Sobriety
Getting sober is just the beginning.

Life rolls out the red carpet when we step fully into recovery.
What can you add to this list?

  1. Tell the truth.
  2. Say YES to life and no to substances.
  3. Stay connected to the invisible side of nature
  4. Help and support others from a place of respect and compassion.
  5. Laugh more easily and freely, even if it is at ourselves.
  6. Pray and/or meditate.
  7. Take our sobriety seriously but not take ourselves too seriously.
  8. Appreciate the beauty in nature.
  9. Seek out and connect with others in recovery.
  10. Feel and express gratitude.


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