Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous

by Dick B.

© 2007 by Anonymous All rights reserved

[Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Dick B.’s forthcoming book, Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous]

 

Chapter 1

 

A.A.’s Dr. Bob and St. Johnsbury, Vermont

 

What can seekers find if they visit Dr. Bob’s Birthplace and Boyhood Home in St. Johnsbury, Vermont? Well, for sure they can see a beautiful fall leaves display if they go there in the Autumn. Also, to be sure, they can search out and enjoy the nearby ski resorts. They can visit the many historical locations of Vermont. They can see a very unique and quaint village that became a center of Vermont business prosperity, Christian revival and evangelism, and profound Congregational church activity. And they can frequent nearby antique stores of used book-store resources.

 

Yes, but what about A.A.? Why go to Dr. Bob’s home town after all these years just to see where A.A.’s co-founder was born and raised? If that’s all you seek, you may still find inspiration in the massive buildings and town pre-occupation with churches, libraries, museums, YMCA activity, and educational supremacy—supremacy founded by three Fairbanks brothers who insisted on a Christian atmosphere in every town resource they touched—Congregational to the core. Both Fairbanks family members—Christians, Congregational church leaders, YMCA leaders, and proponents of Christian education—and the Smith family members lived their lives as dedicated servants of the Creator and His son Jesus Christ.

 

The answer as to why AAs would go to St. Johnsbury is much more deep.

 

The answer is available for all alcoholics, addicts, families of the afflicted, historians, professionals, clergy, recovery workers, and recovery history students. You would go there to learn as much as possible about what Robert Holbrook Smith, M.D., brought with him from St. Johnsbury, Vermont, to Akron, Ohio, that enabled drunks and others to discover what God could and would do for the alcoholic who still suffers when sought. Hebrews 11:6 states God’s view of the matter quite well:

 

But without faith, it is impossible to please him [God], for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (KJV)

 

The St. Johnsbury of Dr. Bob’s youth is replete with testimony about the diligence and zeal that could be found among its residents diligently seeking sonship and fellowship with the Creator.

 

You would go there to see just how much of the early A.A. program can be traced to its real spiritual beginnings in Vermont. You would go there to see if the message about our Heavenly Father was rooted in the excellent training in the Bible that Dr. Bob said he had received there as a youngster. You would go there to discover the roots of the movement he and Bill Wilson co-founded years later—roots that produced a documented 75%-93% success rate among seemingly hopeless, medically incurable, real alcoholics who thoroughly followed the early A.A. path to a relationship with God. And were cured! And said so!

 

The Treasures in Dr. Bob’s Birthplace and Boyhood Home, North Congregational Church, Christian Endeavor Society, St. Johnsbury Academy

 

Dr. Bob’s Birthplace and Boyhood Home: Today’s Dr. Bob’s Birthplace and Boyhood Home (at the corner of Center and Summer Streets, not far from North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury) is managed by a non-profit, drop-in recovery center named Kingdom Recovery Center, Inc. The address is 297 Summer Street, St. Johnsbury, Vermont 05819. The building itself is owned by Northeast Kingdom Human Services, Inc., a not-for-profit organization. It hosts regular A.A. and other meetings, Tri-County Substance Abuse Services new substance abuse programs, and a retreat for Drug Abuse Resistance Teams to publicize heroin addiction among youth. It has a vigorous board of directors, paid staff of four, and numerous volunteers. It also serves as a drop-in center for people in recovery. It wants to improve Dr. Bob’s Birthplace and Boyhood Home to the status of an information center and library which tells as much as possible about Dr. Bob, his youth, his connections and training in St. Johnsbury, and how his education impacted on the astonishingly-successful early A.A. program developed in Akron, Ohio, starting in 1935.

 

North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury: Dr. Bob and his parents regularly attended services at this church at least four times a week. They were much involved—the father as a life-time deacon and long-time Sunday School teacher there. The mother as a choir member, Sunday School superintendent, missions worker, and historian. Bob’s father, Judge Walter Perrin Smith, sat on the Caledonia County (Vermont) Probate Court. The Judge served as a superintendent of St. Johnsbury schools, examiner at St. Johnsbury Academy where his wife taught and his son matriculated, and YMCA officer. Bob’s mother has been incorrectly characterized as a stern, church-going lady who busied herself with the countless social and religious activities of North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury. She was said to have believed the way to success and salvation lay through strict parental supervision, no-nonsense education, and regular spiritual devotion. But she was much, much more. She graduated from and taught at St. Johnsbury Academy. She was on its alumni executive committee, and she delivered at least one address on the history of St. Johnsbury Academy. She was also on the Vermont Library Commission and involved in domestic mission activities.

