Dr. Bob, AA Co-founder – Part One

Dr Bob

By bob k St. Johnsbury, Vermont Dr. Bob Smith remembers his childhood hometown of St. Johnsbury, some 100 miles northeast of the East Dorset birthplace of Bill Wilson, as having a general moral standard “far above the average.”  The consumption of alcohol was considered a question of morality.  “No beer or liquor was sold … Continue reading

Young Bill Wilson – Part Two

Wilson House

By bob k The Prequel Begins It was the night before Thanksgiving when the pains of child labor drove Emily Griffiths Wilson from preparations for the next day’s meal. Emily’s pains drove her from out of the kitchen into the north parlor. She lay on a couch there, trying to breathe, doubling … Continue reading

Young Bill Wilson – Part One

Young Bill Wilson

By bob k Part One (Prequel to a Prequel) War fever ran high in the New England town to which we new, young officers from Plattsburg were assigned, and we were flattered when the first citizens took us to their homes, making us feel heroic. Here was love, applause, war; moments … Continue reading

Frank Buchman and the Oxford Group

Frank Buchman

By bob k The founder of the Oxford movement – a Christian evangelical movement and the birthplace of AA – Frank Nathaniel Daniel Buchman was born in the small town (pop. 1,200) of Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, on June 4th, 1878, fourteen months earlier than AA’s future co-founder, Bob Smith. Pennsburg’s population was almost exclusively … Continue reading

Charles B. Towns

Habits That Handicap

By bob k December 11, 1934  Bill Wilson should have been desperate, depressed, and beyond all optimism, when he arrived at Towns Hospital to undergo a fourth and final detox.  Following his Armistice Day relapse, “Bill settled hopelessly and without heart into a sort of bottomless bingeing. He no longer made … Continue reading

Clarence Snyder: Almost Co-Founder

Plain Dealer

By bob k From time to time, various names are suggested as being worthy of “co-founder” status, for contributions leading AA to be what it is today.  People such as Dr. Silkworth, William James, and Carl Jung are among the “outsiders” who, directly or indirectly influenced our society.  Many Christians … Continue reading

Anonymity in the 21st Century

Rollie Hemsley

By bob k A Nameless Group of Drunks In the 1930s the whole concept of “anonymity” was very simple. Bill Wilson’s “nameless group of drunks”, helping themselves by helping each other, were progressing into unprecedented months, and even years of sobriety. The admission of alcoholism, so vital to recovery, could, … Continue reading

Marty Mann and the Early Women of AA

Marty Mann

By bob k A tremendous change has taken place over the past few generations in the way alcoholics are viewed in our society. Although it is undeniable that some level of unawareness and misunderstanding remains, substantial improvements have been effected since the 1930s. We have cause to be grateful. The … Continue reading

Edwin Throckmorton Thacher (Ebby)

Bill Wilson and Ebby Thacher

By bob k The story of Ebby Thacher is one of large privilege and poor performance, the tale of a classic underachiever. Iconic television character, Al Bundy, peaked at seventeen years of age by scoring four touchdowns in one game – all downhill after that! By seventeen, Ebby Thacher was … Continue reading

Twentieth Century Influences on AA

By bob k It is fairly common knowledge that there are religious roots to AA. Much has been written about our earliest existence as part of the Christian revivalist Oxford Group. From Carl Jung comes the need in the chronic alcoholic for some form of “spiritual awakening.” These awakenings are also described as … Continue reading