The start of Alcoholics Anonymous, a brief history
A seemingly unplanned meeting in Akron,
Ohio in 1935 between two men, Dr Bob Smith
and Bill Wilson, both of whom were termed
“hopeless” alcoholics, began a program of
recovery that has helped millions find sobriety
Bill Wilson was fighting his own battle against
drinking, he had already learned from the
Oxford Group that helping other alcoholics
was the key to maintaining his own sobriety,
the principle that would later become step
twelve in the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics
The effect the meeting had on Dr. Bob was
immediate, as he tells it in his own words and
soon he too put down the bottle, June 10,
One alcoholic talking to another alcoholic, the
bond formed between these two men would
grow into a movement that would literally save
the lives of millions.
Starting in an upstairs room at Dr. Bob’s home
at in Akron, the two men began helping
alcoholics one person at a time.
Here’s a quote from Dr Bob’s story in the
“The Doctor’s Nightmare”
page 180 paragraph 2
The question which might naturally come into
your mind would be: “what did the man do or
say that was different from what others had
done or said?”
It must be remembered that I had read a great
deal and talked to everyone who knew, or
thought they knew, anything about the subject
This man was a man who had experienced
many years of frightful drinking, who had had
most all the drunkard’s experience known to
man, but who had been cured by the very
means I had been trying to employ, that is to
say, the spiritual approach.
He gave me information about the subject of
alcoholism which was undoubtedly helpful.
Of far more importance was the fact that he
was the first living human with whom I had
ever talked, who knew what he was talking
about in regard to alcoholism from actual
In other words, be talked my language.
He knew all the answers, and certainly not
because he had picked them up in his
reading. It is a most wonderful blessing to be
relieved of the terrible curse with which I was
My health is good and I have regained my
self-respect and the respect of my colleagues.
My home life is ideal and my business is as
good as can be expected in these uncertain
I spend a great deal of time passing on what I
learned to others who want and need it badly.
I do it for four reasons:
1. Sense of duty.
2. It is a pleasure
3. Because in so doing I am paying my debt to
the man who took time to pass it on to me.
4. Because every time I do it I take out a little
more insurance for myself against a possible