 

The Christian Endeavor Society: Founded on February 2, 1881, at the Williston Congregational Church in Portland, Maine, less than a year-and-a-half after Dr. Bob was born on August 8, 1879, this movement spread across New England and then around the world, attaining a membership of 3.5 million at its apex.[1] Dr. Bob said he had received excellent training in the Bible at his church and Christian Endeavor. The Society supported the local church, was self-governing, and self-supporting. It insisted on confession of Jesus Christ, individual and weekly Bible study at its meetings, prayer meetings, conversion meetings, Quiet Hour, and discussion of religious topics. It also had the (later-to-be) slogan of “love and service.”[2]

 

St. Johnsbury Academy: In 1894, Dr. Bob entered St. Johnsbury Academy as a fifteen-year-old. “The Academy was founded in 1842 by the three Fairbanks brothers [Erastus, Thaddeus, and Joseph], local residents and manufacturers, to provide ‘intellectual, moral, and religious training for their own children and the children of the community.’”[3] The Fairbanks people were devout Congregationalists and saw to it that Christian education, morals, and training were part and parcel of the founding, administration, and activities of this independent secondary school. The Academy had daily chapel and required weekly church and Bible study attendance. On his graduation in 1898, Dr. Bob delivered the Oration and went to Dartmouth College for four years.

 

Research potential in St. Johnsbury. On our recent trip to St. Johnsbury, my son Ken and I actually studied a number of the records and resources in St Johnsbury about the neglected story of Dr. Bob’s “excellent training” in the Good Book “as a youngster.” And we now know there are several potential sources of information at St. Johnsbury Academy, the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum (the local library), the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, and at North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury, itself. There are also a good many diaries and memoirs to be checked. We believe—based on an interview with the minister at North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury, and interviews with archivists in the town--that there is still much to be learned at St. Johnsbury Academy, and from Christian Endeavor records at North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury (and perhaps elsewhere, as well)--particularly from journals of meetings, so common in Bob’s days, as well as from his Sunday School regimen. The little town abounds in places to search for history apparently never yet tracked.

 

Highlights of the Our Dr. Bob History Companion Resource Volumes

 

This title is an explanatory book about the scope, purpose, and contents of the many resource volumes in binders which contain much-needed information and history. Those volumes are headed for Dr. Bob’s Birthplace and Boyhood Home. And this is a summary of what they contain:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Place to Start: Key Remarks by A.A. Founders and Pioneers about Conversion, the “Great Physician,” the “Good Book,” the Power of God, the Cure of Alcoholism, and Service to Others

 

The Founding of A.A. and Its Astonishing Success Rates

 

Based on eighteen years of almost-continuous research, analysis, and publication, our series of companion volumes is intended to be a resource. The resource will make available in raw form the findings which trace the path of A.A. cofounder Dr. Robert H. Smith’s enormous spiritual growth and contributions to the field of alcoholism recovery programs and cures. Its purpose is to set the record straight—with documented evidence—on the true religious origins, biblical foundations, and basic ideas of the early A.A. Christian Fellowship of Akron, Ohio.

 

The fellowship was founded by Bill Wilson of New York (often called “Bill W.”) and Dr. Robert Smith of Akron (often called “Dr. Bob”).  The date was June 10, 1935. The place was the residence of Dr. Bob and his wife Anne Smith and their children (“Smitty” and Sue) at 855 Ardmore Avenue, in Akron. The first A.A. group was founded in 1935 when Akron attorney, Bill Dotson, was cured of alcoholism and marched from the Akron City Hospital to join Bill W. and Dr. Bob in the “alcoholic squad” (as it was then often called). There was no basic text. There were no “Twelve Steps.” There simply was what Dr. Bob often called the “Christian Fellowship” which took its basic ideas from the study of the Bible—appropriately dubbed the “Good Book.”

 

The following key remarks by the first three AAs make very clear the roots, the basic ideas, and the principles of that early Akron pioneer program.

