Founded in 1948, Alcoholics Victorious is the true forerunner of the Christian support group movement. It began at the Chicago Christian Industrial League rescue mission. Dr. William Seath, AV’s founder and director of the mission was a prominent leader in the Association of Gospel Missions. He served as president of the AGRM and in other leadership positions.
Dr. Seath appreciated the work of Alcoholics Anonymous and recognized their effective efforts to help alcoholics to gain sobriety. Yet, he still felt that coming into a living relationship with Christ would give the recovering alcoholic so much more. At first he considered calling the new group he was starting the “13th Step” but settled on the name “Alcoholics Victorious.” In the years to come, AV experienced phenomenal growth, with groups being sponsored by rescue missions and churches throughout the nation.
Jerry Dunn is a well-known former rescue mission director who also served as one of the past presidents of the International Union of Gospel Missions. In 1965 he wrote God is for the Alcoholic, the all-time best-selling Christian book on addiction. As a result of his recommendation of Alcoholics Victorious in the book, the AV Office received hundreds of requests for information. Many new groups were started as a result. Jerry has continued to have significant involvement with AV over the years. AV groups now meet at several rescue missions, as well as in churches, prisons, VA hospitals, and Salvation Army Adult Rehab Centers.
After Dr. Seath’s death, Mr. Charles Stegman maintained the AV National Office at the Christian Industrial League until 1988. The National Headquarters then moved to Portland, Oregon, under the direction of George Coleman, who had been a leader of the AV groups in the Pacific Northwest.
He and his wife, Ann, maintained AV headquarters up until March 1995, when Alcoholics Victorious became an official program of the International Union of Gospel Missions, known since June 2000 as the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions.
In 2008, with a change in leadership and direction, AGRM deeded Alcoholics Victorious to Footprints, Inc. of Kansas City, Missouri.
In 2012, upon the death of the leader of Footprints, Inc. Alcoholics Victorious was deeded over to Christians in Recovery, Inc. The needs of local AV groups have been served by its staff members since then.
In 2013, Christians in Recovery was acquired by TechMission, which also operates City Vision College, an accredited online college offering bachelor’s degrees in Addiction Recovery, Nonprofit Management, and Urban Missions.