Bill Wilson Forges Friendships in Akron, Ohio

The Year

1935

Bill Wilson Forges Friendships in Akron, Ohio

 Bill joins the Smiths at the weekly Oxford Group meetings held in the home of T. Henry Williams and his wife Clarace, both particularly sympathetic to the plight of alcoholics. Soon, at the suggestion of Dr. Bob’s wife Anne, Bill moves to their home at 855 Ardmore Avenue (below).
Dr. Robert Smith's Home in Akron, Ohio
 Whilst living at the Dr. Bob’s home in Akron, Bill W. took part in the local Oxford Group’s practice of morning meditations and Bible readings.

 Bill W. stated that Dr. Bob was the first alcoholic he managed to bring to sobriety. Dr. Bob drank his last drink on June 10, 1935. This is why June 10th is considered the founding date of AA by its members. Dr. Bob remained sober from this date until he died in 1950 from colon cancer.
(Below is a recording of Bill McNiff, an actor, playing the role of Bill Wilson in a play named "Moments...An Evening With Bill W...". Very interesting and well spoken for anyone curious about the early history of Alcoholics Anonymous.)
 Men On a Mission

Bill W. and Dr. Bob wanted to develop a system that was designed to specifically help those who suffered from alcoholism.

 They believed the Oxford Group’s principles were, whilst helpful, too broad in scope. They wanted their new system to stress the fact that alcoholics were hopeless and powerless over their condition and that these people were in a state of insanity rather in a state of sin.

Dr. Bob and Bill spend hours working out the best approach to alcoholics, a group known to be averse to taking directions.

 Bill W. helped to formulate the principle that to remain sober, an alcoholic must reach out the help of other alcoholics.

 The second principle that was conceived during this time was the 24-hour concept. In realizing that thinking of sobriety for a day at a time makes it seem more achievable than facing a lifetime of struggle, they hit on the twenty-four hour concept.
 "I can do something for 24 hours that would appall me if I had to keep it up for a LIFETIME." — Bill W, AA Co-Founder
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