 

Why the importance of the earliest program? The answer lies in the documented, 75%-93% success rate it achieved among seemingly hopeless, “medically incurable,” real alcoholics who thoroughly followed the path that the pioneers marked out. Where’s the proof? Where do you find the documentation? Again, you start with the founders and the incorporation of their statements in A.A.’s own “Conference Approved” literature. Moreover, you can go to the Griffith Library, located at the Wilson House grounds in East Dorset, Vermont, where Bill Wilson was born and raised. And you can see the rosters, the names, the dates, and the sobriety records of A.A.’s first forty. Among those forty pioneers—who were primarily from the Akron Area—fifty percent had maintained continuous sobriety, and twenty-five percent had “slipped” but had returned to attain sobriety. We have included the documented study by scholar Richard K. in our “cured” volume. Perhaps even more important, the men declared consistently that they had been “cured” of alcoholism. Cured by the power of the Creator. By 1939, the success rate and the growth of A.A. skyrocketed largely because of the leadership of one of Dr. Bob’s sponsees—Clarence H. Snyder. In Cleveland, records showed there was a ninety-three percent success rate; and the A.A. fellowship there grew faster than in any part of the United States—it went from one group to thirty in a year.

 

The Christian Religious Elements from Dr. Bob’s Early Life and Bill W.’s Early Emphasis

 

This then is the documented account of the real, early, “original,” A.A. program and of the specific ideas that arose out of the “excellent training” (as Dr. Bob put it) in the Good Book that Dr. Bob had received as a youngster in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. You will see all the elements of that religious backdrop in the companion resource volumes. To that backdrop, Bill Wilson brought two highly important elements of the religious program: (1) Conversion as the cure. (2) Service as the means of evangelizing and maintaining the cure, and of perpetuating the two fundamental elements of love and service—the latter being the motto of the Christian Endeavor of Dr. Bob’s youth in St. Johnsbury.

 

But first, let’s see how the first three AAs—Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob Smith, and Bill Dotson--painted the picture accurately with their recorded remarks.

 

What the First Three AAs Had to Say

 

Bill W.: A.A. cofounder Bill Wilson led off with his early comments about the three elements he brought to the early Akron program scene—(1) Conversion and the new birth as the essential to the solution of alcoholism. (2) Cure as the result. (3) Service and help for other alcoholics.

 

·        Bill Wilson’s conversion and rebirth, resultant cure, and “golden text” message:

 

Bill’s grandfather Willie had been converted and cured in East Dorset years before. Grandpa Willie never drank after he was saved.[5]

 

Professor William James had confirmed the efficacy of such conversion cures, citing the findings and accounts of Dr. Edwin D. Starbuck, Revivalist Charles G. Finney, Professor Leuba, and the psychology Professor George A. Coe, together with the dramatic conversion cures of Jerry M’Auley, S. H. Hadley and in many similar cases.[6]

 

Following the example of his friend Edwin T. Thacher (called “Ebby”), Bill also went to the Calvary Rescue Mission in New York.[7] He knelt at the altar with a Brother who prayed with him.[8] In the words of his wife Lois, “And he went up, and really, in very great sincerity, did hand over his life over to Christ.”[9] Reverend Sam Shoemaker’s wife phrased it as she had witnessed it: Bill “made his decision for Christ.”[10] After that, Bill twice wrote in his autobiography, “For sure I was born again.”[11]

 

Shortly after his conversion at the Calvary Rescue Mission, Bill returned to boozing and was drinking for another two or three days. But things had changed. One writer conjectured that “something had changed in the way Bill drank.”[12] For one thing, during what had been his third hospitalization at Towns Hospital in New York, Bill had had important conversations with his psychiatrist there—William D. Silkworth, M.D. Silkworth’s biographer observed:

 

Silkworth has not been given the appropriate credit for his position on spiritual conversion, particularly as it may relate to true Christian benefits. Several sources, including Norman Vincent Peale in his book The Positive Power of Jesus Christ, agree that it was Dr. Silkworth who used the term “The Great Physician” to explain the need in recovery for a relationship with Jesus Christ. . . . In the formation of AA, Wilson initially insisted on references to God and Jesus, as well as the Great Physician. . . . Silkworth challenged the alcoholic with an ultimatum. Once hopeless, the alcoholic would grasp hold of any chance of sobriety. Silkworth, a medical doctor, challenged the alcoholic with a spiritual conversion and a relationship with God as part of the program of recovery.[13]

 

Heading out from his Calvary Mission conversion scene, Bill remembered his hours of discussion with Dr. Silkworth on the subject of the “Great Physician.” The discussion occurred during Bill’s third hospitalization period at Towns Hospital where Silkworth was chief psychiatrist.[14] After the Mission experience and his continued drinking, Bill reflected:

 

But what of the Great Physician? For a brief moment, I suppose, the last trace of my obstinacy was crushed out as the abyss yawned.[15]

 

Bill had been hit hard by his friend Ebby Thacher’s flat statement that God had done for him what he could not do for himself, and Bill’s conclusion that Ebby had truly had been saved and was reborn at the Calvary Mission.[16] Indeed, following his own altar experience, Bill had written his brother-in-law, “I’ve got religion.”[17] These were also the first words that Bill’s friend Ebby uttered to Bill at Bill’s apartment after Ebby had been converted at the Calvary Rescue Mission altar.[18] Ebby’s words are recorded in Bill’s personal story in each of the four editions of the A.A. basic text.

 

And Bill concluded the following as to Ebby:

 

Nevertheless here I was sitting opposite a man who talked about a personal God, who told me how he had found Him, who described to me how I might do the same thing and who convinced me utterly that something had come into his life which had accomplished a miracle. The man was transformed, there was no denying he had been reborn.[19]

 

Moving toward his final Towns Hospital treatments, Bill appeared to be clinging to his conclusion that Ebby had been reborn, that he (Bill) had been reborn, and that Dr. William D. Silkworth had assured him that the “Great Physician” (Jesus Christ) could cure him. Thus Bill had told his wife Lois that he “had found the answer.”[20] A.A.’s official biography said Bill came to the hospital waving a bottle and telling the doctor, “Well this time, I’ve found something.”[21]

 

Bill began to put his thoughts into action. In his own words: “I remember saying to myself, ‘I’ll do anything, anything at all. If there be a Great Physician, I’ll call on him.”[22] Almost immediately, he cried out to God for help. His conversion experience was very similar to that which his grandfather Willie Wilson had had some years before at Bill’s hometown East Dorset, Vermont.[23]

 

After the Towns Hospital conversion experience, Bill consulted Dr. Silkworth, and was told by Silkworth and Bill’s wife Lois that he had had a genuine conversion. Still further, Bill then spent almost a day studying the William James book, The Varieties of Religious Experience.[24] He believed the William James accounts of conversion cures validated his own cure. And, like his grandfather, Bill never drank again.

 

Dr. Silkworth and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale had become very good friends. And Silkworth and his wife once held their church membership at Marble Collegiate Church in New York.[25] Peale wrote extensively on how Dr. Silkworth had told a man named Charles, who later became a member of Marble Collegiate, that the Great Physician Jesus Christ could cure his alcoholism.[26] On his discharge from the Towns Hospital, Bill immediately began searching out drunks at Towns Hospital, in Oxford Group meetings, and at the Rescue Mission in an attempt to convert them.

 

A.A.’s basic text appears to contain a concise sample statement by Bill in his own words of the message he was attempting to carry:

 

Henrietta [Dotson], the Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease that I just want to keep talking about it and telling people.[27]

                       

That Bill maintained his message seems evident from the following account by a Cleveland member:

 

. . . [W]hen I came home Clarence [Snyder] was sitting on the davenport with Bill W. I do not recollect the specific conversation that went on but I believe I did challenge Bill to tell me something about A.A. and I do recall one other thing: I wanted to know what this was that worked so many wonders, and hanging over the mantel was a picture of Gethsemane and Bill pointed to it and said, “There it is. . .”[28]

 

But as a messenger, Bill failed to get anyone sober in the first six months, and very few in the period thereafter. Both Bill and his wife Lois so stated on many occasions.

 

Nonetheless, Bill brought his message to Akron and to his first meeting with Dr. Bob—who, as will be seen here,—was thoroughly acquainted with conversions. In fact, the necessity for the conversion solution was incorporated in the first pioneer Christian program where new people were required to surrender to Jesus Christ in a ceremony that took place in all of early Akron A.A.’s weekly fellowship meetings.

 

There was an additional and vital element that Bill contributed to the early A.A. pioneer program developed in Akron.

 

Bill could and did attest to his conversion and new birth. He could and did attest to his own cure. His words are set forth on page 191 of even the latest edition of the A.A. basic text. Bill carried the matter one vital step further. He wanted to help other drunks be cured by the very same conversion solution. In fact, as late as January 23, 1961, Bill contacted and wrote the famous Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, who has been credited with being the founder of the A.A. conversion solution:

 

. . . [I]t was about 1931 that he [Rowland Hazard] became your patient. I believe he remained under your care for perhaps a year. . . . To his great consternation, he soon relapsed into intoxication. Certain that you were his ‘court of last resort,’ he again returned to your care. There followed the conversation between you that was to become the first link in the chain of events that led to the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous. . . . First of all, you frankly told him of his hopelessness, so far as any further medical or psychiatric treatment might be concerned. This candid and humble statement of yours was beyond doubt the first foundation stone upon which our Society has been built. . . . When he then asked you if there was any hope, you told him there might be, provided he could become the subject of a spiritual or religious experience—in short, a genuine conversion. . . . [Rowland Hazard] did find a conversion experience that released him for the time being from his compulsion to drink. . . . This concept proved to be the foundation of such success as Alcoholics Anonymous has since achieved. This has made conversion experience . . . available on an almost wholesale basis.[29]

 

With conversion and cure as part of his firm convictions, Bill brought one other vital factor to the table when he first met Dr. Bob in Akron. In fact, Bill was relentless in his pursuit of the third factor. It was “service.” In all editions of A.A.’s basic text, Bill had written:

 

Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs.[30]

 

Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. . . . Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when others fail.[31]

 

Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house.[32]

 

 

I believe it is more than fair to say that Bill’s contributions to early A.A., accompanied as they were by his diligent perseverance, were: (1) Conversion—the idea that Bill had seen at work in his own grandfather’s life, and then in his own. (2) Cure through conversion—the idea that he had seen to be effective in his own life, suggested by Dr. Carl Jung, suggested by Dr. William Silkworth, and—to Bill’s mind—affirmed by the studies of Professor William James. (3) Service—the idea that he had seen at work in the Salvation Army, the Rescue Missions, the YMCA, and certainly in the Oxford Group with which he had been associated. The third concept became a cardinal and perhaps unique factor in the A.A. Program and successes—working with others by carrying the message of how the Creator could help them get well.

 

Dr. Bob: Dr. Bob was familiar with all three factors—conversion, cure, and service. But the last point rang a bell with Dr. Bob whose early Christian Endeavor days had embraced “love and service” as their motto. Simply stated—until he met Bill Wilson in 1935—Dr. Bob had not wanted to quit drinking despite its ruinous consequences in his own life. On the other hand, his new-found acquaintance, Bill Wilson, had wanted to quit. He went to the altar. He called on the Great Physician for help. And Bill had quit. And Bill tendered conversion, cure, and service as the roots of his own sobriety. Dr. Bob had never applied “service” to others as part of his religious program of conversion, reliance on the Creator, obedience to God’s will, Bible study, prayer, Quiet Hour, church, and religious comradeship. Nor had Bob applied the cardinal principal of abstinence and then turning to the Creator for help. Why? He had not wanted to quit badly enough to do whatever it took.

 

On Bill’s service idea, Dr. Bob had this to say of his first conversation with Bill:

 

“What did the man [Bill Wilson] 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 of alcoholism. But this was a man who had experienced many years of frightful drinking, who had had most all of the drunkard’s experiences 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 experience. In other words, he talked my language. He knew all the answers, and certainly not because he had picked them up in his reading.[33]

 

Now the interesting part of all this is not the sordid details, but the situation that we two fellows were in. We had both been associated with the Oxford Group, Bill in New York, for five months, and I in Akron, for two and a half years. Bill had acquired their idea of service. I had not, but I had done an immense amount of reading they had recommended. I had refreshed my memory of the Good Book, and I had had excellent training in that as a youngster. . . . I had done all the things that those good people told me to do. . . . But the one thing that they hadn’t told me was the one thing that Bill did that Sunday—attempt to be helpful to somebody else.[34]

 

Bill W., Dr. Bob, and Bill D. on the cure of alcoholism by the power of the Creator: It is probably enough in this resource book to point out that Bill Wilson (AA Number One), Dr. Bob Smith (AA Number Two), and Bill Dotson of Akron (AA Number Three) are each recorded in A.A.’s basic text as stating that they had been cured of alcoholism.[35]

 

On to Dr. Bob’s Spiritual Tools from St. Johnsbury, Vermont

 

The first chapter of this book is designed to give you a taste of the how, what, and why of its many companion resource volumes. The real need for the content is to let the reader examine for himself or herself the actual spiritual tools laid at Dr. Bob’s feet in St. Johnsbury. And, to that end, we move on to the details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

[1] “Christian Endeavor,” Time Magazine, July 11, 1927: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,929339,00.html ; accessed on November 4, 2007.

[2] See, for example: “Platform of Principles,” The New York Times, July 11, 1892: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9906E4D61631E033A25752C1A9619C94639ED7CF ; accessed 11/4/07.

[3] “St. Johnsbury Academy, St. Johnsbury, Vermont”: http://den-oweb.petersons.com/ccc92/display_pdf?p_instance_id=156127.pdf ; accessed 11/4/07.

[4] Dick B. The James Club and the Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials, 4th ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2005), 119-25.

[5] Susan Cheever, My Name Is Bill: Bill Wilson—His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous (New York: Washington Square Press, 2004), 17; Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W.: More on the Creator’s Role in Early A.A. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2006), 25-26, 41, 117-18, xii; and Bill Wilson, Bill W.: My First 40 Years: An Autobiography by the Cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous (Center City, MN: Hazelden, 2000), 6. 

[6] William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (New York, NY: Vintage Books/The Library of America, 1990), 348, 435, 448-54, 177-200, 204-22, 237-38; and Mel B., New Wine: The Spiritual Roots of the Twelve Step Miracle (Center City, MN: Hazelden, 1991), 52-56, 83-88, 127-41.

[7] Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W., 45-50, 84-88.

[8] Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W., 88-94; “Pass It On”: The Story of Bill Wilson and How the A.A. Message Reached the World (New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1984), 116-19; and Bill Wilson, Bill W.: My First 40 Years, 136-37.

[9] “Lois Remembers: Searcy, Ebby, Bill* Early Days.” Recorded in Dallas, Texas, June 29, 1973, Moore, OK: Sooner Cassette, Side One; and Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W., 61.

[10] Dick B., The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous. Newton ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1998), 157-58; and New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A. Pittsburgh ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1999), 233-34, 359.

[11] Bill Wilson, Bill W.: My First 40 Years, 147; Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W., 110; and William Wilson, W. G. Wilson Recollections (pp. 103 and 130 of a manuscript dated September 1, 1954) personally inspected by Dick B. at Stepping Stones Archives. Note: The phrase “For sure I’d been born again” appeared in two separate places in two separate documents.

[12] Cheever, My Name is Bill, 117.

[13] Dale Mitchel, Silkworth: The Little Doctor Who Loved Drunks (Center City, MN: Hazelden, 2002), 50; Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W., 50-76; and Norman Vincent Peale, The Positive Power of Jesus Christ: Life-changing Adventures in Faith (Carmel, NY: Guideposts, 1980), 60-62.

[14] Mithcel, Silkworth, 44-55.

[15] Wilson, My First 40 Years, 145.

[16] Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W., 48-49; and Francis Hartigan, Bill W.: A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Co-founder Bill Wilson (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2000), 49, 59.

[17] Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W., 95.

[18] “Pass It On,” 111.

[19] From lines 935-42 of the manuscript I found and copied at Stepping Stones Archives. The manuscript was titled, “Bill Wilson’s Original Story.” See Dick B., Turning Point: A History of Early A.A.’s Spiritual Roots and Successes (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1997), 99-100.

[20] Matthew J. Raphael, Bill W. and Mr. Wilson: The Legend and the Life of A.A.’s Co-founder (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2000), 78.

[21] “Pass It On,” 120.

[22] Wilson, My First 40 Years, 145.

[23] Wilson, My First 40 Years, 145-46; Cheever, My Name is Bill, 17; and Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W., 133-35.

[24] Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W., 96-98.

[25] Mitchel, Silkworth, 51.

[26] Peale, The Positive Power, 60-62; and Mitchel, Silkworth, 11-12, 44-45, 47, 50-51.

[27] Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed. (New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 2001), 191

[28] Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd ed. (New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1976), 216-17.

[29] “Pass It On”, 382-83.

[30] Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 20.

[31] Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 89

[32] Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 98.

[33] Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 180.

[34] The Co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical sketches: Their last major talks (New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1972, 1975), 11-12.

[35] Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed.: Bill Wilson said the “Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me. . .” p. 191. Dr. Bob stated that Bill Wilson “had been cured.” p. 180. Dr. Bob told the nurse at Akron’s City Hospital “that he and a man from New York had a cure for alcoholism.” p. 188. Bill Dotson said, “That sentence, “The Lord has been so wonderful to me, curing me of this terrible disease, that I just want to keep telling people about it,” has been a sort of golden text for the A.A. program and for me.” p. 191. None of the three ever had another drink.